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‘Control the whole body’ exercises

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - February 20th, 2014 - More with Les

61st in a series
Last issue, Les wrapped up collected stops. Now we’ll move into exercises Number 3 & Number 4. Here’s an overview before we move into more details in our March 6 issue.

Being able to control the horse’s whole body is critical to your training. In particular there are times when you’ll need to position or move the horse’s body without the shoulders leading the way or getting in the way. Here are a few:

Lead departures – To pick up the correct lead in a collected form, it is essential that you be able to isolate the horse’s hip.

Lead changes – If you’re not a perfectionist about leading with the hip in your departures, which we’ll talk about in the next lesson, you’re going to have a lot of trouble with lead changes. If a horse changes leads in the back first, it’s almost guaranteed that the front will change too. However, the reverse, changing in front first, is a gamble. If you can’t get the horse to move his hip without moving his shoulders too, changing leads from back to front will just elude you. Now is the time to really start honing that hip control.

I hope you’re starting to see how getting this body control now is making you a better rider and setting the foundation for your maneuvers and performance later on, no matter which direction you decide to go with your horse.

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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