I'm not sure how to make my horse bend in a circle?

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I'm not sure how to make my horse bend in a circle?

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  • Getting a horse to bend to the inside
  • How to teach your barrel horse to bend

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    02-13-2011, 06:10 AM
Green Broke
I'm not sure how to make my horse bend in a circle?

Ok I'm not sure if this is going to make much sense but here goes. All I know about my horses past is he is an ex barrel racer. I need him to bend so I can ride him in circles because I don't really have the room to ride him in big straight lines and I don't only want to ride straight. I was taught to have my inside leg on the girth, my outside leg a bit behind the girth. Then having my inside hand open a bit to allow him to move in that direction. This has worked when I have ridden other horses but my horse just takes it as a cue to move faster. He can be guite heavy on the forehand to the point that he leans on you sometimes but he is very sensetive to leg ques you barely have to touch him. Its just that he only seems to take any ques as go faster or turn sharply. So I was wondering if anyone has any advice or tips on ques or something I can do to get him to bend I'm a bit unsure of what to do. So if you didn't get confused thanks for any help.
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    02-13-2011, 02:23 PM
Green Broke
    02-13-2011, 03:25 PM
Hi apache. Its sunday am here, so a lot of folks are out riding, so no answer on the forum. I am here, tho.

I think I have an idea of what you are talking about. In barrel racing the horse has to turn so fast that sometimes they whip around the barrel actually counter bent. I guess better to say , they move very boardlike, like a gate swinging on a hinge, and their inside shoulder drops down really close to the barrel and they kind of "fall" toward it while they scramble around the outside and then run off.

So, your horse only knows how to turn by falling into the middle and spinning around, the "short turn " you were talking about

To teach him how to turn in an even arc you will need to get him softer to the bit and knowing how to "follow" the bit to the inside when he turns. That is, you ask for inside bend, he flexes his inside jaw such that you can see his eye, and he steps around in a mild arc, keeping his inside shoulder up .
I will post more in a minute.
    02-13-2011, 03:27 PM
Super Moderator
You first have to teach your horse to 'yield' to leg pressure before you start using combinations. Most of the 'cowboy' broke horses I have re-trained are like this.

I start out with teaching a horse to give me its head -- commonly known as a 'one rein stop' nowadays.

Once I have the one rein stop down pat at a walk, trot and lope, I go on asking for a disengagement of the hind quarters. Teaching these two basic maneuvers gets the horse used to leg pressure without bolting forward.

Then, I go to teaching a simple leg yielding maneuver. I move 10 or 15 feet off of a rail or fence and then 'push' the horse back over to the fence, trying to stay as parallel to the fence as possible.

Once I do this I progress on to 'shoulder in' exercises and then progress further into 'travers' and 'renvers' maneuvers. The 'travers' is particularly useful as it builds the body and hip control that leads to good flying lead changes.

If you start doing this at the walk and sitting trot, you have all of the body control to get round circles with proper bend and even can get circles with reverse bend.

I'll bet this poorly trained horse was not a very good barrel horse and probably dropped an inside shoulder, hit barrels and cocked his head out when it should have been in. Successful barrel racers are now learning to put good body control on their horses to avoid the pitfalls that the older, crude training practices produce. The ropers are quite a bit behind them but some are now doing the same thing.
    02-13-2011, 03:29 PM
Try doing some indirect inside rein supples. As in, just move your hand a little ways across your horses neck and lightly squeeze the rein. Also make sure you have good contact with your horses mouth.
Do some lateral movement (like leg yields) and do some serpentines and figure 8s.
    02-13-2011, 03:45 PM
So, you will want to work on getting him to give to the bit and flex his head to the inside. You can do this standing, walking or trotting but I recommend walking. You can use an openning rein if you like but I tend to just use a normal (neither leading nor indirect) rein. I ask with a gentle pressure and when the horse gives in the jaw, you give release. To start with, be sure that you have the outside rein totally loose. You aren't trying to get him "on the bit" but rather get him soft to the inside rein.
As he starts giving to the inside rein, then instead of just rewarding for the give, ask him to also walk in a small circle, but he must stay bent to the inside and calm. Don't ask for a lot in the beginning and don't wear him out doing this incessantly.
Another thing that helps in this type of situation is to use leg yield. You get that bend to the inside, then using the inside leg , push him out to a bigger and bigger cirlcle. Use your inside leg in a pulse that is timed with each time he steps the inside leg under. You will feel his barrel roll to the outside when his inside leg reaches forward, ; that's the time to apply the "step over" aide.
    02-13-2011, 07:36 PM
Green Broke
OK thanks I'll have a go when I go out with him this afternoon but when I put leg pressure on and he tries to move faster do I just pull him back and ask again until he gets it?
    02-13-2011, 07:49 PM
Super Moderator
Use one leg and use the rein on the same side to control forward speed. He will go from making very fast circles to moving off of your leg.
    02-16-2011, 05:09 AM
Green Broke
Alright I tried it this afternoon I was putting a little pressure on the inside rein and he caught on quickly he was bending he necking very nicely. I just now have to work on him bending his body around my inside leg(if that makes sense). He was doing very small circles and was still quite stiff through the rest of his body. I think he did quiet well for his first go though.
    02-16-2011, 05:13 AM
Green Broke
Oh Kayty posted an excelent discription on a thread I made a while back, just go through my threads I made I'm pretty sure it was called Circles :)

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