Yielding Hind-quarters and Fore-quarters? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By lilruffian
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-22-2012, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Yielding Hind-quarters and Fore-quarters?

My end goal is to side pass, but to side pass you have to have control of two important parts of your horse. The front and back. So how do you go about teaching them to yield the hind and fore quarters?

I can't seem to find a good thread about this, I may have missed it. If you know of a thread please direct me to it. And if not, some advise would be much appreciated!
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-22-2012, 05:34 PM
Green Broke
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Get a decent length rope and a training stick.
To start with hindquarters, as they are the easiest, stand at the horse's shoulder with the rope in the hand closest to the horse. Keep the rope taught enough to prevent the horse walking forward, but not tight enough that they will think they should back up.
Look at the hindquarters and start circling your stick/whip/rope tail towards the hindquarters. Increase pressure and tap the haunches if they do not move. Stop when they do, pet and try again until he/she is yielding all the way around.

I've always found forequarter yields to be harder, especially if you want to fine-tune it to the point where they are pivoting on one back foot and not just walking around in a circle, but you have to start somewhere.
Again, stand at the shoulder with the rope at the wither and in the near hand. Take stick and direct the pressure to the nose or the neck. Some horses will want to walk forwards or backwards. If they go forwards, correct them with a few jerks of the rope and try again.
Patience is key here and be sure to reward the slightest try in the beginner. Even if they just move their head & neck away, pet and try for more.
Finding incentive can also help. My filly for instance had alot of issues yielding her forehand until i discovered that she likes her bum scratched, so now when she yields & brings her bum towards me i scratch it and do some more.

You can also do this with direct pressure, but pushing with your thumb-fingertips until they move off.

When i started teaching my mare to sidepass on the ground, i would put her up to a fence and direct pressure at her shoulder/neck and hindquarters. But i started first by tapping the ground & when she didn't move i would tap her until she did. I tapped the shoulder if the bum went too far away & the bum when the shoulder went too far away.
It takes some practice but it's easy to learn. Now all i need to do is tap the ground & she sidepasses perfectly ;)
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"If a horse fails to do something that is because he was not trained to do it. If a horse fails to do something properly that is because he was not trained properly."
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-22-2012, 07:17 PM
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Good post! Yes, I could use a brush up on this......my horse knows more than me!
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-22-2012, 08:21 PM
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Thanks for asking about this! My efforts to teach my horse to yield her shoulders have been a bit unproductive so far and I think I was close to starting a thread about the same thing. :P

Can I piggy back a related question onto your post? I was first taught to side pass on a horse who hadn't really been trained to yield his hindquarters or forequarters. Instead, he was trained to side pass as though it was a leg yield in place, with his head turned in the opposite direction of travel. It was a bit unorthodox. Now I'm pretty sure that a horse is supposed to have its head turned toward the direction of travel in a half pass. Is that correct? My green horse and I are still a ways away from a side pass so I haven't done much research yet.

I am here to learn! :)
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-22-2012, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Yes! I've never really had experience with side passing either. And neither has my horse.. hah! I'm really hoping someone with experience will click this thread and give us some advice

Oh and I probably should mention that I mean under saddle, not on the ground, however the comment about yielding on the ground was nice as I haven't gotten him to yield the fore quarters on the ground only the hind.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-22-2012, 11:58 PM
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I've tried both methods described by lilruffian and had better success with the direct pressure. I have watched the Clinton Anderson videos on this topic and he uses the training staff very effectively. I'm just not very practiced at giving a consistent cue with the staff yet. The fact that I'm not very consistent with the staff makes my horse confused with that method. It takes practice to do right. The direct pressure method is easier for me to do with consistency.

With my current horse, which I bought as a 6 year-old "greenbroke", I have taught her sidepass by using direct pressure on her side in the places I touch my spurs when I'm riding.

To move her rear quarters, I stand at her shoulder, facing her shoulder, hold a loose lead with the hand closer to her head (loose enough that there is no pressure, but tight enough that I can give her a jerk to keep her from walking forward and keep her attention when necessary). With the other hand I press my thumb or knuckle into her side, a bit aft of where the cinch would be, to give the cue (again, simulating where my spur or heel would touch if I were riding). If she doesn't respond to thumb pressure (she didn't at first) I use the handle of the training staff. The first couple of bumps are firm, but light. After that, the bumps become progressively harder until she figures she has to do something to stop this irritating pain in the...side. I keep the bumps coming until she takes one step away from me with her rear, and I look for her to cross her near hoof over in front of the far hoof, then I stop the signal and rub where I was jabbing. Repeat that until she begins to reliably take one step when you give the cue, then progress to two correct steps, then three correct steps, etc. You have to move with her as she steps her rear away from you, or you won't be able to be consistent with the cue.

For moving the fore quarters, I do exactly the same thing, except the pressure point for the cue is in front of where the cinch would be, directly behind the elbow. If necessary, I also take up slack on the halter lead and use that hand to give her a little pressure on the halter to get her to take that first step with her fore quarters without moving forward.

When she reliably moves with a moderately light cue for the front and rear (that might take several sessions), I start working on giving her the cue in the middle for the sidepass (so you need to make sure your rear cue is far enough to the rear that he/she can tell that the sidepass cue is different from the other two). In other words, the sidepass cue goes approximately between the two other cues, about where the cinch would go if a saddle were in place. I found it was easier to get her to learn sidepass from the saddle first, after she learned the fore and rear cues. After that, she seemed to understand the sidepass cue on the ground better.

When I start the work from the saddle, I wear spurs, because I seem to get quicker and more willing compliance when I use them than without. Speeds up the learning process a bit. I will hold her head with the reins and bump her with the spur in the same places I just described above to ask her to do the moves she learned in the ground work. I start with a light bump, but get progressively harder until she figures out that she HAS to do something. Once she starts trying, I don't increase the bump force any more. Once she takes a step in the right direction I immediately stop spurring and rub her on the neck and talk to her. It didn't take her very long to correlate the cues with the spurs to the movements she learned in the ground training.

Always be satisfied at first with just an effort to do what you want, remove pressure, reward with a rub and voice. Expect progress every few minutes and ask for more as he/she progresses.

Don't forget that you have to teach everything from the beginning on both sides of the horse. The horse doesn't seem to be able to correlate what happens on one side with his other side. Don't expect your horse to understand a cue on the right side, just because you taught it on the left. Their brain doesn't work that way. Also, don't be shy about increasing pressure with the cues. Horses gnash teeth, bite, and kick when they want compliance from another horse. Sometimes you have to make your cue uncomfortable enough that the horse has to try something to stop it. Once he starts trying, don't increase the pressure, but don't release it until he does the right things.

Sometimes the horse will get frustrated trying to differentiate the cues. Sometimes they get things mixed up and get frustrated when the cues don't stop. Sometimes you just have to stop and go on to something else to clear their mind, then come back to it. Always try to stop training on a good note, though.

By the way, a training halter - a thin rope halter with knots on the nose band - really helps with this stuff. Helps you keep their attention where it should be.

Last edited by thenrie; 09-23-2012 at 12:01 AM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-23-2012, 09:47 PM
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I'm working on this with my horse. I can get her to move sideways but not evenly. One end moves more than the other so she ends up moving crooked.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-23-2012, 09:53 PM
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If you have taught her the cues like I described, you simply move your heel forward or aft while cueing her to sidepass to get the right parts moving to even things up. Eventually she'll get it and start moving both ends evenly.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-23-2012, 11:45 PM
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I have been working on this as well and honestly, it never occurred to me to do it from the ground. I have been working on a turn on the fore and a turn on the hind using the fence line. Not sure if this is the right way to do it, but here is what I do hat seems to work.

To move the hindquarters I line my horse up so he is parallel to a stretch of fence or wall. I ask him to move off my leg away pushing him away from the fence but keep my leg back a bit to encourage the rear feet to move and not the front. My weight is shifted slightly in the saddle just off center and toward the direction I want him to go. I also maintain steady, fairly even rein contact to block any forward movement and encourage with my voice. I have him hold hits head so that he is soft and round, with a sight inside bend. As soon as he takes a step, I release and reward, and then repeat until I get him facing the opposite direction. After a few repetitions, I get a 180 degree turn on the forehand in an almost contin movement, adding leg pressure and releasing with each step.

The process for a turn on the haunches is similar, except my leg is further forward and I open my leading rein. I dont shift my weight as much either. Sometimes it helps to start with one step back to get the horse to shift his weight to his haunches. The wall or fence functions as a block to backing up further. Again, lots of repetitions and eventually get a fairly continuous movement.

I usually practice these exercises once or twice each schooling ride. Sometimes, I do it at the end of our warm-up, sometimes at the start of our cool down. I find this really helps to get my horse responding well to leg pressure and my seat cues that ask him to side pass. This afternoon, I practiced switching his diagonal direction of travel using mainly seat and legs, the same cues I was using at the fence. He responded beautifully.

I think the key things to success are:
Keep the head and neck fairly straight using a soft blocking rein
Keep the horse soft and supple in his body and on the bit
Make the leg cues clear and precise
Reward for small steps, but progressively expect more
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-24-2012, 08:11 AM
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I find that starting on the ground, you can teach them how to move, then when you're in the saddle all they have to do is learn the cues. They already know how to do the move. In other words, it is easier to teach them on the ground to cross one hoof over the other, instead of behind. Then you don't have to deal with anything but them learning what your cue means from the saddle. Teach them what to do and how to do it on the ground, then just teach them what to do from the saddle. Made things much easier for me and the horse when I started doing that.
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