Tuesday Training Tip – Kelly McDowall

Today’s Tuesday Training Tip comes from Multiple World Champion Kelly McDowall

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Tuesday Training Tip - Kelly McDowall

“I prefer to push my horses over the logs than constantly have to worry about slowing them down. I want my horses to be waiting on me. I can easily encourage them to keep going after an obstacle, but I don’t ever want them making that decision for us both.

An exercise that is implemented in the very first few days is to jog or lope over just one or two logs. Once over the final log, ask the horse to halt. Continue this exercise until the horse is expecting to halt after the log. This exercise can be elaborated on with your more finished trail horses. When there are multiple lopeovers set up, ask the horse to lope one or two poles and then halt in the middle of the obstacle. This keeps his horses from rushing the poles and encourages the rocked back, push over the pole type of horse.

As riders, we have the opportunity to diagnose what our horses are doing simply by listening carefully. If your horse is hitting a pole with his front hoof he is moving too quickly and rushing the pole. The best fix for that is the above exercise. If your horse is ticking the pole with a hind leg, he is moving too slow or short strided, and you need to work on lengthening that stride.”

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