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My dad has sent one of his horses off for training about a month ago. Today I was told the trainer (not a proffessional) was teaching the horse to stop when the rider squeezes with their knees. I was really confused, I've always been told that's a huge no-no. Someone has said it blocks the horse's movement so it's something they teach school horses.
Does anybody know what benefits there may be for teaching this over simply sitting low in your seat? I want to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Info: The horse it being trained english in an english saddle, and will be ridden by a newbie
 

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That's a new one. I have never heard of training to stop that way.

With cutting horses, we always trained the stop with getting your legs totally out of the horse. And in time, you can train them to stop and back up with the same leg release.

But getting your knees into the horse to stop, not one I would train for.

Perhaps it's done differently with english disciplines. Its not what I ride.
 
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I ride English and I have never heard that. I've heard all kinds of different ways people stop horses, but that makes no sense to me, given that typically a light squeeze is a cue to move. I think this would be a particularly bad idea for a horse that's going to be ridden by a beginner -- confusion for both parties, and then probably aggravation also.
 
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Putting on any contact with any part of the leg and putting any tenseness in your body is usually a signal to "do more", so this confuses me. And I also agree if a beginner is going to be riding them their first instinct is to squeeze and tense once a horse begins going faster so this would just make it so every time they ask the horse to go they'll likely also be telling them to stop the next second (or perhaps even at the same time). Frustration all around. I've really never heard of this as a cue.
 

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Given how much saddle there is between your knees and the horse, it would be hard to put enough pressure there to signal anything at all.

In English riding the correct way to bring a trained horse to a balanced halt is to ride the horse into a light resisting hand.
You sit up and you sit down/deep in the saddle
Your lower legs should be on or just behind the girth, lightly asking the horse to step forward into a restraining hand that could be likened to a wall made out of foam, not concrete, rather than the rider hauling back on the horses mouth/head.
Leg pressure is removed as soon as the horse steps into the halt.

No knees involved!
 

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I have heard if it, seen people ride it and I’ve trained my mare to do it.

The idea is to eventually turn it into a half halt. That way it leaves your hands steady, you don’t half halt with the reins. To half-halt, you encourage the horse with your seat but contain the energy with your knees. It works exactly the same as a half halt. It works the best in canter because you drive with your seat on the upward motion and squeeze your knees at the top of the motion. If you are busy telling your horse something else with the reins you don’t interrupt that conversation for a half halt. Obviously, you can only do this if you have an independent seat but a horse which knows to stop from a knee squeeze is easier to half-halt like that.

I don’t think it’s necessary for a recreational rider, it was just something fun to do with my mare. It’s very easy to teach, just squeeze your knees every time before you stop them with the reins, the catch on really fast for this. And then gradually try to half-halt like that.

(I sound like a really accomplished rider from this post, I can assure you I am not. This is a really easy thing to do for anyone with an independent seat)
 

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You know how I learned this? My little QH horse taught it to me! I thought it was kind of cool. But it takes careful riding on my part (being a knee-clincher at times.) I started her so it was not something anyone taught her, just a natural response.
 

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Maybe it's a "spur stop" type training. One of mine has been trained to stop and even slow with spur pressure. Maybe the knees are kind of the same type of thing? Those extra buttons are neat when done correctly but they really make a horse hard to ride for people that don't know those buttons...
 
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I haven't heard that one. But it seems horses can be trained to a lot of different cues. I've worked with riders that had a disability or two. Sometimes we had to figure out what they could do and then figure out how those things could be turned into cues for a horse.

An old habit I have is standing up, at least getting my hip pockets off the seat, when I'm wanting the horse to stop. Old racetracker habit. They seem to adjust to my ways okay.

Right now I have a horse that I bought knowing he was horrible at stopping. For some reason he does well if I just put my hand on his neck, on the mane, right in front of the saddle. A couple weeks ago I did it unintentionally while looking back at some cows I'd passed. He stopped hard. 😄
 

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@boots I remember a friend of mine had a horse with a button like that. You put your hand right at the withers and he stopped. It's really neat when they put the buttons on and things work but it's hard when you don't know the buttons are there! LOL
 

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I use what I think is called a “spur stop”, but I put my feet forward to stop and back up. It used to be common, because it’s easy to teach from the ground before you ever get on a horse, and then it turn into being able to stop with a light forward leg.

In reining, and likely other disciplines, a foot in front of the cinch is a dq, so it has come out of practice. I still do it though, because I find it simple and successful. Plus, you are aware of where your judge is… I personally haven’t found a horse where I had to put my feet too far forward after any time at all, and it just gives that seat pressure anyways. It is a nice way to brace your legs in a hard stop, even when you don’t pass the cinch. Just putting weight into the stirrups and sitting down stops any of mine originally trained with legs forward.
 

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I once read that at least some cavalry riders were taught to slow a horse by squeezing the knees and interfering with the movement of the horse's shoulders.

People have trained horses to respond to a wide variety of cues. Some cues seem to elicit a natural response from the horse. Others are developed through methods that reward a horse for responding as desired or punish the horse for not responding as desired. When introduced to new training techniques, think of how useful they can be. Think also of the kind of relationship you want with your horse.
 

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Ive never heard of that but we train ours to stop when we push our stirrups forward and in toward the shoulder
This is very helpful to me. My ranch horse is trained for this and I haven't been able to figure it out exactly. This simple explanation was so helpful. Thanks!
 

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This is very helpful to me. My ranch horse is trained for this and I haven't been able to figure it out exactly. This simple explanation was so helpful. Thanks!
If he is trained to do that, he may also be trained to back up off a similar motion. As your feet are pushed forward and in toward his shoulder (for the stop) move them them away from the shoulder and back toward the shoulder (like you are flapping your feet) while applying light bridle pressure. This is a common "back up" for ranch horses so your hands are mostly free for roping
 

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When I switched to riding with my dressage coach we talked about the difference in applying aids to slow/stop. I had to learn to 'close my legs' versus what I was doing before, which was resist with my seat/core. All those variations sound interesting and I guess the horse can learn different cues as seen fit.
 

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One horse I had when I was training him to stop, I had a lot of back problems/pain and fast stops from a lope were really bad for me so I got in the habit of resting a hand on his wither before asking for the stop and he learned to stop with just a touch on his wither. Goes to show a horse can learn a cue that isn't usual but is consistent.
when I ask a horse to stop I do want him to be balanced and not fall forward onto his shoulders and front end so I will sit deep and encourage the horse forward with my leg until the horse meets the resistance of the bit, I don't try to pull just stop giving and the horse will come to a stop, hopefully a nice balanced stop.
I'm not sure if this is what the instructor was trying to explain when they said to use the knees.
 
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