I have a 5 year old gelding who I am finishing but were having some issues with our rundowns. I know he can stop big because he digs his butt down into a perfect stop when I say woah in the circles or at centre but when I go for a run down along the alignment he always skips out and kinda trickles into a halfassed stop. When I pull him into the ground he Any suggestions?
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I didn't get to finish my sentence there :p when I pull him into the ground he anticipates the stop the next time I come around and tries to stop before I want him to. He's so willing and just wants to please.
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The stop is mostly about the approach, the horse has to be driving deep with his hind end and stay soft through the top line in the approach for the stop to work.
There are so many basic foundation skills needed to be able to do a smooth sliding stop with out seeing what your horse is doing it is almost impossible to say what is missing.
You can try loping around the arena keeping your horse in frame the whole time is important. Ask him to lengthen his stride down the long side and then collect at the ends and lope around the short side and repeat until your horse feels really relaxed and lengthening because you are asking him to not because he thinks he will stop.
There are are so some basic foundation skills as riders we need to know in order to effectively pull a horse into the ground so that they soften and do not get more bracey and anticipating.
Remember a stop is a downward transition and to do any transition the horse needs to be soft from poll to croup, once we have them soft we can work on how light of contact we need to use to get the soft response.
I would do lots of large rectangles using the whole arena. Ask for straight fast gallop down the long sides and collect him for the ends. This should stop him anticipating the stop. Also work on speed control on the large rec too. five fast strides, 4 slow, back to fast. This will keep him thinking and listening to you as right now he is associating a fast run down the arena with a stop. Also try fencing him, run ALL the way to the fence before you say whoa. I also do lots of trot stops, back up, roll 90 degrees and repeat. This really helps them wait and listen and gets their hocks under them.
Be sure when you do run down to a stop again after doing lots of the above exercises that you are building gradually from the turn and not exploding half way down and letting the speed fall before the stop. Check you are not stopping riding in your run down too, keep driving all the way to the whoa. On video I noticed I was anticipating the stop myself so would still my seat just before the stop causing my horse to slow, which makes for a uncommitted stop.
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