|Notice the horse leaning on the outside, right rein and the rider using an inside left rein to steer.|
Why am I mentioning this? Well... without realizing it, riders are teaching their horses to drift towards the wall. The horses realize that it's where they are supposed to be.
Get My Drift...
Horses get used to being ridden near the rail. So naturally they will gravitate towards the rail. The problem is that when riding not near the rail such as circles or other figures around the arena, the horse will lean on the rider's outside leg and outside rein and drift back towards the rail - a very familiar place to be.
This is a problem. If rider's don't realize it, the horse just slowly moves back towards the rail and learns to lean. And then when it comes time to steer in circles, the horse is not responding as well as they should be to a request from the rider's outside rein and/or leg. Often times riders don't realize this.
It's important for the rider therefore, to do exercises to keep the horse responding well to the outside rein and leg and to remember to not let your horse drift towards the wall.
Keep Off The Rail
Anyone who has taken lessons from me knows that I stress the 'keep off the rail'. I can understand that beginner riders may need the comfort of the rail when first starting but I encourage riders to come off the rail as soon as they can. And using the rail or wall to start to teach body control maneuvers is good too. Again, coming off the rail as soon as the horse or rider is ready to advance.
So remember, if you don't want your horse to get into a bad habit of leaning on your outside rein and/or leg, then don't let you horse drift back towards the rail. Lope a circle or two and you will see what I mean.
Putting my spin on getting my drift in steering!