2019 Jan/Feb 2019 E-magazine - Page 19

6 month old Knapp’s Total Eclipse Of The Heart performs the Correct Veering before the obstacle. By instilling this level of hindquarter control, it will benefit your horse’s straightness over obstacles and their basic leading obedience. Vertical Head Collection is a vital part of your horse’s training for not only head collection purposes, but also the ‘acknowledgement’ of an obstacle, teaching the horse to look at what’s ahead of them. If the horse doesn’t want to look down and wants to automatically push forward and off to the outside, immediately back them up using the training stick on the right outside shoulder of the horse to guide them into a clockwise, curved backup. You may need to spend a few days teaching the horse to stop when you stop and teach Vertical Head Collection prior to obstacle work. This will show near instantaneous results in improving your handler guiding ability. ONE STEP AT A TIME If the horse lowers their head and looks at what’s in front of them without excessive pushing, you can point your hand forward in the direction you want the horse to walk and attempt to proceed. If the horse takes a confident step onto the obstacle, immediately stop and back your horse off. Repeat a few times before you allow the horse to stand on the obstacle for a few seconds, then back off again. By doing the obstacle in sections, the horse is learning that he isn’t trapped in a situation, resulting in spurring natural curiosity. It is also teaching the horse to not push forward and get ahead of you as they approach an obstacle. TROUBLESHOOTING If your horse walks up onto the ramp, leans to the outside and falls off of the obstacle, immediately back your horse up and correct them by performing some curved backing. Backing and working around the obstacle itself is also a great way to instill confidence. The number one rule is to NEVER walk your horse forward or try to pull your horse back onto the obstacle. This teaches the horse that they can be incorrect and pushy in your hand, and ultimately, the horse always wins. Backing your horse and diverting their energy away from the obstacle without letting them complete it incorrectly teaches the horse to attentively listen and be respectful toward your guide over obstacles. If your horse has a bad and repeating habit of leaning to the outside, incorporate the Correct Veering Exercise. By lifting your leading hand upward and bumping slightly back, you can use your training stick on the right, outside rib cage of the horse and tap their hindquarters around clockwise while you remain in the 45 degree angle position to the leading side of the shoulder. WATER BOX Once your horse steps down into the water box, bump backward slightly to stop them in place, ideally with only their two front legs in the box. Give them a reward by petting their neck/ rubbing them with the stick. If the obstacle allows to do safely, instead of walking them through the obstacle, attempt to back them up and down the ramp, or lead them to your lefthand side outside of the water box. Backing your horse over the