The Basics of a nice "woah" - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-18-2010, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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The Basics of a nice "woah"

So I am currently working with a horse that really has no stop on him. Vocal cue doesn't do anything, checking on the reins does a little but not a lot and seat cues are failing as well.

I in no way want to slide, I repeat NO SLIDE, I just want a nice fundamentals to getting a horse to think about stopping when I ask and in a timely manner. I've ridden my share of reiners in the past but all were finished and didn't require me starting their training in stopping. Thought to ask reiners for their advance despite not wanting to slide because I am a reiner at heart and know you guys can help!
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-19-2010, 12:33 PM
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My suggestion, since you mentioned this horse doesn't think "stop" even when rein tension is added, I would practice the heck out of one rein stops. Clinton Anderson does this, I'm sure you can find a video of CA one rein stops on youtube. I think it really gets your horse in the right frame of mind for stopping. I'd practice one rein stops at a walk and trot- every time you slide your hand and just before you but tension on that rein, say "whoa".

After a few lessons with this, walk the horse as normal and give the rein some tension, and say "whoa". If he doesn't respond timely, one rein stop him. It might take you awhile, but he'll figure out it is much better to stop at "whoa" or rein contact then a one rein stop. Eventually, you'll be able to stop doing the one rein stop and he should hault on rein tension. Once he's respoding to rein tension, build on that. How I do it is I say "whoa". (Whoa to my horses means they should have stopped yesterday. I take whoa very seriously). Anywho, if he ignors the whoa command, bring those reins up and stop him, even if you have to go back to the one rein stop. Then immediately back him up. Backing up is kind of my 'punishment' to my horses for not stopping quicker. I don't rip on their faces or spur them when I back them, I just put a little fire under their hinny and let them know they didn't do it good enough. It is a bit of a process, but if you go small step by small step, I think you'll see results. Good luck and let us know how you're progressing. Each horse is different, so hopefully some others will have other methods for you to try.

~And on the 6th day God created the Quarter Horse. On the 8th day, he painted the good ones.~
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-19-2010, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! Backing up will definitely come into play I'm sure as that worked when I tuned up horses in the past. Would've never thought of one reins stops as a foundation so thanks, I'll go look up some videos!

Anyone else?? You guys stop all day long! All I want to know is how you got your young horse to start thinking about it and how you got them to take the word so seriously.
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-19-2010, 02:51 PM
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I start mine thinking about stopping from day one. They first learn the word whoa on the ground. It is only used sparingly. Most people like to use it too much and for everything. Like if the horse is moving around in the ties or stall or what have you they will say whoa to get them to stop. This is a BIG mistake.

Next work on Whoa on the lunge line. If they do not stop when you say whoa pull them around to you and make they stop and back on the end of the lead and NOT THE PP way. That does nothing but get them upset.

Then start under saddle. I do not like the one rein stop for many reasons but one it teaching them to follow their shoulder which is NOT what you want a horse to do you want them to follow their nose and buy bending them around when they do not want to stop is just asking for them to through the shoulder to the out side and keep going forward.

First thing that you really need when trying to get a horse to have a good stop in one that is really broke in the face. They need to be supple to the bit and give easily to it. If not they will just brace and you will never get a good stop. This is so important and should have been part of the basic work day one. TO many people fast forward past the basics like this.

Start at the walk. Ask for the stop then back up. At this point you seat and arms are very important. You should have basically a straight line between your shoulders hands and reins to the bit. Do not raise your hands. This is where people get into trouble when teaching the stop. You end up with a high headed horse who braces. Set your seat and your arms/hands and ask for a give in the pole the sit down and say whoa. This way the horse should stop well and be balanced in the stop. Do not move your hands unless needed and then again not up or to the side but back. Then keep your hands there and use your legs to ask for motion this will engage the horses rear and back him up.

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post #5 of 6 Old 09-19-2010, 03:24 PM
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As far as the young horses, I start my whoa command right away also. NRHA has it right- the lunge line works great for whoa. (and don't use whoa for everything like NRHA listed above) I'd also consider doing some halter work as well. Halter your weanling/yearling/2yr old and work on walking. Say "whoa" and stop walking. If the horse continues forward, turn towards the horse and back them up. Sometimes they're a bit sticky with backing up on the ground. Don't let them ignor you when you ask them to back. Make them back and make them take it seriously. I had a "sticky" horse once and finally I had to increase pressure, and I smacked him across the chest with the lead rope to get him to back up. He figured it out quickly. You can up it to a trot and whoa later on. Keep practicing that and eventually, your younger horses will figure out (through repetition) what whoa means. This goes a long way when starting them under saddle. I use the whoa command from the get go when starting any of my horses under saddle.

ETA- I tossed out the one rein stop idea to get this horse thinking stop when cued, since this seems to be an already broke horse that seems to have faulty brakes. :) I do not do one rein stops, but I wouldn't hesitate to if I had a horse who wouldn't stop.

~And on the 6th day God created the Quarter Horse. On the 8th day, he painted the good ones.~

Last edited by Heartland; 09-19-2010 at 03:31 PM.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-22-2010, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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It's not that he won't stop...he's just taking too long for my tastes. I miss my reiners who would stop the second you breathed the magic word, this guy takes maybe 4-5 strides of slow down and stop. Working him on the ground would actually be great for him I think, wouldn't have thought about that directly relating to undersaddle (duuhhhhh). Thanks guys!
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