Originally Posted by MidnightDestiny View Post
I lean back, dig my feet into the stirrups then slowly start gently pulling back and saying "whoa" but she goes faster or keeps fighting it
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The problem with this is that the angle of your pelvis changes here and you are actually driving her FORWARD off of your seat. This angle of your pelvis can also be uncomfortable for the horse and they will drop their back, raise their head, quit tracking up and can become unbalanced because of your position. This will then cause the horse to try and speed up to regain their balance. You are also not using your seat here but really your stirrups for support. If you were on a horse that was really broke and did this, you would find yourself not being able to stay with the horse because you are tense in all of the wrong places. Instead, as you prepare to stop, let out a big breath and as NaeNae87 has said, tighten your abs as you melt down into the saddle instead of back.
I personally teach stops by doing lots of ORS. The more you get your horse broke side to side, the better it will be when you do pick up on two reins. However, my ORS are not just stop when I pick up both reins, it's softly circle down as you disengage your hindquarters then come to a stop.
My horses learn to rate off my seat far before I ever pick up on two reins and ask for a stop. I'll rate myself down nice and relaxed, when my horse doesn't respond i'll bend them down to the appropriate speed. In doing things this way i've never had a horse fight the stop or a downward transition. It's very easy for a horse to either brace against two reins, stick their nose out and avoid or tuck their chin and continue to truck along, either way it's a mess. However, when your horse is soft off of one rein and moves their hindquarters around with ease, you take the 'no' out of things.
Once that is all good I teach my horse what two reins mean. I begin this at the halt asking for vertical flexion after I bend down to a stop from a w/t/l ( whatever speed I was going at) and my horse is soft flexing either direction. I want the horse to give vertically without ducking down and hiding behind the bit or just throwing their head down. I do not pull backwards, I simply take the slack out of the reins just barely and wait. It shouldn't be a big jump for the horse as they are already soft both directions. The more you pull the more your horse will pull. Once the horse understands to flex at the poll, I keep holding and wait for the horse to figure out to take a step backwards. If the horse is giving properly, the first step back will be pretty easy. Once I get a step I release, wait a moment and repeat, repeat, repeat without drilling it. I don't spend a ton of time on any one thing so my horse doesn't get bored and I'll typically do this after my horse is warmed up and wanting to stop, it's useless to do this with a horse that won't stand still. At first I do not ask for much, i'd rather have one correct steps than three sloppy ones.
The first day it'll be alright but on the second, everything will really come together. The third day of backing i'll start stopping from a walk. I'll start to ask for a stop with my seat then take the slack out of the reins. Since you are beginning with a cue your horse knows everything will fall into place. I'll then hold for a moment to get a step back. The speed you can progress depends on the horse. Don't move up to the next gait however if your horse is wanting to avoid the bit in your stop at the one you are at.
For instance, i've got a project mare right now with 30 days riding under my training. I had a buddy of mine who was just not getting the process I had explained. At this point I had only ever ever used two reins to back. I put her in a lope, closed my fingers to take the slack out and within two strides my mare who had never been stopped under saddle with two reins had stopped softly. However she is smart and her back up was very very nice at this point and I knew I could push her, skipping a few steps to show my point. I did not give her the usual verbal cue ( the loud breath out) nor did I quit riding. She had simply been prepared to be asked to stop.