Photo AQHA Journal

October 26, 2017
Horse Training With a Plan
Transitions, lines and circles are vital to riding your horse right.
You have to ride with a plan, and you have to learn to control your horse. Journal photo
From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Horsemanship patterns have evolved so that the rider must understand and execute the parts of the pattern so that they become credit-earning rather than zero or penalty-earning. There are three maneuvers that every broke all-around horse should know, and the more disciplined the rider is in practicing the maneuvers, the more disciplined the horse will become in performing these maneuvers. You have to ride with a plan, and you have to learn to control your horse. Breaking down the patterns into their pieces will give riders confidence in training and showing a horse, while helping them plan their daily workouts and make the most of their riding time.

Here, AQHA Judge and Professional Horseman Doug Huls of Arizona gives advice and some great tips on how to use transitions, straight lines and circles in your plans for riding well.
Become a better horseman today by downloading AQHA's Borrow a Trainere-book. This e-book covers the fundamentals of riding, including correct body position, self-carriage, topline, reading your horse, bending and more.
Transitions

Begin your daily workouts with transitions: walk to jog, jog to lope, downward transitions and upward transitions - to take some of the fresh off the horse, loosen his muscles and get him listening and paying attention to the rider. When working on gait transitions, work on straight lines, circles and turns. Every transition a rider can think of should be done every day.
When beginning to teach a horse downward transitions, using the same spot in the arena for the slow-down can be beneficial. When a rider consistently slows or stops there, it becomes habit for the horse, and he begins to hunt that spot. Once a horse has picked up the downward transition, if he tries to start cheating at that spot, move on and change up the routine to slow or stop in other places. But that initial consistency helps the horse learn the slow-down transition.
If you are interested in learning more tricks and tips, download the AQHA Borrow a Trainer e-book today!
Circles

Circles, the third element, can also prove to be difficult for riders trying to keep a good, round, symmetrical shape. Using four cones at the quarter marks of a circle can aid you in keeping your circles round. As you ride your circle around them, stay five to six feet from the cones as your guide. That mark gives you a visual guide to execute that circle. Marking a straight, 6-foot long line at each quarter-point cone in the sand can also help to keep the circle arc consistent. If you keep your horse straight at each quarter point, your arc will naturally happen. Break down your circles into those four quarter points, and you will find circles much easier to navigate. Those quarter points serve as your checkpoints to keep you from losing that round shape.
Continue reading more about training with a plan on AQHA Daily.

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