Training Tips: How Rollbacks on the Fence Can Improve Your Horse

For the past 20 years, Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship has devoted his life to creating the best training tools and videos available to help bring his method to you. Join him on his weekly endeavors of tackling some of the most challenging situations with problem horses, and problem owners. This week, Clinton gives us a few training tips about how rollbacks on the fence can improve your horse.

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Clinton begins by telling us that if there were only one riding exercise in the Downunder Horsemanship Method that you were to take, the most impactful one would be Rollbacks on the Fence. Out of over 60 riding exercises, this Intermediate level exercise can help fix so many problems with your horse while also teaching them many new things. Practicing rollbacks, you can work on left circles, right circles, left leads, right leads, stops, collection, and, of course, your rollback. So, this one exercise can work on seven different things, making it a great option for any horse.

In order to practice rollbacks during training sessions, Clinton had “rollback fences” installed around his ranch. The fences are about 20 feet long and 7 feet high. You can use the side of a barn, an arena fence, portable panels, etc. to practice rollbacks. Use your imagination.

When you’re ready to practice rollbacks, start loping your horse in a circle. Clinton says the area that he uses for loping is no wider than the diameter of a 50-foot roundpen, so it’s not a huge distance. You can do this exercise at a trot, but it works better at the lope. The first goal is to just get the horse to lope around—get them to move out in the circle. If, at any point, the horse cuts the circle down, just turn them out of it and keep loping. With practice, the horse will learn not to cut in on the circle.

When you’re ready to do a rollback, come into the fence at a 45-degree angle, to create a bit of a wedge to turn the horse in. As you come up to the fence, draw the horse’s nose into it and encourage him to turn by adding pressure with your outside leg. Once your horse gets more advanced, you can come in parallel to the fence to finesse the maneuver more.

If your horse is coming out of the rollback on the incorrect lead, it’s a dead giveaway that you’re not driving them out of that turn quick enough. Don’t try to stop the horse and then turn them. Let the fence do all the work for you. Now, if the horse anticipates the movements, go around again and every time you go past that fence, stay close enough to it so the horse thinks you might turn. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with it and do some turns here and there to help the horse get the hang of it. Clinton does this exercise a lot with unruly horses at clinics that are badly broke, and he says it’s his favorite exercise to get them thinking right. After a few days, you’ll notice completely new behaviors. Just keep practicing and keep moving your horse’s feet.

Clinton Anderson has spent the past 20 years of his life devoting his time to creating the best training tools and videos available to horsemen all over the world. The Downunder Horsemanship app offers over 100 hours of free in-depth training content. No Worries Club members will have full access to Clinton’s ever-growing training library and a massive number of members only features and information. And the best part is that you can view and interact with each lesson on your mobile device or computer, giving you ultimate access to the Method anytime and anyplace.

To learn more about the Downunder Horsemanship training method, become a member of the No Worries Club, or to get information on any of the products seen on our show, head over to our homepage and download the Downunder Horsemanship app today!

No Worries by Clinton Anderson

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