Featured Riding Exercise: Steer the Tail
What you'll get: A horse that turns without drifting; the ability to calm or slow a jiggy horse, the beginnings of a solid foundation
Practice"Steer the Tail" because: Your horse's "power," its drive comes from the rear. Your ability to control this energy is critical to controlling your horse today - and building a solid foundation for tomorrow. This exercise is mandatory for those looking to put a good solid foundation on any horse.
Note: A follow-up article (to this one) called "Steering Your Horse" is also available. It explains "What to do if..." your horse develops a slingshot action with its head; what to do and what not to do; common mistakes and a lot more. Consider it "Part II" to this article. Find that other article at Horsemanship101.com/Articles.
The training exercise in this article can be done at a walk or even at a stand still. (Though, as with most training, it's much easier if you have movement.) When you feel comfortable, do it at a trot.
When you steer a boat, you always steer from the back end, don't you? That's what you'll do here. Your horse is driven by its hindquarters; that's the engine and where the drive comes from. To start getting control of your horse, you'll first take control of its "engine." You'll drive your horse around the arena like you're driving a boat. You'll pick up one rein and just drive his tail the direction you don't want to go. So, if you don't want to go "over there," then you push his tail "over there" instead and release the rein. As soon as you release it, then pick it up and drive his tail over the other direction. Release the rein, push him out, drive his tail the other direction. You'll just keep pushing the tail different directions.
This training isn't about looking pretty: Just keep changing directions for twenty minutes. You can start this exercise riding at a walk and then at a trot when you feel comfortable.
The more excited or nervous the horse is, the more important it is for you to not let him go straight. If you take a snaffle bit, which is what you should be riding in, and you pull on two reins, what you do is you just make them smile. That's it. The horse is going to pick his head up and you're