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The Sequence Stop

More with Les - Foundation Training for the Performance Horse with Les Vogt

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - January 1st, 2018 - More with Les, Training

More With Les graphicSequence stop means a three stepper basically. You’ll have three or four steps from the beginning to the end for the stop. If you’re having problems keeping your hands moving, try the sequence stop. Remember, if you like the neck, you’re going to back him out of the stop. If you don’t like the neck, you’re going to drive him forward again, so why would you stop moving your hands? And don’t worry about timing here; you’re just searching for flaws throughout those beats.

Three Stages: Walk, Trot and Lope
So, is a horse that just did his first great collected stop at the walk ready to go on to the lope? I don’t think so, maybe not even to a trot yet. There’s work to be done but only perfect stuff. To get the perfect stuff it’ll seem like you’re spending a lot of time doing exercises that don’t seem really exciting or fun—you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel—but as you continue to work on the fundamentals, the stops will start to happen right before you, and they’ll stay consistent because both you and your horse will be comfortable. Don’t worry—it happens.

You’ll have three phases of this exercise: the walk, the trot and the lope. So, we pull the horse together, teach him at the walk. Do we have control? Is he looking good? Is he committing every time? Yes? Congratulations, you get an “A.” Time to move up! Now you can start at the trot, push him up in there, and let him stop. Fine! You get an “A” there! Now try the gallop. You draw him together, collect him, kick him, kick him, maybe you don’t have to work your hands so much, maybe you can just hold him a little and cluck to him and—WOW—he sits like a dog! But when he sat like a dog he raised his head, maybe an inch. Is that good enough for me? No way. It has to be perfect. Kick him forward, work with your hands and try again. Maybe even go back to the trot and make sure he’s consistent. Just don’t let him do it wrong—even if it was a thrill!

The Collected Stop at the Gallop
When I start to do the collected stop at the gallop, I will collect my horse slowly and perfectly from the gallop, to the trot, to the walk, and then to the back-up. Only when I can do this perfectly and consistently would I think of asking for a quicker stop. If I’m having problems here, you can bet I’ll have the same problems when I speed up, and they’ll be even harder to find and fix. In fact, you’ll find yourself coming right back to this exercise every time you start to get any resistance at the higher levels.

I know that for some of you this might seem really primary. Hey, we all have aspirations of a 40-foot slide, and here we are at the walk doing four-step stops! Trust me, this is how we get the 40-footer—this is it! And when my 40-footer doesn’t happen, this is where I come back to. I start stair-stepping backwards, and this might be where I end up. Probably not at the walk, because if my horse is advanced enough to go for the 40-footer then I’ll probably end up back to the trot or the gallop, but boy, will I come back to this exercise. If he starts missing stops, there’s a reason, and it’s usually the approach, so I go back to this level, fix it and then I’m off again.

If you did it the other way, like “let’s go stop!!” Rip, run, rip, run … it just won’t happen—you won’t get there. Your horse will never learn the form, and you’ll probably just scare him to death!


Les Vogt has won more than 15 World Championships, including two wins at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. Today Les focuses 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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