Squaring Up...How to train for it?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 11-01-2011, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Arrow Squaring Up...How to train for it??

This past summer I entered a paint mare in a halter class that I've been riding and showing for the owners, just to see how she did. She took reserve champion in paint horse at halter - I was super happy about it! The reason? She's built well, so that's not why, but the fact that she was never trained to square up for inspection/never done a halter class before. She squared fairly good at the show, but would cock a back leg or step out of it after a few minutes. And she takes at least two minutes to set her front legs correctly, however they are too far apart and then her back legs are off.

Just wondering if anyone had any tips, tricks or advice on how I can start training her for halter classes next summer. If possible I'd like to train her for showmanship too, but we will start with just halter for now!! Any advice is welcome!

(I can maybe post pics of her/me in our first halter class/ a video of how she works for more clarity on my issue)
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post #2 of 14 Old 11-01-2011, 07:30 PM
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Always set the far hind leg, then the other. Then the front. But work on getting her to stand quietly with just the hinds in correct position and not moving. From the side the canon bone should be perpendicular to the ground. Once she'll keep both hinds planted, work on getting her to rock back or forward a little to get the hinds just right. She needs to learn to stand untied while you walk around her so you can see how she looks. To set her fronts, raise her jaw and give a light tug on your lead chain. By moving her head side to side she will bring the opposite foot forward. It takes tons of practice. My horse would shift a front when I barely pointed and said "come up".
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post #3 of 14 Old 11-04-2011, 04:18 PM
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saddlebag explained it pretty well. My mare was trained to basically plant her one hind leg the you move her other hind in position till she is square on hind.The whoa word is used to tell her all good keep those planted then she knows that we proceed to squaring up the fronts.
They do learn what is square is & where their feet need to be after practice,to the point that they will set up pretty quick sometimes to the point they are setting up almost on their own.
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post #4 of 14 Old 11-04-2011, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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She stands very well untied, so thats not an issue and also, what's the correct distance to set her legs apart? I feel like she squares her hind legs too far apart, about a foot! I feel like she should be 3-6 inches apart in both front and back??
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post #5 of 14 Old 11-06-2011, 10:40 PM
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For Halter you are allowed to set feet where you want them and you don’t have to worry about quarters but in Showmanship no touching the horse and quarters are a must.
To start to train for the set up i always work around the pivot foot. So when my mare stops i leave the pivot foot alone so she knows not to move it (in the set up, spin ect.) stop from the walk or trot, i say “set” each time when i wanted her to set up so she knew when i say set she is to set up. for the first bit set him up square (you asked how far apart? It depends on your gelding you want his legs straight you don’t want to have him look like a mare peeing jk) drop your lead, step back and see if he is square. then run around him one way then the other gets them used to movement and distractions practice staying set up. if you having problems with the him shifting his weight (cocking his back foot) my mare did this often, when she did it i would have her stand walk back and run my fingers along the base of her tail and pull her lightly back on to the cocked leg and say “set” walk back and gave her a pat, after awhile she stopped. Praise lots of it keep it positive. Practice practice i stand set up for several min could be 10-15 min (might be a big class) and remember practice like you are showing!
Hope That Helps
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post #6 of 14 Old 11-13-2011, 08:09 PM
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ReiningGirl does that help?
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post #7 of 14 Old 11-13-2011, 08:20 PM
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Pull up some halter horse pictures and that will give you the visual that you need. Everyone has done a good job on the how to. Oh yah and do it 3 or so times every time you get her out and it will be come second nature to her.

live for the moment.
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-25-2011, 04:05 PM
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Hi there. You have had some good advice about squaring up. I would like to add a few things.
When starting out lead your horse along a fence and turn toward the center stopping perpendicular to the fence with the horse's tail toward the fence. Back your horse close to the fence before stopping. This teaches your horse to stand squarely on its haunches. Where ever the pivot foot near hind lands work from there. Teach your horse to plant that foot by slightly pulling the horse's head toward yourself and up a little. Rock that off hind back and forth easing up on the pressure the closer the foot becomes parallel to the pivot foot. The fence will help and the distance between the two hind feet is dictated by the lightness of your hand. The greater the arch in the neck the greater the distance between the two hind legs.
I usually pull slightly down on the shank to set the front two legs. Set the near first and match the off front by pressing the shank slightly toward the chest rocking side to side for the movement and placement. The fence at the rear will help to hold your horse still for the front.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you must stop straight in order to set up square. So practice along the fence stopping straight. Use a pole parallel to the fence about two feet from the fence. Walk your horse between the pole and the fence and yourself outside the pole. Practice walking stopping, walking, jogging, stopping. Practice, Practice, Practice.
Sometimes you just have to hand place the feet so the horse gets the idea of what you want. Make the horse stand in the correct position and use lots of rubs around the withers and top of the tail(that's where his/her momma used to rub for assurance when your horse was a baby) Don't allow your horse to bend around or move during your rubs. You should be at the end of the shank. Another great thing to do is tie your horse in the stall or somewhere safe while you clean the barn or work with another horse. If your horse can stand quietly for two or three hours it will stand for 20 min. in a showmanship class.
If you have any questions I will be glad to help. I have been doing this for a very long time and winning at it. You have a great chance to win in showmanship if you practice, practice, practice.
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-28-2011, 09:47 AM
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I really have nothing more to add to what has already been said, but make it an everyday thing...to set up and stand; when you are coming in and out of the barn, on the cross ties etc. I show AQHA SMS and halter, and by making it a daily routine....my horse will set up when I look at his feet.

If you are just doing halter, you can set the feet yourself....there are no rules about touching your horse in halter. Always set the back feet first, then stand back to see if you have a straight line from the point of buttock, to the hock, then to the ground. Then set the front feet with your hand if you have to, and make sure the front legs are straight down from the shoulder. When teaching a horse to square, I will say WHOA each time a foot is placed correctly.
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-03-2012, 03:53 PM
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Do you ever have a problem of the horse moving its feet after you've had him square? Every time he's good to go, he changes position. Is he still settling into this stance? He's like me and loves to lean or stand with his feet close together for a bit, then switch to wide, then cock his back leg, then stretch his fronts.

Writing it all out sounds like he's a mess, but he's not. Just, he doesn't like being still like most horses
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