Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yield Hindquarters - Part 1 - Groundwork

Going back to Trigger's first couple of sessions, today I want to start to talk about the hind end exercises that I did to work on hind end body control. I start those exercises at the same time as the lateral flexion. (I've kept them separate from the front end exercises for clarity but you can see on the index that it's lesson #5-- in the groundwork section --surprised? :).
Body Control or Western Performance Horse Development, as you and I all know by now, is key to having a really solid foundation on a horse. As riders, we want to be able to control (or move) all of the body parts when we need to. Hind end especially.

Being able to move the hip & ribcage over allows us to
position the horse's body & legs in order to make it easy for the horse to do as we ask. (Creating a win-win situation.) The horse is better able to maneuver around or is handier. That's what body control foundation training© or western performance horse development is all about!
This goes for any type of riding. A great safety feature too!

In reining, hind end control is needed in maneuvers such as lead & lope departures, circles, rollbacks, flying lead changes, spins & stops. --- Did I forget any?
So you can see where moving the hip & ribcage around is important.

It allows you to control (or direct) the 'drive' or power (impulsion) in a horse. According to Bob Avila: "The rear end always has to be engaged. The rear end has got to be pushing the other 2 parts (front end and middle) to do the job they're going to do. ". This is sometimes called 'riding from back to front'.
Sidepass - The Most Important Exercise in Body Control or Western Performance DressageSidepass is the ultimate! If a rider were to master the sidepass then they are a good way along to understanding body control or western dressage.
It's also quite functional for things like sidepassing or sashaying over to a gate to open it. I use it to move cattle around on the farm. I use it to maneuver around trees and others obsticles while checking fences on the back 400 (acres). Many, many uses.

Bob Avila refers to sidepassing as the biggest part of Body control on a horse. So too in Western Dressage. Here is a link to a YouTube video with
Bob explaining sidepassing. (More on sidepassing in the next article.)

Yield Hindqtrs -- to --- Sidepass (The Progression) I have 6 exercises to teach the sidepass: 2 in Groundwork, 2 in the round pen, & 2 while riding at the walk, jog, trot & lope. This article addresses the first two.

  1. Groundwork - Yield Hindqtrs while being handled
  2. Lesson 5: Groundwork - Yield Hindqtrs (& Backup)
  3. Lesson 10: Mounted in round pen @ standstill - Yield Hindqtrs (& Backup)
  4. Lesson 16: Mounted in Round Pen - Yield Hindqtrs & Start to Sidepass Using Fence
  5. Lesson 27: Riding in arena - Sidepass Using Fence, Sidepass off Fence
  6. Lesson 28: Riding in arena - 2 Tracking
Groundwork First - Yield Hindqtrs While Being Handled
While handling the horse, I will get the horse to move their hip away from me 1 step by using the training steps outlined below. The difference in this case, is that the horse is not saddled or bridled. I am just working with the horse while I'm leading it to and from it's pasture. Or whenever I can.

Groundwork Again - Yield Hindqtrs (& Backup)
I continue the sidepass exercises with what I call a pre-sidepass or yielding hind quarters. (Note: The backup is also started at the end of this exercise. More on that later. One thing at a time.... like training a horse...:).

Here are the steps from lesson 5 of my book:In a round pen or small safe area, horse is saddled&bridled, with you standing on one side of horse:
1. Tie opposite rein to saddle horn for safety. Grab end of rein with both hands.
2. Slide hand ½ way down rein & ask horse to flex laterally 90° to horse's side. (as in lesson 3).
3. Press horse’s side with your other hand (where spur would go), & get horse to move hip away from you a step. Immediately release for reward. Rub on horse for reward.
4. Ask horse to flex laterally again (lesson 3).
5. Repeat until horse understands to yield hindquarters & flex laterally. Then rest for reward.
6. Always repeat for other side.

Once horse is familiar with yielding hindqtrs.... I would add the backup steps at this point. That will be addressed in another article.Goal: For there to be no resistance or stiffness when yielding hindqtrs.

1. The horse learns from the release of pressure!!
2. Tap horse hard with rein at side if necessary to get horse moving.
3. Don’t except less than current level of success.
4. Work on weak side 2/3 more often to even out sides.
5. This is a review of my Body Control Colt Starting lesson.
6. This is also done during the Longeing for Body Control exercises.

Advanced Work:
1. Horse flexes, anticipates & yields freely several steps over.
2. Horse anticipates by yielding hindqtrs right after the flexing. No need to repeat exercise at this point! Well done!

Other Notes:
For more information on lateral flexion, see my article here. Clinton Anderson also has a video on his version here.
I will continue with the other pre-sidepass (yielding) & sidepass exercises in the next few articles.

Questions & comments are always welcome.
If you need any help with this, please contact me.

Putting my spin on Sidepassing, Body Control, & Western Performance Horse Development!
©Copyright KISS Reiners

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