G i eR

Clint And on erso n, With g J. Fors­berg Meyer Jan­uary 2017 Pho­tos by Alana Har­ri­son Horse­andRider.com

Horse & Rider - - Practice Pen - By

Many fac­tors can prompt your horse to jig. We’ll as­sume he’s broke enough to be out on the trail in the first place; if not, then that’s your pri­mary fac­tor.

Sim­ply be­ing too fresh and full of pent-up en­ergy can also cause jig­ging. It means you did a poor job of pre­par­ing your horse for the trail ride—you should’ve taken the edge off his en­ergy be­fore­hand with vig­or­ous ground­work ex­er­cises.

Ner­vous­ness is an­other pos­si­ble cause. You may be on a new trail and, as a prey an­i­mal, your horse is un­com­fort­able in the strange en­vi­ron­ment. Or he may be both­ered about be­ing in a group of horses, and fuss­ing over keep­ing up with or get­ting ahead of the pack. Ide­ally, don’t take your horse out in a group un­til he’s re­li­ably calm and re­laxed by him­self on the trail—to do so is one of the quick­est ways to set him up to fail. When your horse does start to jig, do not try to make him stop by pulling back on both reins. This is one of the big­gest mis­takes rid­ers make, and it only in­vites re­sis­tance. The more you try to make a horse slow down with two reins, the more up­set and ner­vous he gets, as it just makes him feel trapped and claus­tro­pho­bic.

In­stead, use one rein at a time, draw­ing your hand back to your hip on the same side, to bend him into a small cir­cle in one di­rec­tion, then the other. Re­in­force your hand with your leg on the same side (for ex­am­ple, when cir­cling to the left, ap­ply your left leg to bend his body in a left­ward arc). Hus­tle his feet so he’s go­ing in at least a brisk trot, mak­ing him work hard and putting him through fre­quent changes of di­rec­tion.

Your mes­sage here is, “If you want to speed up, let’s go!” But in­stead of let­ting him build speed as he goes down the trail, you’re di­rect­ing his feet where you want them to go, plus mak­ing him move a bit faster than he’d choose on his own. As soon as he re­laxes—by drop­ping his head and neck and feel­ing soft in your hands—let him slow down to a walk. Put him on a big, loose rein, and dare him to jig again. If you did a good job of di­rect­ing his feet, he’ll be happy to slow down to a flat-footed walk. And when he does, keep him on the loose rein and give him a rub as a re­ward.

If he gets jiggy again, im­me­di­ately put his feet back to work. For va­ri­ety, you can trot him in a se­ries of ser­pen­tines, con­stantly ask­ing him

to re­shape his body and move his feet. Or use the en­vi­ron­ment—ser­pen­tine around trees and bushes, or cir­cle around large rocks.

Move him en­er­get­i­cally, but don’t be so ag­gres­sive that you scare him. A horse that’s jig­ging is usu­ally ner­vous; thump­ing his sides with your spurs or jerk­ing on the reins will only make him more re­ac­tive.

At the same time, don’t let him just jog around, ei­ther. You want him to sweat and re­al­ize that walk­ing on a loose rein is by far the bet­ter op­tion. By re­peat­ing this train­ing over time, your horse will get the mes­sage.

Both reins is way to stop jig­ging. It just makes your horse claus­tro­pho­bic and more ner­vous. ABOVERIGHT: The so­lu­tion for jig­ging is to move his feet. Use one rein to di­rect your horse in a cir­cle, us­ing his en­ergy to ac­ti­vate the think­ing part of his bra

ABOVE- LEFT: Pulling on

ABOVE-LEFT: After the

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