HIDEAWAY TRAINING TIP
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You are loping your horse around the arena or on an
open trail and he starts going faster and faster. He doesn't respond well
to your efforts to slow him down. When you pull back on the reins, he
tosses his head around and keeps going. Or worse, maybe he starts bucking.
You find that you don't even want to start a lope for fear that the horse
will run. Any of this sound familiar???? OK, time to get things under
control. We are going to to this by using a little reverse psychology
on the horse. You will need to take the horse to an arena or large round
pen (60' or larger) and be prepared to spend a couple hours working with
In the arena, climb up on your saddled horse and warm
him up with a few exercises that will get his attention focused on you
as well as warming his muscles. Walk a few steps forward and stop. Back
a few steps and stop. Move off a few steps to the left and stop. Back
a few steps and stop. Move off a few steps to the right and stop. Back
a few steps and stop. Repeat a few times.
Now comes the fun part. We are going to start loping our horse around the arena and when he starts to speed up, we are going to urge him to go even faster instead of trying to get him to slow down. As he speeds up, bump him with your heels to speed him up even more. Now ride it out and be patient. Eventually the horse will tire and start to slow down. When he does, bump him again with your heels to make him speed up again. Now wait for him to start to slow down again and pull back gently on the reins asking him to slow to a trot. If he slows to the trot, keep him at the trot for a few minutes and slow to a walk until the horse catches his breath and relaxes. If he doesn't slow to the trot, bump him and speed him up again until he shows you that he wants to slow down. Then move down to the trot as noted above.
Do this exercise 10 or 15 times and your horse will
learn well that speeding up just gets him more work and more tired. This
is an excellent exercise for gaining your horses attention at speed (since
he will be looking for your cue to slow down) and the start of good gait/speed
This works because the horse is basically a lazy animal
and left to themselves, they would never do more than walk. Because they
are prey animals, they have great flight ability and speed, but only for
very short distance and time. We can use this and other knowledge about
horses to our advantage in training. We don't need violence or pain to
get effective results from our equine friends and the result is mutual
respect and a wonderful relationship with this truly magnificent animal. Remember
to praise and pet your horse often when he does well. We want to give
him every incentive to work with us to achieve the right results.
For safety sake, never do speed work alone in the arena or round pen, make sure you have good footing and don't tackle things beyond your ability.
Also practice the lesson on Getting Your Horse's Attention.
Learning a good whoa at slow speed is a very good start at getting a good
whoa at high speed.