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Lateral flexion: Colt starting

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - April 5th, 2012 - More with Les

Eighteenth in a series
After our detailed look last issue at side-to-side rein pressure, Les demonstrates the practice when starting a colt.

When you are starting a colt, you show him how to respond to a rein by pulling it out to the side and directing him. As soon as he starts to get it you’ll want to start keeping your hands closer to your body and to literally pick up the rein to initiate the bend. This will encourage him to keep his chin closer to his body like we want, rather than sticking his nose out to the side. Lifting up the hand also encourages your horse to keep his shoulders up rather than leaning into the turn, another concept that will become critical further down the line.

Once you feel confident with lateral flexion at the walk go ahead and try it at the jog and lope so that every time you turn your horse you’re asking for this form: neck curled toward the direction of the turn, head fairly level and shoulders straight up and down.

“Insinuating” cues:
Always begin your cue sequence with the lightest cue possible, and then increase quickly to whatever level is needed to get the job done. Soon you’ll be thrilled to find your horse responding to the “insinuation”.

EDITOR’S NOTE: More with Les is a regular California Horsetrader column. Les Vogt has won more than 15 World Championships, including two wins at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. Although Les still rides and occasionally shows, his focus is giving clinics around the world and developing products for the performance horseman. To learn more about Les and to see his clinic schedule, visit: www.lesvogt.com

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