Teach a horse to pivot for showmanship?

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Teach a horse to pivot for showmanship?

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  • 1 Post By oh vair oh

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    04-26-2013, 07:47 PM
Question Teach a horse to pivot for showmanship?

I have to do showmanship for 4-h shows, and I can't get my horse to pivot.
He sets up very nicely, and backs when I simply walk towards him, but I can't get him to understand pivoting.

I've tried doing the "jab his shoulder" trick, which he responds to pretty well (sometimes has an issue with going backwards instead of crossing over), but I can't get him to do it without touching him.
I've tried with both a bridle and a halter, including a rope halter.

He picks things up fast, especially when treats are involved, so do you have any ideas?
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    04-26-2013, 08:09 PM
Will he sidepass in hand?
    04-26-2013, 09:14 PM
Originally Posted by toto    
Will he sidepass in hand?
No, he doesn't seem to understand that. He can do a pivot both directions under saddle, strangely enough. But the direction he has to turn for showmanship (clockwise) is the direction that he has a hard time with. No lameness, that was my first worry, but I had him checked.
    04-26-2013, 10:10 PM
Originally Posted by JaneyWaney9    
I've tried doing the "jab his shoulder" trick, which he responds to pretty well (sometimes has an issue with going backwards instead of crossing over), but I can't get him to do it without touching him.
For practicing:

Let's say you were on his left side. Hold the lead like you would in show in your left hand. Have your right hand free or be holding a hoofpick.
When you ask his front to step over, start with slowly applying pressure to as far as you can reach without moving out of place. If he hasn't moved by when you are pushing kinda hard, then start wiggling the lead softly. If he still hasn't gone, wiggle it a bit more and try applying a little more pressure on the hoofpick. Keep doing this until he even shifts his weight. If he even shifts his weight, stop and drop everything down and relax every muscle in your hand. This tells the horse that what he did was right.
When you try this again, slowly apply everything like you did to begin with. Only this time keep the pressure applied until he makes a step over. It's OK if he doesn't put his foot over the other to begin with, but just even stepping over is an awesome wind.
If he backs up, block him. For example: if I am stepping into him and he backs, I will bring me lead forward until he makes a step forward. So if he takes one step back, I will step him froward one or two steps.
My horse, he likes to step forward - so what I do when he takes a step forward I just back him up as many steps as he walked forward.

When you have to step on the other side of your horse when the judge is inspecting everything, both my horses like to pivot with me. What I do then, is when I am holding them the lead s right up by their nose but where they can see it, then when I have to step over then I drop the lead under their chin and walk right in front of their nose. -just for a little extra advice, hahaha!
    04-26-2013, 10:24 PM
The easiest way is just to start walking a circle. Make the circle smaller and smaller until he plants the hind foot and crosses over with the front. Stop and reward. This way the pivot is also associated with forward motion, instead of pushing him back and around.

I also carry a dressage crop so I can flick it at his shoulder if he does not respond to my body being in his space.
toto likes this.
    04-28-2013, 12:40 AM
Teaching a horse to pivot isn't just teaching a horse to pivot. It is also teaching respect on the ground.

Let's go back to basics. Set your horse up and have a dressage whip with you. Slowly start tapping the whip on the middle of the neck with a rhythm. The moment they move there head away, stop and pet them. Keep doing this until they do it pretty fast. Then start doing it and take a really forward and demanding step towards them, a step like you mean it while still taping on their neck, I usually tap harder the first few times. During this always put your hand up by their face. Not on their face and start pushing your hand towards their face with the rhythm of the whip. Once they move over, stop and praise like they just won a million bucks. I would also start saying a word when you get to the point of asking to move their feet. I say "Piv" but you can come up with anything short.

This is the way I teach all my showmanship horses. It also helps a lot with respect on the ground. I had a mare that would push you over, the worst pushy horse ever, and I started doing this with her and she will never push you now. Plus, she knows how to pivot :)
    04-28-2013, 10:47 AM
Originally Posted by toto    
Will he sidepass in hand?
i just typed a big long paragraph explaining in detail- and it says 'webpage unavailable' this is getting annoying, horse forum!!


I was in the pasture the other day teaching my mare to pivot for the heck of it and I worked on sidepassing first. What I did was took a broken lunge whip and shook it at her rib area till she moved over- I kept her head bend around so that she didnt back up- when she side passed 1 step over I removed the 'pressure' and praised her so she knew that's what I want.. why teach them to sidepass first? Because it shows them you want them to move the front end opposed to the hind end.

Now you could always teach a pivit by using the reins on your headstall if your horse knows how to neck rein-- Just push the horse out of the way.. I suppose that's the 'lazy way' but it does work, lol. And its not going to be pretty at first but once you have them moving the front end its easily perfected.

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