Teaching a good, solid "whoa".
 
 

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Teaching a good, solid "whoa".

This is a discussion on Teaching a good, solid "whoa". within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • How to teach my horse whoa
  • How to make your horse whoa

 
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    12-13-2010, 11:16 AM
  #1
Weanling
Teaching a good, solid "whoa".

I searched the archives several pages back on this so I sincerely apologize if I missed something, but I didn't see anything specific on this, really.

I've seen a lot of users on here (myself included at one point, a few years ago) that did not have a good, solid "whoa" on their horse and were unsure how to teach one.

I do know of at least one good way to teach it, but it may not work for all horses:
Start at the walk. If you can't get a good whoa at the walk, it won't transfer to the trot or any higher/faster gaits.
To ask for a whoa, "stop riding". Sit your butt down and relax into the saddle. Take your legs off the horse and put your heels down in the stirrups. Say "whoa" or "ho" or whatever word you are going to use to train the stop gently, and THEN ask with the rein. (aka, gentle pull/bump, and release.) Don't haul back on the reins or just pull until they stop. Give and take. Once the horse stops and you have rewarded them by releasing the rein, I like to ask them to back 2-3 steps. Wait a minute as a reward, then continue on.
Once you have it down pat at the walk, go to the trot.

Everyone, please post YOUR way of teaching your horse a solid "whoa"! I'm sure there are many many users, myself included, who will find this quite an informative thread.
I always like to learn about other peoples' methods, because as horses are different creatures, different ways work better for different horses. :)
     
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    12-13-2010, 11:33 AM
  #2
Trained
Mine is very similar to yours with a couple of exceptions.


Basically I "stop riding" or stop my seat. The rest of my body doesn't change position though I do stop my hands. At the end of teaching the "whoa" the horse will stop there. But during the teaching process I they say "whoa" and then lightly bump/stop the reins. If they do not stop right away I'll back them up a couple of steps. If they stop right with the whoa or rein stop I don't back them up. When I want a horse to stop I don't want them to stop and then back up. I want them to plant their feet and leave them there until I say differently.

I keep that order for awhile and then start taking away different signals and finding out if they'll still stop. I'll just sit down and say "whoa" or I'll just sit down and rein stop (lightly) or I'll just say "whoa". If they don't stop I go back to the basics. Eventually you will have a horse that has 3 separate "whoa" signals. You can just stop riding/stop your seat, say "whoa", or even stop the reins if necessary. I think this makes the horse more flexible and gives you different tools if you need them.
     
    12-13-2010, 11:55 AM
  #3
Green Broke
I have been taking riding lessons at a barn for the last two years, and my coach is all about picking your hands up, not pulling them back, to woah.

I ride english, so when I want a woah, I (all at the same time) pick up my hands, bring my shoulders back, and sit into the saddle. With Bart I also say 'woah' at least during warm up so that when we start jumping, I know I have brakes. I do keep a bit of leg on so that they don't get all strung out, but properly come under themselves.
     
    12-13-2010, 05:03 PM
  #4
Trained
As MN Tigerstripes said, I also like to back the horse if you don't get an immediate reaction. A horse needs to know that leg means go and leg means stop at the very basics. If you don't have that understanding then trying to train your horse for other movements and paces is useless in my books.
If the horse is green and genuinely does not understand that I want it to plant its feet and stay there, I'll be patient and just use my seat and close of the hand to ask for halt from walk, allowing the horse to wiggle around while I maintain the pressure. It will soon try to halt as a way of escaping the pressure, and as soon as it does the pressure comes off and I allow it to stand for a few moments. If the horse tries to move off, the pressure is reapplied and the process is repeated.

On the other side of the coin, is the horse that purely acts ignorant to the aids to halt, and either braces the neck/poll/jaw against the aid, or dives onto the forehand and runs through the aid.
With these horses I will be tougher, stop means stop! If the reaction to my aid does not occur within 2 seconds, I will repeat it at the same level and then go to 100% to MAKE that horse stop. So yes, they will cop a pull on the mouth and I will then run them backwards, proceed to walk on 2 steps then ask for halt again. If no reaction, they get run backwards again. Rein back is a forwards movement technically, but to a horse backing up is completely opposite to going forward, so if it's not going to simply stop, it's going to be made mighty uncomfortable by having to back up halfway across the arena.
If you have an 'ignorant' type of horse, just allowing them to figure it out and do it in their own time will not get you anywhere, they have won the battle. A horse needs to react instantaneously to an aid or they are being disobedient. As a dressage rider, if a horse is not 100% with me, waiting for me to ask for a downwards transition with a slight deepening of my seat, or an upwards transition with the lightening of my seat, then I can't to much with that horse until I've got those aids spot on.
     
    12-13-2010, 05:23 PM
  #5
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty    
As MN Tigerstripes said, I also like to back the horse if you don't get an immediate reaction. A horse needs to know that leg means go and leg means stop at the very basics. If you don't have that understanding then trying to train your horse for other movements and paces is useless in my books.
If the horse is green and genuinely does not understand that I want it to plant its feet and stay there, I'll be patient and just use my seat and close of the hand to ask for halt from walk, allowing the horse to wiggle around while I maintain the pressure. It will soon try to halt as a way of escaping the pressure, and as soon as it does the pressure comes off and I allow it to stand for a few moments. If the horse tries to move off, the pressure is reapplied and the process is repeated.

On the other side of the coin, is the horse that purely acts ignorant to the aids to halt, and either braces the neck/poll/jaw against the aid, or dives onto the forehand and runs through the aid.
With these horses I will be tougher, stop means stop! If the reaction to my aid does not occur within 2 seconds, I will repeat it at the same level and then go to 100% to MAKE that horse stop. So yes, they will cop a pull on the mouth and I will then run them backwards, proceed to walk on 2 steps then ask for halt again. If no reaction, they get run backwards again. Rein back is a forwards movement technically, but to a horse backing up is completely opposite to going forward, so if it's not going to simply stop, it's going to be made mighty uncomfortable by having to back up halfway across the arena.
If you have an 'ignorant' type of horse, just allowing them to figure it out and do it in their own time will not get you anywhere, they have won the battle. A horse needs to react instantaneously to an aid or they are being disobedient. As a dressage rider, if a horse is not 100% with me, waiting for me to ask for a downwards transition with a slight deepening of my seat, or an upwards transition with the lightening of my seat, then I can't to much with that horse until I've got those aids spot on.
Good post. :) I had to do that with Beau a few times when I was first teaching him that stop means stop NOW! He gets excited sometimes and thinks he's going to prance around and run through the bit/bridle/whatever I'm using and when that happens, I do pretty much the same thing and he remembers quickly that that is not the case. I rarely have to do that anymore, though.
     
    12-13-2010, 05:35 PM
  #6
Trained
Yep usually they'll work it out pretty **** fast that a close of the seat and rein means stop! I'd much rather use a bit of force once and have a horse that will the stop every time from the slightest of pressures, to a horse that jogs around and pulls the reins out of your hands, and the rider ends up hauling on it's mouth every time they want to stop
     
    12-13-2010, 06:48 PM
  #7
Trained
I know Soda now stops the second I stop my seat. I don't even need to use the reins anymore. But I can also just use the reins if necessary or even just say "whoa". The seat signal is the one he reacts the quickest to though. Which is a problem for non riders because they don't understand what their body is doing.

Lily is still a work in progress. Her mouth is very hard with direct pressure (lateral she's got down pat). So she gets exaggerated signals and a back up when she doesn't stop right away. She's definitely gotten better. When I first got her you had to haul back really hard and do it multiple times to get through what you wanted. She didn't slow down at ALL either. It was all go go go.
     
    12-13-2010, 08:48 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
I agree with the OP's description of teaching the whoa, EXCEPT, I don 't use a bump bump but a gradual close of the hand, stop of the body and when I reach total "stop" (body has ceased riding, the warning has been given and the rein is closed down 100%) then I make my hands to concrete and as the horse to come off the bit, lean back and take a step back.
Yes, I LIFT the rein as the beginning of the rein cue, but I don't bump bump.
I think that could be misconstrued becuse you are applying pressure then releaseing then applying and releaseing , all without getting the result that is required for the release; the stop. I feel it is better to maintain more constant pressure and only release when a release is earned.

I also do this; I find a spot on the ground and say to myself, when My hands pass that spot, they will anchot to it, and so will the horse. So, before I get there I give the body and rein cues and give the horse a few feet to reacte, and when we pass that mark on the ground, my hands anchor to the ground and he cannot go any further. If he does, he must back up to that point before there is a release because I was totally clear that that point was the STOP point.
     
    12-14-2010, 10:07 AM
  #9
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I agree with the OP's description of teaching the whoa, EXCEPT, I don 't use a bump bump but a gradual close of the hand, stop of the body and when I reach total "stop" (body has ceased riding, the warning has been given and the rein is closed down 100%) then I make my hands to concrete and as the horse to come off the bit, lean back and take a step back.
Yes, I LIFT the rein as the beginning of the rein cue, but I don't bump bump.
I think that could be misconstrued becuse you are applying pressure then releaseing then applying and releaseing , all without getting the result that is required for the release; the stop. I feel it is better to maintain more constant pressure and only release when a release is earned.

I also do this; I find a spot on the ground and say to myself, when My hands pass that spot, they will anchot to it, and so will the horse. So, before I get there I give the body and rein cues and give the horse a few feet to reacte, and when we pass that mark on the ground, my hands anchor to the ground and he cannot go any further. If he does, he must back up to that point before there is a release because I was totally clear that that point was the STOP point.
I guess I should clear this up. I didn't write this very clearly, I'm sorry.
What I meant when I said pull and release: I don't pull, release, pull, release until the horse stops. I do it once, and if he doesn't stop with that cue, then my hands stop altogether and he is given no choice but to stop. Somewhat like a half halt I guess?? Not sure how to properly put it into words.

Again, my apologies for not making myself clear.
     

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