Horse Training: Teaching a Horse to Stop, provided by eXtension

Uploaded by eXHorses on 24.08.2009

The next thing we want to talk about is the stop.
We want the horse to be able to stop in rhythm and in balance, again, it's an extension of the back up.
If we've got a horse that flows, and we've done our one-rein exercise, pulling his nose around to the side,
getting him to move and relax. We need to have this horse flowing, and then when we ask for a stop,
all we do is have him going forward, we pick up on our reins, and ask him to step back.
The stop is as simple as asking the transition from forward to back, so we walk and/or trot this horse around,
and just take a light hold. Now when we stop, we don't jerk on the horse,
we just take a light hold, and get him to step backwards.
The stepping backward is what improves the stop. So we're asking this horse to stop
by simply putting a little bit of pressure on his face, we don't tell him to stop.
So we ask him, quietly,
(Whoa) and get him to step back.
Normally we think in terms of three steps to stop. We're going to sit back,
in our body position, in a walk it's not a problem, but at a trot and lope it is. Sit back,
say "whoa" and then pick up. So the horse starts keying in on our body position and our rhythm.
Alright, so we're going to go through that procedure.
We're going to set back, (Whoa), and pick up, and let the horse come back to a nice, soft stop and back him up.
Now, if the horse pulls on our hands and does not stop well, what we're going to do is take hold of his face, use our legs
back him up a little harder as a punishment. That's what makes him want to stop a little bit harder.
So when we come up and we ask for that stop, he starts thinking about getting in the ground and backing up.
So there is where our softness is going to come from. Remember, sit down, say whoa, pick up with your hand, and ask the horse to stop.
Alright, the horse was anticipating the stop a little bit, but just let that horse find the stop.
We're going to ask Cleve to lope around here a little bit, or trot,
the young horse, and try to stop, and ultimately you'll get a chance to see a horse that maybe doesn't stop quite as well
and we're going to back him up to try to soften him up, and get him to improve a little bit on his stop.
Now this is a young horse, he's kind of flowing around, hunting his place,
he'll take hold of him, and he just kinda of drops a little bit on his front end,
and we back him up until he softens up and then release.
Alright, turn him around and go the other way.
Ask him to move again, this young horse is still finding his way,
so he's not quite square on his circles,
and then we'll ask him to stop.
and he gathers up reasonably well, gives us his nose, backs up and starts getting soft.
It will just keep getting better and better as he moves along. Now, when we get to the advanced stages,
we're going to ask the horse to move a little faster and stop a little harder,
and at advanced stages, (Whoa) we expect the horse to come up under himself a little bit more
and again, as soon as that horse stops, I released all pressure.
Now if that horse had not stopped well, I would have backed her up and made her soften up just a little bit more.
If the horse stops pretty well, we'll turn her loose,
Now, she didn't stop quite as well that time, but I don't want to get stiff on her front end, so I let her loose then backed her up,
just keep softening her up, let that stop happen. Again, we're not jerking the horse to make them stop,
just take hold of them and let them find it in that rhythm.
If they find that rhythm, they'll get better and better. If they have a natural aptitude for it then they'll keep getting better at it.
So we've got the back up and the stop, those are the basic principles of getting a horse light
and a horse where they'll give there face. Ultimately, the back up, see this horse is really giving her face,
ultimately when they're really soft, and don't want to take hold of us, then we can take hold of their face, squeeze with our legs
and start driving them up into the bit.
So we can start bridling them up a little bit, and getting them soft in that face so we get vertical flexion.
Now part of that is a result of the lateral flexion that we have developed over a period of time, taking the nose around
one way and then the other, but the other part of it is the backing up has given them, they've found where the release of pressure is,
and they give their face down to that release of pressure, and don't want that pressure, so then we can push them up
with our legs, push them up in there and start getting them to bridle up for us a little bit,
and get the headset that we typically see at a lot of the horse shows.
Now, in all of this, we don't just work on maneuvers, we've got to work on flow, so we want the horse to go forward
and relax, to get quiet, and responsive, so we're going to do this at a walk, trot, and lope, do a lot of circles,
a lot of straight lines until the horse will really listen to us.
If the horse will give us his face, will give us his feet, get relaxed, we get a good back up,
get a good stop, then we are safe. We can go on the trail, or we could go wherever. We know we can stop our horse
we can back him up, and we can get him out of trouble if we need to.