Softness is the Goal

Reins-Hands

The ultimate response a trainer is looking for when he pulls on the reins or pushes with his heal is softness. So the question is “how is this achieved and where does this begin?” First, softness begins in the mind of the trainer/rider. If our mind is set on being soft with our horse then that will relay through our body and to our horse.

Once our mind is set on softness then focus on the other 3 areas that need to relay that softness to our horse. Those 3 areas are the hands, legs, and feet.

Softness in the hands comes from a technique I refer to as “finger softness.” “Finger softness” is the use of the fingers as we handle the reins and not a closed fist. Using our fingers allow us to really feel our horse’s reaction to the pull and will enable us to reward and correct as necessary. As you read this tighten your fist. What happens to your entire arm, body, and even mind as you do that? It tenses and tightens and there is no room to feel anything. When we use a closed fist to “guide” our horse that causes them to tighten and tense up and become more unwilling to yield to the pull because the way the pull is being carried out is tense and rigid.

As we move down the body, the way we use our feet and legs is also very important in acquiring a willing softness in our horse’s body movements. We must use our feet and legs on purpose to acquire the movement we desire, remembering not to pick at them with our spur. Ask for the movement softly and if it is not acquired ask more firmly, get the response wanted and get out of them. Picking at our horse will cause their energy to rise and softness to be unachievable.
When we ask our horses to do things in a soft way – even in correction a firm soft – then we will be able to acquire the willing softness we desire from them.

Watch the demonstration video to see exactly how this plays out.

Training Your Horses,

IMG_0890

 

Mark Moffitt

Before You Lope

IMG_0657
Loping is probably one of the most enjoyable gaits of the horse, and because it is so enjoyable a log of times loping is done prematurely on a colt.
Before you lope remember your horse must have a good start on these five basic but key maneuvers.

Your Horse Must…..

1. Go forward readily on command.
2. Turn left and right easily with direct rein.
3. Your horse must stop with an easy pull, and know the word “whoa”
4. Back Softly
5. Flex at the poll and collect

These five key things your horse must do well at a walk and trot before progressing to the lope.

To Your Training Success,

IMG_0890

Mark Moffitt

Springtime=New Phase

March 2013 143

We went from bitter cold to nearly summer temperatures here. It has been quite nice! My 4 year old daughter and I enjoyed riding today for about an hour. It’s was so special and so much fun! She’s just starting to ride on her own and she’s quite the little rider already!

In a few days it will be officially spring which means a new season, new phase of time and I also am going to be heading into a new phase of training a dream that I have been able to now accomplish and proceed on with in my life. I have completed and passed all of the skill assessments required to graduate from Team AD’s program.  I am headed down to the Almosta Ranch in Scottsdale, AZ on March 24 to spend a week enhancing my skills with Al Dunning and complete my accreditation! This opens a whole new phase and world of training for me and my family. We are very excited about all that the future holds for us!

Thank you for following my posts! I will be updating with pictures and tell about the trip when I get back!

Training Your Horses,
Mark Moffitt

 

 

Mark Moffitt