when he is willing, it will motivate
him to do as I’ve asked—and to
know that a break is coming when
he’s compliant, not when he bucks
or tenses in preparation.
Retraining the Stopper
If the horse is lazy and doesn’t
want to canter, he breaks into the
trot and therefore benefits. Horses
that do this are often well-trained,
sweet and kind horses that have
learned they can get away with this.
They don’t know that they’re doing
The horse only has to benefit for
a second to perceive a reward. If
the rider didn’t admonish him—
even by verbally hissing or scolding
him—he has no reason to change
Immediately upon breaking gait,
there must be a consequence. I’ll
scold with my voice by saying,
“Hey, come on!” or I’ll pick up the
end of reins and threaten to spank
him. I don’t usually need to touch
a horse; often just the thought of a
spanking is enough to remind him
of what you are asking. I’m not
talking about hitting or harming—
just letting the horse know that you
disapprove of breaking gait.
Horses want to be good; they
want to please. However, they must
know what the right thing is, otherwise they’ll seek out what is best
for them and learn clever tricks to
get out of work.
Think about what is motivating
your horse when he is acting a
way that you don’t like. When you
figure out what his motivations are,
you’ll be able to replace the way he
is finding comfort with a way that
you can provide comfort.
JULIE GOODNIGHT shares her lessons
on her RFD-TV show, Horse Master (also
online at tv.juliegoodnight.com), and through
clinics and expos. HEIDI MELOCCO (www.
whole-picture.com) is a lifelong horsewoman, equine journalist, and photographer.
NUTRITION THAT GIVES
YOU THE WINNING EDGE
Proud sponsor of: