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Can someone tell me how to teach a horse how to disengage its shoulders or disengage its hindquarters. What is this good for and what does this look like, exactly? I tried to find a video. Thanks.
 

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I'm afraid I can't get a video for you right now since I'm at school, but I'll try and explain it.

Disengagement can be used to take control or take away movement from the horse. It is VERY useful for buckers, bolters, rearers, etc. I would disengage the hindquarters when my mare starts being a little brat (Generally coming along when she's fresh)

I.e., if she started bucking, I would do a one-rein stop (Take one rein and pull it to my belly button and hold her nose steady) and then kick her hip around hard with my inside leg. This disengages her hindquarters and takes away her ability to buck, while also punishing her for such bad behavior. This is how disengaging the hindquarters is normally used, at least. This also basically takes away the horse's shoulders as well, because you're making the nose and the hip move around and the horse will be too busy thinking her world is falling down because you're punishing her to really act up again. This has solved many a bucking problem with frisky colts in the past.

I've also used it on the trail if a horse bolts or something. Only in that instance, I would make a more gradual turn with the rein as to not cause the horse to fall on uneven ground.

Hope this helps. Anyone else have anything to add?
 

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I think it is called "disengage" becasue it causes the horse to step the inside hind in front of the outside hind and then the outside hind steps out of the track it was moving on, toward the outside. So, in two steps, inside crossover, outside step to side, the hind end is brough OFF of the track it was moving along. It is "disengaged" from it's former track.

One purpose is to create a break in the horse's pushing forward when the horse is bracing up and barging forward and not listening to the rein or seat.
Another purpose is to promote flexibility and softness in the horse by having it practice stepping well under itself with a big bend in the body.
There is something about having a big bend , stepping under and then allowing the horse to restraighten its' own body that can kind of relax it. WEll, nor really relax, but change the rigid mindset, if the horse is in a disobedient mind frame. It can bring the horse back to the rider, mentally.

As for disengaging the shoulders. I will leave that to someone else.

Oh, I didn't explain how to do it. REally, there are videos out there. Look again.
 

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Can someone tell me how to teach a horse how to disengage its shoulders or disengage its hindquarters. What is this good for and what does this look like, exactly? I tried to find a video. Thanks.
Disengage the sghoulders is when the rider moves the shoulders of the horse so they are NOT straight in front of the horses hips - rather they are inside or outside of the hips. If you look at UTube videos of what they call in dressage a "Shoulder-In" you would see the rider bending the horse around their inside leg and using the outside rein to move the shoulders to the "inside" of the riders leg. When done slightly you'll see the inside hind leg stepping into the outside front leg's hoofprints. So for a houlder-in L:eft the horse is bent to the left around the riders left leg, the hind legs remain "on the track" (straight ahead) and the horses right front leg leaves a hoof print that the horses left hind steps into. So although the horse is moving straight ahead the horse appears as 2 pieces - the front legs inside (left in this case), the hind legs stepping straight ahead. Video link:

The hind legs can be disengaged using leg yield (western call it side passing) or half pass. Leg yield is where horse looks in opposite direction than it is moving - i.e. horse looks right while moving body to the left. Rider needs to control hind end and front end. If hind end is dis-engaged then horse is made to listen to rider better (if you're doing it right) and horse is less likely to rear, bolt, etc.

Video showing half pass (as soon as rider is facing you):
Here the rider indicates horse should cross over with hind legs and front legs - horse is looking in the direction it is moving.

Other ways to disengage are - Turn on the haunches, turn on the forehand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. This helps. Can you teach young horses this from the ground? How would I do that? And how best is it to train from the ground turning on forehand/turning on haunches? Is that considered "disengage" ?
 

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Thanks. This helps. Can you teach young horses this from the ground? How would I do that? And how best is it to train from the ground turning on forehand/turning on haunches? Is that considered "disengage" ?
So to start teaching leg yield you DO start from the ground - great question. Start by standing on the horses left around the girth area. Bend nose/neck to the left (I'd start by about 1/4) then press thumb just behind the girth where a spur would rest if you were riding and wearing spurs. If horse just shifts weight and does nothing else then "Good boy/girl". Better yet if they take a step - same thing Good boy.

Gradually work up until they keep taking steps (hind end only - you want to encourage the front end to remain relatively stationary) until you stop the bend and thumb.

Be certain that you always do BOTH sides - just like use horses are left and right handed - so you need to do both sides.

Once they have it on the ground then try it from their back using just your heel. Never go to a spur until you can always control your legs and only use the spur when needed. Also - I never use spurs on green horses - too many possibilities to create trouble.

"Is turning on forehand/turning on haunches? Is that considered "disengage"? YES
 

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Regarding the term "disengage the hindquarters". In Western training, it is used for something a bit differnt from leg yield, side pass or turn on the haunchse. It is more of a part of turn on the forehand. The forelegs stop moving and the hind inside steps deeply under the body, outside hind then steps to the side and hrose should stop, at least for a moment, because his "drive" has been moved to the side of the track (the front legs)
 
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