How to train for a “one rein stop”

What is resistance?

Yesterday we talked about what to do to keep a young horse from rushing forward. For hundreds, even thousands of years, horse trainers have dealt with this problem, except for racehorse trainers of course.
In France, during the 19th century Francois Baucher started a movement that we now refer to as a “search for lightness.” This is the same lightness sought by the old California hackamore reinsmen.

This rushing forward is the first obstacle to overcome in schooling a horse to lightness. Baucher called it the “resistance of weight “as it is based on the natural tendency of a horse to carry two thirds of its weight on the forehand. His explanation was that when a colt lost its balance, it returned to throwing is wait on the forehand much like a bicycle rider goes faster to stay straight up.

Grey Lusitano Mare
Grey Lusitano Mare

The double, refined to the “one ring stop,” develops in the horse a sort of anticipation, or “Morality”; “if I speed up, he’ll make me stop, so I’ll go slow, and he’ll leave me alone.” So, the key to this anticipation, or rebalancing to the hind quarter, begins with the halt/rebalance dance. When doing this, take care to “take” and “give,” avoiding a study pull or a hold of the rein. It might require several “takes” and “slacks,” or “set and release” sequences to get stopped, sort of like antilock brakes, but only this way, by letting the reins go slack between, does the colt begin to respond of his own will, and over time, to develop lightness.

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