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by Downunder Horsemanship

Training Tip: Improving a Horse’s Agility and Focus

Question: What are some good exercises to keep my horse moving with agility? I compete in ranch-type events, some of which are fast-paced, and I’m looking for exercises to get him to tune in to me and improve the way he moves in general. – wayneborrows

Clinton’s Answer: My go-to exercise in a situation like this is Rollbacks on the Fence, an exercise in the Intermediate Series. We all want a soft, supple, responsive and relaxed horse that’s a pleasure to ride. The key to achieving that is gaining control of the horse’s five body parts—the head and neck, poll, shoulders, ribcage and hindquarters. Rollbacks are a great exercise to get whole-body suppleness and control.

To do the exercise, canter a 50-foot circle next to a fence. When the horse is relaxed, come up to the fence at a 45-degree angle and have the horse stop, collect himself on his hindquarters and do a 180-degree rollback. As soon as he’s through the turn, he should hustle back onto the circle.

The exercise will teach your horse to tune in to you and it will get him to collect, work off his hindquarters and move his front end. It’s one of my most favorite exercises because of how many things you can accomplish with it.

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