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Training A Better Horse
Since I've taken a break from barrel racing my mare and focusing much more on getting her dead broke this winter, I'd like to ask a few training questions.
1. How can I train my mare to really stop with her butt underneath her? I don't want her to sliding stop but it seems like she stops by simply slowing down on her forehand.
2. My trainer taught me to sidepass her by simply pressing one spur into her side; I personally do not think this works and teaches her to shy away from my spur, is there a different way? She doesnt really respond to one spur in her side anyways.
3. How can I work with her to pivot?
I know it's a lot and that I'm sure that I should know this but I really wanna work on all of this. Thanks!
Well first to answer your question about stopping,
Something I have always done on my colts and my barrel horses is anytime you ask your horse to stop pull back easily, making sure you are keeping your hands down, sit your butt down and say "whoa" firmly. Immediately have your horse back up a few steps. The trick to teaching a good stop is absolute consistency.
As for the side passing question, if you plan on doing any sort of barrel racing using your feet is a must. You want your horse to move away from your foot and leg pressure. I would definitely not change that at all. You want to keep putting your foot into your horse when side passing, turning etc to keep them soft and keep them listening to your cues.
When asking a horse to pivot you need to be able to move their shoulders around with both bit pressure and leg/foot pressure. Practice slowly, start on a fence walking slowdown a bit and ask the horse to turn to the inside by sitting back and using your outside foot to move then across. It takes some time to get the pivot sometimes but like most training, consistency I extremely important.
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Teach them "whoa" means back up, not stop. I teach all my horses to back up on a loose rein this way. At the halt, say "whoa", wiggle your feet, and then pick up on the reins and back them up. When going forward, say "whoa" and then back them up. Their butt automatically tucks. People always say the horse will then fly backwards whenever you ask for a stop, but this isn't true. Remove the pressure from your legs and the horse won't back up anymore. So when you go into the stop from coming forward, say "whoa", wiggle your feet, and then they will think "Get on your hind and back"
School bell rang. I have to go but I'll be back to address the others in a bit. :)
I agree with SH on the stopping issue, if your horse is stopping with the front end the shoulders are dropped and heavy. Lifting the reins helps pickup the shoulders. Your stops are only going to be as good as the gait and body position before you ask. Make sure he is soft and weight shifted back when you ask.
Before you can ask for the sidepass you need to be able to pivot on the fore and hind. You need to isolate the body parts and work on moving them where you want.
When you get good pivots then you can work on sidepassing.
It is very valuable to be able to move each part of your horse at any time you want!!
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