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by Downunder Horsemanship

Training Tip: Why You Should Teach Your Horse to Sidepass

Sidepassing is a useful way to get better control of the horse’s five body parts (head and neck, poll, shoulders, ribcage and hindquarters). Anytime you can get your horse to move laterally, you’ll encourage him to use the thinking side of his brain. Remember, the secret to earning your horse’s respect and getting him to use the thinking side of his brain is moving his feet forwards, backwards, left and right.

Following the Method, you’ll first teach your horse to sidepass by practicing next to a fence because it’s easier for him to understand what you are asking him to do. Horses are forward-aholics and when first taught sidepassing have a tendency to walk forward instead of moving sideways. Using the fence initially to teach the exercise stops the horse from walking forward and helps you to teach him to move sideways off of your leg. When your horse is moving sideways really well as soon as you press the middle of his ribcage with your leg, you’re ready to practice off the fence. Not having the fence in front of the horse makes him more responsible for his actions and softer to the bridle.

Sidepassing is an important exercise to teach because if you can push the horse laterally off your leg, you’ll be able to direct his feet as he’s circling, open and shut a gate, and teach him flying lead changes. A flying lead change is nothing more than the horse sidepassing in midair.

Learn how to teach your horse to sidepass with the Intermediate Series exercise Sidepassing on the Fence and the Advanced Series exercise Sidepassing Off the Fence.