Have you ever wondered how some girls make stopping their horses look simple? I don't know about you, but for the past year I have been training a seemingly "untrainable" five year old Buckskin Mustang Gelding, "Cody." When I first met Cody, he would not let anyone on his back. Then something happened and we clicked, formed a bond, and are making our way up as a team. I have never had the money or land to own a horse of my own (I'm fourteen), but I work at a local Boarding & Training facility in exchange for allowing me to care for, ride and train Cody.
My trainer, Jan makes everything appear "easy." Every time Cody misbehaves it's all the same... "Sit up straight, heels down, pull back, whoaaa"...nothing works. He is very sensitive with the bit and reins, I've been riding forever and consider myself a fairly decent rider. I've tried everything to get this pony to stop...WHILE looking good (I also show). I have found the pulling back and forth between the right and left reins seems to work as it "confuses" him, but do you have any better techniques for this guy?
Don't worry about looking good, just worry about getting the message across. I don't show, but if I were in a ring with you, or judging your horse, I'd much rather have you shut him down and be dramatic, and maybe lose points, then set the whole ring off because you're rushing up behind other people. But that's just IMO.
Have you tried one rein stops? Pick a rein, and when he gets going more than you want to, crank his head back and around to your knee. Even if he continues going, it will most likely be in a small circle, and that's controllable.
Has your trainer ridden Cody before, and has she managed to get him under control in much less time than you? If that's so, maybe its an indication that he's too much horse for you to handle at the place you are in your riding career, and you need to hand him over to someone better. If she hasn't, then tell her that you'd like to see how she handles him....sometimes watching how someone does something rather than just hearing it allows for the proper perspective so you can apply it the same way.
Usually, things like what I do with Rocky are for horses who are more sensitive through the seat and react to balance, because I always stiffen my body, which he knows that I stop moving with him, so he will stop. But what I do when Rocky blows through my aids are a series of transitions. Like when I ask him to canter, and he just trots faster, I will do this:
Halt, trot, halt, walk, trot, halt, walk, trot, halt, walk, canter. (or something like that, ending with a walk to canter departure.)
(Each time I trot is only a couple steps.) Going from the walk to the canter is also for horses who are more trained in the hind end too, which may not work for your horse. So you will want to end with a halt, to trot, to canter. This gets horses to respond to your aids, and actually listen to you. After you do this a couple times, your horse is most likely to start listening to you when you tell him to halt.
Make sure that you keep your leg on the horse's side when you do this too. It may sound crazy, but it picks them up, and you litterally push them to the halt. It takes several times for them to learn that when you kick to the halt, that they should lift up their front end and actually stop. Since doing excercises like this for a number of weeks, Rocky halts better when I kick him into, as opposed to doing nothing, but just stopping dead.
There are a bunch of ways to get the job done and I will give you one of the tools that I like to use with the tough one's.
A horse is not going to stop worth beans unless you can get them rocking back on their hind end and so the idea has to get into their hind end to rock back or you are just wasting your arms pulling and that is pretty tough on a 14yo girl.
Then everyone starts talking about bits and how the bit is going to change your world.
I have some pictures of a horse that is 18yo and has NEVER HAD A STOP in his life and came in to be worked with a few months ago.
He pushed his way through any bit in his mouth and just had no idea of what back was.
He has been pushing his whole life and getting away with it.
I posted the below in the thread Kevin was talking about, it works really well and really fast:
practice walking, then stopping. Use your seat first, then voice, then rein. Only do walking. Walk 5 steps, then stop. Also, practice slowing and speeding up her gaits. (starting with the walk) do 5 steps extended walk, 5 steps collected, then halt. Switch up the numbers of steps, too. (4 steps, halt. Then 7 steps and halt etc) until she is absolutely PERFECT at halting at the walk. Then do all this at a trot.
Practice collected walk for a few steps, then extended trot then halt. Then extended walk to collected trot then halt. Etc etc. mix it up! Practice all this, going no faster than a trot, until she stops PERFECTLY.
Once she stops absolutely perfectly at the walk, do all this at the canter. If she doesnt stop, go back to the trot, repeat the halting exercise again, then try the canter again. It will work, you have to be patient.
Also, try the one reined stop in times of emergency!!
The horse that I will show you here is a real hard case.
He came here 8 months ago and the current owner and I were able to track 6 owners prior to her in 4 years time.
He had many other owners and the papers have long since been thrown away because he has been on the kill truck so many times that he has a first class seat.
The horse has been Pat Parellied,CA,John Lyons,Gymkahana,charroed,cowboyed,smacked,popped,w hipped, and just plain beat with a board.
The horse kicked,bit,reared,and bolted.
The horse is covered with scars and old injuries.
The horse has had more back yard trainers than I will ever know.
He is learning to stop and back up!
Build a foundation for the stop.
Teach the horse to roll back on the hind end and lightly respond to the stop cue.
Listen to the horse.
When your applying your pressure to reverse from the ground are you pulling equally on both long lines, straight back - or are you alternating side to side?
Sorry if this a dumb question!
If it is straight back it would be a consistent pull, let up as soon as the horse stops leaning into it and indicates a willingness to go back- yes?
It is actually a very good question kiwigirl.
As the horse begins the step you can feel a release on that side of the horse and you kind of go with it.
After the step is finishing you add a little pull to the other side and the horse release to that side.
It might look like it is a see saw back a forth action but it feels a bit different.
It is a left and right release as the horse steps if that makes any sense.