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by Downunder Horsemanship

Training Tip: Training at the Trot Helps Your Horse Mentally

When it comes to teaching your horse something new or going back and fixing an issue under saddle, there’s no better gait to work from than the trot.

Reason #2: The Trot Doesn’t Mentally Override Your Horse

When you need to go back and fix an issue or when you’re teaching your horse something new, your horse is automatically in what my mentor Ian Francis would refer to as a “mental bind.” You’re setting him up to perform a specific task, letting him commit to mistakes and correcting him, and rewarding him when he finds the right answer.

A lot of times, if you try to teach an exercise or fix an issue at the lope, you’ll mentally scare the horse. Because everything is moving at a quicker pace, it’ll be too much for him to comprehend. If you’re on a hot-blooded, sensitive horse, you’ll more or less blow his mind. It’s much better to work at the trot, ensure that he understands the concept of what you’re teaching him and doing it well, and then move on to the lope.

Now, I’m not saying that every time you feel resistance from your horse or he overreacts at the lope that you should stop what you’re doing. That’s not true. Every horse has to learn how to handle pressure at all gaits. What I’m saying is, as horsemen, our duty is to set our horses up for success. The best way to do that is to break whatever concept you’re trying to teach the horse down to the simplest steps possible. In most cases, that’s slowing things down and dropping back to the trot and building from there.

Read Reason #1: Training at the Trot Keeps Gas in Your Horse’s Tank

Have a horsemanship question or looking for more training tips? Check out the No Worries Club.