Panel Expert: Bernie Traurig
Submitted by member: Dawn
What are some ways to slow down the tempo on a horse that likes to go fast and resists slowing down when asked?
Answer by Bernie
This was a common problem with the TB’s of the last century and I will give you the solution that worked well with them and should work on any breed with this issue. It’s called “stabilization.” We’d spend weeks working on this until the horse would stay the same speed basically on a loose rein. It is described on EquestrianCoach.com in the video topic, Fundamentals Of Flatwork – Basic, and it has its own chapter within that topic called Stabilization. Watch that but I will give you the skinny.
First it takes patience, perseverance and time. Ask your horse to trot at a normal speed. Loosen the reins to a short loop by putting your hands and arms forward. Naturally your horse will speed up. As soon as he does, check him (take contact and increase contact as if you were going to walk and do not increase your leg) and use your voice (whoa). He will slow down to the original normal speed. Loosen the reins again and he will of course speed up. Repeat the check and voice command. It will take many, many hundreds of these to get the message across. Hopefully he is smart enough to get the message and you can proceed to the canter with the same procedure. Use the mildest snaffle suitable for your horses mouth.
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As a Horseman, Bernie is renowned for not only his riding talents but for his teaching and coaching gifts. As a competitor, Bernie has represented the United States Equestrian Team both at home and abroad on many occasions and reached the top of the sport in all 3 of the International Equestrian Olympic disciplines: Show Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing.After amassing 60 years worth of training and riding techniques and experiences with thousands of horses, Bernie is driven to give back to the sport that has given him so much fulfillment and success.