Teach a Horse to Sidepass Toward You on the Ground
By Keith Hosman, John Lyons Certified Trainer
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Teach a Horse to Sidepass Toward You on the Ground
How to teach your horse to sidepass toward you on the ground as you move away.
Does your horse move away as you try to mount up? The following exercise will give you the cues and control you need to ask your horse to move back into position.
Have you seen Pat Parelli, Clinton Anderson or other famous horse trainers back away from their horses (on the ground) - while their horses continue to sidestep toward them? It looks pretty cool, doesn't it? It looks impressive, like something that took years of training and maybe a little black magic. Funny thing is, this trick with such a high "wow" factor is actually one of the easier things to teach. This, as opposed to a smooth flying lead change or a reiner's sliding stop - two examples of "tricks" which take years to perfect. With an amenable, tractable horse, you can teach the "sidepass toward you" in just a few easy sessions.
Notice the two words "amenable" (willing) and "tractable" (easily managed). If your horse isn't willing and easily managed on the ground, if his shoulders can't be moved away or he can't be backed up lightly, then shelve this exercise until you've done more ground work. To look at it another way: If your horse thinks he's the boss of you, don't even try this. Find yourself a book, video or article on round penning/ground control and start there. To be blunt, you have no business attempting a more advanced maneuver if your horse is likely to bowl you over when agitated. Ignore this advice, and you'll find yourself with a real handful. This exercise involves steps that, if glossed over or improperly taught, can teach your horse to challenge you, rather than peacefully submit. If you're able to walk your horse past a group of beckoning buddies or honking cars or barking dogs without your pulse quickening, you should be ready.
You'll need a dressage whip and to saddle your horse. A saddled horse? Yes, this is ground work, you won't be riding - but you'll see why the saddle in a moment. The saddling isn't 100% necessary - many trainers go without it here - but I've learned a little trick to "motivate" my horse without upping the "danger ante," so to speak. More on this later. Also, put your headstall (with a snaffle bit and reins) on the horse. The bit will offer a clearer signal than would a plain halter. We'll be motivating our horse to move his legs, then attempting to channel in which direction he moves. Horses tend to "run through" halters and allowing him to push past us or through a halter will place his legs incorrectly (on top of our own, for instance), reward him for resisting (when he blows past us, avoiding our request), teach him that we can be ignored, or all of the above. Halters used here simply make for a more difficult situation.
So, from the ground and with dressage whip in hand, you'll walk your horse to...
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| Meet the author:
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.
To see articles and training products related to the article you just read, see the following topics:
Come to You
Face First in Stall
Lateral Work - also see Diagonals
Mounting and Dismounting
Sidepass - Fullpass
Standing While Mounting
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Lyons Training 101: Issue Twenty-four, Part 1
"Training Horse in Hand: Teach a Horse to Sidepass Toward You on the Ground"
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