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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Joe Wolter, August 2002

About backing up: you won’t pull on him. He won’t pull on you. Release for shifting weight, don’t pull him back.

Take the slack out and wait. Reach for him, gather up the reins, take the slack out, and wait for him. I’m not giving him anything to pull against.

Feel how he’s starting to get ready to back.

If you were effective, it was understood.

Only the horse can tell you how much to do.

Horses are just looking to get along, to have zero pressure. And they’ll do whatever they need to, to get zero pressure.

Do something different.

All that these horses want is zero pressure. It’s when you release that tells the horse what you want him to do. Everything they do is what we’ve taught them to do.

If you release him and he springs forward, he might have been backing but he was thinking forward.

Gather the reins up slow.

The horse is getting ready to speed up when she picks up the reins because he’s getting ready to be pulled. Those reins mean “nag”.

I’m going to give him the opportunity of not stopping. I’m not going to try to make him stop. I’m going to fix it so he wants to stop.

Go slow so you notice. Slow down and think. What is really taking place?

Don’t be so predictable.

If you don’t like what’s going on, change what you’re doing, don’t be trying to change the horse.

I’m lazy. I like to see how little it takes.

The first thing I offer a horse when I want to stop, is a thought to stop.

A lot of us don’t release soon enough. Turn him loose when he’s thinking about stopping.

Ray Hunt used to say: I want my horse to do my thing his way.

Be inventive.

Ask the horse to leave before he’s thinking about leaving, or just when he’s starting to think about it. Take him a different way: use legs, use reins, rock back and take him to the left...

You take them before they take you.

Allow them to stop but it may not be for too long.

We’re talking about getting with the horse more than them getting with you. If you get with them, they’ll get with you.

Before he leaves, take him someplace and make it interesting. Feel how light it is.

Your job is just to get him ready. Work on the preparation.

They need to be exposed. Be a little less predictable. Get things interesting. Change directions, change speed. Be smooth about it though.

Ride her. You’ll feel like she’s right with you. You’re not holding her. She’ll get straight, even, and ready for you.

Be smooth with your hands on the reins (said to someone who was wiggling the reins a bit).

Gather up the reins real slow.

She’ll speed up if you slow down.

Let the horse carry you.

Sometimes you have to do too much to find out what’s enough.

Let things get out of shape, then do something.

Break it up. Be unpredictable. The horse will start waiting for you.

Don't try to keep her going, let her die out. Ask again. Be effective. Let her go someplace once she’s going. Don’t ask for more once her energy is up.

A real green horse will be searching all the time for zero pressure. I like it when they start leaning on you, shows they’re getting gentle. LIke a kid who only misbehaves when they feel comfortable with someone. Don’t leave them there, but it’s nice when that shows up.

(When looking to back up:) Wait until he backs away from the bridle. Let him do the pulling.

Don’t be so predictable, keep life interesting. Have the horse thinking "where are we going now?” That’s where I like to have my horse.

All “straightness” means is they are right with you.

Any horse, especially a stallion, I want him to wonder what I’m going to do, not me wondering what he’s going to do.

(Talking about using spurs:) Real gradual, turn your toes out and let your spurs meet. Real gradual, press...

Let the horse die out. Don’t try to keep her going. Real gradual, press. Don’t poke her. Let her take you.

Press, let her press into you until she moves out on her own, then heels off.

Don’t rely on spurs. I want them to feel my leg getting ready. The timing is when it comes out (getting ready) not when it comes in, when they get lighter.

I am experimenting. If it works, it’s a good thing. If not, I was just joking.

I’m trying to get you more sensitive and more effective. If it’s effective, we can take these spurs off. It it’s effective, I want to develop a feel, an understanding. The spurs are just a last resort.

We need to catch up to our horses. We need to learn the opportune time to do things. Life is timing... when you ask for things.

You might be getting the maneuver done but it’s almost under duress. Getting the physical done without getting the mental.

That’s what I’m always deciding: is it a life issue or a straightness issue. It’s the life that comes first. Do what it takes to get the life up, then you can start directing.

Don’t ask your horse to lope, ask him to get ready to lope. See how fast he’ll trot.

If you’re effective, the horse will be doing more and you’ll be doing less.

Make sure you ask her to slow down and she doesn’t quit (on her own).

If we applied it correctly, tomorrow we’ll have to do less.

I wouldn’t start out using my spur, I’d start out using my calf.

99% of the problems are because they’re not moving, not going anyplace.

Allow them to search. Allow that to happen.

You’d ease off when he got ready to... [go to the left, go to the right, walk off, etc.]

Don’t pull him back, let him feel his way off that rein.

Don’t make it happen. It will happen. Set it up and wait.

[Backing:] Try to let there be an escape for the horse. At first you might need to give and take ever so slightly.

Reward her for making the arrangements, not for the action.

If they don’t act, maybe you didn’t make the arrangements. Or you held too long.

It’s not a take over if they’re trying to get the job done. [Referring to a horse who will offer something before you ask.]

When I have a horse that wants to go too fast, doesn’t want to stop, I’ll work at placing those feet, not trying to stop him.

[Speaking about S’s horse:] She trusts you. She might not know what to do but she’s searching, looking for what to do to get along with you.

A lot of us try to get it our way right off the bat. But if we drift a little here, a little there, pretty soon... [the horse figures out what we want].

When you pick up on the reins, you should notice where the horse is going. She’s trying to get out that way [forward in this case] but the answer is out back through here [front feet reaching out and back for the start of a turn on the hindquarters].

When cantering a horse in a circle and they drop a shoulder at one point in the circle, shorten them up and drive them by the opposite side of the circle, then let them loose. Don’t drive them when approaching [the area where they lean in]. Another thing is to cut across, driving across [area they are drawn to] and open up, get out of their way [when they are approaching the area where they lean in].

Instead of bumping shoulder and picking up the inside rein to hold them. Work on it before the fact [at the opposite side of the circle], not after the fact [when you are already there and the horse is leaning in].

To stop, just sit down. Don’t push your feet out in front of you. Especially if you go to working cows, you need your feet under you. Otherwise the horse thinks it needs to go out and around your foot [walking a small circle instead of stepping directly over to the side].

A lot of people try to hurry a horse away from where the horse wants to be. I ask the horse to speed up when they’re moving toward the thing that draws them. Take that into consideration. Ask for speed, you’ll get a better transition.

Instead of worrying about where the shoulder is, worry about where the mind is.

With the older horses, start riding with your hands a little bit closer together. Start there and spread your hand out if close doesn’t work.

You need practice getting short [on the reins].

If their nose is leading the way, they won’t drop their shoulder. They only drop their shoulder if the nose is not leading the way.

Speed him up when he’s heading toward where he’s drawn. Just go with him when he’s headed away.

The horse wants you to come along [improve on what you’re doing] while they are coming along. They need you to do that.


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