Monday, January 12, 2009

'Whoa' Before You Go (Forward)

'Whoa' Before You Go
A rider has to be able to get a horse stopped no matter the situation. So teaching a horse to stop or 'whoa' is the 1st lesson taught.
(The photo, top right, is a sliding stop by my champion paint mare Ramblin Trash. Photo by Riverbend designs.)

Halter Groundwork, Bridle Groundwork, Bridle Longeing, Mounted
I teach the stop ('flex to a stop' to be exact):

First with the halter on the ground (usually where the horse is groomed). (This is the day to day handling I spoke about in the Groundwork article).
  1. Once the horse is familiar, I then switch to the bridle and teach the stop from the ground in the round pen.
  2. From the round pen again, I teach the horse the Flex to a Stop bridled while being longed until familiar; almost bored. (You can see the progression here).
  3. Finally, I teach and then reinforce the Flex to a Stop bridled while mounted at the walk, jog, trot and then lope.
1st Lesson for Riders too
It's also the 1st lesson I teach students; also for safety reasons.
It offers a peace of mind that a rider or trainer can get a horse to stop.

Flex to a Stop
For a complete explanation on how to get a horse stopped, see my previous article Flex to a Stop or Slow Down or Emergency 1 Rein Stop (E1RS).
Sliding Stop
Of course the ultimate Flex to a Stop is the Sliding Stop. That's one of the ways I've combined effective horsemanship exercises with my reining program.

For an innovative approach to training and lessons, please contact me.Reinersue
©KISS Reiners


  1. "whoa before you go", Perfect saying! When I was a kid my horse failed on the whoa plenty.. taught me to hang, but also when I began to train a few horses to teach the whoa 1st.
    Having newer riders know they can stop the horse they are on really does give them more confidence to not feel as tense while on the horse, and therefore progress a little quicker.
    Loving your articles, I know a few people who really need to read them. :-)

  2. It sure does make a rider feel more confident and safe!!! I have a lot of adult riders who are not so gutsy like they used to be as a kid so it's a comfort to them that they can control the situation if need be.
    Thanks for writing.