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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took big Zulu out for ride on my own today. He was a bit fresh since we had not ridden for a week. I have been working with him on getting him to stop, and not requiring a really heavy pull for him to do it.

I discovered that I need to prepare him more to stop (he is 17 hh and 1400 pounds, so it's like steering a cruise ship) and once he starts to make the mental change over to responding to my "ask" to stop, I need to kind of stay out of his way and let him do it. I mean, I was trying to use my rein and body to stop him when he was powering through the bit, and it felt like I had to put up this big "wall" and I was trying to hold this wall (firm, closed hand and a firm abs to hold him) until he came to a full stop.

I found today that when I asked him to stop, once I felt him mentally decide to respond to that, I could really ease up and allow him to complete the decision on his own, and he stopped a lot more balanced, and a lot less work for me.

So, it made me think about the way of phrasing the stop;

the difference between "Stop the horse" and "Ask him to stop"

Stop the horse is like braking your car; you must continue to apply pressure til it stops.

Ask him to stop is giving him a directive and waiting for him to accept it , then you stop asking while he completes the task.

Very different.

just my meanderings of the mind.
 

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I suppose it depends on what you are doing (ie dressage, trail riding) and how fast you are going.
Keeping in mind that I almost exclusively trail ride, I don't mind occasionally just 'asking' for a stop when we are cantering. Kinda like taking your foot of the gas and coasting to a stop.
At the same time, if I Need a quick Woah, then I guess it is like laying on the brakes, lol. Cliff ahead!
Driving lessons 101!
 

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I took big Zulu out for ride on my own today. He was a bit fresh since we had not ridden for a week. I have been working with him on getting him to stop, and not requiring a really heavy pull for him to do it.

I discovered that I need to prepare him more to stop (he is 17 hh and 1400 pounds, so it's like steering a cruise ship) and once he starts to make the mental change over to responding to my "ask" to stop, I need to kind of stay out of his way and let him do it. I mean, I was trying to use my rein and body to stop him when he was powering through the bit, and it felt like I had to put up this big "wall" and I was trying to hold this wall (firm, closed hand and a firm abs to hold him) until he came to a full stop.

I found today that when I asked him to stop, once I felt him mentally decide to respond to that, I could really ease up and allow him to complete the decision on his own, and he stopped a lot more balanced, and a lot less work for me.

So, it made me think about the way of phrasing the stop;

the difference between "Stop the horse" and "Ask him to stop"

Stop the horse is like braking your car; you must continue to apply pressure til it stops.

Ask him to stop is giving him a directive and waiting for him to accept it , then you stop asking while he completes the task.

Very different.

just my meanderings of the mind.
I had to learn this one too...my 16.3 tb/wb needed more out of me on a stop. Nice to hear it "voiced"!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, it's just amazing how different things are if your mind and the horse's mind are on the same page.

I mean, I can make Zulu back up, but the feeling is really differnet if I "pull" him back to if I ask him back. When I ask, and don't stop asking until I see his thought going there, he backs up on a feather's weight on the rein.

I mostly trail ride, too. I spend a lot of my time when riding observing my horse as we go along and "watching " his thought. Horses are so wonderfully transparent about that.
 

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Tiny, I like the way you think. I totally get what you're saying.
It reminds me of how sometimes Lacey will decide to "forget" the stop cue and no matter how hard I try to force the stop, it's never going to happen. If I forget about forcing her to stop and use my body+voice (in the form of "deadening" my body and growling her name) she'll generally stop very quickly.
I often forget to ask for the stop and command it instead... I know what my goal for my next ride is! haha

I also observe while I trail ride...I feel like we could come up with some cool theories if we ever trail rode together. :lol:
 

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Tiny, regarding whether your mind and your horse's mind are in sync.
I had an interesting experience years ago with Spike, my heart horse, the one in my avatar. This was about 16 years ago, when I first got him.
Back then, he was a nice boy, but very introverted. He had never really been mistreated, but never been really loved either. He was very uninterested in things, generally. At the time, we were doing a lot of riding in a small paddock, about the size of a large arena. He would walk and trot fine, but would only canter a few strides before slowing again. I tried everything I knew at the time, which was basically just squeeze harder, lean forward, and shout encouragement.
After a few weeks of this, I was getting very discouraged. My first horse, wont even canter?
So one day I went home, and just sat there and envisioned us cantering around the whole paddock. I 'saw' us do it, again and again. Next day, driving out to the barn, I imagined it again.
And yes, as soon as I mounted, we took off on a beautiful canter all the way around the paddock. Then we did it 4 more times! lol
So what was different? My cues? My body language? I don't know. I like to think that maybe he picked up on my brainwaves, and he saw it too.
Lol, anyway, that is my true story about my mind and my horse's mind finally being in sync. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I feel very fortunate to have had some training in the last few years where my trainer frequently said, "Where is his thought?". My dressage trainer never said that. So, I'd be trying to do all kinds of stuff with the horse, whose doing it, very poorly and very resentfully because his thought is not with me.
This doesn't mean I am going to "beg" my horse for his thought. But it does mean I won't accept him backing up while still mentally (and sometimes physically) leaning on the rein to go forward. It's pointless to try and direct him to do things if his though is far away. Either do what it takes to get his though with you, or realize that he cannot give up that thought (like a deep seated buddy sour horse) right now, and work out a plan for helping him give up that need.

I rejoice in getting Zulu to bring his thought to me , or give up his own thought and respond to me, lighter and easier. Z likes to balk at times, and when I can get him to give up that thought easily, it's just a nice feeling of knowing that he is willing to give over to me , but I also kind of like that he does keep his own mind and it shows up from time to time.

I am not such a fast killer rider, not doing barrels or high level dressage, so have too much slow time on my hands, thus the lengthy brain farts.
 

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It's similar to that with barrel horses when finishing their run at a show...Riders push, push, push in the arena and then expect their horse to stop quickly from a flat out run. That's not likely to happen, there are rare horses that can though (or reiners, that still slide)...I know mine don't.. they need a vocal "whoa, easy" and pressure from me telling them to stop. It takes a little ways for the horse to go from such a high speed to a walk, and even after that walk I'll back my horses a few steps to reinforce that "whoa" then continue at a forward walk to cool my horse down and let them calm down..All in all in barrel racing, you warm up slow and you cool off slow..
 

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Tiny I also like the way you think! you have a good perception on things =)
I always ask for everything but if I ask it I want my horses to still follow through with the direction. I only force something if I am training and the horse ignored my jester, or if I am just being ignored.
I like using my voice, Grady does everything but turn, off of my voice... backing isnt his strong suit so I still sit deep and put my legs forward. I think if your horse is well broke and paying attention asking is all it should take it. But trust me I know that even the best have their days haha:wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Drum, I did barrel racing all of ONCE. Mac had done it in his past, so I was depending on him to take care of me . He went La Di da around the first two barrels, like barely cantering. then on the back side of the third, he want ZOOM! and accelerated so fast I nearly flipped off his backside. AND, I felt something go "crunch" in my lower back. So, 4 years later I still have back trouble. NO barrels for me!

But I can see what you are saying; Ask the horse to stop, trust him to implament the "ask" but be fair and give him the time and space to do what he can with his size, mass and speed.
 

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Exactly, I agree with you on the asking vs, stopping. That can be a very big difference for many people and disciplines.

Barrel horses definitely know to head for home after the third barrel..Sorry you had a not so fun experiences with it though, it really is a ton of fun when you get the hang of it.
 

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in this case I am only referring to pleasure riding, I understand that sometimes during somethings no matter how broke your horse is you cannot simply ask and receive. =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I pat myself on the back for being a reasonably ballsy older rider, considering I started riding rather late in life. But I am very much aware of things I will never do, and one of them is barrel racing. I do SO regret not getting into horses earlier.
Now where is that time machine when you need it?
 

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I would love to give barrel racing a go, but there is no one that does it around here! Big jump from flouncy dressage rider to wanting to give barrels a go :p But it looks like so much fun!!!!

As for stopping - I guess in all disciplines the general principal is the same - that you give the horse some kind of warning of what you want to do, rather than just hauling on the reins out of nowhere an expecting an immediate stop.
In dressage, we try to set the horse up for success, to make a well balanced transition to the halt. So in the steps in the lead up to the halt, are spent rebalancing, making sure the horse is as engaged as his level of training allows, and that as soon as we ask for the stop, the horse will be able to easily sit on its haunches, and stop without losing balance.
 

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Kayty, you could do it...Really, I have loads of respect for Dressage and eventers, I don't think it's flouncy at all, you have to have SO much control at all times.. I would feel like the most awkward person if I tried it. With anything new you just have to stick with it until you start to get it..
 

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Oh my..

I wish I could ask my horse to stop and he'd listen. Transitions are great, both up and down (though canter is a bit rough..) Stopping?? Oh heck no. You could knit a sweater and grow your very own beard before he stopped!

He does this really weird walking 0.4 miles an hour "shuffle".. and then 3 minutes later he'll stop. No matter how much pressure you put on the reins.

It's such a weird concept to him, standing still, slowing down, not running for his life..

Maybe when I get back he'll be better at it. I never did learn how to properly stop so I've just been kind of sitting up taller but sinking down, stopping motion in my hips and slowly close my fingers around the reins. And I know he's paying attention... but I don't think he knows what I mean. Even if I say ho, he won't do it. Even on the ground, I always have to step in front of his shoulder to get him to stop.

And obviously me hauling on the reins doesn't help the situation at all.. but when he does stop, it's a beautiful square ASAP halt. But it rarely happens!
 

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They are certainly very different disciplines, hence I'd love to give it a go. I do like to get a feel for what other people do, I think doing the same thing day in day out gives you quite a narrow mind on your riding. So though I am a dressage rider through and through, I am a bit of a thrill seaker as well! I love nothing more than taking my horses out to the beach or through the forrest and going for a mad gallop. Can't beat the adrenelin rush :)
Dressage I get a rush from, but a different type of rush. It feeds my perfectionist nature, and I get a great feeling of satisfaction in working for perfection. The same sort of satisfaction I get from doing a really good piece of art!

Hmmmm you've got me keen to try my hand at something different now! I have never ridden in a western saddle... I've ridden breakers in an Aussie/Stock saddle, (that god for those knee blocks when they turn bronc! Sitting out tantrums in a dressage saddle certainly puts the wind up you :S
 

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They are certainly very different disciplines, hence I'd love to give it a go. I do like to get a feel for what other people do, I think doing the same thing day in day out gives you quite a narrow mind on your riding. So though I am a dressage rider through and through, I am a bit of a thrill seaker as well! I love nothing more than taking my horses out to the beach or through the forrest and going for a mad gallop. Can't beat the adrenelin rush :)
Dressage I get a rush from, but a different type of rush. It feeds my perfectionist nature, and I get a great feeling of satisfaction in working for perfection. The same sort of satisfaction I get from doing a really good piece of art!

Hmmmm you've got me keen to try my hand at something different now! I have never ridden in a western saddle... I've ridden breakers in an Aussie/Stock saddle, (that god for those knee blocks when they turn bronc! Sitting out tantrums in a dressage saddle certainly puts the wind up you :S
Exactly! I think this is how it is with every discipline. I would rather a perfectly correct and pretty run than have a fast time and be all over the place anyday..

I think when a rider stops have those adrenaline rushes they need to take a step back and take a break from riding that discipline..If you aren't having fun and not loving every minute of it your horse and judges know it. After growing up and riding in so many different settings and Western and English, I have a great respect and open mind for the other disciplines and riders..I may poke fun at my friends who ride English but I would never bash them..I can't even post on the right diagonal half of the time, and it irritates me so much!
 

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There seems to be a very big Western riding culture in the US. Here in Australia, there is very little. Some, there's the usual QH's and Aussie stock horses, but english is certainly a much bigger scene. Where I live in particular, you do a double take when you see a horse decked out in western gear because you hardly see it!!
 

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Even though Western riders out number English riders in Georgia, there are still quite a bit of English people..Especially living so close to Perry, and the Georgia National Ag Center, we see a huge variety of disciplines here..My aunt and uncle, before divorcing last year, owned one of the highest ranked training barns in Georgia. They trained and gave lessons in everything from Western Pleasure, Reining, English Equitation, HUS, Showmanship..the whole deal..I worked with them as much as possible and tried to get my hands on everything..
 
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