11-09-2012, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by KGolden
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.
Start from the walk. First, you want to "stop riding". That means, you want to sit more with your seat and stop using your body to drive your horse forward. And you also want to think about stopping your horse in your mind. Second, put your weight into your stirrups, but do not lean backward. Think of it as trying to push the balls of your feet forward. Third, verbally say "whoa". Finally, the last thing you should do, is pick up evenly on both reins and apply backward pressure.
Now, when you do all these things, they are going to be milliseconds apart from each other. But you always want to consistently do them in the same order all the time. Consistency is what teaches a horse.
I personally do not back my horses when using the word "whoa". I am very specific with my verbal cues to my horses. Whoa means stop. NOW. No questions asked. When I say "back ..... back ..... back......" while applying pulsing pressure with the reins (and proper body cues as well) is when I want to back them up.
I will often do both in succession to reinforce the stopping, but I personally keep the two very separate.
There is not a right or wrong way to do it, but as long as you stay consistent.
Your horse should already be soft in the bridle before you start doing this. Otherwise you just get into a pulling match with their face.
When you perfect this at the walk, move onto the trot.
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.
When I side pass my horses, I use the verball cue "over ..... over ..... over ....." and I tap one foot. So if I want a sidepass to the left, I will remove my left leg completely off of the horse to "open the door". Then I will tap, tap, tap, tap with my heel of my right leg, right in the center of their belly.
In the beginning, it is often easiest to teach a horse to sidepass by standing them facing a fence or a wall, so that they cannot go forward.
You'll also want to very slightly tip their nose AWAY from the direction you want to go. So if we are sidepassing to the left, very slightly tip their head to the right, so you can just see their eye. In the beginning, you may need to give them holding pressure on the reins to keep them from going forward.
Once they understand what you want, you can keep their body totally straight and keep the reins loose, and just tap them over.
3. How can I work with her to pivot?
You'll want to get her very good at moving away from pressure.
So for the sidepassing we just talked about, we wanted to move both the shoulders and the hindquarters over at the same time. Hence, that's why we cued the horse in the very center of their belly.
So if you want to move only the shoulders, (let's say to the left), you'll want to keep your left leg off the horse, and then move your left cueing leg slightly forward, and tap tap tap tap. You may need to give some holding pressure on the reins to keep the horse from moving foward. The very, very instant that the horse moves one of their front legs in the direction you want, STOP cueing. If you get a correct response, stop asking, and that is their reward.
When she gets one tiny step consistently, start asking for either one normal step, or for two tiny steps, before you quit asking. Again, the key here is timing of your "reward" by removing the tapping cue.
The same idea applies to do a turn on the fore. You'll move your leg slightly backward and tap to encourage her to move her hindquarters over only. Start rewarding her with baby steps, and gradually ask for more.
Typically, I like to teach a horse to move both their shoulders and hindquarter independently of each other before I ask them to sidepass the put it all together!
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!
Working on your horse with these things will also greatly help your barrel pattern!! Say she tries to shoulder in on a barrel. Bump her to move her shoulders over. Say she turns too tight and she's going to hit the barrel with her hip. Use your leg to bump her over and away from the barrel.
It is very valuable to be able to move each part of your horse at any time you want!!