Post Office Box Victor Harbor
TRAINING THE HORSE TO STAND
This system works on every horse....providing you follow it to the millisecond.
How many times have you been to a hack show and watched the finalists in the line up. Now, 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. Although the failure to be able to make the horse halt has reached epidemic proportions allowing horses to have their own way has become an accepted thing now. The horses are not trained to stand and the owners' know it. So it's just like the parent in the Restaurant with the 'brat' of a child. They know that if they try to correct the kid in public they have no hope and so they surrender all control in return for the second worst scenario. So what is the answer for this horse?.
Preparation and training is the key and it should start with the very first ride by the breaker. It doesn't matter though, what age the horse is or how little training it has had. You can change them all and the key to this system is simply that you are making the good things easy and the bad things hard. Letting the horse work out what it prefers, which will be the good thing as you have designed it that way.
Getting back to the breaker or the young green horse for a bit. Every time you mount up, the most important thing you can do is to just sit there for a few minutes. Do nothing and if the horse tries to move, stop it. Do the training in the formative years of the young horse and it will be there forever. So why do people allow horses to fidget and walk off without permission? Especially in competition?
How do we train it then? 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?
The result of this is that the horse pulls against the rider who is also pulling. Force meets force. How can that make the horse stand. You cannot. The horse can run backwards, go sideways, do turns on the forehand, hind, rear, buck, traverse, you name it.
HOW DO HORSES THINK THEN?
If you bring your horse to a halt, the horse thinks that it is rest time, and it should be, but the rider sits there holding against the mouth of the horse with both reins. The hand brake is firmly on. Given the fact that in order for the horse to genuinely relax it must lower it's neck, how can it relax if we won't allow it to. The other thing that goes through the mind of the horse must be this. "For God's sake you idiot, let go my mouth, I am standing, why do you insist upon still pulling on my mouth and making life miserable?" In my opinion, the horse is right in thinking this way. (Read Upside Down Neck)
THE OATH OF PREPARATION
Incidentally, around 85% of all horses that I meet cannot flex around to my boot without thinking that they have to spin. They are not laterally flexible, they do not have good mouths and they definitely cannot flex whilst standing still. This is the ultimate sign of the god mouth.
In the end, the horse will go to sleep when you come to a halt. You will be sitting there making out you are a Cowboy, with loopy reins hanging down each side of the neck of the horse and in my case, I achieve that simply by placing my rein hand on the wither of the horse as I ride with both reins in one hand a lot of the time.
I can hear some English riders' thinking, "But what good is this to me as I have to halt on a contact" I can assure you that this system establishes the horse to the point where your halts in Dressage, Hacking or whatever other discipline you enter are always true and maintained. The fact that you are holding a contact on this occasion does not affect the horse detrimentally as it has enough Natural Horsemanship training on it to see it through the contact times.
So I guess I won't be watching and having a chuckle at you through the bino's at next years Royal.