"Defensive Riding School". Part 2.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Wednesday, August 2, 2023 07:35 PM
In the first part we discussed necessary qualities of a rider to handle spooks/disobediences. In this part we will talk about a few things it is important to teach to your horse in order to make it easier to handle spooks, bolts, etc.
A few common sense rules are:
- The better your horse is trained the easier it is to handle spooks and unruly behavior. The better and more reliable your horse listens to your aids the better chance he will do it in a difficult moment. - The more you gradually expose your horse to unusual, frightening things the better he will be and will spook less. So, do not tip toe around your horse, do not ride him in ideal, calm environment all the time, welcome small challenges and take small steps to build yours and your horse's confidence. On the other hand, avoid techniques that overface your horse with fear and anxiety.
- Remember, a horse must learn how to behave in the human world, he doesn't know! It is a trainer/handler/rider's job to educate a horse step by step.
Turn on the forehand in motion - As a polished, rhythmical, fluid movement it is a suppling, very useful and beautiful exercise. I love it! It teaches a horse to yield to same side rein and leg (lateral aids)which is very important educational step in a training of a young horse. Plus a good warm up or come back exercise for a more trained horse. It also teaches a horse to "yield" mentally.
When a horse has learned the movement in a calm, controlled environment and knows it well it becomes a tool that can be used in a difficult moment when enforcement of the obedience is necessary. The beauty of it that it gives a horse a sense of space/movement allowance into one direction. Meaning - a horse does not feel trapped. It also cancels horse's ability to push off the ground into bolt/buck/rear, etc. Cowboys call it disengagement of the haunches. Every horse that I train either mine or not ends up knowing this movement which I teach first from the ground and then finish in the saddle. I never start it from a halt and I ask for a fairly large turn at first like a small circle. Almost on a spot it becomes much later only under saddle as a very refined version.
Obedience enforcement During a heat of a difficult moment pick a side that your horse yields better from or you can ask quickly with good coordination. Your actions will be quick and very assertive, they will NOT be nice aids. You must NOT lose time. The earlier you sense incoming disobedience the less you have to do to create yielding and turning. However, you may need to act big and hard. Pull up toward yourself fast and kick with the same leg making your horse to spin into a circle where legs end step sideways outward. Be prepared to yield a bit and ask again. If you happen to have a whip use it, it taps the haunches which encourages the yielding. The horse's neck may end up bent quite a bit, do not oppose that with the other rein, just keep it connected not dropped. Do not spin the horse for long. You want to give him a way out as soon as possible. When he is turning and giving to the bit, stop asking. You can always ask again. Just be ready for it.
Happy riding...
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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