As a beginner, there are several riding skills you will want to learn. They all form the building blocks that become the foundation of what assists you in becoming a good horse rider. In order to reach that goal, you must first master the many basic skills. One very important skill to learn once you have learnt to ride your horse properly is teaching your horse to stop by command. There are different vocal cues you can use and depending on your instructor, it can be either the word ‘whoa’, ‘halt’ or ‘stop.’ Each results in the same reaction from your horse when used properly.
Teaching Your Horse To Stop Commands
1. Learning Halt
The first thing to do before you begin to start the halt is to squeeze your fingers and gently pull back on the reins. This is the cue to your horse that a halt is coming soon. The perfect scenario is when your horse senses the upcoming halt and they automatically stop. In fact, there will be a time when you’ll be able to stop your horse without the use of the reins. If you stop the movement of your body and legs, your horse will understand that as the signal to also stop moving. You can help your horse to understand that a halt is upcoming by exhaling at the same moment you stop moving your body.
As your skills improve and you are connecting better with your horse, you can use a variety of things to signal a halt. You can pull the reins, push into the saddle, close your legs slightly and stiffen your back a bit. Your horse should stop when it recognizes any of these signals. Once it does, you have to quit giving the cues to let your horse know it did the right thing.
If your horse appears hesitant in any way in responding to your cues, you may have to deliver them with a little more force and a louder ‘whoa’ command. Sooner or later, when you combine 'whoa' with any of the other cues your horse will get used to the command. Eventually you can halt your horse just by saying ‘whoa’ alone.
2. Don’t Be Too Aggressive
When you apply the halt cues, it is very important to not deliver them too harshly. This is especially true regarding the pulling of the reins. If your horse ends up rearing its head back and makes any kind of noise. You know that you were a tad too aggressive in delivering the halt message. If you do this too often, you risk hurting your horse. This will in turn reduce the amount of responsive action your horse will give you each time you send out a halt signal. This is a really important place to pay particular attention to the amount of horse care you are giving them.
3. Breathe And Give Praise
Another issue you will have to pay attention to is your breathing. Beginners have a habit of holding their breath, probably as a nervous reaction. However, your horse will sense this and over time it will also become nervous. Your best results will come from you breathing regularly and by being as relaxed as possible. When you need to halt your horse, be sure to praise them. By doing this and giving them a reward for a job well done, your horse will respond better to your commands.
Teaching Your Horse To Stop Conclusion
The principle to teaching your horse to stop is similiar to that of training a dog. You have to let them know that they are doing the right thing. Learning how to walk and halt your horse is like any other skill. You may not get it exactly right on the first few tries. However by being patient, offering praise and persevering, you will eventually be able to teach your horse to stop.