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From John Lyons Trainer Keith Hosman


Round Pen First Steps [Downloadable PDF version]
A Downloadable Book

A sample from Day 1:

To ask for an inside turn, get the horse circling (let's say to the left, so counterclockwise). As the horse comes around, sidestep to your left, being careful to keep your hips parallel to the horse. (Important point: swiveling your hips the opposite direction (basically, walking naturally toward the oncoming horse) is a common error and has the effect of driving the front of the horse into the fence instead of inviting him away from it. So, in a nutshell, when asking for an inside turn, this is correct: Sidestepping toward the path of the oncoming horse. This is wrong: Walking directly at the horse's head/shoulders)

It helps to extend your left hand (in the counterclockwise case described above) toward the fence, as if "peeling" the horse away from the fence as it approaches. If your horse turns into the fence (an "outside turn" which is what we don't want now) then quickly move to your right, and ask the horse to turn back to the proper direction. At that point you should let the horse go one half turn around the pen before asking again. This will give you a moment to collect your thoughts and, perhaps more importantly, keep you from just running about like the proverbial headless chicken. It'll keep you proactive rather than reactive.

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Available Downloads:
"Stop Bucking"
"Rein/Speed" (for Nervous Horse Owners)
"Round Pen First Steps"
"Trailer Training"
"Your Foal: Essential Training"


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My Horse Roots At The Bit

By Keith Hosman and by Josh Lyons

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My Horse Roots At The Bit

Ninety percent of the time "head tossing" and "rooting at the bit"are caused by the person riding the horse. If your horse "roots at the bit," that is, he drops his head and pulls or tugs the reins out of your hands, then he's learned that when he pulls you give. That is, he knows that when he yanks the bit, he'll get a release from bit pressure because your hands will move in kind. The head-tossing horse has learned the same thing.

It doesn't take a horse long to realize that he can move your hand. The opposite would be true if you were to tie him to a tree. He'd pull a couple of times and realize there's no give. He'd quit pulling; there's no point. If your horse yanks at the bit, then pick it back up and be ready the next time. You want to try to catch him before he can yank that bit away by being prepared to hold it steady. When you take ahold of the reins, lock both your fists behind the saddle. That'll give you the leverage you need to hold on the next time he gives it a good yank. Hold until the horse softens and then give the reins back. Until your horse gives you back his head just the way you want him to, you just keep picking them up, asking him to soften again - and again and again.

The same thing will happen if you release too quickly. If you were to give the reins back very quickly (and very often), some horses will begin taking their head back very quickly (the head tossing/slingshot/snapped rubber band effect). If that happens, simply make the horse keep its head in position, waiting a little longer before releasing. Just keeping putting his head back, practice your timing - and release on "politeness" from your horse. Say to your horse "If you're going to take your head back, take it back with manners." If that little voice in your head says your horse is playing you - he just might be.


Read previous article: Three Step Stop Exercise

Read next article: Hurry Up and Stop

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   Meet the author:  

Keith Hosman
John & Josh Lyons Certified
Clinician and Trainer

Utopia, TX (Hill Country of San Antonio)

Keith Hosman is based in San Antonio, TX and is available for clinics, lessons and training. He frequently travels to Los Angeles, CA and Kansas City, MO where he partners with fellow clinician Patrick Benson for clinics and demonstrations. You can find him on Google+ and Reddit



   Meet the author:  

Josh Lyons
Clinician and Trainer

Cross Plains, TN

Josh Lyons inherited his father's stamina, patience, and talent for getting positive results from both horses and people. As Josh says, "Knowledge and patience are the only tools that you need to bring with you into your barn."�Josh currently trains out of his ranch in Cross Plains, TN.


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Lyons Training 101: Issue Six, Part 2
"Horse Riding Instruction: Horses That Pull On the Bit and Head Tossers"
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