Leg Up on Performance

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Riding your horse without using your legs is like swimming without kicking your feet. You can still keep your head above water, but you’re going to struggle and you aren’t going to get very far.

Your legs are the underpinning of your horse’s performance. Even when they are not actively cueing the horse, they bear the majority of your weight—so their position, good or bad, impacts both your balance and your posture in the saddle. 

My favorite exercise for building the perfect leg is called “stand-up-sit-down.” Nothing works better to make your legs both strong and correct.

**For the full article, pick up the November 2007 issue of HORSE ILLUSTRATED.**

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Dale Rudin is a Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA)-certified riding instructor, welfare-centered trainer, rehabilitation specialist, saddle fitter, and certified equine nutritionist. She is a founding member of Force-Free Tennessee, an animal advocacy organization that promotes humane, low-stress training and handling of all animals. Dale's No. 1 goal is to create joyful experiences for horses and the people who love and care for them. She uses compassionate, reinforcement-based training methods that reduce stress and benefit the horse both emotionally and physically, and specializes in restoring health and wellness to horses with mild to severe physical, emotional, and behavioral issues. Dale offers instruction and consultations in person and online. She accepts horses for training and rehab at her farm, Lyric Valley Ranch in Santa Fe, Tenn., which is also the home of Pure Joy Horse Haven, a sanctuary for traumatized and abused horses (purejoyhorsehaven.org).

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