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Clinton Anderson: Move Your Horse’s Hind End

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By Clinton Anderson with J. Forsberg Meyer
Photos by Kevin McGowan

When you control your horse's hindquarters, you control his gas pedal. As he steps his hind legs laterally away from you, his hind end--or engine--is disengaged. The ability to use your body language to yield his hindquarters in this manner is handy when you're trying to catch him in the stall or pasture. It also sets the stage for disengaging his hindquarters while you're mounted.

Plus, this exercise is a prerequisite for teaching your horse how to do what I call "longeing for respect," one of the keystones of my training program.

Right now, my student, Renee Humphries, and her Appaloosa gelding, Sammy, will demonstrate the right and wrong ways to ask your horse to yield his hindquarters. Then, they'll show you what it looks like through a full quarter-circle's worth of stepping around. I'll explain what's happening along the way, and Renee will share her insights, as well.

To Get the Most from This Lesson:

  • Outfit your horse in a rope halter with a 14-foot lead. I prefer my own halters, which have extra knots on the noseband for improved responsiveness, but any stiff rope halter will do.
  • Grab your training stick. If you don't have one, make one using a sturdy, 4-foot-long stick. Or, use a dressage whip.
  • Work with your horse several times a week--ideally on consecutive days to speed his learning. Remain calm and patient at all times, and work both sides equally.

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