Monday, March 4, 2013

Stopping

I wanted to write a post about stopping.

I had a few people mention that their horses won't slide stop, or are bad at stopping when I talked about Pony doing a slide stop.

What I do to get better stops out of the horses I ride is super simple, gentle, and CRAZY effective.

The only horses I have really ever rode are super sensitive ones.  These are the ones that tend to be at my disposal, and since I have a laid back personality, I really get along with them well.  Most of these sensitive horses are also really hard mouthed, coming from being sensitive and in turn had years of people pulling on their mouths.

The first rule of any sensitive horse is body language and keeping your body relaxed.  Horses feed off of our bodies like crazy, and if we feel like they aren't stopping or slowing down fast enough and tense up, they will think that theres a reason to be tense and then they will stop being responsive.

The first step is to sit really deep in your seat, take a deep breath and think of pressing your heels down as far as they will go, and release leg pressure.

The second step is to close your fingers around the reins.  I usually don't have to use much rein to get them to stop if I have ridden them a few times, and they know what I am asking of them.  Be sure though, that you are using enough rein.  If they are slowing down and you have contact with them, thats enough rein.  If they keep running, first check your seat to be sure that you are relaxed and then pickup reins until they are listening.

The trick however, is to not release when they have stopped.

Continue with the SAME EXACT rein pressure (aka, do not pull in more reins!) until they have backed up after they stop.

Unless of course, they try to walk forward, in which case gently gain a little bit of contact until they understand what you are asking of them.

This drill will not work if you give them a release when they have stopped.

What it does is teach them that their release is behind them.  At first, release after a single backwards step.  Once they figure out what your asking, you can ask for a few steps.

This not only tells them that you really want them to stop, it also tells them how to stop, which is behind them, aka, on their rump.

If your horse has not been trained to really collect and get their booty underneath them, they will probably never have beautiful sliding stops.  However, I don't use this to get specifically sliding stops, I use this to work on stopping when I ask it.  And as I mentioned, I got a sliding stop from pony with NO REIN CONTACT.

They honestly figure this out super quickly, it is amazing.  I don't have her back up every time I stop.  I do it every few stops.  Sometimes from a walk, sometimes from a trot, sometimes a lope.  The biggest thing my trainer noticed was that when she stops, she is prepared for whatever I may ask of her next.

Of course, I'm not going to say that it works on every horse, because someone will tell me that their horse is special haha.  But of all the horses I have worked with this on, it works wonders.

I'm writing this post because I spent a long time searching the internet for ways to help me and my horse stop a year ago or so, and I finally found this method, but there were a lot of cruddy ways, and nothing that told me how or why anything worked.  I finally figured it out on my own.  It's important to me that I am not only telling my horse to stop, but also helping them understand how to stop!

As I have said, this has made the biggest difference in the world to a lot of horses I have rode, and also horses my friends have rode.  Most horses know how to stop nicely, this reminds them that you mean it, and reminds them how to do it effectively.

5 comments:

  1. Interesting post to read - thanks for the heads up! I'll have to try that with my gelding to see if he becomes lighter/more responsive :)

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    1. Please let me know if it works with him!

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  2. I actually have a Larry Trocha video where he says the exact same thing.

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    1. Yay! It really has made a huge difference in a lot of horses I've rode! Especially the speedy ones that usually don't like to stop!

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  3. I agree, we used to take tons of reining/basic riding lessons and she always said not to think of it as a stop, think of it as backing up and that made a huge difference. My cutting horse doesnt slide, but she still will stop with just me sitting down, no reins. But I still make her take a step or two back most of the time.

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