Leg Up on Performance


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 CHA certified riding instructor, trainer, clinician, and contributor to Young Rider, Horse Illustrated, and HorseIllustrated.com. She is the creator of Unnatural Horsemanship—a mindful approach to the horse-human relationship, and a founding member of Force-Free Tennessee, an animal advocacy organization that fosters humane low-stress training and handling of all animals.Rudin sees horsemanship as an opportunity for a mutually beneficial collaboration between our two species. To achieve positive results on the ground and under saddle, Rudin makes the horse’s welfare her first priority. She emphasizes the important of comfort, calmness, confidence, balance, and clear compassionate communication. She works with all breeds of horses in every discipline using positive reinforcement, clicker training, and the principles of classical dressage. Dale offers training, lessons, workshops, and clinics on her farm in Santa Fe, Tenn.


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