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More on turnarounds: Start at neck

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - August 21st, 2014

73rd in a series
After Les outlined the points to concentrate on last issue, now we’ll get to work.

In this session, we’re going to go back to turnarounds. As always, the most important part is the neck: start at the front and work your way back. With the body controls that you have developed in your exercises, you have the ability to fix almost any problem. Moreover, remember, if you’re having trouble in the turnaround, don’t fix the maneuver, stop the maneuver and fix the problem.

Better turnarounds: Add some speed

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - August 7th, 2014

72nd in a series
After wrapping up exercises last issue that tested our horse’s transitions, Les moved into improving turnarounds.

Exercise #5: Are zones working together?

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - July 17th, 2014

71st in a series
After wrapping up lope departures last issue, now we’ll learn a new exercise that help us gauge if all the horse’s zones are working together.

Great lope departure: the sequence

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - July 3rd, 2014

70th in a series
Les left off last issue with your horse moving smoothly at all three gaits. Now we’ll focus on the set-up for lead changes.

Setting the horse up correctly for crisp, clean lope departures is a critical component for any reining pattern and a necessary prerequisite for lead changes. You should be able to get your horse in position, that is, be able to push his hip toward his eye like I show in the video, so that you will be able to ask him to lope off on the correct lead, although you might be getting a few trotting steps in the meantime.

Responsiveness: Shoulder in and out

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - June 19th, 2014

69th in a series
After showing us details of circle exercises in last issue, Les moves into responsiveness.

By now your horse should be moving along smoothly at all three gaits in your training arena. So the next thing we’re going to start doing is to ask him to become more responsive and balanced as you guide him around, and to try a few different maneuvers. We’re not really concerned with speed right now, but we do want gaits to be smooth and steady. If your horse is a little “chargey” elsewhere in this manual you’ll find ways to solve that problem.

Circle exercises: A light front end

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - June 5th, 2014

68th in a series
After teaching us the importance of alignment last issue, Les puts us to work with simple circle exercises.

Alignment in circles: Posture a key

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - May 15th, 2014

67th in a series
Last issue, Les took us into circles and the importance of shoulder control. Now we’ll look at alignment.

Next up: Circles and lope departures

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - May 1st, 2014

66th in a series
After working on hip control and developing cues in the last two issues, Les moves us into circles and departures.

Some folks find the circles in a reining program to be the boring part, but you’ve got to face the fact that if you’re going to show, you’ll spend most of your time in the pattern circling, so why not make them look good? Especially when many patterns call for circles before the other maneuvers. You only get one first impression, and if the judges don’t like how your horse handles in the circles, they’re going to know right where to look for faults in the rest of your maneuvers.

Fluidity: From exercises 3 to 4

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - April 3rd, 2014

64th in a series
After learning hip control details last issue, we look in detail in issues ahead on developing cues.

Moving the hips: Going next level

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - March 20th, 2014

63rd in a series
This issue, Les guides us into the detail of controlling the horse’s hip.

Having control of the horse’s hip is critical for accurate lope departures and lead changes, in addition to helping you maintain proper alignment. If you see a horse missing leads, or dropping a lead in back (when a horse changes leads with his front legs but not his back), it’s a pretty good indication that the horse needs more work on hip control.