Navigating a pattern

Navigating a pattern

One of the activities that we do with our riders is weaving cones or guiding the horse through a pattern. Both of these require the rider to pull the rein with either the right or left hand. Some of our riders have a hard time grasping right or left hand. For a time, I would say pull toward the wall or pull toward me. The rider could get the horse to walk the pattern, but the objective of learning left and right was not met.


red=right; black=left

One of the moms came up with the idea of putting a red glove on her child’s right hand and a black glove on the left. Instant success! Well, maybe not instant, but we were able to work toward learning right and left.First we started by asking the rider to pull with the red hand or the black hand. Being able to see the colors helped the rider pull the correct rein. Now we added right or left to the direction, pull with the red right hand, pull with the black left hand.

The rider was already associating the color with the correct hand. Now the rider could correlate the color to the hand. Finally we were able to only say right or left and the rider pulled with the correct rein.

Knowing right from left is so important in many activities, that we try to make an effort to teach this as one of the riding basics.