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This is a discussion on Side-passing within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • What is a side pass in dressage
  • Teaching the sidepass

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    08-30-2009, 08:45 PM

I was just wondering how you teach a horse how to side pass? I was working on it today, and my horse did it but not consistently.
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    08-30-2009, 08:52 PM
The horse probably won't do it consistently when you first introduce them to the concept. Hopefully the horse should already be familiar with the concept of lateral aids. Assuming he is and also assuming he's happy about contact and understands it, then I'd have a bit of contact up front telling him he is not to go forward (but not so much he will freak) and apply the leg and seat aids. When the horse responds correctly, release all aids and tell him how amazing he is.

That's how I'd do it anyway but I'm a dressage-ish rider so I think (based on my limited knowledge of Western riding) that a dressage horse has a different relationship to contact than a Western horse.
    08-30-2009, 09:02 PM
Mine's english. Lol It's a Walking Horse. I was just happy she did it. And yeah I did tell her how amazing she was. :)
    08-30-2009, 11:09 PM
When I taught my horse to side-pass, this is what I did. We halted, and I used my outside aids [rein, seat, and leg] to "close the door" and push her over. When she tried to move forward or backward, I stopped her, and when she finally took a lateral step, I praised the heck out of her and moved on. Don't expect her to take more than a step or two at a time, and only ask for a tiny bit at a time. It's a hard thing to move laterally, it takes completely different muscles than the normal riding ones.
    08-30-2009, 11:19 PM
^^ Excellent post Ricci. That is how I do it too. Once they kinda get the concept down, one thing that really helps is to open and close gates on them. I always pull the gate toward me and just use reins and legs to keep their body even with the gate. This really helps if they have a habit of swinging (move their front to the side and then move thier butt, then move their front again instead of all at once). I cannot ask for a sidepass without using the reins at all on my horses because if I only ask with leg pressure, that means I want them to do a forehand turn so I have to use reins as well.
    08-30-2009, 11:51 PM
^ Yup, gates are the easiest way because it makes sense to the horse.gate moves toward me = I move sideways away from the gate.

Another way to start is doing it along a wall or ground pole. Helps with halting any pesky forward motion.
    08-31-2009, 08:46 AM
I use any solid wall/object to teach side passing. I used a large pipe laying in a field. Anything to stop forward motion. With the horse facing the wall I use my leg, my shifting of the weight and my reins to push the horse.
Say I want to move to my left. With the horse facing the barrier I open my left leg by taking it totally off the horse, I steady and keep the horse at right angles to the barrier using my reins and using my right leg behind the girth I try and get the horse to move to the left. I do wear spurs and use them to pump the horse over. After a step I praise the horse and do it again. I also open the horse up to move to the left using the reins slightly pulling the left and neck reining with the right.
Horses all seem to want to move one way better then the other but with a little work it all comes together.
In less then a week your horse should be moving left or right while facing a barrier.
Alot of horse will side pass after a little schooling but a real steady side passes takes alot more..
If you horse knows how to side pass try throwing in side passing over objects. Like a 2 x4 laying on the ground, curbs, anything. You might find they don't want to sidepass over things.
Try side passing into a bush?? Again alot won't.
Work on different thing, side passing over or towards things.
A strong side passes takes time.
Opening gates and closing them is great practice and at first a horse won't push against the gate but with a little regular practice you will get the horse to push a gate open or closed with the side pass.
I teach this early in their training since I later use it to teach leads.
Side passing is very handy
Also while brushing push the horse sideways by touching the flank with your finger and if no response a brush works. Teach the horse to be light.
I find spurs work great in teaching a horse and it keeps them light. A slight gentle touch at first followed by a harsh bump works to get the horse to respond to the first light touch.
    08-31-2009, 09:08 AM
I start on the ground. Start drawing a line with the lead rope to the hip and apply pressure until they move the back end over. Then do the same except draw the lead to the withers to until they move the front end over, then combine the two to move the whole body over. I did this when the kids were young. Now in the saddle they caught on to it in just a few tries.
I used a pipe coral fence to teach Vida. As everyone says use a solid object to stop forward motion. Teach the horse to yield front and back first if they don't know it already. You don't have to, but I think it makes teaching the side pass easier.
    08-31-2009, 12:35 PM
Do you bend them to the direction opposite to moving in western? My dressage teacher makes me do it (she calls it "lateral" and states it different from side pass, is that true, btw?).
    08-31-2009, 12:48 PM
When teaching it, yes, I do bend them opposite to the way that they are going. But after they are trained, they pretty well keep their body in a straight line. I have never heard it called a "lateral" either, always just a sidepass. :)

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