Clarification on Pulling to the Side
Q. Troy, in your article “Getting that Hesitation in the Lope,” when you mentioned to “pull your horse to the side,” I got a little confused. If you’re riding two-handed, like in a snaffle, do you pull him to the inside or outside? So….if you were going to hold him for three strides and were moving, say, to the left, you would hold and lift him with the inside (or outside) rein only? Enough to tip his head a little in either direction, or not?
Lynda (Bloom) Layne (co-author of Denny Hassett’s halter book)
A. Hi Lynda,
Thanks for some good follow up questions. I was trying to emphasize that in a broader sense, it can be more beneficial to pull either rein to the side rather than always straight back with both hands. When you pull just one rein to the side, your horse’s head should come around and their shoulder should lift in the opposite direction. They are “breaking their body apart at the withers.” Too often I see horses that are too balled up from constant straight back pulling in an attempt to slow them down.
And the point that can be taken away from the “get in for 3 strides” exercise is that it’s ok to pull straight back sometimes, but if you do, try not to stay in for more than 3 strides….just for a number. Of course there will be times that you need to get in for longer or shorter periods of time, but 3 is the number I tell folks starting out with me, especially if they have a tendency to hold too much. The riders need to develop effective feel and timing to get in and out and help their horses without getting in the way of their natural movement. Often at the lope, I’ll position my feet to keep their body in line with haunches slightly in and shoulder slightly out and use more inside rein as you asked in the last part of your question.
Hope that helps and thanks very much for your interest,
Troy Green is a firm believer in the importance of a good foundation for every horse with balance, rhythm, and self-carriage being key. A good foundation equals longevity in the show pen. Troy has won over two dozen All American Quarter Horse Congress Championships in western pleasure, versatility, reining, halter and western riding, and has coached clients to over 50 Congress championships. Troy has three AQHA World Championships and two National Championships under his belt, and has won at all major futurities. He spent three years on the national board of the NSBA.
Troy Green has an extensive background working with youth and amateurs at all levels and of various disciplines. He specializes in pleasure futurity and all around horses.
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