Make Your Horse Stop


Here’s a great riding tip: I won’t ask my horse to stop. I just quit riding. If he doesn’t stop then I go right back to work. I go right back to working on something I needed to work on. The more excited the horse is, the more important it is for you as a horse trainer to do this. You gotta work hard; you’ve got to pick up the reins, move the shoulders, soften that nose up, make something happen. You want to make sure that your aggressive, you’re assertive. You know what you’re doing and where you want to go.

As soon as the horse does something I don’t want him to do, I’m going to replace that action with what I want. I don’t discipline for what he did as much as, in my mind, think about replacing it with something I do want. If I don’t want my horse to stand here and paw, then I’m going to ask him to move. If he wants to fight with his head, then I’m going to wait for him to soften up. If he wants to paw, as soon as I feel him even think about laying down, I’m going to ask him to move.

When he decides he wants to stop, then I’m going to stand here and wait. But if he decides to move, I’m not going to stop him, I’m going to ask him to move do something else. I’ll become a more assertive trainer, I’ll ask more out of my horse. I can’t stress enough that, the more nervous, the more excited the horse is, the more important it is for you as a trainer to become more active. Put energy into it and make the horse sweat.

Make something happen. Don’t wait. Remember, your horse is learning a movement when he’s doing it wrong, not when he’s doing it right. That’s the funny part. It’s when he’s doing it wrong that he’s learning it. If you come out pick up the reins and the horse just accidentally stumbles upon what it is you wanted him to do, then the horse doesn’t really know what he did to that was right. But if he pulls for an hour, pulling up, pulling down, speeding up, slowing down, doing everything he can think of, then he finally finds, when I release, that he’s found the answer. What he’s learned is that all the mistakes he made are not the answer. The longer it takes, the better he’ll have learned it in the end.

 

 

Keith Hosman

Noted gadabout town and TV writer in his earlier years, Certified John Lyons Trainer Keith Hosman is the author of ten horse-training books published in four languages. He is based in San Antonio, TX and is available for clinics, lessons and training.

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