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Troubleshooting turnarounds: Here’s a review

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - September 18th, 2014 - More with Les

75th in a series
Last issue, Les showed us in detail what turnarounds should look like; here’s what to do if they don’t.

If the horse keeps trying to go forward once you’ve asked him to start the turnaround, just keep him in the proper bend and keep pushing his pivot foot up underneath him with your legs. He’ll eventually figure out that stepping into the turnaround is the easiest response to the cues that you’re giving him.

If he tries to turn just his head and neck, but not reach across with his outside front leg, I’ll go to back to exercises number three and four for a few minutes to tune up his response to my outside cues. Then try again.

If it feels like the hip is moving more than the shoulders, concentrate on the exercises above for a while, and make sure that you’re not asking for the turn with too much bend. You only want to be able to see the corner of the horse’s eye. If he’s too bent, his shoulders will get left behind, and you’re actually leveraging him to where it’s easier to move his hind legs than his front ones.

If the horse starts good but then dies out on you, jump him out again, then come back in using your legs to get him going. Or go to the fence or corner exercises that will let you drive him forward a little more.

If you find that your horse is having trouble crossing over at higher speeds, use your number two exercise in a reverse arc and really make him step around and cross over there. While you’re doing this, you’ll want to keep his neck way down so his nose is near the point of the outside shoulder. Once he’s done this for a while, crossing over in the turnaround will become a reward.

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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