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This is a discussion on Stopping within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Squeeze the reins when riding

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    02-26-2012, 07:46 PM

My horse will only stop well when I have him on the bit. When he is he'll stop on 'whoa' or when I sit deep and barely squeeze the reins. When he isn't on the bit, or when someone else is riding him and they're not as good a rider, he's difficult to stop. He braces on the bit for a couple strides and then he'll come to a rocky stop. Is this because he's not on the bit and therfore not listening, or is there someway I can get him to stop no matter what?
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    02-26-2012, 07:50 PM
Make him back up directly after you stop. Only do this when he stops wrong. Eventually his stops will get better, but it takes time.
Also, you can work on stopping while riding him in a halter. (Only if he isn't prone to running off with you) Use the backing technique that I mentioned above. That way he learns that he has to stop, bit or no bit.
Hope this helps :) I used it for my gelding.

I forgot to add that sitting deeply and saying woah is also good to do. It teaches him to stop less by the bit and more by your commands and your position.
    02-26-2012, 07:59 PM
Is it common for a horse that's not on the bit to be more resistant/not listening?
    02-26-2012, 08:05 PM
Yes, that can happen. It just means that you need to ride him off the bit more so that he learns to listen to you no matter what. Ride him with a loose rein or in a rope halter. He will be rough at first, but the more time you put into it, the more he will learn that he must listen more to you and less to the bit.
This is why Natural Horsemanship is becoming more popular. It involves riding the horse without a bridle and so the horse learns to listen to the rider's movements and pressure instead of the bit.
    02-26-2012, 08:09 PM
So how should I try to stop him off the bit?
    02-26-2012, 08:24 PM
I know, I always sit deep and say whoa, and he'll usually stop fine, but then there are the times when he won't listen to anything? What am I doing wrong? How can I get him to stop no matter what?
    02-27-2012, 07:15 AM
Green Broke
If your horse isn't on the bit, he isn't relaxed, or doesn't have enough respect to work properly for the riders without enough experience.

If he isn't givng the respect, he isn't going to work properly, forwards, round, halting .. anything.

I wouldn't suggest walking backwards, he needs to just learn the halt, stand for 3-5 seconds, and then move off on a long rein to reward him for standing.

Also, when you do halt, you want to 'give' with the reins ever so slightly, as a reward to him for doing it.

If he won't stop immediately for a less experienced rider, I wouldn't but them on him if I were you, not until you do some more education and practise with him ;)


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