Jene and Casino!
Well, Casino headed home with his owner Jene yesterday. We took a little ride together, Jene on her horse Raffii and me on Casino. We had a good time and Jene got to see how Casino travels under saddle. I think that they are going to make a great team. We will miss them around here.
Back to targeting your arena. I use the arena to teach a horse to stop. There are some thing I do early in a horses training that make teach the stop much easier. We can talk about those things some other time if you like.
We will be working on circles at a walk, at first, then a trot and then a canter as the horse improves in his control skills. Once I have worked with a horse awhile I will target a spot in the arena to work on the stop. By this time the horse is ready for a little break in the program. So when I approach the spot in the arena that I’m going to use to teach this skill, I will put my feet and legs forward, take a deep seat and say the magic word, Wooooaaaa! Usually at a walk at first. If I have done my groundwork and flexing work to the point that the horse understands what is expect of him he will probably stop. What do I do if he doesn’t stop? Good question.
I will flex him into a circle and have him do 1 or 2 circles one direction and then target that same spot in the arena using the same sequence as before. It will not take him long to figure out what I want. Once the horse stops at the targeted spot, I will let him rest, giving him lots of rubs and “good boys”.
I will not ask the horse to do anything else in that spot of the arena, only stop. He will start to associate rest, or a stop, with that area of the arena. So use that to your advantage. You can continue to work on other skills, but when it’s time to let him rest, ride him to that spot in the arena, put your feet forward, take a deep seat and say the magic word. You will find that he will learn to stop harder and harder, getting his hind legs up underneath himself so he will be balanced when he stops. Once he understands this concept of stopping at a spot, he will learn what the cues mean and will stop any place you ask him to, and you will be able to do it with out pulling on your horse’s mouth.
Try it and see what you think.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.