Q: My horse likes to veer off the rail into the middle of the ring. How do I fix this?
Step two is to discourage your horse from roaming in the first place. Think of your reins and legs as solid and unyielding walls. They will form the sides of a narrow path that your horse will travel. Still riding two-handed, hold your hands slightly in front of your saddle and at the height and width of your hips. Ask your horse to ride straight lines both next to the rail and out in the open. If he stays between the lines, ride with a neutral rein and leg. If he drifts, close your fingers on both reins to prevent him from veering. Drive him with your legs as well to shift his sideways energy to forward movement, and be careful not to pull back on the reins and create a barrier that stops him from moving forward at all. If your horse continues to drift, actively push him off the leg he’s escaping toward and open the opposite rein, giving him room to move over. By giving your horse clear boundaries, he will be happy to hug the rail.
Dale Rudin is a CHA-certified riding instructor and clinician with a mindful and balanced approach to horsemanship and riding.
This article originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of Horse Illustrated magazine. Click here to subscribe!