Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Training Tip: Slow him down

It’s all to do with the breed, but just like TBs, Standardbreds tend to have the same need for speed ~ at least my fellow does!  When I put Copper into a canter, he tends to race around like a mindless idiot, not paying the slightest bit of attention to me.  Hello!  I’m the rider here! 

If you have the same problem as me with your pony or horse, you can try this neat little trick for getting their attention and asking them to soften.  Working on a 20 meter circle, you use your rein aid to ask your horse to flex out {i.e., move his head a little to the outside} while keeping your legs in the same position, that is, the inside leg on the girth and the outside leg behind the girth.

You ask them to do this for two or three strides {either in walk, trot or canter} alternating sides.  For example, I am working on the left rein.  I ask Copper to flex in by applying my inside leg and rein.   I hold him like that for a count of three, then apply my outside leg and rein to cause him to move his head {from the poll} out.  I only want to see a little bit of his eye when I ask him to flex out or his body will come off the 20 meter circle and he will lose the flexion. 

This flexing technique works marvellously at getting his attention when cantering ~ it’s not too hard that he can’t do it even though he’s only just beginning his canter work, but it’s just enough to get him thinking and slowing down.

Trouble Shooting:  If you are only using a tiny bit of rein and your horse is still trying to peel off the circle when you ask him to flex out, try asking him to flex out when you are going past the wall side of the arena.  He will have no where to go, so he should get the picture!

See ya!


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