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by Downunder Horsemanship

Training Tip: Why are Rollbacks Included in Fundamentals Clinics?

Question: I attended a Fundamentals Clinic in Northern California. The last day of the clinic ended with rollbacks in a circle and down the fence. Can you give an in-depth explanation about why that Intermediate level exercise was selected rather than continuing with the Fundamentals exercises? – CmacGregor

Clinton’s Answer: That’s a good question, mate. I suppose the simple answer is because in a three-day clinic we can’t possibly get every single Fundamentals level exercise covered, so we pick the exercises that are the most beneficial to riders and horses. My goal is to always give participants as many beneficial tools and as much knowledge as possible so that they leave the clinic improved and confident about continuing to get better at home. Rollbacks, if done correctly, get a lot accomplished for both horse and rider.

Of course, the exercise is in the Intermediate Series, but it could have quite easily gone in the Fundamentals Series. It didn’t because I had to cut the series off somewhere. Most people who participate in Fundamentals Clinics are good enough riders to accomplish the exercise. If they don’t feel confident doing the exercise, we ride their horses for them.

Rollbacks are the easiest way to start teaching a horse to move his front end, work off his hindquarters and collect himself. It’s a great exercise for horses that want to run around on their front end. The more you can get the horse to stop and roll over his hocks, the better brakes, steering wheel, collection and overall attitude he’ll have. Rollbacks also will free up a horse’s mind—it’s great for horses that have “sticky feet” because it gives them a reason to get up and go somewhere.

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