Whoa - how instant is reasonable? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 08-19-2016, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Whoa - how instant is reasonable?

Just verifying - when you ask for a stop from walk, trot, or canter... do you expect a complete instant stop? I'm assuming so at least w/ walk trot? Riding my mare today, I had the feeling I've let her get a tad sloppy at the whoa. She stops every time, with no drama, but today it seemed like she took an extra step or 2 no matter how fast we were going. (I rarely canter yet, and when I do it's not for many strides... still working on my confidence there). Anyway, it seems like her whoa used to be quicker so I suspect I'm 'training' her to do this. I practiced some asking for the whoa - seat, verbal, followed closely by rein... and if she didn't stop instantly I had her take a step or 2 back. Right thing to do? How hard and 'how' should I apply rein? She is typically very willing and so rarely needs any real contact w/ the bit (neck and leg are usually sufficient), that I think I under-utilize the bit... Any tips or tricks? She's not the defiant type and generally wants to get along.
fyi probably doesn't matter - but I just typically do trail and pasture riding, western - a little arena for fun and practice.

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post #2 of 24 Old 08-19-2016, 04:09 PM
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This depends on the discipline of riding, and the horse. My western stallion hears whoa in everything, lol. He stops immediately, even if it is his imagination.
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post #3 of 24 Old 08-19-2016, 04:19 PM
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It really does depend on the type of riding. I ride English. Last night I was doing canter/trot/walk/halt transitions.
To make them halt, I really use my seat more than anything instead of pulling on the bit. But, Redz hears the word 'halt' and he automatically just halts so I am a bit lucky he got taught that years ago. We could be at a trot, and he will just halt. I just plop my butt back in the saddle so he knows as well. Maintain contact with the bit but no yanking of course. Try working with half-halts as well (not coming to a complete stop, but slowing it down).

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post #4 of 24 Old 08-19-2016, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoptartShop View Post
It really does depend on the type of riding. I ride English. Last night I was doing canter/trot/walk/halt transitions.
To make them halt, I really use my seat more than anything instead of pulling on the bit. But, Redz hears the word 'halt' and he automatically just halts so I am a bit lucky he got taught that years ago. We could be at a trot, and he will just halt. I just plop my butt back in the saddle so he knows as well. Maintain contact with the bit but no yanking of course. Try working with half-halts as well (not coming to a complete stop, but slowing it down).
- I'd rather not pull on the bit. She's such a good girl and tries so hard, that any slightly firm correction seems almost to offend her (the exception being on the rare times she says she'd rather zig when I want to zag... and I give her a light rein tap on her shoulder... and she falls right into line w/o taking offense. Almost like she knows when it's warranted).

I just ride casually for pleasure (western gear) - just want to be sure I never ignore a problem and let it get out of hand. I'm a bit spooked by all the talk of spoiling a horse! Though, she doesn't seem quick to take advantage (her basic training was good, she's always been nicely handled it seems, and she is 13).

Never really thought of it as half-halts (I've had few lessons - though I might take some this winter). She is very responsive when I ask her to speed up or slow down, and is easy to get into a trot and keep there (and the more balanced I get, the better she gets)... to slow I never do more than sit back and maybe slightly tip the curb bit (if that). Honestly I think I have soft verbal dialog going w/her that I don't usually realize... and I think she picks up on that. She has a terrific one-hand neck rein. Add some leg and she's really responsive. So, if a couple of steps at the whoa w/ a trail horse is 'no big deal' I won't work too hard on it. Just trying to maintain her nice training (so-far-so-good).
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post #5 of 24 Old 08-19-2016, 04:45 PM
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Right, I rarely pull on the bit- it's so much better and easier to just use your seat to 'halt' or slow them down. Some people yank on the bit, that's not comfortable at all! Some days they are different than others- if she usually stops, maybe she was having an 'off' kind of day today.
Sounds like you are doing great with her and using your seat and not so much bit. However, it's OK to use a little more contact if she's not coming to a stop/listening to you. She won't hate you! :)
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post #6 of 24 Old 08-19-2016, 05:46 PM
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If you want to train her to be a little more responsive, first ask for a halt with only your seat and/or voice (or whatever cue you want to use). Give her about 1 more stride (or however quickly you want her to respond) and then make her stop and back a few strides using the reins. You don't have to jerk the bit or use much contact at all, just whatever makes her respond immediately. Let her stand for a few moments, go back to the gait you were using before, repeat, repeat, repeat.

I used to have a very responsive mare (horseless now) and that's how I trained her. I mostly just rode for fun, too. Sometimes, to tease my Western Pleasure friends, I would ride with my reins so loose they hung down around the mare's knees. I'd have to pull up hand-over-hand three times to get contact (I was a stupid kid, I know). Even then, if I just lifted my hand a tiny bit, the horse responded. From a trot or canter, if I said whoa, she instantly dropped to a walk. I never could get an instant halt on voice alone. But, if I also lifted my hand an inch (no contact), I had an instant halt.

To train any horse (or dog, or child...) make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard. When the horse stops immediately from the gentle cue, you never touch her mouth. When she doesn't, she has to stop and back up, too.
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post #7 of 24 Old 08-19-2016, 10:09 PM
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The attempt to stop should come immediately. Of course, depending on their speed, the ability to stop immediately may not be there.


For example, I have a draft cross that weighs about 1700 pounds and, if asked, he will drag his butt to rival any reining horse, but if he's at a long lope or a gallop, it takes a bit of space to get that much mass stopped....not for lack of trying though LOL.

If she's sluggish in her attempts to stop, you've got the right idea about backing her up, but I would do more than a couple of steps. When you ask for the stop and she does more of a "slow down and I'll stop here in a minute", I would immediately back her as hard and fast as you can until she's backing in a manner that you like the feel of (hocks under her, back rounded, nose tucked, etc) and then let her stop and stand for a moment to let it sink in before continuing on. Repeat every single time you ask for the stop and it shouldn't take long before she's planting her butt when you shift your seat.
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post #8 of 24 Old 08-19-2016, 10:25 PM
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Worry more on how the horse stops. A correct stop, has a horse stop on his hind end, while staying light in front, versus stopping on his front end, leaning on the bit
You have to set a horse up more for a stop from speed, then just from a walk or trot, thus you need to become slower with rein esp, the more speed you stop from, with the ultimate being a horse that learns to stop correctly, mainly off of seat and legs
For instance, you can jerk a horse into the ground, from speed, in one stride, but you won't get a pretty stop, where a horse has time to get his hocks under him and stop on aloose rein, as in a sliding stop
Worry more about the correctness first, versus the speed. A front end stop is never right, even if instantaneous (well, if you were going to go over a cliff otherwise, technique hardly matters!
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post #9 of 24 Old 08-20-2016, 12:01 AM
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what @smrobs wrote is important; the 'try' in the horse is important, and you being fair to the horse is important. some horses really can't stop that fast, but any horse can stop better if you 'prepare' them. it's not fair to suddenly expect them to stop without giving them some warning and having them moving in a way that makes stopping quickly a possibility.

so , keep in mind the horse you are riding, and that particular horse's physical abilities, AND, learn to 'help' your horse be ready, by ensuring that they are moving balanced to begin with, and that you ask them to step under themselves first, before you ask them to actually stop forward movement.
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post #10 of 24 Old 08-20-2016, 02:18 AM
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Backing can be used to teach a horse to stop correctly, but it has to be done right, and not just stop and back up.
Helpful if your horse also understands ;whoa;
Start at a walk.Sit down, stop riding and say 'whoa', while just setting a bit barrier.
If the horse stops on his front end, heavy in your hands, nose out, you immediately back that horse with your legs, until he feels soft in your hands, giving in the face and poll. That will tell you he is off his front end. Reward him, give him slack and let him think about it.Repeat.
This video by Larry Trocha, explains that concept very well

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