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What are some excersizes to soften and supple a horse?
My horse flexes on ground and pretty okay when im slow working her but like when i go to do barrels,she wont give hardly at all. She knows how to give to pressure and all that but,its just really hard to do.

ive also heard that teaching reining moves like spins and rollbacks and what not could help a barrel horse.
i dont know..thats jus what i heard.:p
 

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I'm into barrels & keeping your horse soft is one of the biggest things you need to keep an eye on. I work on softening my barrel mare everyday.
I use a soft snaffle & have her flex her head to each side while im standing on the ground. Lift up the rein.. add pressure.. when she gives even the slightest amount.. release. Soon enough, the horse should be able to give a large amount & hold it. Take it one step at a time & repeat the same thing under saddle. If your horse moves while doing it (Under saddle.)... thats okay. As long as the horse is giving to you...thats what matters.

To teach a horse to move off your leg: I'll just give you an example of turning right: Lift up your inside rein to tip the horse's nose in the direction you want to go, take your OUTSIDE leg & add pressure from your calf to her rib cage, look where your going, make sure the outside rein is loose, & your inside leg off her side. I call it "Open the door... close the door." You open the door by having your inside leg off her ribcage... giving her an open space to move into. You close the door with your outside leg. Make sense? :D

Consistancy is your best friend while working to soften your horse. If they don't respond, increase the pressure. Stay patient. Do a LOT of slow work with barrels... if you can't do it slow... you definitely can't do it fast!

Goodluck.:wink:
-aintnocitygirl
 

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For your hrose to be supple you're gonna have to be supple to. You have to be ready to release the minute he does good.

Here's what I do:

I ask for a flex to the right, and the moment the horse gives his head nicley, completely drop the rein. Repeat with the other side.

Then ask for a bend at the pole by jiggling each rein back and forth, then as soon as there is a flex you drop both reins onto the neck and give him a good neck scratch fromt he saddle.

The same technique can be applied to leg. Ask for movement, and if he doesn't respond ask a little more. And a little more. Until you have to actually get aggressive and make him move. And the moment you get that cross over with the legs or whatever you want th ehorse to do, release and turn away. Then turn back after a few moments and pet his neck. it has to be a stroking motion and not a patting motion. Patting the horse is actually a negative feeling to the horse.

Good luck ^^
 

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What works best for my barrel horses is actually teaching them to bend AROUND the leg, so when I ask for a turn I put my inside leg on. I was always taught then when going around a barrel you hold your inside leg steady and bump with the outside leg. My guys are extremely supple, and come back from winter very nicely and quickly when using this method, along with all the ground methods mentioned.

Also do lots and lots of serpentines. Try setting up at least three barrels/cones/poles/etc. and just weaving through them.

Another thing you can do if you have a riding arena is to complete a full tight circle in each corner.

An excersize you can do while walking is ask the horse to bend its head towards the rail for three strides(but still walking in a straight line), then bend its head the other direction for three strides, repeating this for as long as necessary.
 
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