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Collected stops: 2 things you DON’T want

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - December 5th, 2013 - More with Les

56th in a series
Last issue, Les prepared us well as we head into collected stops. Here are a few more pointers.

When you are ready for the stop and you take away your legs, don’t say “whoa.” We don’t want a crisp hard stop yet. We want a beautiful energy transfer from the front of the horse to the back, one that just melts. What you are going to feel when it’s right is that there is actually an energy current that goes from his poll, down his spine and to his hind legs. You can stop a little harder but don’t say “whoa” at this point; you’re letting him melt, and saying “whoa” means “get it into the ground.”

Be careful too that you don’t do a weight transfer with your body as you approach the stop or as you take your legs away. If you do that, you will throw in an element of timing that you are responsible for, and why do you want to do that? Keep your body still so the horse is just reacting to your legs.

Every once in a while we’ll find that a horse has a spot of resistance in his slowdown or stop. This is even true with horses that have been doing great at the collected stop but suddenly it seems like it’s falling apart. If that’s the case, don’t look for a stop with impact; slow it way down so you can find that spot of resistance and fix it. If we keep trying for the hard stop, we’ll never find where or what part of the stride that glitch is in. So you want to try slowing down real easy, find the spot of resistance and fix it. We call this a sequence stop.

If I get any resistance in my hands, or the head lifts – I’ll keep my hands going and kick him forward again. If I feel like the stop lacked commitment, I’ll keep my hands moving and back him up.

Horsemanship is negotiation and a good negotiation is when I get what I want, and you think you got what you wanted! That means I can use a lot of reverse psychology in obtaining my goals. You can get pretty creative!

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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