Horse Problems Australia,
Post Office Box 89,
Surrey Downs, SA. 5126.
PH. (61) 0882515250

 

MAKING A HORSE STAND

BY John O'Leary
Horseman

ã1995


How many times have you been to a hack show and watched the finalists in the line up. I thought they were supposed to be lined up for the judge and to remain stationary, but a lot of them keep doing little walk around circles, normally while the judge isn't looking.

WHY DO THEY DO IT?

1.      They do it because they know their horse will play up if told no.

2.      They know their training is not established enough to say no.

3.      They don't know how to make a horse stand still without having a fight.

If you establish the halt on horses when they are young or being broken in, it is there forever. You just have to re-enforce it in your daily riding to keep it solid.

THEN HOW SHOULD YOU DO IT?

Natural horsemanship of course. Dare yourself to rise above what is normal. Stop fighting with horses. Learn to make them fight with themselves. Turn yourself into a bystander, not a participant.

HOW DO NORMAL PEOPLE DO IT?

·         When the horse goes to move, they grab onto the reins tighter in an effort to stop the horse from moving.

·         This is precisely what the horse wants…. a fight, because the horse always wins those.

·         The rider pulls on the reins the horse pulls back.

·         Force meets force.

·         The horse is stronger and we are weaker.

The horse still won't stand and no one in the world can make one stand by grabbing onto its mouth. The classic example of the failure of this principal is the horse that “Jig Jogs” No amount of fighting with the horse’s mouth will stop this bad habit and the same goes with making a horse stand.

THEN HOW DO WE DO IT?

·         The rider in the above example does one thing differently to the NATURAL HORSEMAN

THEY PULL ON THE HORSES MOUTH WITH BOTH REINS IN CASE HE MOVES

·         What does the NATURAL HORSEMAN DO?

HE GIVES A LOOPY REIN AND SAYS, "I dare you to do it again."

Now before I explain, I find that the vast majority of horses are not broken in with good enough lateral mouths. You may find that simply because you ask for flexion at the halt. Horses with poor lateral mouths will think you wan them to walk around in circles and that is precisely what they will do. Some of them with a degree of panic even. Do not worry about it. You will be re-training the horse to stand and flex without moving. One of the most important pre-requisites of a well trained horse.

So how do we train our horse in this way?

1.                  Give your horse a loopy rein with no contact at all. Remember that's what it wants.

2.                  The horse will move as usual (Bugger)

3.                  Flex the horse around to your boot with one rein and make sure the other rein is loopy otherwise you are pulling on both sides of his mouth again, meaning you are pulling on both sides of the mouth like most people.

4.                  What will the horse do? He will walk around in tight circles of course. Never ending going nowhere circles on the spot. The kind of thing the horse soon works out it would rather not do because it is an uncomfortable place to be.

5.                  You must have no leg on. You mustn't because you want the horse to stand not move. To not confuse it.  So no legs.

6.                  Will the horse get tired to walking around in circles, of course and it won't take long. It works with every horse providing you follow the rules. Passive persistence gets you everything.

7.                  GET READY HERE IS THE IMPORTANT BIT!

8                    The moment and I mean the moment, split second, 1/100th of a second that you

see that the horse is about to stop, you must release the horse’s head and have no contact on its mouth at all. Remember, "I dare you to move again" Your reins must have an obvious loop in them. You must not be able to feel the mouth.

9                    Will the horse move? Of course it will, so repeat the same measure.

10                The horse will get sick of it within a week and all it will want to do is stand.

11                As the horse gets better and better, you can decrease the amount you flex it each time unless it needs a reminder until such time as all you will have to do is threaten it with a slight tug on one rein when you feel the horse go to move and it will not be game.

You may say what ha all of this got to do with us English riders. Everything, because if you can make your horse stand at home and when you don't have to be "On he Bit" you will then be able to make your horse stand when "On the Bit" like presenting to the Judge at X in the dressage test or in the line up at the Hack Show.

BEST OF LUCK