HORSE TRAINING QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS part 2
Dear Friend and Horseman,
In this issue of the newsletter, I answer some of the questions that
were emailed to me by some of my subscribers.
I think you will find the answers to be valuable information.
Okay, let’s get started with the first question…
I have a question. In your “Teach Your Horse to be Light & Supple”
you mention that it can be difficult to make a horse supple unless he
go forward well.
My 2 1/2 yr gelding has a little trouble going forward on cue.
He acts just about like the horse in the video. That is, he will
respond to leg but after a dozen or so strides, he starts slowing to a
and then a walk and becomes less responsive to my clucks and leg aids.
I’m afraid that if I just keep giving him leg aids he might become
desensitized to them.
He responds well to clucks on the lunge line but less so from the
was considering the use of spurs (which I have never used before) but
I should ask your opinion on other training approaches or equipment
The problem you describe is a common one. And my answer is yes,
start using spurs. To tell you the truth, I always wear spurs when
horse that has more than 60 days of training.
Even a really sensitive horse will eventually require a spur. A rider’s
itself just isn’t enough when is comes to schooling most horses.
Spurs are used to ENFORCE leg aids. The CALF of the leg is used FIRST
and if the horse doesn’t respond to the leg, the rider PRESSES him with
It’s important to PRESS with the spur instead of JAB.
A smooth pressing action will get a good response from the horse.
with the spur upsets the horse, makes him anxious and could cause him to
wring his tail.
Most people misunderstand what spurs are for. Just because a rider is
spurs doesn’t mean he has to USE them every time he cues the horse.
With most horses, all you have to do is touch them a few times with the
and that’s it. They will respond to the rider’s bare leg if they know
COULD be used to back it up.
It’s also important to teach your horse to respond to the “CLUCK” when
you are in the saddle.
Here’s how to do it:
From a walk, cluck to the horse, then squeeze with your legs and if he
accelerate into a trot, pop him on the butt with a bat or the end of the
Only use enough force to get your point across. Most horses will only
a couple of light pops on the butt. Lazy or insensitive horses may
good, strong whack to get them to respond.
Repeat this every ride and within a short time your horse will have it.
I have a new video coming out soon that shows exactly how to do all
I’ll send you an email when the video is ready to go.
Larry Trocha Training Stable
Started re-studying your videos.
Especially the one about rollbacks and spins.
Is there a distinct cue for the rollback vs the spin? The hand movement
you describe is to the hocks ( pivot foot) as in teaching to turn over
hocks and as well as putting him in a spin. Or do they need a separate
You seem to raise your arms a bit higher for the rollback than for the
Is it? If you can put me straight I’d appreciate it.
You are pretty darn observant. Yes, there is a distinction in the way
reins are handled for the rollback and for the spin.
When asking for the rollback, I use the rein more decisively (abruptly)
and my rein hand is held a little higher to slightly “lift” the horse’s
end as I ask him to come around over his hocks.
This way of handling the reins encourages the horse to make a complete
180 degree turn with one big move. I almost always jump the horse into
a lope after a turn like this.
Now, if he jumps out and lopes too fast, I’ll immediately bring him to a
stop to let him know he needs to slow down.
When asking for a spin, I use my reins in a more “subtle” way. I’ll keep
my hand low and start the spin by laying the rein “very lightly” and
“intermittently” on the horse’s neck.
This first touch of the rein is so light the horse may not feel it.
give a short quick release of the rein pressure and lay the rein on his
neck again, only this time a little heavier so he definitely feels it.
On a trained horse, the entire spin is done with light little touches
releases of the reins.
There is a reason for using my hand real low and cueing with light
and releases. I want the horse’s front end to stay low and flat on the
ground and cross his front legs over on the turn around.
If I startle the horse with an abrupt move of my hand, he’ll pick his
end up and make a big move, this will ruin the low, flat cross-over.
Hope this clarifies it.
Larry Trocha Training Stable
A question. What would you do to connect with a horse that is deaf?
We can trail ride this gelding and he is fine, other than he keeps
back like he is trying to make sure you are still with him.
My daughter tried to train him for the barrels, but his head is all over
place trying to watch for direction or something.
He hasn’t been deaf all his life, only about three years we were told.
When he was castrated, he fell over and hit his head on a rock.
How would you go about his training?
You probably won’t like my answer but I’m going to tell it the way I see
Here’s what I’d do:
I’d spend my time and money on a horse that doesn’t have these problems.
If he is doing fine as a trail horse, just leave it that way. No point
him undo stress trying to train him for some high performance event.
If he hit his head hard enough to cause deafness, he probably hit it
to cause some other kind of damage too.
It sounds like he’s lucky to be ride-able at all. I think I’d leave well
Larry Trocha Training Stable
I have a five yr. old gelding. He is calm and does not like to move! I
your video on stopping and backing, but he opens his mouth and tries to
when I apply pressure, am I putting to much pressure on his mouth?
He does take a few steps back, I have only started him on this three
and he is backing but with a lot of resistance. I have many of your
right now i am working through one, collection and stopping.
Please explain to me what i am doing wrong.
Thank you very much and Happy New Year!!!
Good to hear from you. Thanks for getting my videos.
I read about your backing problem. You know, you aren’t necessarily
anything wrong. It’s normal for a horse to resist doing anything new…
especially a horse that is set in his ways.
If you are consistent with your training, there is a good chance in a
weeks your horse will be backing just fine.
In the early stages of teaching the back-up, it’s very important to
SINGLE backward step. So, apply pressure to the bit and the instant the
takes ONE step back, release the reins.
Repeat this until you get three or four backward steps.
On the next ride, do the same thing. Do not ask for more than five
until the horse has been backing well for a month.
Also, make sure you are using your hands correctly.
When asking for the back-up, make contact with the horse’s mouth, apply
a couple pounds of pressure and simply HOLD it there.
DO NOT PULL.
SIMPLY APPLY PRESSURE AND MAKE THE BIT APPEAR TO BE SOLID
and IMMOVABLE (like a brick wall).
Once the bit is set solid, you might want to bump him a little with your
encourage him to move his feet. You could even move his hindquarters to
side a little, again to encourage him to move his feet.
Let’s talk about why your horse is opening his mouth or gapping.
Most horses open their mouth because they are resisting what the rider
The cure is to get your horse light and supple with the emphasis on
Once he is giving to the bit, the gapping will stop.
Of course, PULLING on his mouth instead of SETTING THE BIT will also
a horse open his mouth. So, make sure you are using your hands
Remember, the way you ride and use your body is MORE IMPORTANT than
the METHODS used to train the horse.
If you use your hands and body correctly, the horse will darn near train
In every one of my videos, I go into a lot of detail about the rider.
Pay attention to that advice. It’s key.
Hope this helps.
Well, this wraps it up for this newsletter. I hope
you liked it.
time, have fun training your horse.