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Wallaby 03-13-2010 08:04 PM

Squaring up...
 
I have no showmanship plans but I cannot for the life of me get Lacey to square up and I figured this was the place to come!

I've tried when she's fresh and when she's tired, neither time works better.

I've tried using her halter by itself to get her to move her feet but she can't seem to separate her front left leg and her back right leg's movement. She does fine with her right front leg and her back left leg and I can get those two squared up just fine. I've been able to get her front legs and her back left leg square but then she either leaves her back right leg trailing out behind or way under herself. I've tried just physically moving her back right leg into place but then she leaves that leg cocked when I set it down and I cannot get her to put it all the way down.

I've also tried squaring her back legs up first, then doing her fronts but then she moves that back right leg when I move her front left.

I swear she's laughing at me. :lol:

Help? It's not really "necessary" for her life but it is a good skill and I think it might help with her issues about people getting on to ride if she felt in balance as they hop on.

Nita 03-13-2010 10:24 PM

okay, I'm copy and pasting this from another post, so sorry if some of it doesn't make sense. I just didn't want to retype it all lol.

It depends on what you want to do. Some people like to train with verbal commands. I personally don't because when you're in the arena, the judge is watching you closely and the more effortless you make it seem, the better. If you tell your horse to "Set" and the judge knows you did and the horse doesn't do it, you're SOL. Again, always try to have the same body language. If you're aware of it at first, then eventually it'll become second nature and you won't have to watch for it later. I stand at a 45 degree angle to the horse's shoulder. Point your boots at her shoulder, basically. Pretend there's a line drawn directly under her nose, and that's where you put your toes. It's alright to start the training by moving her feet with your hands, but after a while you'll need to quit doing that because you can't touch your horse in showmanship. In a HALTER class, you can, but your horse is being judged on his confo in a halter class. I've read that you should try to walk a horse forward to set him up, but I've never actually been able to get that to work. Supposedly if your horse has bad confo it helps to walk him forward rather than back him up but I struggle with that, so I usually just back my mare up. It doesn't matter if you set up the hind or the front first, just be consistent. Again, the pros say you should do the front first, I think... But as long as whatever you do, that's how you always do it, it shouldn't matter. I do the back first because I find that the hardest. So you get into your position, and say set... if you want to. To make your horse move a left hoof, tip his nose to the right. That takes some weight off it, and tells him which side you want. And vice versa for the other way. Look at the hoof you want him to move. I don't know why, but that helps. If your horse is young, just get it as close as you can. However, if your horse is old enough to focus for longer, accept nothing but perfection. If you let him get away with only setting up correctly sometimes, he probably won't do it in the show ring. Once the back is set up, do the front. It'll take a while, but like shesinthebarn said, whenever you get a chance, do it. As soon as the horse does it right, release all pressure again, and let him think. The key is letting them realize that if they are standing square you'll leave him alone. Square him up before you feed him. Before you let him go. Before you saddle, before you bridle, after you groom, when you get in the trailer, when you get out of the trailer. Do it EVERYWHERE. Then he learns that he can stand square anywhere, and that when he's square, he DOES NOT move. Then when you're in the ring and you're stepping around him while the judge inspects, he won't move. Once when I was showing a banner on the rail came off, because it was super windy. It was right behind the lineup of horses, and they freaked out. I had just set my horse up for inspection and while the judge tried to regain order (there were horses bolting and rearing. I was amazed that no one could control their horses in such a situation...) my mare and I didn't move. She was scared, but she'd been trained that when she was squared up, she wasn't allowed to move, so she didn't. We won the class, haha. But the point is, show your boy that when he's square, he can't move until you say. And repetition is the key. shesinthebarn is right, the more you do it, the better you get!

Read more: http://www.horseforum.com/horse-show...#ixzz0i7Lbgp7S

anyway... If Lacey is more ruled by her stomach, you might try keeping a treat in your pocket and rewarding her with that. That's what my mare did, too, for the longest time. maybe it's a mare thing! Ha, but it just took repetition and making her do it right. I just made her keep moving that leg that was ALWAYS out of position back and forth until she got tired of it and just did it. It's not that they don't understand, it's just that she doesn't think she should have to do it. Good luck! I hope I helped...

Scoutrider 03-14-2010 08:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wallaby (Post 576189)
I've tried using her halter by itself to get her to move her feet but she can't seem to separate her front left leg and her back right leg's movement. She does fine with her right front leg and her back left leg and I can get those two squared up just fine. I've been able to get her front legs and her back left leg square but then she either leaves her back right leg trailing out behind or way under herself. I've tried just physically moving her back right leg into place but then she leaves that leg cocked when I set it down and I cannot get her to put it all the way down.

I have good news for you... Lacey's an Arab. I showed an Arab for my first year of showing, and part of Arab showmanship is leaving that one hind leg trailing behind. It's what the Arab's owner taught me to do with him, and I walked with a fair number of ribbons in G&S with that horse. Unless things have changed radically since I was showing that Arab, or are radically different in your neck of the woods, she should be fine squaring three and trailing the hind if you ever want to show. In my area, Morgans and gaiteds have something similar in that they are expected to park out in G&S or halter (even western, go figure...).

At any rate, it's nice to have control of each foot and be able to truly square the horse up. After I halt, I turn and face the horse without changing my grip on the lead, toes pointing to the horses feet on a 45 degree angle. I visualize the lead rope hanging in the center of an imaginary square, with each corner of that square corresponding to each foot. I choose 1 foot that I like the placement of, and I leave that alone unless the horse moves it I usually pick a hind foot, and if neither hind foot is perfect I pick the one that is too far back since a weight shift back just tends to work better faster to get correct alignment.

To move the other three feet, I push the lead from the "center" of the square to the corner that matches the foot I want to move. I also use a verbal cue to back it up in the beginning, I use a cluck followed by the word "set" (so, cluck set, cluck set...). It takes a lot of practice for the horse, and a lot of "know when to quit" from the handler. Look for improvement on the last attempt, not perfection. In the beginning, square her up, praise her (treats or petting) while she's standing still, and then walk her out of the pose.

Having a good controlled back helps a lot the way I teach this, because I ask for a backward rebalancing. Another tip is to combine the exercise with daily handling. One of the best ways to really ingrain the square-up is to just do it every time you stop when leading her. Stop to open a gate? Square her up before you go through. Stop to take her halter off? Square her up first. In a surprisingly short amount of time, they square quicker and quicker, eventually even halting square, which is a big bonus in the ring where a square taking over 3 seconds can be penalized.

Sorry for the novel, and good luck! :D


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