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xcanchaserchicx

Teaching A Horse To Effectively Use His Hind End

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I wanted to work on teaching my horse a good solid stop but came to realize obviously you can't teach him that if he doesn't use his hind end correctly! So, I have started lunging him with a surcingle and side reins. Yesterday he did absolutely amazing!!! At first he was trotting with his head high in the air but once I tightened the side reins it took him a few times with me saying "Relax...." and "Relax your neck..." every once in a while he really did come into the nicest frame I've ever seen him in. It almost brought tears to my eyes because he looked very graceful! But, I wanted to know when I'm not lunging him how can I teach him how to use his hind quarters effectively while riding him? I was thinking a german martingale? Then once we get him using his hindend, how do I go about getting a good solid stop.

I remember at this barn once I was lunging this lady's horse for her (since she asked) and I'm telling you when I told that horse 'whoa' he litterly planted his back feet into the dirt and whoaed. He even squared up when he relaxed, I was impressed!

Edited by xcanchaserchicx

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I'm not much of a hardware guy Rae when it comes to horse training. It believe if you are consistent and effective with your hands you can do a far better job of helping your horse find a good head carriage without also accidentally teaching them to lean on a piece of tack. So you want your horse to use his hind end? Do you have a decent verticle flextion? When you take up on two reins or one and then the other quickly, does your horse break quickly at his poll and soften to you hands? This is step one and to get to this place it's really best to start with asking with one rein for softness laterallly. But, I'm going to go right past this since I think you have been around a while. When you can ask for your horses' face and have that soft verticle give, now you can start asking the back of your horse to speed up and "run up to" the barrier you are creating with that verticle give. It's like this. Soften and come back to me. (Yielding at the poll) Now move your hind legs faster and come up under yourself. (collect) It isn't easy for a horse that isn't used to moving collected to stay in this frame so ask for it often but don't demand that they stay in it. You just have to start thinking about it in this way so that you can help your horse use his body in the best way for the exercises that he needs to perform, especially while carrying a rider.

Now, exercises to start using himself more is even easier. Do you regularly ask for hind quarter disengagements? Make a few laps and then rock back in your saddle and transfer that movement and energy into a backup straight from the turnaround. Backing up in general is very good for the hind end and you can also back up and down hills. Roll backs are wonderful for this too and do several things at once. Just make sure when you ask that you have the horse backing and actually ON his haunches before you send his head and shoulders around the pivot. You aren't asking for some kind of U turn, you want a pivot over and around those haunches. I like to use a fence ( a solid one ) to help encourage a horse to suck back and use his hind quarters to stop to obviously avoid hitting the fence. Just be sure to cue the stop before the horse is forced to stop himself.

I'm sure others will have some more for you but this is pretty much what I do.

William (historyrider)

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while I agree that a rollback may be used to teach a horse to use his hind end more effectively, I would respectfully like to refute Historyrider's description.

You would NOT use a hindend disengagement to prepare for a rollback. As I understand rollbacks, the progression works like this:

Soften your back, to signal for a whoa.

Whoa your horse.

Step the horse's front end around (rolling over the hocks)

When you have completed a 180 degree turn, resume forward motion.

Now, I'm sure that someone who competes at Reining may have a slightly more in depth description, but this should get you started.

To make all the parts fit together, you should have good body control over your horse. If you notice that he spins more like a bottle, you will need to go back to the drawing board and make sure your shoulder control and hip control is in place. If you don't have that....well, a roll back will not work for you at all.

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Please see the post on "Questions: Rollbacks" in answer of how to set up and execute a correct roll back.

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But...I'm not trying to teach him a roll back...yet :-) But you guys are saying that roll backs are the key to getting his hind end underneath him?

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Rollbacks are not the only way to get your horse's hind end engaged...but they are one way.

Martingales aren't going to fix the problem you are talking about.

First, is your horse physically fit? If he is not, you need to get him there.

Second, do you have good body control? ie, does he move his shoulders over, hips over, roll his ribcage away from leg pressure? does he flex laterally and vertically?

If he does all of that...you are so close to your goal!

I personally like to use this exercise:

At a working trot, I will cue for a whoa. Then I will back up a few steps, pivot and then trot off. Repeat. What this does is a few things. Number one, it gets the horse thinking "wow, my rider has gone crazy! I can't tell what she wants to do next...I'd better be prepared for anything!" That will make him start engaging his hindquarters, and being ready mentally to go wherever you send him.

You could also use half halts, and some dressage movements, but I'm not qualified to explain those here...any English people? I know you guys want your horses to engage their hocks...chime in anytime.

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I think you misunderstood me MizParker. I was talking about 3 different things that canchaser could do to ask her horse to use her hind end more effectively. The roll backs was just number 3. I did not suggest she use a hind quarter disengagement during the roll back manuever. Disengagements into a backup, backing up in general is always good and then roll backs, when done correctly. I agree with you that you can introduce this to a horse at the trot or even a walk but you really need the power of the hind quarters to stick and pivot if it's going to work. I actually start teaching this while lunging on the ground. If you can lope on the lunge line and your horse takes his direction change cues from your body language then you can start asking the horse to rollback over his haunches and change directions there. It's certainly easier for him without rider weight and you can use whatever pressure you need to for encouragement to really get him to use himself and roll over those hind legs.

Have fun with it Rae. I don't know if Roll backs are the "key" to getting him under himself? But it is certainly one of those exercises that just won't work unless they use themselves properly.

William (historyrider)

Edited by historyrider

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