Before you can go on to do more diffiult maneuvers with your horse, you need to know that if you go to your hand and leg, you’re going to get a response. If you go to your hand and leg, and your horse presses against the bit or wants to lean into your leg at a trot, you know you’re not going to have the control you need when you’re doing something at a higher degree of diffiulty.
I use this drill on all of my horses and even include this into my warmup with finished horses to make sure my steering is where I need it before putting them on a cow. Depending on the experience level of my horse, I’ll go through this drill two or three times. Once I feel that my horse is steering off my hands and legs, I’ll move on to working other things with him.
However, when I’m working with a young horse, this drill might be what I work on the entire riding session. Not only does this exercise help my horse learn how to steer when I go to my hand and leg, but it also introduces him to neck reining, which is something he needs to learn before progressing to a one-handed bit.
Tack Louthan has been training horses for more than 15 years and has specialized in reined cow horses for 10 years. He lives in Elbert, Colorado, with his wife, Karey, and their children where he focuses on training open horses and coaching nonpro riders for NRCHA competition. Visit facebook .com/louthancowhorses.com to learn more.
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