Crop usage

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Crop usage

This is a discussion on Crop usage within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    03-26-2012, 07:47 PM
Crop usage

Let me start off by saying that I have never used a riding crop, or spurs before.

That being said, my horse is starting to become very herd bound, so I want to go back to basics on the ground and get some more respect there. However, I also still want to ride. I plan to do some real 'work' near the gates and barn, where we have the most trouble.

The problem: He doesn't want to turn away from the barn. I get him to do it with a lot of inside heel to flank pressure, but its work. It's not a problem with him turning, away from the barn he'll turn either direction smooth as can be. He just doesn't want to go away from the gate.

The question: I have very short legs and I am getting tired of stretching them to 'push' his hindquarters around so he'll turn. Can I use a riding crop as an extra aid to my leg pressure?

My thought was to press it behind my inside leg, and when he resists start adding more pressure (tapping) until he moved his butt.


Would it be better to tap it on the outside shoulder, to get his front end moving away and in the direction I want to go?

Any advice you guys have would be great. I plan to do this on the ground too which should help loads to 'remind' him of what he seemingly forgot over the off time in the winter.
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    03-26-2012, 07:55 PM
Using a crop to help turn a horse isn't a bad idea so long as you're aware that you don't want to slap them silly with it. Tapping the shoulder is more of a, "go you lazy horse, go!" thing, as is flank tapping, but really, it kinda depends on your horse. Lightly tapping behind the girth to reinforce your leg pressure sounds like a logical way to go first.

Also, if it's possible, you may consider separating him from his pasture pals for awhile to get over his anxieties.
Corporal likes this.
    03-26-2012, 08:01 PM
I wish I could! He gets much better with consistency, but I was lazy over the winter. ;)

Yeah, I don't want to slap him silly with it, just apply a little more pressure for him to 'move away' from. It's what I do with ground work, using a carrot stick. It starts with a soft tap, and continues to harden until he finally steps over. Only takes him once or twice until he's moving away from it without it touching him.
    03-27-2012, 12:11 AM
Have you tried making him work circles and figure 8's near the places he wants to go, then riding him away, or even just stopping him facing away at first if he's that sour, and letting him stand and rest?

Sometimes you only get one or two steps before they try to turn back again. Let them go back a few steps in the direction they want to go then work the begeezes out of them circling and figure 8'ing for a few minutes. Then try to walk them away again, or at least stand still facing away. Rinse and many times as it takes.

It usually doesn't take them long to realize that if they want to be the driver, they have to work harder, but if they let you tell them where to go, they get to move off softly. They like doing the easy thing, so with repetition...lots of repetition, even the most stubborn ones get it.

Good luck with him!
    03-27-2012, 08:04 AM
I keep a dressage whip every time I ride any of my mares. To reinforce my leg I tap right behind that leg. Tapping the shoulder to encourage the lazy horse or to speed the horse up doesn't make lots of sense to me, because it doesn't reinforce any "non-whip" cue (leg). Of course, you can train horse to respond to it, but to me it's just not a good idea in long run.
themacpack likes this.
    03-27-2012, 08:56 AM
Faydes, yes that's what we're trying to do. He just doesn't want to turn to do a full circle or a figure eight so that's what I'm working on. The ground near the gate is not flat unfortunatly, it has a nice little hill that he wants to charge up because then he can see his buddies in the other field. That's where I turn him and make him circle back down and into figure eights.

Val, yes that's what I was thinking. Something to reinforce my leg :)

Thanks guys.
    03-27-2012, 08:57 AM
If your going to use anything I would use a dressage whip behind your leg. Like kitten said, a crop or whip is used to reinforce your leg aid, so it makes no sense to use it on their shoulder. I would practice turn on the haunches, turn on the forehand, and figure 8s to get him really working for you and letting you move his body parts before you tackle this !
themacpack likes this.
    03-27-2012, 10:46 AM
Why use a crop. Use spurs, the horse should listen to them and know what it means more then being hit with a crop.
    03-27-2012, 11:10 AM
Originally Posted by cowboy bowhunter    
Why use a crop. Use spurs, the horse should listen to them and know what it means more then being hit with a crop.
I hope it's a joke.
    03-27-2012, 01:50 PM
Cowboy, spurs are too easy to misuse and often result in more damage than good. A harmless tap with a crop is always better.

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