Teaching Your Horse to Flex
The object of this exercise is to teach your horse to move his neck and shoulders: to bend and flex laterally (left to right) and verticaly (up and down).
Lateral Flex is the KEY to every exercise from now on. It prepares your horse mentally for your partnership and teaches him to be “soft” and “supple” in the turn and controlled when you mount. The Lateral Flex is also the very foundation of the emergency stop!
The Flexing lessons use three of the training principles used by all trainers:
Physical pressure: that is the tactile feelings such as the bit against the bars in his mouth or the rope halter pulling at the side of his face. (see Pressure)
Release is the reward that the rider or trainer gives the horse for executing the proper maneuver. (see Release Training)
Shaping is the term used for GRADUALLY lengthening or fine-tuning a response. (see Shaping)
Flexing is a HUGE basic lesson that all horses must learn on the way to training. Without it there is no control, no steering, sometimes not even good balance. It also helps to teach respect. A horse that is flexed is not protecting himself or exerting his own will. A horse whose face is to his girth cannot easily run away.
Horse training can be dangerous. Not all methods work on all horses. Instruction presented here is not meant to be prescriptive in nature, and Horse-Pros.com takes no responsibility for the welfare of any animal or person using our methods.
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