Before your horse learns to whoa, there’s a catch. Trainer Stacy Westfall insists that he must first understand that leg pressure means go. Can you get your horse from a standstill to a lope within 50 feet by just using your leg aids? If so, then you’re ready to learn Westfall’s four ways to whoa. If not, practice this exercise to teach your horse to move forward from your leg cues:
- Working on a longeline, ask your horse to walk, trot and lope without using verbal cues, only a longe whip or a stick and string.
- Next, tack up your horse, and using the inside rein as your longeline, ask him to walk and trot in small circles around you. Use a dressage whip, not your voice, to ask for forward motion. Tap the whip where your leg would put pressure.
- Mount your horse with the dressage whip in-hand and repeat the exercise, bumping your legs in a steady rhythm.
- When your horse increases speed, reward him by softening the pressure of the rhythm of the bumping. If your horse doesn’t respond, maintain the pressure and the rhythm. If necessary, tap him with the dressage whip.
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