Stay Free in the Stop
Use your feet the right way when stopping your horse.
Many riders don’t realize the influence their feet have on their horse when stopping. Tight, bracey feet make for a stop with those qualities—and that’s not something you want when being judged in the reining pen or anywhere else that requires a stop. No one wants to get lawndarted, dashboarded, or slammed into the saddle when stopping.
Here I’ll outline key body-position pointers, focusing on your feet, to get a free, loose stop that slides farther or at least keeps you from landing on your horse’s neck. Practice in a bit that your horse responds to, and ride with one or two hands, whichever helps you feel comfortable and get the best stop from your horse. →
maybe even send me flying forward out of the saddle, if he stops hard enough!)
3I compare this position to sliding on the kitchen floor while wearing socks. I can run and get a good slide, but if someone is hiding behind the refrigerator and throws a backpack on me from behind, I’ll lose my balance. When I run to a stop and jam my feet forward, pushing my upper body backward, it’s as if I’m throwing that backpack on my horse and putting him off balance. I force his hind feet to enter the ground right at that point, whether he’s ready to stop or not. I also push his back down, which is the opposite of what I want in a good stop; I want his back to be nice and round. Our timing is off, and he’ll have to regather himself to attempt to stop again on my cue.
6Ouch! By pushing my feet behind me, I’ve tilted my body forward, right onto the saddle horn when my horse stops. My discomfort aside, my horse has to try to keep his front end moving forward with extra weight on his forehand. He’s trying, but it’s not an easy task.