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Correct the front, and the back will follow

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - September 4th, 2014 - More with Les

74th in a series
Les continues his instruction on turnarounds that we focused on in our last issue.

If your horse still continues to step out behind rather than keeping his hind legs still, gallop him into his spins and chase him back out – you’ll see me demonstrate this on the video. You can also pop him with the rein down the outside leg just as you come into the spin. If the neck and angle are right, his back leg motor is going to be powering up and getting underneath him. So you’re powering him into the turn and then just letting the turn happen. Loading and unloading.

What we see a lot of is the forced maneuver, not only in reining but in cow horse as well. I know you’ve seen it, where the rider is dragging the horse through the turnaround rather than setting them up so they can unload into the maneuver, so the horse looks like he loves to turn, because he does!

So I’ll charge him up, I’ll cluck, and he’ll get wound up and then get to unload into the spin with perfect relaxed, poised-foraction position. The spin is the easiest part of the whole drill!

So now we’re back to trying to fix a horse that was unstable behind. Try kicking him out of the spin a few times. Get him going around, and when things start to get wobbly in back, put the outside spur into him and make him JUMP out of the spin – and I mean jump! What happens is if that back end isn’t anchored down in the ground, he won’t have anything to push off from. Since his back legs are going to be a little crossed up, since he’s moving them, he’ll slip and stumble trying to get his back end organized and underneath him so he can push off. Horses need ground for security and balance. You take away their security, and they don’t like it.

Do that a couple of times and you can bet that your horse is going to keep his back legs up under him where he’s ready to jump out, and that’s also exactly where you want them for the spin. Go in and out of the spin this way, two or three times. You’ll find a spot where he will start quit moving his back end and when he does, stop and reward him. What you need to realize is that we are training from the front to the back. Get the front correct, and the back will follow.

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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