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Using what we know: Exercises 3 and 4

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - August 18th, 2016 - More with Les, Training

More With Les graphicHere is a bullet-list of what we’ve covered in the last several issues with Les.

Exercise #3
The third zone is the ribs or midsection
• Keep your horse straight or with a slight curve towards the direction of his intended movement
• Keep your outside arm straight out at a 45° angle
• Make sure your inside leg is off the horse
• Use your outside leg in the center of the horse’s ribs until he responds; if you don’t get a response to steady pressure, try bumping

All zones are equally important
• Exercises 3 & 4 build on Exercises 1 & 2
• If you feel any stiff ness in zones 1 or 2, backtrack and reinforce these before continuing on to Exercises 3 & 4

Reward the smallest response
• Get one step, then reward by releasing pressure

Exercise #4
The fourth zone is the hindquarters
• Start with your horse straight or with a slight curve towards the direction of movement
• Stay conscious of the neck. If you meet resistance, work on Exercises 1 & 2 until the horse yields his neck to you
• Keep your horse from moving his shoulder instead of his hip, by keeping your inside rein against the neck
• Keep your outside arm straight out at a 45° angle
• Use your outside leg near the back cinch until the horse responds

Using a fence for control
Using a fence can help you control your horse’s lateral posture and improve your riding skills
• Practice Exercises 3 & 4 • Choose a post or other object and ride your horse to it
• Set the horse’s head next to this object and try to keep his head in the same place as you move his hip around
• Keep the spine straight at first; once your horse has mastered this, ask him to put a slight linear bend in his spine so that his shoulders are “behind” the movement

Backing
You have to have a soft neck first
• Your hands are 50% of the cue and your legs are the other 50%
• If you use hands and cluck, not much happens
• Hands and leg and he’ll roll right back
• Creating more energy you’ll get more speed, maybe more height in the step

What if your horse won’t back up?
• If the neck is good, use more leg and move your hands
• Don’t pull harder! You might have a wreck!

Alignment
You should always be in control of your horses alignment
• He should be straight when traveling on a straight line
• When traveling on a curve or with a bend: the head, neck, shoulder, hip, and spine should be in line with one another and typically match the circumference of the circle

The horse should not dictate the direction you take
• Shoulder control leads to direction control
• You may guide the head, but typically wherever the shoulders go the horse goes
• The horse’s shoulders should always follow the head and neck in order to remain linear and in frame; don’t let the shoulders drift

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 the Web site: www.lesvogt.com. You can also read previous More with Les columns at: news.horsetrader.com.

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