Using Cadence to Stop Harder
- October 5, 2017
- Savanna Simmons
When considering using your horse’s cadence to stop, feel and listen to the horse’s stride. Jolyn Young wrote an informative blog about cadence at the lope and learning to feel the three-beat footfall. Read about her blog post here. Once you’re comfortable feeling the footfall at each gait, you can start to use it to make your horse’s movements sharper and more precise by fine-tuning when you’re asking something of your horse.
Within the three-beat loping gait, there is one point where the horse can get shut down the hardest and fastest at the lope: when its hind feet are suspended in air. Each foot does four things within one stride: it leaves, is suspended in air, falls, then bears weight. You cannot do anything with a foot when it is falling or bearing weight, so the ideal time to ask your horse to do something with his feets, such as gather under him to stop, is when those feet are getting ready to leave and suspended.
Many horses compensate for their rider, and if they ask for the stop when their hind feet are planted, they’ll finish their stride until their feet are freed up and then stop. By getting in time with your horses’ feet, he can stop more promptly and harder. Start to feel when your horse’s hinds are leaving and gathered up under him. I often say in my own head, “now, now, now” each time it would be ideal for me to ask for the stop until it becomes second nature. Do this for three or four strides prior to stopping, then sink hard into your saddle on one of your “nows” and see if you soon have better results.
About Savanna Simmons
I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...