Creating Relaxation and Collection

Deuce has a big motor, but gentle. He gives me great effort; but sometimes he goes too fast. I want correctness before speed. Slow it down; build the correctness and then, build speed or finesse; depending on what the maneuver requires. With big motored horses or a very willing horse (Deuce is both); slowing down can be difficult. Our tendency as human is to pull and hold – Wrong! All we accomplish is creating an anxious, nervous or even mad horse; and a frustrated human. The more we pull the more tense the horse becomes and we want the opposite – relaxation. We need to keep the horse’s feet moving and set him up with light rein control and leg pressure to collect up. By collecting him up (rounding his back) we make him drive deeper with his hock.

What does this have to do with slowing down my horse, you ask? What I am about to suggest may test your patience and certainly, initially, is going to agitate your horse. Slowing your horse down is about slowing their feet and relaxing the body. They go hand in hand- move the feet and the body relaxes. You cannot create this effect by asking for motion and holding on to their face at the same time. Pulling on them restricts their feet and causes them to tense up on the bit. Eventually, you will 1) lose all softness in their face; 2) gain a hard-mouthed, tense horse and 3) create a hollow backed; uncollected horse. Not a picture any of us want. What we need to do is allow forward motion on an appropriate loose rein and set up a situation that makes the horse change direction; work harder and seek a way to make it easier.

Steve Jones Horsemanship is scheduling clinics now for the remainder of 2019. Also, have openings for lessons (private or small groups). Contact us to improve your horsemanship skills for basic horsemanship, ranch versatility events, improved trail riding experience, or correcting problems.;; or 501-733-0016

  • Associations: AQHA, APHA, ARHA, ARSHA, NRCHA
  • 2017 & 2018 Arkansas Ranch and Stock Horse Association All-Around Champion (Open)
  • ARHA Professional Horseman
  • ARHA World Show Finalist- Ranch Riding, Trail
  • Author to Numerous Publications ( 26 years for Horsemen’s Round-UP)
  • Clinics:  From Ground to Saddle;Building the Foundation; Fundamentals of Western Horsemanship; Ranch Versatility & Stock Horse (including cow work); Building Confidence for Horse and Rider; Competitive Trail; Horse Packing and Wilderness Riding
  • Clinics have been presented to 20,000 + Horsemen