How often would you work on stopping in a week? Would you combine other things in a training session with stopping?
How often would you work on stopping in a week?
Also would you go on to work on other things in the same training session once your horse gives you a few good tries at stopping?
John and Angie’s Answer
With young horses I would suggest working on stopping every day, as they are not stopping very big and learning how to stop so the repetition everyday helps them to pick it up quicker. You can save the stopping session for the end of your ride and whenever you get a good try, scratch on their mane/wither area and sit around on them for a few minutes to reward them.
Keep in mind it’s more about the commitment to the stop when they are learning and then they will start to get the idea of getting two back feet in the ground, even if it’s only 1-2 feet. But if they miss the stop, run through it, don’t try, don’t make a big deal out of making them feel wrong, you can back them up or do some form of correct but don’t make them feel wrong, but don’t sit and rest if it’s not a good stop. Just turn them around and go again, you may have to do a half a dozen attempts until they commit with their hind feet, even a foot or two when they are learning. Once they finally get two feet in the ground and try hard, then scratch their mane, let them know they have done it correct and sit around on them for a while. If you keep repeating that they will start to figure out why they are get scratched and sit around.
Then at the end of a stopping session you are looking for a really good try at a stop, then scratch them on the wither, and smoothly dismount, loosen the girth and just hang out with them in the spot for a few minutes to let them know they tried really hard and did a good job on that stop.
If they offer you a few really good stops at the start of the stopping session when they are learning, finish there for that day. Let them know they are on the right track and then they will soon start to crave the stop.
So with the young horses that are learning how to stop, you could stop them every day at the end of your ride that way you can dismount and finish your ride with a really good effort.
However, with the older horses that know how to stop and you are maintaining and tweaking their stop then you only need to stop them a few times a week, as they are stopping much bigger. It’s more about the quality of the stop not the quantity. Plus you want to keep them fresh and enjoying stopping by only doing the older horses a few times a week.
I hope this helps!
Angie and John