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Discussion Starter #1
Have you ever wondered how some girls make stopping their horses look simple? I don't know about you, but for the past year I have been training a seemingly "untrainable" five year old Buckskin Mustang Gelding, "Cody." When I first met Cody, he would not let anyone on his back. Then something happened and we clicked, formed a bond, and are making our way up as a team. I have never had the money or land to own a horse of my own (I'm fourteen), but I work at a local Boarding & Training facility in exchange for allowing me to care for, ride and train Cody.

My trainer, Jan makes everything appear "easy." Every time Cody misbehaves it's all the same... "Sit up straight, heels down, pull back, whoaaa"...nothing works. He is very sensitive with the bit and reins, I've been riding forever and consider myself a fairly decent rider. I've tried everything to get this pony to stop...WHILE looking good (I also show). I have found the pulling back and forth between the right and left reins seems to work as it "confuses" him, but do you have any better techniques for this guy?
 

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Don't worry about looking good, just worry about getting the message across. I don't show, but if I were in a ring with you, or judging your horse, I'd much rather have you shut him down and be dramatic, and maybe lose points, then set the whole ring off because you're rushing up behind other people. But thats just IMO.

Have you tried one rein stops? Pick a rein, and when he gets going more than you want to, crank his head back and around to your knee. Even if he continues going, it will most likely be in a small circle, and thats controllable.

Has your trainer ridden Cody before, and has she managed to get him under control in much less time than you? If that's so, maybe its an indication that he's too much horse for you to handle at the place you are in your riding career, and you need to hand him over to someone better. If she hasn't, then tell her that you'd like to see how she handles him....sometimes watching how someone does something rather than just hearing it allows for the proper perspective so you can apply it the same way.
 

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Usually, things like what I do with Rocky are for horses who are more sensitive through the seat and react to balance, because I always stiffen my body, which he knows that I stop moving with him, so he will stop. But what I do when Rocky blows through my aids are a series of transitions. Like when I ask him to canter, and he just trots faster, I will do this:

Halt, trot, halt, walk, trot, halt, walk, trot, halt, walk, canter. (or something like that, ending with a walk to canter departure.)

(Each time I trot is only a couple steps.) Going from the walk to the canter is also for horses who are more trained in the hind end too, which may not work for your horse. So you will want to end with a halt, to trot, to canter. This gets horses to respond to your aids, and actually listen to you. After you do this a couple times, your horse is most likely to start listening to you when you tell him to halt.

Make sure that you keep your leg on the horse's side when you do this too. It may sound crazy, but it picks them up, and you litterally push them to the halt. It takes several times for them to learn that when you kick to the halt, that they should lift up their front end and actually stop. Since doing excercises like this for a number of weeks, Rocky halts better when I kick him into, as opposed to doing nothing, but just stopping dead.

I hope this helps!
 

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There is another thread titled How to stop a horse that won't listen. or something like that. Read that thread and you should get an idea of where to start.
 

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OK Angel,
I am up for the challenge here!

There are a bunch of ways to get the job done and I will give you one of the tools that I like to use with the tough one's.

A horse is not going to stop worth beans unless you can get them rocking back on their hind end and so the idea has to get into their hind end to rock back or you are just wasting your arms pulling and that is pretty tough on a 14yo girl.

Then everyone starts talking about bits and how the bit is going to change your world.

I have some pictures of a horse that is 18yo and has NEVER HAD A STOP in his life and came in to be worked with a few months ago.
He pushed his way through any bit in his mouth and just had no idea of what back was.
He has been pushing his whole life and getting away with it.
Pictures next!
 

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I posted the below in the thread Kevin was talking about, it works really well and really fast:

practice walking, then stopping. Use your seat first, then voice, then rein. only do walking. Walk 5 steps, then stop. Also, practice slowing and speeding up her gaits. (starting with the walk) do 5 steps extended walk, 5 steps collected, then halt. Switch up the numbers of steps, too. (4 steps, halt. then 7 steps and halt etc) until she is absolutely PERFECT at halting at the walk. then do all this at a trot.
practice collected walk for a few steps, then extended trot then halt. then extended walk to collected trot then halt. etc etc. mix it up! practice all this, going no faster than a trot, until she stops PERFECTLY.
Once she stops absolutely perfectly at the walk, do all this at the canter. If she doesnt stop, go back to the trot, repeat the halting exercise again, then try the canter again. It will work, you have to be patient.

Also, try the one reined stop in times of emergency!!
 

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The horse that I will show you here is a real hard case.
He came here 8 months ago and the current owner and I were able to track 6 owners prior to her in 4 years time.
He had many other owners and the papers have long since been thrown away because he has been on the kill truck so many times that he has a first class seat.
The horse has been Pat Parellied,CA,John Lyons,Gymkahana,charroed,cowboyed,smacked,popped,whipped, and just plain beat with a board.
The horse kicked,bit,reared,and bolted.
The horse is covered with scars and old injuries.
The horse has had more back yard trainers than I will ever know.

He is learning to stop and back up!

Build a foundation for the stop.
Teach the horse to roll back on the hind end and lightly respond to the stop cue.
Listen to the horse.







 

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The only thing that hadn't been tried was horsemanship. Looks like that's what worked.
 

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When your applying your pressure to reverse from the ground are you pulling equally on both long lines, straight back - or are you alternating side to side?

Sorry if this a dumb question!

If it is straight back it would be a consistent pull, let up as soon as the horse stops leaning into it and indicates a willingness to go back- yes?
 

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When your applying your pressure to reverse from the ground are you pulling equally on both long lines, straight back - or are you alternating side to side?

Sorry if this a dumb question!

If it is straight back it would be a consistent pull, let up as soon as the horse stops leaning into it and indicates a willingness to go back- yes?
It is actually a very good question kiwigirl.

As the horse begins the step you can feel a release on that side of the horse and you kind of go with it.
After the step is finishing you add a little pull to the other side and the horse release to that side.
It might look like it is a see saw back a forth action but it feels a bit different.
It is a left and right release as the horse steps if that makes any sense.
 

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Ok, awesome.

So I'm guessing you will practice this from the ground until backing and halting are fluid and soft. So then when you do get into the saddle you would then use the same 'see-saw' (I know what you mean) motion? Or does it change when a bit comes into play?
 

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Ok, awesome.

So I'm guessing you will practice this from the ground until backing and halting are fluid and soft. So then when you do get into the saddle you would then use the same 'see-saw' (I know what you mean) motion? Or does it change when a bit comes into play?
Where I think a lot of folks get off track with early training is that they are pretty good riders and so they have been coached to have a pretty good form when riding.
In other words the horse has less experience than the rider is with the cue.
Now the horse knows how to be a horse pretty good and he also knows how to move pretty good from running around in the pasture.
He just does not know what that cue means.

In the beginning the Handler and rider have to kind of exaggerate the cue and balance to help the horse learn what they mean and as the training goes on that cue is refined to where the horse is.

To answer your question,I try to ask in a way that the horse will understand and get the idea of what I am wanting him to do.
I always try to build on what I have asked in the past and so I this case I would kind of stack the deck so he can get the idea even better.

When a horse is having a REAL tough time getting the idea,I do alley or chute work.
A chute is made out of a couple of panels and is wide enough so as not to bang the riders knees.
The horse is led through in both directions and then mounted like this.
Now after the horse is very comfortable(days,weeks,whatever)one end is closed off.
Ride the horse in and just sit there until you feel the horse wanting to go back.
when that moment comes add the cue and encourage.



Some horses need to really go left,right ,left,right when backing up and what I mean by that is that they just don't get the idea of back being one movement.
They kind of see it as two movements or more and the handler starts by just getting a left foot only.
Then the handler wants the right foot only and that is the back and forth that you are talking about.

To get a good stop,then ride the horse forward to the backup.
 

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Brilliant, Marecare. I have taught my mare to back up using an alternating side method. I draw back to my hip with left hand and push on with my right leg set slightly back, when I start it is with an exagerated movement. So initially we start with one foot at a time, once Phoenix got the concept of going backwards my action becomes more refined. I am not sure if this is a correct way of backing a horse but it works for me.

Stopping at the moment is not so good as Phoenix does like to keep moving forward. When I say that though I mean that rather than an instant stop and a nice stand still the best way I can describe it is that she 'idles' rather like a very powerful car at a set of lights. So she does stop but with very bad grace, head tossing and pulling on the bit and when made to stand still she shuffles and fidgets. I have been spending more time just standing in one place with dropped reins when she really fusses and that is helping.

I am thinking about doing some stop training from the ground with long reins (which I have never used in my life) Having seen your pics I can see the application working very well. What do you think? Phoenix is a very placid animal and tends to be unflappable if I end up with leads tangled around her legs she isn't the sort to care. I guess I have to start somewhere.
 

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Brilliant, Marecare. I have taught my mare to back up using an alternating side method. I draw back to my hip with left hand and push on with my right leg set slightly back, when I start it is with an exagerated movement. So initially we start with one foot at a time, once Phoenix got the concept of going backwards my action becomes more refined. I am not sure if this is a correct way of backing a horse but it works for me.

Stopping at the moment is not so good as Phoenix does like to keep moving forward. When I say that though I mean that rather than an instant stop and a nice stand still the best way I can describe it is that she 'idles' rather like a very powerful car at a set of lights. So she does stop but with very bad grace, head tossing and pulling on the bit and when made to stand still she shuffles and fidgets. I have been spending more time just standing in one place with dropped reins when she really fusses and that is helping.

I am thinking about doing some stop training from the ground with long reins (which I have never used in my life) Having seen your pics I can see the application working very well. What do you think? Phoenix is a very placid animal and tends to be unflappable if I end up with leads tangled around her legs she isn't the sort to care. I guess I have to start somewhere.

Yes,That is true.
You do have to start somewhere and maybe a single line and then advance to the double line.
It sounds like you are doing a fine job and just continue what you are working on.
As the cue becomes something that your horse is looking for,then you keep refining it it the level that YOU are at as a rider.

As you change through the years and become a better and better rider you bring more to the horse and refine the cue all along the way.

Horses really like it when we become better at riding.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you everyone for your responses! Gosh, I didn't expect to get this much feedback during the last several hours. One person commented saying that Cody might be too much of a horse for me. That is not the case in this situation, he is a defiant pony. What REALLY scares me is this is his example of listening BETTER to me then anyone else. Cody is even worse for my trainer and the other boarders who have attempted to ride him. I am determined and not the type of person who is going to give up on him by any stretch of the imagination. We've made it too far. Some of you weren't "clear" as to what I meant by transitioning from left rein, right rein, left rein to confuse him. That's alright, I'll try to explain it better.

It is sort of like a "seesawing" motion, back and forth using both reins. This also gets him to set his head as well as slowing him down. However, what does it mean when he CONTINUOUSLY YANKS his head down, and up, but mostly down. Everything is perfect, not too tight, not too loose, and my aids are wonderful. He just seems very stubborn!

Gahhh! I love this pony! :p Help?
 

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I was just saying that I have similar sort of issue with my horse, she also does the head nodding and she is a fidget. I was discussing reteaching the halt from the ground with Marecare. I know the reason Phoenix does what she does is because when I broke her in I was so entranced with her lovely forward motion and awesome riding that I kind of skimmed over some very fundermental lessons. I am going to go back and redress the subject with Phoenix because it is not a problem to the level of your little guy but I know that if I don't fix my mistake it will become a major problem.

Maybe you could think of doing the same, you said that your aids are perfect and you are doing everything exactly right so it is the horses problem. Maybe he doesn't understand the language you are speaking and going back to fundermental ground work ie stopping, backing, could get you both speaking the same language.
 

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It is sort of like a "seesawing" motion, back and forth using both reins. This also gets him to set his head as well as slowing him down. However, what does it mean when he CONTINUOUSLY YANKS his head down, and up, but mostly down. Everything is perfect, not too tight, not too loose, and my aids are wonderful. He just seems very stubborn!

Gahhh! I love this pony! :p Help?
You may think that your aids are wonderful but I'll bet your pony disagrees. Horses aren't just stubborn. If you were making it easy for him to do what you want he would do it. It sounds to me like he is searching for the release of pressure but he's not finding it. If you came to me for lessons on this pony I would tell you to quit the see sawing and use steady, light pressure and then release completely as soon as the horse stops.
 

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A good Whoa is the result of Backin up!! First get the cues down-- Sit down and crunch your bellly, feet forward and say Whoa. Reinforce with the reins only after he ignores the first set of cues--never pull with both reins-thats what makes a horse rear up--see saw the reins. Wiggle your toes and keep the pressure with your seat bones means back up. Work with him to stop and back up--RIGHT NOW. Pretty soon stopping is easy
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Cody is an extremely confusing animal. He adores me, and it is so apparent if you've ever seen us. He is completely NOT tolerant of anybody else, but he loves me. I don't mean to sound "bragging", just providing information. We have a very close relationship, and I don't believe he wants to do anything to INTENTIONALLY "harm" me. Cody is a doll and has NEVER reared up on me, although he does have a major bucking problem when he gets "too antsy" or "too excited." I can stay on during his "bucking fits", but I've never been reared up on. The only time I've EVER seen him rear is when he was getting picked on in the pasture by a MUCH bigger horse. He has all these nasty marks and bites. BUT my trainer won't let me move him to a different pasture, poor Cody. He is just trying to defend himself. Cody is like 14.3hh, and Toby (the horse who bullies him) is about 16.3hh...I do see saw the reins as opposed to flat out pulling, he is sooo very sensitive in his mouth. Cody is an angel, and I LOVE the horse to death but he is going to be the cause of MY DEATH. Gahh!
 

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OK, so obviously you just like to see your own writing. You have disregarded every piece of advice you have recieved and defend your horses crap behaviour - good luck!
 
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