Sunday, January 5, 2014

Stretching or Parking Out

Why, you ask, would we want to make our horse stretch out? Well, there are a couple reasons for this. First, it helps a horse learn to stand still after you saddle him. It gives his something else to think about aside from taking off. Second, it helps teach patience. He can learn to park out, and stay there until you move him off. It’s easiest to start this with your horse saddled. Take him out into the barn isle, or anywhere else that’s relatively level and smooth. You want to be standing at his on side shoulder. Take the rein in your left hand, and place your right hand on the saddle horn. While pushing away on the horn, you want to bump his left front heel at the bulb with the side of your boot, just below the coronary band. Now, here again, you want to be cognizant of the fact that when we start out, we’re only looking for the smallest try. Ideally, when finished, we want him to pick that foot up and move it forward, while keeping his back end still. Initially though, we will accept him just picking it up. When he does, praise him, and really make big of him. Next, you want to pull him towards you, causing him to take the weight off of the right front. You want to repeat the procedure you used for the left foot, only with the right. You should be telling him to Whoa, and using the rein to keep him still. It’s going to look a lot like a slow motion shuffle; first one foot goes out, then the other. Remember to help keep his hindquarters stationary, you should initially bend him towards you just a bit. It helps him keep focused on you and what you’re asking of him. When parking him out, remember not to park him so far out that it’s uncomfortable to him. If you make it difficult, or painful to him, it only makes your job of teaching him that much harder. When he’s parked out as far as you want him, make him stand there for about 45 seconds. This helps to confirm that he can’t just take off whenever he likes. Walk around him and pet him and tell him what a good boy he’s being. This will not come easy, not at first. It will take time and work to get him parked out, and then keep him still after he’s parked out. When he’s stood at least his 45 seconds; back him out of the park. IF he will not back, push is reins back, TELL him back, and then push on the corner of his shoulder with your thumb. When you’ve got him parking well, then you transfer it into the saddle. Ask him to park out, and then mount up. Make him wait his 45 seconds, then back him out of the park. Once he’s back up straight, make him wait for a few more seconds before you just take off with him. You should ask him to stretch out before every ride. Consistency is the key with any type of training. Make sure to do the same thing, the same way while you’re teaching him.

Brooks Gaited Horse Training

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