How do you begin to train your horse for a roll back?
I'm wondering how you train a horse to do a roll back from scratch? - Starting with a turn on a haunches. PLEASE!!!! I feel like I've finally mastered a turn on the forehand but am finding it difficult to get him to do a turn on the haunches and ultimately I want him to be able to do a roll back. I've been trying on the ground to push him over from the girth but he's not so responsive. What do I do? If I use a whip where do I even tap him with it? Help! Thank you!
What I did with my mare was use rein for turns on the haunches, and leg for turns in the forehand.
I cant say its the right way, but she's learning it just fine. I'm only doing trail, barrel, and pleasure shows, so Im not too worried about her being perfect.
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First of all, let me say that turns on the forehand are VERY easy next to turns on the haunches. They are SOOO easy for a horse to learn that I keep them and disengagement of the hind quarter to a very tiny minimum. I think both work against a horse learning to willingly move their shoulders.
For a horse to do a pivot or a rollback, they MUST willingly move their shoulders. This just can't be over-emphasized.
Then, you have to decide if you want a 'real' rollback like cutting horses do or a 'reining rollback' like most reining horses do. The true cutting type of rollback is a stepping back motion and the outside front leg passes behind the inside leg. The reining rollback is really just a 1/2 of a turn-around or spin with a quick departure. It is a forward movement just like a spin and the outside front leg crosses over in front of the the inside leg.
The true rollback is accomplished by backing a horse one or two steps to 'load' the horse's weight on its hind quarters. The hind end is much lower than the front end. The horse then either steps behind (in a slow one) or makes a single sweeping motion and does a 180 and is ready to depart, still being low behind.
The whole process is very long and complicated. I would suggest that you first teach your horse to move its shoulders laterally. This may take a crop to tap on its outside shoulder or a spur pressed at the girth. It may also help to stop parallel to a fence but about 6 feet away from the fence. Then, ask the horse to reverse toward the fence. If you are 5 or 6 feet away, the horse just has enough room to move its shoulders to make the turn.
If you have done a lot of turning on the forehand, the horse will want to flop its butt around to change directions instead of moving its shoulders. If that is the case, you are going to have to get pretty tough on him to get him to move his shoulders. They REALLY do not like to move those shoulders if they have it in their heads to swing their butts around.
Cherie thank you so much for replying! It's given me a lot to think about! I want my horse to be able to do a roll back because we're getting into team penning. It doesn't necessarily have to look pretty but I think it would give us an advantage as we're getting into this sport. Should I be teaching him the "true rollback" or just a reining one? I'm definitely understanding what you're saying by telling me it's hard to get them to move their shoulders when they've got it in their mind to move their hind quarters! Man Alive! It seems like no matter what I do he'll just cross over with his hindquarters and then be all proud of himself. I almost wish I had taught him to move his shoulders before I started the turn on the forehand business (although I needed him to be able to step his hindquarters in in order to get him so that he would start picking up his right lead at the canter which was a whole different problem that has been solved). I guess it's just going to take patience and alot of correction....
I love roll-backs....even more than sliding I think....yes....even more than sliding......my horse is particularly good at roll-backs, it's a lot of fun!
(everyone else thinks I'm nuts to like rollbacks more than slides......)
Cherie, does it help to teach them to move their shoulders from the ground first?
I don't really care about precise form in rollbacks, but like the OP, I need my horses to turn quickly when working cattle.
If you are just beginning to teach your horse to turn around, then you can't really do it by just pushing them around from a standstill. You need to have them moving forward.
To start, get your horse going in a circle at a walk with his nose tipped slightly to the inside. Bump him gently with your legs to encourage him to keep moving forward, and bump him slightly with the bit on the inside to keep him tipped in. Your outside rein should be your stabilizer, and should stay still at this time. Make your circle smaller so that you are spiraling down smaller and smaller. When you have reached the center point of your spiral, you will need to "open the door" with your inside leg so that he has somewhere to go, lift your inside hand straight up (that you have been bumping to teach him to keep his nose in and to keep him soft in the face), pushing with your outside leg and bumping a bit with your foot, and bring the outside rein onto his neck to help push him over. Cluck a bit. You should feel him cross over and start to come over his hock.
When he gives you a few steps, push him forward and walk him out before going back into it.
If you feel him start to back up rather than coming around in his turn, push him forward.
Once he has the basics, you will be able to make your cueing less significant, and he will lighter and will understand the concept from a stand still.
When a horse is pretty broke at it, you can also do the spiraling from a jog to help them learn to spin a bit faster.
I haven't continued on with my mare, she's used for trail riding but I was taught if you take them into a round pen or an arena that you ride along the rail at a walk and turn them into the fence to change directions, then proceed to the trot and canter as they get better, I got as far as the trot but never continued with it.....
Roll back, as mentioned above requires the horse to get his weight off his front end and to move his shoulders. Getting weight off the front end means getting a horse physically able to shift his weight and raise the root of his neck.. and that means the horse must also have enough abdominal strength to do the job.
A roll back is a moving exercise.. and the horse must understand the rudiments of collection and be physically fit enough to do it.
IMO collection is where the roll back starts.. and collection is where the strength to do a roll back comes from.
Sooo.. along with training the cues you need to also get the horse fit enough.
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