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

October 27, 2019


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.

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  1. I really do love all the videos you guys have posted. So wonderfully simple and well explained! Thank you so much! I think ti'd be fun if you did a trick series or a lateral movements series 😛

  2. @birdiechief67 if i was u try putting her in the round pin… work with ur horse at the walk and teach her to stop when u say whoa or whatever word u use to stop it… once she listens at the walk go on and try it at the trot than lopping around… or try looking for a guy named Bob Avila's videos he is a great techer. good luck.

  3. i've recently started leasing a top-notch reining horse, and while my friend can get her to do spins i havent figured out how to ask for it correctly yet. i've tried using as little bit as possible (as she is veryyy sensitive in the mouth) and plenty of leg, and even more bit and leg but i've had no such luck. her movement just doesn't flow with me! any suggestions?

  4. @TrooperMine Sorry I didn't make this video, but maybe I can help?

    I cue for the spin by starting it with the rein for about two steps (No more than three steps on just rein) and then I lightly engage my leg, and use my voice by clucking.

    Have you checked out Larry Trocha's videos on spinning? He has three videos on teaching your horse to spin and has a lot of good information on rider errors. Unfortunately, without seeing you, I can't tell exactly what you're doing :/ Good luck!

  5. Again thanks for making some good riding on here. Though it looks like other fella had a ways to go, refreshing to see someone be as light with their hands as Mr. Depew. Everybody can learn something from this! Sincerely, Red Horse Equine Arts

  6. if I may suggest some things that worked for me. try ground driving with a low level bit like a snaffle to sensitize them to the bit. or maybe switch to a hackamore that relies more on pressure points then force on the mouth. as for backing up what I did on my horse was, while on her back, I leaned forward enough for my legs to reach her chest and pushed back on her chest while pulling the reigns. that's at least what's worked for me

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