2017 Miniature Horse World FALL 2017 - Page 36

If your horse veers or moves their hindquarters to the outside after you stop in your pivot position, immediately correct the hindquarters in the opposite direction toward your body with the training stick. Reach across the outside of the horse and tap their rib cage/hindquarters firmly. This teaches the horse to stay still and wait on your cue. Once your horse is corrected, hold still in your pivot position for several seconds until your horse is quiet and waiting on you. Repeat the correction if the horse continues to veer or move. order for the horse to advice. Often, horses are asked to learn to pivot when their hindquarters are stiff and locked, or their leading or backing skills aren’t polished. Take the time to master the basics of backing and hindquarter control before pivot training, so your training process is simpler for both horse and handler. Get Started Begin by standing and facing the nose/eye of your horse (you may need to stand slightly in front of your horse instead of by the nose/ eye when you are first teaching the pivoting concept to make guiding easier.) Hold the lead rope as close to the clasp as possible and aligned approximately by your horse’s eye level for an A sized Miniature, and hold your training stick in your left hand. Position the stick handle in front of your body so the tip of the stick can touch your horse’s right shoulder or upper girth area. Give your horse a verbal ‘kiss’ sound to cue him and begin bumping the halter upward and in the direction you want your horse to move, which is away from you. Start walking into your horse at a normal pace and tap your horse’s left shoulder with the end of the stick as you walk. You want to achieve these three cues in 3-4 seconds and exaggerate them early in the training process. You’re building on teaching your horse refinery to your body language, so staying consistent with these cues will ensure your horse will comprehend this exercise as fast as possible. Over time, 34 Miniature Horse World FA L L 2017 If your horse is pushing forward excessively while asking for their left front leg cross step, stay in your pivot position and back your horse up. Tap the outside shoulder blade of the horse and bump the halter upward and back toward their throat latch. Back your horse up, then ask for the front cross step again in a flowing motion to unlock the horse’s shoulder. your horse won’t rely on the training tools for his cue; he will promptly move off of your body positioning and verbal cues alone with little effort. When your horse takes one front cross step by crossing his left front leg over his ring front leg, stop in position and reward by rubbing your horse’s shoulder with the training stick. Make sure you don’t allow your horse’s face to push on your hand when you stop. Lightly bump his face away from you and teach him to be polite. As you practice this exercise, slowly increase your expectations and ask your horse to take 2-3 cross over steps at a time until you are achieving a 1/4, 1/2 and finally a full circle 360-degree pivot turn. Troubleshooting Tips When your horse tries to walk forward out of the pivot circle, that probably means you need to add more upward, backward bumping pressure while cueing with your halter. It’s okay if you have to back your horse up a few steps at first, so he learns you don’t want him to walk forward. Don’t hesitate to be firm with the halter if your horse is trying to push his body forward. Follow him through the resistance or any confusion, and always stay in your pivot position parallel to the horse’s nose/eye as you correct him. You want the horse to associate correction and guiding in the original position you started the cue. By moving out of position to redirect him, it will make it harder for the horse to understand what you want to accomplish. If your horse veers his hindquarters and moves his hind feet around after he completes a correct front cross over step, gauge his mistake and respond with the same amount of energy. If he takes a slight sideways step with his hindquarters, step to his right side (while keeping your hand on your leading side at eye level) and lightly tap his hindquarters in the opposite direction with your training stick, then return to your original pivot position. Repeat this correction until your horse holds his feet still and waits for your cue to move. If your horse is making this mistake with increased speed or reaction, repeat the same process, but be firmer with your correction. Correct the hindquarters around, then immediately back him up with energy while staying in your pivot position. You don’t want your horse to be comfortable moving around as he pleases, so a prompt response from you is the key to minimizing bad habits and inconsistencies in his pivot turn. As you’re practicing this, keep your horse engaged and avoid anticipation tactics by practicing additional groundwork exercises. Practice the Stopping and Leading Exercise, and practice walking forward out of the pivot turn when your horse stops well and holds still. The Finished Product Once your horse moves off of your right hand and body without having to bump the halter excessively, he’ll be ready for a traditional halter and lead shank. You