one rein stops - Page 3

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one rein stops

This is a discussion on one rein stops within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    01-03-2013, 09:51 PM
Originally Posted by EvilHorseOfDoom    

I think I'd teach the ORS to a youngster because it's a handy thing for them to be able to do if I were to resell. Although it's pretty easy to teach anyway. I'm not sure why it's seen as a bad thing? Saved my neck countless times stopping Brock from bucking me off.

But even with a well-trained youngster it's nice just to have them give their head with the slightest ask on one rein, gives you a lot of control if it's ever necessary and it isn't cruel in a full-cheek snaffle or similar (which is what I'd hope you had a youngster in anyway). You don't yank them around when teaching it, you just ask until they have their nose at your boot, then praise and release...
i am teaching my young ASH gelding the ORS. He has responded quite well too it, and if we ever resell him it would certainly be a handy thing to have. It is very easy to teach, and I don't see it as such a bad thing either. I agree with evilhorseofdoom. You don't yank it around, i've found it's similar to flexing when you first mount. This video I found was helpful. This is where I first learnt of the ORS.

Kayla x
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    01-03-2013, 11:01 PM
Yup, I teach it like I teach flexing for mounting (which I had to do with Brock anyway because he decided he didn't want to stand for mounting one day). Takes no time at all to teach, and it isn't cruel. Just nice to know it's there if it's ever needed. While most of the time, as a dressage-y person, I want the hindquarters engaged when he's playing up there is a very real need to disengage them asap to prevent me doing an impression of a bullrider (can I just express my deepest thanks and relief that Brock doesn't have horns in anything but a metaphorical sense? ).
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    01-04-2013, 09:45 AM
Super Moderator
I posted this thread a couple of years ago. I will copy and paste it here (if it works right). It explains in detail just how to teach a one rein stop. It DOES NOT work if you have not taught it first in a controlled situation.
How we teach a 'One Rein Stop' This is a copy of an article I wrote explaining exactly how we teach a horse to give its head to a rider. It is NOT a 'light' read and will need to be read several times in order of get it right. There are 40 ways to do it wrong and/or ineffectively.

I have had several people ask me to explain how we use the ‘one rein stop’. It was not invented by any of the current famous clinicians. It has been around for a long, long time but everyone that I knew that used it just called it ‘taking a horse’s head away from him’. The clinicians gave it the name ‘one rein stop’.

First, a lot of people think it is the same thing as making a horse ‘yield’ its hindquarters or that every time a horse’s head is taken away from him he should move his quarters in the opposite direction. This IS NOT how we use it. For the stop is just that – a stop. It means that when I have gotten a horse to understand it correctly, you take his head and he STOPS right there. He doesn’t go around and around in circles or move his quarters out. Only a horse that is resisting does that. So he keeps repeating the ‘stop’ lesson until he just ‘stops’.

Green horses are always taught to give their head in a full cheek snaffle with a noseband ‘mouth closer’. When we first teach the horse to ‘give his head’, we gradually ask him to bring his head around to our knee and to relax with it there. When he relaxes, I pet his face and release him; but I don’t want him to move off until I tell him to by ‘closing’ my legs on him. The important thing is that the horse STOPS and does not move his feet.

Older spoiled horses can be pretty tough, especially if they are really stiff and resistant. I have a 9 year old and a 12 year old that I purchased for the trail string that are both in the process of learning to properly give their heads right now. I am teaching them in a little short shanked curb with a three piece mouthpiece. I have found that I can use it like a snaffle bit and I don’t have to ‘out-pull’ them with my old arthritic hands. Occasionally, I run into an older horse that is so resistant and gets so mad that I find it counter-productive to argue with them so I will ‘check’ their heads to each side with a side rein that has an elastic link in it. I usually check their heads to the back girth on a roping saddle and put them in a round pen for a while. I always watch them so they can’t get into trouble. Even if they have one really stiff side, I will check them both directions.

When I am teaching a horse to give me his head, I will also teach him to yield his hindquarters. I want him to know how to do both but I don’t want him to interchange them. When I take his head to the right, if he stiffens and resists, I will nudge him in the ribs with my right leg. That will make him yield his hindquarters and in the process, it will help him ‘loosen up’ the resistance in his face and neck. If he goes around and around in little circles, I just let him. I don’t put either leg on him and just wait him out until he stops on his own. Then, I pet his face and give him relief (a loose rein) and let him stand for a few moments. If you are consistent and don’t give him relief until he stops moving his feet and stops resisting with his neck and mouth, it won’t take very long for him to do just that. If you tighten your leg on the same side, he should yield his quarters and if you bring the outside legs against him, he should make a tight circle.

When teaching the horse to give you his head, you start at the walk. You sit back (not lean back), slide your hand down the rein and then take that rein directly back toward your hip. Take the horse’s head as close as you can to your leg. He will go in circles at first but wait him out and give him relief ONLY after he comes to a complete stop. When he does this EVERY time you take his head either direction at the walk, then put him in a jog and do the same thing. You will find that he learns very quickly to stop and give you his head at the jog. Only then, do you want to take his head away at the lope. Just sit back, slide your hand down the rein and he will probably stop before you get very far with the rein. Just because he stops, don’t give him his head back until he brings it all the way to your leg.

I have found it very valuable to teach a horse to give his head and NOT yield his quarters when you are going to work cattle on him or teach advanced maneuvers like flying lead changes or even good lead departures. If you want to do advanced maneuvers, the last thing you want is for a horse to move his quarters out when you take his head either direction. They have to ‘HOLD THEIR GROUND’ with their hindquarters if they are ever going to learn to move their shoulders independently from their quarters. If a horse is ever going to learn proper lead departures with their hindquarters in and strike off with their inside hind foot, they cannot shift their quarters out when you bring their head to the inside. The correct ‘one rein stop’ really helps a horse learn to give his head without shifting any other part of his body out.

Have you ever worked a gate or watched someone else work a gate and they get their horse to move his hindquarters over to the fence or gate by picking up the opposite rein? That is how you get really ‘chewed out’ if you ride here. How about watching someone straighten out their horse’s ‘back-up’ by picking up a rein? They get a horse to move their hindquarters over to the left by taking his head slightly to the right. OOPS! Nuther big a** chewing here. Your horse will NEVER learn when you want him to move his a** out or when you want him to move his shoulder over if you pick up a rein and some of the time he is supposed to move his hip. Around here, he is NEVER supposed to move his hip out when you take his head. He learns to ‘hold his ground behind’. Then, when you want to start a horse on cattle, you can ‘tip’ his nose toward a cow so he can concentrate on it with both eyes and his hind end will stay exactly where it is supposed to stay.

When a horse has been properly taught to give you his head, much of his resistance leaves and he becomes MUCH more willing to do about everything else you want to teach him.

Using the ‘one rein stop’ to correct a problem horse

If a horse is spoiled and wants to put a hump in his back or gets really unruly, just take his head away from him and make him stand there. If he has been taught to give you his head, that is exactly what he will do. If he has been taught to give his head, no matter how scared, mad or spoiled he wants to act, he will give you his head. You have to teach him before hand. Don’t think you can teach him to give you his head when he is trying to buck you off. After he bucks you off, take him into a small corral and TEACH him to give you his head – both ways. I think you have to do it about 100 times each direction and in each gait before a spoiled horse really ‘gets it’ and knows that you want him to instantly stop moving his feet and stand perfectly still EVERY time you take his head away from him. We have taken ‘cold backed’ horses that had bucked when they were fresh and had them completely quit when they were taught to give their heads. Not every bronc will quit – some are just really good at it and love it, but most spoiled horses will give up the behavior when EVERY time they get their head taken away from them.

‘Chargy’ horses and really ‘hot’ horses will get quiet and slow down better with this method than any other we have ever used. I’ve used this on many horses that came off of the track, on spoiled barrel horses, run-aways and bolters and they have ALL gotten better with this schooling that any other that people before me tried.

A horse that instantly gives you his head is like riding a horse with an ‘off button’ installed in him. When you feel him brace and get ready to blow, it will de-fuse about any situation.

Horses that have ‘tough mouths’ and require a lot of ‘pulling’ to stop them, will lighten up greatly by teaching the ‘stop’. They just cannot brace and push against a rider using one rein to take their head away. Once they have found out that they get their head back when they stop, they stop so much more willingly.

Is there a down side?

I know there are people that think it makes a horse get ‘rubber necked’ and he won’t properly ‘follow his nose’ when he has been taught this move. This is absolutely NOT TRUE. Horses get rubber-necked when a rider pulls too hard and ‘over-bends’ the horse when he is trying to get the horse to turn. When you apply the ‘stop’, you sit back, slide your hand down the rein and take his head WITHOUT putting any outside leg on him. When you want him to turn and ‘follow his nose’, you take his head –ever so slightly in the direction you want him to go. You simultaneously bring your outside leg against him. IF he does not turn exactly where you are asking him to turn (or circle) you DO NOT pull harder or get any more bend than the slight amount it takes to ASK the horse to turn. You ‘reinforce’ the directive ‘to turn’ by applying more pressure to the outside with your leg or spur or crop or whatever it takes to MAKE him turn. You DO NOT PULL HARDER or make him bend more. That is where ‘rubber-necking’ comes from – not from teaching a horse that you can take his head away from him.
    01-31-2013, 09:19 AM
I'm not really sure any more what people call a one rein stop, so I guess I probably never really knew what people mean by it in the first place. But the way I was taught what it is is this.

  1. I was taught to only ever use one rein at a time any way and it all stems from a thing called a double, which is essentially to take the horse's head away and get it shooting its back leg up under itself when you deliver the double.
  2. Disengagement of the back end, in which you are kind of doing the double but with a different direction of pull with the rein and using the seat to leg to heel and spur if you need it to get the horse's back end knocked out of alignment from its front end; and in doing this its back leg will come up under itself and across its centre line a bit.
  3. And finally the actual one rein stop that I was taught, which is kind of the end result of the other two where you pick up the rein to your belly and get the horse stopping straight with its back foot up under itself, which turns into a slide eventually.

All of these things are only done as the horse's front feet are coming off the ground in their stride, and are delivered with a progression of: a) picking up the slack out of the rein, b) pull on the rein, no more or less than what is needed when the horse's feet are right for it, and c) with a release of pressure after that. And they are a progression from the double down to a one reined stop, so the one rein stop, at least how I learned it, isn’t a thing in and of itself, but is predicated on everything that comes before it.

Ultimately what you are directing with the reins are the horse's feet. But just how I was taught I guess, but it seems to work for me with horses for cattle work, and when it hasn't worked, upon reflection, it was always not working because of something I was doing wrong, not because of flaws in the method.
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    01-31-2013, 09:33 AM
Originally Posted by Pegasus1    
How can you say "at the end of the day it does not work" when I have witnessed and been involved in it working many times ?
For the first few rides of a horse it most certainly has a place. I would say that to be so sure that the horse has the cue of "woa" and the emotional control you describe would take years. Besides, the emotions are different on the first few rides as they have never had a predator sitting on their back before.
I would agree that it is better if we never have to use one, but using a one rein stop on a runaway horse who is no longer listening to your voice cues is likely to be more effective than two rein stop.
Done properly it only takes 3 to 5 days of training on average to teach a colt that the voice command "whoa" means stop and stand still.
nrhareiner likes this.
    01-31-2013, 10:48 AM
Originally Posted by tailskidwest    
Done properly it only takes 3 to 5 days of training on average to teach a colt that the voice command "whoa" means stop and stand still.
I agree. Put the time into teaching the horses a good "whoa" and you will not need to resort to something like a one reined stop that at the end of the day really is not all that effective. Especially at high speeds.
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    01-31-2013, 02:04 PM
Super Moderator
A one rein stop will only work if you have a large enough safe area to spiral the horse down in and it isnt going so fast that its going to tip up the minute it feels some pressure to one side.
UK style instruction on how to ask your horse to stop - Body - sit upright, Seat - deepen, legs on the horses side to move him up to a light resisting hand & squeeze with the reins, the horse then comes to a balanced halt.
Just 'stopping riding' is going to have no effect whatsoever on a keen fit horse - its only going to work on a horse that needs to be constantly kicked, pushed forward - the moment you stop pushing the horse stops. For normal riding my horses are trained to go when I ask at the speed I ask and maintain that speed until asked for something else, I don't expect to keep having to tell them to go forwards.
I had a horse that could gallop for miles across country and over anything that came in front of him if he decided to take off with me. A stronger bit was the only answer to his problem. With most horses allowing them to keep running or encouraging them to keep running is like saying its OK to do it
As a child I was taught if a horse bolted and you had no safe place to circle it then you alternated between zig zagging on the reins and taking short sharp tugs on its mouth. It usually works
Do I worry about giving the horse some pain in its mouth? Not at all if its heading for a busy road or anything else that could seriously injure me or him/her
    01-31-2013, 02:10 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by nrhareiner    
I agree. Put the time into teaching the horses a good "whoa" and you will not need to resort to something like a one reined stop that at the end of the day really is not all that effective. Especially at high speeds.
To add to this - when I got Looby she had been trained to work in frame (similar to the style you see in arabian classes) with no contact on her mouth, the slightest contact brought her head on her chest and she could go at a fair pace on the trails like this as I soon discovered and on a narrow track with a sheer wall on one side and a steep drop on the other a 1 rein stop is no option. I went staright back to the drawing board with her and pretty much rebroke her so she learnt what 'whoa' meant. Next time we hit the trails and miss whizzy whizz decided to launch herself I shouted 'Whoa', she stopped dead - worth all the effort of doing good groundwork and she's never tried to bolt off again
    01-31-2013, 03:24 PM
Super Moderator
A one rein stop will only work if you have a large enough safe area to spiral the horse down in and it isn't going so fast that its going to tip up the minute it feels some pressure to one side.
This can only be thought or spoken by someone who has never taught a horse how to stop and give its head like the instructions call for.

The reason I say this is that once you teach a horse to stop and give you its head, it does not spiral down and make circles. You slide your hand down the rein and it simply gathers itself up, does something very similar to a 'half halt' and stops before it brings its head all the way around to your foot.

Every horse I have done this with for over 45 years has learned to do this very quickly in an enclosed area. Then, every one of them has been stopped with one rein this way out in the open a few times and it stays with them. I never had to do the CA stuff of taking their head every time I ride them. I have not found all that 'flexion' necessary unless the horse is a bronc or a runaway. Any time they didn't listen to me and check their speed quickly enough or transition down quickly enough, I would stop them with one rein and it was like, "OK, I'll listen now if you are going to do that."
I had a horse that could gallop for miles across country and over anything that came in front of him if he decided to take off with me. A stronger bit was the only answer to his problem.
This horse would have learned very quickly to listen to you. I have used this method to correct and retrain a number of horses that would 'carry' a person in the hunt field or out on the trail or in a big pasture -- true bolters and runaways. Teaching them to stop and give you their head worked on all of them. It works on 'chargy horses' that get on the muscle.

I have used it on every OTTB for at least the last 35 or 40 years. I was a little Leary of it at first with them. I have used it now on so many of them and on spoiled horses and I has worked so well, that it is the first thing I teach all of them. As I got older and had more arthritis problems (weak hands and a really bad back) and could not argue with a horse, I started teaching it to every horse from the old trail horses to the green babies. It is just like installing an 'off button' and it gets anything's attention back to you no matter what they have started to do wrong. There just are no arguements.

I teach horses to disengage their hind quarters and to do turns on the forehand just so they know how. If a horse is trying to buck me off, you bet I'll get his butt moving when I take his head away from him.

I DO NOT disengage a horse's hind end any other time. I want them to stop and give me their heads with their butts straight behind them. I have found that this does not mess up a hard stop (like a roping horse) or a sliding stop. It also lets me turn a horse's head toward a cow to work parallel to a cow and bend away from the cow by letting me use my 'cow-side leg' and have the horse hold its ground behind and NOT move its butt away from the cow. A horse working parallel to a cow should have a slight arc in its body so it can roll back smoothly toward the cow. A horse working a cow MUST turn its head toward the cow. I usually want that horse to work with both eyes on the cow. He absolutely has to keep his inside hind leg under him and absolutely cannot move his butt out away from the cow when you put the inside leg on him. They have to 'hold their ground'. Teaching them to stop straight an give you their head any time you want it does not foul this up and actually makes it work better.

When ever I read that it won't work for this or that and how it is dangerous or how it can trip a horse or any other stuff, I know for a fact that this person has never taught a horse to do this maneuver from start to finish at all three gaits.
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    01-31-2013, 06:05 PM
Super Moderator
[QUOTE=Cherie;1871696]This can only be thought or spoken by someone who has never taught a horse how to stop and give its head like the instructions call for.

The reason I say this is that once you teach a horse to stop and give you its head, it does not spiral down and make circles. You slide your hand down the rein and it simply gathers itself up, does something very similar to a 'half halt' and stops before it brings its head all the way around to your foot.

I am perfectly aware of how to ask a horse to flex and give its head and all of my horses are trained to do that as part of a schooling exercise.
However I don't need to do it to ask them to halt as they are trained to do that UK style with light resistance of the hands
Most UK riding is done on narrow roads and busy roads and narrow bridle paths so I can't imagine anyone risking turning a horses head around to the side in case it pushed it into traffic. Very few people have the luxury of being able to ride in wide open spaces
I never had this horse take hold at any other time than at the full gallop and I would have thought that turning its head to one side even slightly at that speed never mind almost to your foot would be a high risk of it losing its balance and attempting to circle on a field full of other galloping horses and risking a collision would be really foolish. When changed into a gag bit he was perfectly stoppable.

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