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Better turnarounds: Add some speed

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - August 7th, 2014 - More with Les

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

The objective of this section is to increase the level of difficulty on your turnarounds by adding a little more speed and collection. We will also learn several ways to correct turnaround problems that many horses and riders get into.

Things to Concentrate On
– Fundamentals! Soft neck, correct bend and cadence (or rhythm)
– Learning to feel when a horse is starting to draw back too far. If you’re driving the back end up this shouldn’t happen
– Increasing the difficulty without frightening your horse or getting him in an unpleasant bind
– Don’t get in the habit of using your outside leg for impulsion, it will cause problems in the long run. Tune your horse up to respond to your clucking if you need to, but outside leg will eventually start to make your horse invert his turn

How This Fits into the Program
Not much need for explanation here! A great turnaround is a must for winning in a competitive environment, and the best ones these days are in a collected, “wrappy” style, with the horse driving hard from his outside hind leg.

Again the posture in the turnaround is critical – not enough bend and he won’t be able to get the reach and clearance that he needs in the front to really turn on the power; too much bend and your horse’s back end will start to swing. Even as you start to speed things up, you want to keep your form perfect as your horse builds confidence.

If you have a soft neck, the right form and a horse that you’ve taken the time with to let him develop confidence in his own ability to do the maneuver, you’re in line for some great spins!

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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