Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
I like the verbal cue "Easy". I taught it to them in a round pen - "Easy" meant go to a slower speed/energy. So fast trot to slow trot, canter down to trot, etc. It is my primary slowing cue when riding, and also applies if they get spooky - "Easy" meaning "take it down a notch and listen".
The first time I had a bridle come off, I was lucky the horse was just a very agreeable horse who wanted my help in figuring out what was going on - so he slowed to a stop on his own. It has happened twice since - chicago screws once, and a new pair of mohair reins simply broke on their second ride. In both cases, saying "Easy" took a now nervous horse from trot to walk, then walk to barely moving, then to a complete stop.
It also worked when riding with an inexperienced friend who dropped a split rein. From the other horse, "Easy" got her horse shifting down smoothly until stopped - which also taught her some confidence, since a new rider loves realizing their horse WANTS to work with them and will listen.
Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"