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by Downunder Horsemanship

Training Tip: Canter With Confidence: Practice One Rein Stops

If your confidence slips when it comes to cantering your horse, you’re not alone! Most equestrian, including myself, are nervous to canter their horse when first learning to ride. Getting comfortable and confident riding your horse’s three-beat gait just takes practice.

Tip #5: Practice One Rein Stops.

One Rein Stops are your emergency brakes. Anytime you feel unsure of a situation or out of control, you want to be able to slide one hand down the rein, bring it up to your hip and have the horse stop moving his feet and flex his head to the side. Knowing that you can control your horse and ask him to stop at any time gives you confidence. If you follow my advice and learn to canter on a well-broke horse that knows his job, you won’t have to use a One Rein Stop, but knowing that it’s there and you can do it will boost your confidence.

Practice doing One Rein Stops at the walk and trot. When you’re ready to practice at the canter, only let the horse go two or three strides before shutting him down. Again, you’re working on your confidence—you’re proving to yourself that your horse may pick up the canter, but you are able to stop him. It also reminds the horse that just because he starts to canter, he still needs to check in with his rider and not tune you out and head for the hills.

Read the previous tips in this series: Tip #1: Use Correctly Fitted Tack, Tip #2: Sit in the Saddle Correctly, Tip #3: Practice With the Right Horse, and Tip #4: Practice Posting to the Trot.