Question: I have a horse that jumps forward into the trot when asked to move from a walk to a trot. Any suggestions on how to make the transition smooth? Thanks
April Reeves: Hi Kristi! First off, the response from your horse to be “quick” into the up transition is actually a response I ask for, at the beginning. You do want a horse that responds to your cues immediately. I consider that obedience, and once that’s established, you can move on to refine the process.
Next step is to soften how you ask for the up transition. All your methods have to become lighter and softer if you expect the same from the horse, from the use of hands, legs, voice and seat. Get very familiar with what that feels like, because this is how you bring a horse into refinement and a finished bridle horse.
Posted in English Riding answers, Equine Behavior & Problems, General riding answers, Western training answers
Tagged April Reeves, bridle, Energy Work, Engage, Frame, Horseman's Park Alberta, Transitions, Up Transition, Whisper
Question: We just bought a 6 year old gelding that is really gentle but won’t take a bit. We tried a split and a straight bit but he slings his head everywhere and dances his feet. Please help we have know idea what to do next. It really tires us out trying to fight with him.
April Reeves, Clinician, Instructor and Trainer
Answer from April Reeves: The first thing I do when examining a problem is to look for the source. A horse that dances around when you are trying to do anything is doing so out of fear or conditioned response. With fear, the horse will always defend himself (rearing, striking), but your horse sounds as if he is typical of the latter.
Question: I bought a 5 year old paint mare and all she is is green broke and I’m just not sure how to start trying to teach her how to start learning to neck rein. Please help me.
Horse running left, facing right
Answer from April Reeves: True neck reining is the result of a long training regime. You will often see two styles: one where the horse turns his head in the direction of the turn on a ‘soft’ rein, and the other is where the horse turns his head the opposite direction of the turn with the reins reasonably tight. The latter is not the style I hope you are working towards.
In their natural existence, the movement of a horse at speed (canter, gallop) is to lean their shoulders into the turn, but keep their heads in the opposite direction. The instinctual purpose of this is to keep their heads away from predators that may be chasing them. It’s important to know this, as it allows you to understand just how much training is required to reverse such a powerful instinct in a horse to neck rein into the turn, and the amount of time to do that.