Some may think it really isn’t important to float a horse’s teeth. If you are of that opinion this may help you see the importance of it. Dr. Mike Walburger explains why you should have your horse’s teeth checked and floated regularly. The video shows a horse that is a mustang and is his very first vet visit.
In this video you will see the steps you should take to teach your horse how to back softly and willingly. Backing can be one of the more challenging movements to teach because it is more unnatural for the horse. By implementing these simple steps you will see that backing can be less of a hassle.
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.
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.