Training a horse is a fun and rewarding adventure. It allows you to get to know your animal and form a bond with your horse. Once you have learned and understood the basics of properly and safely mounting a horse, controlling the reins and girth, and how to walk a horse and guide it to a halt then you are ready to move on to some more advanced training techniques.
1. To get your horse to trot squeeze the horse’s side with your legs, like getting it to walk only squeeze a little bit harder. When a horse is trotting their hoofs will hit the floor 2 at a time instead of a 4 count when walking. You will bump a lot, this is normal. To stop the horse from trotting sit back and gently pull back on the reins.
2. Side Pass or Full Pass
a. Begin by facing a fence or wall.
b. Start with the right. Pull the right rein slightly sideways. This opens up the space between the horse’s neck and rein and with the left rein against the neck.
c. As soon as the horses head is in the correct position use your left leg to cue the horse to move.
3. Teach your horse to Canter
a. Keep 60% of your weight in the stirrups and 40% in the seat.
b. Allow the horse to begin walking.
c. Apply pressure with both legs to keep the horse moving forward.
d. Use the leg that’s opposite the leg you want your horse to lead with and maintain pressure with the leg while moving it back 6″ and removing your other leg from the horse so that it’s no longer touching the horse.
e. Make the noise your horse recognizes as a sign to go forward.
f. Continue with the leg pressure and the noise until the horse begins to canter.
g. Continue with slight pressure with the outside leg while cantering to keep horse moving forward and on the proper lead.
4. Halting your Horse
a. Sit firmly in the saddle.
b. Stop all motion of your hips.
c. Press both calves into his sides a little and squeeze back on the reins.
d. It’s ok to say whoa as well.
e. As you reach the destination where you want the horse to stop begin pulling the reins higher so that he slows down and will stop where you want him to stop.
Dressage is a technique all on its own that isn’t taught until one is at least and intermediate horse rider or trainer. It is the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse. It makes the horse calm, supple, loose and flexible, confident, attentive, and keen all while achieving a perfect understanding with their rider.
5. The horse should remain absolutely straight in movements on a straight line. This is an activity that will take patience on both the horse and the rider’s part. For the horse to be able to walk in a straight line and the owner to steer the horse in that manner is a challenging task. However when this is accomplished the horse is well disciplined and totally in tune with its master.
6. The horse gives the impression of doing of his own will what is required of him. This is a sign of a good trainer and a good relationship between owner and horse. The horse is so well trained they know exactly how their master wants things done and they are confident in the praise they will receive as a result of the behavior.
7. The horse will have Harmony, Lightness and Ease of movements. This also happens after training. Since the owner now knows the horse is going to behave correctly they can relax and enjoy the ride. When the rider relaxes so does the horse.
8. The horse’s hindquarters should be responsive to the rider. This is the control panel. The horse has to understand the rider has the control and allow the rider to take this position over him.
9. The horse must obey willingly and without hesitation. This is a sign of a good trainer relationship. The horse loves the trainer and wants to please her so they obey all commands without hesitation.
10. The horse should move with livelihood. This lets the owner know they are pleased and happy with things.
The above tips should help you in training your horse or help you in identifying what stage in training you are in. Have fun!