HILL'S HORSEKEEPING NEWSLETTER
- Listen Up
This newsletter is a personal letter from
me to you, a fellow horse owner and enthusiast.
My goal is to answer some of
your questions and send you interesting stories
and helpful tips for your
horse care, training, and riding.
© 2005 Cherry Hill
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Longeing - Listen Up
frequent question I receive is how to get your horse's attention when longeing.
Here is an exercise from my book 101
Longeing and Lining Exercises that I hope you will find helpful.
STOP, LOOK & LISTEN
sure your horse has had a chance to warm up sufficiently before you teach him
to stop. He is usually warmed up when his topline lowers and he is showing signs
of relaxation. You will eventually want to stop a horse from any gait. First teach
him from a walk. Once he has stopped you want him to wait patiently and either
watch and listen to you for the next set of aids or stand at ease (Exercise 18).
First you want to teach him to stop, look, and listen. At first, just require
the horse to wait a few seconds and gradually build up his ability to stand for
longer periods. If you ask for a full minute the first time you will likely get
an explosive burst because with a young horse, the suspense will get to him and
he will act as if he will jump out of his skin if he has to stand still for one
moment longer (sound familiar mothers?).
a. The horse is moving
to the left at the walk. Your left arm is passive, either hanging at your side
or behind your back. Your right arm holds the whip in a following motion on the
horizontal to keep the horse moving forward.
b. To stop the
horse, rotate the whip behind you and lower it. Reach out with your left arm.
Either step to the left with your restraining foot (left) or toward the horse
and say whoa.
c. Once the horse has stopped, lower
your left arm and stand in a neutral position: whip behind you with the tip resting
on the ground, even weight on both feet, arms at your sides. At this point you
dont want to stare at the horses inside eye which could intimidate
him and cause movement. But you do want to make contact with him. If you connect
mentally, the horse will notice every nuance of movement. To connect mentally,
you need to concentrate and focus on the horse without thoughts of overpowering
him. You just want to communicate and get responses. To get the horse to look
at you, that is physically turn his ears or head slightly toward you, choose something
that comes naturally to you. I run my finger nail on the rough denim fabric of
my jeans and find that the horses ears usually point my way. That is all
I want. The conversation was: Hello, are you with me? Yes.
This will not work if there is a 35mph wind or the horse is preoccupied with a
group of galloping horses in the adjacent pasture. But it is your goal. It is
natural to want to use a horses name to get his attention however
I think it is best to save the horses name for calling him in from pasture
or speaking to him when I enter his pen or stall to catch him. I want him to associate
his name with coming to me. This is definitely NOT what I want in the longeing
situation. I want the horse to stay on the rail, body facing straight ahead, only
the head turning in at most. Other attention getters I have seen used: raised
hand or finger, hey, clicker in pocket, clearing throat, other noises.
A horse should not turn in off the circle track. If his forehand leaves the circle
like this horse, you have lost control of the horses body. Now you have
two things to do: you have to get the horse back into position and you have to
teach him to stop, look, and listen. Try to read the horse and prevent this. Often
just a step in his direction will thwart him. If you allow or encourage a horse
to face you too much, then he will be more likely to just turn in and come to
you. This bad habit is very hard to change especially if the horse has been rewarded
for coming to the center with a treat. Picture what could happen during long lining!
As they say in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"
/>Hollywood, Thats a wrap! Never teach your horse to come
to you in the center of the training pen. Never feed treats in association with
longeing or long lining.
SPOOKING OR SHYING
veering or jumping sideways at real or imagined things. Sometimes a horse will
veer in because he is spooking at something unfamiliar outside the pen. Take the
time to review in-hand work and build up your horse's confidence by working him
near and over obstacles. If he is playing or making up boogie men, use the techniques
outlined in Exercise 34.
- THE WORKING CANTER AND LOPE
very common plea for help is how properly ask for and ride a canter. Here is an
excerpt from Becoming
an Effective Rider on how to ask for a canter and Exercise 10 from 101
Arena Exercises that describes the canter (lope) and how to sit the canter.
for the canter or lope, right lead: