Two Minute Training Tips – Halt Horror Stories!
Our last blog was about halting square. Hopefully, you are developing a square halt that is becoming more natural for you and horse and it’s not such a hard exercise. Make sure you relax as much as possible when you train this. If your mind is calm and tranquil as you halt it will help the horse halt without thinking it’s a punishment. When your halting at a show there’s a large scary thing behind C that will cause your horse to do all sorts of crazy things at the halt even if you have practiced and have easy square halts. It’s another sneaky way competition cause a horse to get distracted – the flags fluttering in the wind, the golf cart zooming, the people standing around, someone walking a horse and inevitably the barking dog and the child on a bicycle. Today’s blog is to take out the judge’s entertainment when you are at competition halting. I’ve seen spins, backing, rearing, side passing side to side, jigging, and star gazing - sometimes by horse and rider. I’ve always wondered what they are looking at up there. It’s time to add some ‘planned’ distractions when you’re riding. This will build your confidence and cement your partnership with your horse. You will need a ground person to stand on the fence where the judge would be in our test. If people and dogs are milling around don’t ask them to leave. Keep working through going down the center line, quarter line and long side to a halt with a calm and quiet move off. Praise the horse when despite what’s going on, they just listen to you. Here are some ideas to help you and our horse get more confident with ‘things going on’ in the ring. Take these slow and one a time until you and the horse are not noticing the distraction at all. It might seem you've worked on very little but in fact, you've accomplished a huge stride towards building a stronger partnership.
Have someone hold an open umbrella near the ring.
If someone has a bicycle let them ride around the arena while you ride.
Have someone randomly blow a whistle or ring a bell. You tense up when that happens and so does the horse so as you ride just keep riding and breathing until the bell or whistle doesn’t cause a response in either of you.
Identify what makes your horse crazy at a show and slowly introduce that at home until you find its not distracting at all.
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