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One Rein Stop

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  • One Rein Stop

    Anyone practice this? Good thing to learn if you are on the trails a lot!! I have yet to learn it, so I am looking for some more information!!

    Any help would be appreciated!!!

  • #2
    There's a lot of controversy over it. People who dislike it point out that it has two serious defects:
    1) You can flip the horse if you do it wrong.
    2) It doesn't do a whole lot of good if your horse is bolting on a trail too narrow to do a circle on.

    That being said, I'd advise getting lessons on how to do it rather than trying to learn it from a book. It really helps to have a knowledgable person looking at the things you are doing and pointing out your mistakes. For instance, I have a tendency to pull upwards, which is a classic way to flip the horse. I got a crusty old trainer to work with me and ream me out every time I goofed until keeping my hand low was automatic.


    • #3
      It's not a bad thing to teach; it is a bad thing to rely upon.

      IMO the "one rein stop" is just another "club in the bag." A good trail horse should stop on one, two, three, four, or no reins.

      Good luck with your training.

      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


      • #4
        I never really used them until I started riding/training this very stubborn 5 year old paint. When his owner bought him, he was in this bosal thing, but it had this hard metal piece under his chin, that was obviously painful. I immediately switched him to a gentle snaffle, but even now, he can still be quite fussy, and hot when his owner takes him out to trail ride - which is all she does with him. After teaching him to give to pressure, and as soon as his nose touched my boot, he would be released, I was finally able to hack him out on a loose rein. As soon as he got quick, or tense though, I would immediately bring his nose back to my boot. For him, the one rein stop has worked wonderfully, and it is something that his owner is able to do as well, but it isn't a cure all for every horse.

        The trick in doing it, is a) releasing the horses as SOON as he gives, and b) you have to do it before the horse reaches the point of no return (ie. going at a full out gallop through the woods, etc) So, timing is everything.
        The Equine Wellness and Nutrition FB Group - Come join us!!


        • #5
          I have used the ORS, but I guess more accurately, what I do is called "disengaging the hindquarters." Basically you aren't just reefing the head around to your knee, which CAN flip a horse. Instead you are using your legs, seat, and body weight in conjunction with the rein to force the hind legs to cross over each other, totally shutting down forward movement. You're also displacing the shoulder.

          A horse CAN run with it's head cranked to it's side. The horse does not follow the head. The horse follows the SHOULDER. If you displace the shoulder and force the hinds to cross each other, you shut the horse down within 1 stride.

          John Lyons teaches this and has tons of GREAT articles on doing it safely without harming the horse. He teaches how to train it so you aren't burning the horse out, frustrating him, or creating a horse that sucks back behind the bit and gets cranky.

          I do NOT like the method of just reefing the head around to your knee 50 times a day. That is counterproductive and damaging, in my opinion.

          Basically Johh Lyons says that you DO have the ability to change the cognitive patterns of the horse and override that innate flight instinct. People think that since horses are fight or flight, you can't do anything but ride the wave. That's just not true. If you thoroughly the horse train through hundreds of repetitions,to respond to ABC with XYZ actions, he will almost always return to that when the crap hits the fan. This is the same concept of teaching a horse to spook in place. If you allow your horse to cavort around like a lunatic every time he sees a gum wrapper, then he doesn't know any different. But if you systematically TRAIN the horse to respond to something scary by turning and looking at it, or stopping, or walking on calmy, then he remembers that he isn't allowed to cavort around like a lunatic at his own free will.

          He contends that if horses were 110% fight or flight, like their wild ancestors, they would crash through fences and jump out of round pens every time they got a little spooked. Horses would never starve to death because innate instinct would take over and they'd jump fences and graze wherever they chose. But horses have been domesticated for so many centuries that a lot more of the instincts are bred out than people realize.

          Obviously he does not make the claim that ALWAYS in EVERY situation you will stop the horse within a stride or two of a bolt, but at least 99% of the time on 99% of the horses, if you train it correct, and do it correctly.

          I have used this method to shut my horse down a couple of times and found that it doesn't even come close to flipping the horse on the ground or tearing the jaw off, like people contend that it does.

          I have subscribed to his mag for years and also his discussion board. You can visit the John Lyons website and search for old articles, then buy them individually if you want, or requst back issues with the articles you want.

          Here is photo from my website of me and a handler teaching my horse to disengage the hindquarters, displace the shoulder, and STOP.


          Notice that the horse's head is not jerked around to my knee. The rein and lead are LOOSE. What we're doing here is changing the path of the shoulder and hindquarter. People get into trouble because they think they can just start hauling on one rein and whip the horse in a circle when he's in a full out gallop and it doesn't work that way.


          • #6
            Also - this method pretty much contends that horses actually RARELY ever just gallop balls to the wall because they're terrified. They usually do it because they get too much sweet feed, not enough turnout, not enough work, and not enough training. The rider finds themself 2 miles down the road from home on a trail ride, the horse has a little tantrum at something minor - like a mailbox - then the horse says WEEE! Let's have a great time and gallop all the way home! The horse has never been trained that such behavior is NOT appropriate and that he WILL be shut down immediately for doing it.

            Not many people have ever truly GALLOPED flat out - 6th gear - on a horse. The horse gets up to a hand gallop and the human is terrified, saying the horse ran away and tried to kill them. But it really probably didn't happen that way.

            I don't like Pat Parelli but he does have a saying I agree with 100%. He says "I've never been run away with on a horse. I just rode faster."


            • #7
              The main point is to teach the ORS to your horse.

              TEACH IT TO THE HORSE!!!!

              It is a disengagement of the hindquarters, as someone said. It isn't just for emergencys either. I have an endurance horse that can get competitive when being passed and can really get strong. Because he's been taught a ORS, I can remind him of the fact that I will stop him if he doesn't back off and quit pulling! I just very slightly start the stop, just a mild bend, not a turn, and he lightens up.

              By the way, a ORS works just fine on a narrow trail. Well, I wouldn't do it on a narrow ridgetop trail or cliff side trail. Unless a horse has lost it's mind the horse will pull up just fine as soon as you start to turn them into the brush or trees on the side of a trail. Most bolts or runaways are being done by a horse in full control of their faculties. Usually you are headed towards home (amazing!) or they don't want to be left behind. As long as you have:

              TAUGHT THE HORSE THE ONE REIN STOP! they will respond and come back easily enough.



              • #8
                Yes, TEACH it first before you NEED it!

                Teach it at the walk in a controlled environment, then at the trot, then the canter.
                Then "up the ante" and teach it somewhere else where there is more distractions. Back at the walk first, then trot and canter. Then move the horse somewhere else, maybe a more "spooky" spot, with tarps flapping or horses cantering in the distance.

                Then go practice on the trail.

                When you need it, it will be second nature to your horse!
                "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


                • #9
                  Interesting post. I guess I've learned 2 versions?

                  When I was taught the ORS initially by an up/down riding instructor, I was taught to plant one hand on the neck for stability, and then to pull upwards and back on the other rein. Not sharply, but a very firm tug and release, tug and release, sometimes alternating sides if that is what it took to get the horse's attention. This was combined with a deep seat. It was taught as a safety to all the lesson horses, and I think as a defense mechanism, they became a little dull to it, but later when I bought my own horse, I found it very effective. Also, when done to a lesser degree, it can be very helpful in the showring to slow your horse who is building and building...more powerful than a halfhalt but less descreet than ramming into the rump of the horse in front of you!

                  On RFDTV I've noticed most of the western clinicians refer to the ORS as more of a lateral pull on the reins, combined with the appropriate leg cue to "disengage" the HQ. I think they both have a use. I like to circle when I have the room, but it can be hard on the horses joints and also impossible on a narrow trail. Not to mention if you only bend their head around to the side many are still fully capable of bolting that way. Or with their head pinned to their chest. Very counterintuitive but a good thump with the legs is sometimes needed with the rein cues to get their attention. I think sometimes it completes that necessary circuit from their brain to their engine and gets their attention long enough to regain control.


                  • #10
                    i've used the ors on trails, you have to practice 1st for it to be effective i think, my horse got to the point where when she was scared it would reassure her, got to where if i lifted the rein a bit it would be enough to disengage her hind quarters, on narrow trails i used it like more of a shoulder in or haunches in type thing with a little leg


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BEARCAT View Post
                      Yes, TEACH it first before you NEED it!

                      Teach it at the walk in a controlled environment, then at the trot, then the canter.
                      Then "up the ante" and teach it somewhere else where there is more distractions. Back at the walk first, then trot and canter. Then move the horse somewhere else, maybe a more "spooky" spot, with tarps flapping or horses cantering in the distance.

                      Then go practice on the trail.

                      When you need it, it will be second nature to your horse!
                      Clinton Anderson was on RFD the other night about this... that was one point that made this MUCH more clear to me... TEACH THE HORSE FIRST.

                      sometimes it takes hours, sometimes days, sometimes weeks.
                      and.. once the horse KNOWS it in calm times, teach it under stress.
                      ORS = disengaging the hind quarters.
                      Once the horse LEARNS what the lesson is, you shouldn't need to JERK the head around. that's when you can flip a horse - when it's UNEXPECTED.


                      • Original Poster

                        Wow, Thank you everyone. I really appreciate all the time you have taken to fill me in!! Auventera Two.. Thanks for the great explanation and long post!

                        I started today teaching them. They both did as good as expected.. The only problem I came upon is that they turn their heads around all the way to my boot with barely any pressure on the rein at all.. Is this acceptable? They disengage their hindquarters, but I barely have to put pressure on the rein. They are so nosy the go straight for my boot!!!!! I don't know when to release it, because they don't leave any room to go farther!

                        Is this normal?? Suggestions????


                        • #13
                          I feel blessed to have a trainer who taught me the ORS before most anything else! First to "soften" my horse. And then at a W/T/C. The key to doing it is to bring the horse's nose 3/4 of the way to your boot - not all the way. They finish the last 1/4 by giving to the pressure - a little bob of the head, and you release it and release it hard for reward. "Throw away the reins" like they are hot (don't let go of them of course). The ORS has helped me many, many ways and times.

                          I was taught that one of the most important things about it is that you can never do it "too early". Stop the horse BEFORE he/she bolts or at the first stride or two. ORS when you see the ATV's popping out of the woods - not after, if that makes sense.

                          My horse had a little bolt the other day - trying to head back to the barn. Shame on me that I waited too long to do the ORS. My brain was in a panic and all I kept thinking was, OMG he is bolting!! He's never done this before. I should have ORS'd at the first stride or two. I was able to stop him but it was much harder, and I couldn't ORS once he got going really fast as there was a fence on one side of me and trees on the other. I learned my lesson fast and hard! As my trainer says, shut him down EARLY.

                          I practice it every ride at the W/T/C. It is second nature to my horse, not a surprise, and often he realizes it/picks up my seat cue before I even do it.

                          I am a HUGE fan of it, and Clinton Anderson's methods and feel much safer riding with it.


                          • #14
                            I agree with tpup-use the one rein stop to shut the horse down immediately, as soon as you get the first hint of trouble. My rule is to pick up the rein and initiate a one rein stop as soon as the horse breaks gait, within two strides. I may also one rein stop if the horse is ignoring my seat and speeding up even without breaking gait.

                            I agree with everyone that it is very important to teach your horse what one rein stops are all about before you ever need one. Just drill them, the same way you'd practice trotting over cross poles or whatever else you do to school your horse.

                            Regarding when to do the release, that question is why I'd recommend getting some lessons with someone. The release is the reward for doing the right thing, so the timing is important. Simplistically, the horse moving when it isn't supposed to be moving is the wrong thing. You release when the horse does the right thing, which is to stop moving its feet. However, there are all kinds of fine nuances on it. A lot of people regard the one rein stop as a progression from flexion and crossing over--people have already touched on that idea in this thread. It sounds like your horse is already quite familiar with flexion exercises--now the question is whether the horse is truly yielding to pressure or simply putting its nose on your boot. The horse flipping you off with its nose even if it stops isn't good. The horse making a good try at a respectful yield even if it doesn't quite stop moving isn't bad. Having an experienced set of eyes watching you really helps you put all the pieces together.


                            • #15
                              The last thing I would want to do is pull the horses head around in full flight. Have many of you wiped out later??? I have, alot over the years and not from runaways but from a good working trot or easy lope and even at that pace it is not fun.
                              I always carry enough bit on the horse to pull him down regardless of what upsets him. I strongly believe in a big bit and soft hands but no nonesence.
                              Soft hands keeps the horse from ever becomming a head bobber while the big bit is there to reinforce any rebellion.
                              Regardless of the situation Shadow knows that he can not disobey and will remain calm even if his partner at the time lopes away. He will maintain pace without any rough stuff, a simple word is good enough.
                              Again I believe in training a horse then letting him do his thing, if it doesn't agree with his training then I set him down and start over
                              3rd commandment for horses. Put your faith in me, I will not let you down, it is essential to my well being. I believe this.
                              In 50 years I have never been in a barn where my horse is not the best mannered, best trained and I give them all sorts of freedom to get in trouble.
                              It takes me 2 years to make a horse working almost every single day and twice a day for the first few months but at the end of this time the horse is set for life. Take the time and train him right


                              • #16
                                I have trained/broken 2 horses that were dedicated runaways. These are broke horses that get it in their head to run and their owners are ready to give up and scared stiff of the horse.
                                I took the biggest cheap western bit I could find, added a high port, welded it on and a good tight curb chain.
                                I then used my heavy duty 3/4 inch long western reins and a good headstall.
                                I pull the horse into a run let him really get wond up and then yelled HOOOOOO then with everything I had, sitting back and legs out front tried my damdest to cut that horse in half. He slid to a stop, stood there trembling and I once again asked for a hard run. Repeated the HOOOO and pulling back as hard as I could, again the horse slid and stood trembling.
                                After that I asked for the 3rd run, sat back, feet out front ans asked for the HOOO. Horse slid to a stop, patted her kneck and walded home.
                                The differece with the 3 rd stop is I didn't touch the reins, voice only.
                                The owned then rides softly in the bit for a few days to gain comfidence and then the bit is removed for good.
                                Both mares remaind broke for life and never again needed anything but a verbal HOOO to get a good stop.
                                Most think this is cruel but that horse is very powerful and the girls riding both of them are not going to get kiilled because of a stupid horse.
                                My life is horses, good horses, but I will tolerate no none sense.
                                Sometimes breaking them hard sticks with them for life while the babied horses never really learn.
                                I trained at one time for the movies, film companies and there the animals most do their thing the 1st time. Don't we all watch movies and see the perfect trained animals performing whatever. They are not trained by asking please.
                                Sorry if I offend some but if you have any problem I would be a good guy to have in your corner.


                                • #17
                                  Good on you Shadow14 for having a clear view of the horse and it's problems.

                                  And the good sense to apply a reasonable and effective correction.

                                  Or, put another way, one good correction is worth 10,000 "bad dogs."

                                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                                  • #18
                                    I always carry enough bit on the horse to pull him down regardless of what upsets him. I strongly believe in a big bit and soft hands but no nonesence.
                                    If it works for you, no arguing with success. However, I think it's always good to have more than one tool in your box. The difference between a one rein stop and a honking big bit is that the one rein stop disengages the horse's drive train, so to speak. When you simply haul back on the reins you are applying the brakes without taking the horse out of gear. The horse may stop. The horse may also simply redirect the forward motion into upwards motion: rearing or bucking. Flipping your horse over backwards by hauling on a severe bit is no improvement over flipping the horse sideways by using a one rein stop.
                                    I guess the key is to know your horse and know your situation. My gelding would do fine in a severe bit. He's a bit pig headed, but he's not inclined to rear, and he's got a strong sense of self preservation. As soon as he realized the bit meant business he'd settle down. My mare, on the other hand, gets more ill-behaved in a severe bit. Her brain shuts down as she gets angry and tries to avoid the pain. She does better with a soft bit and disengaging/one rein stop; you just need to nip her meltdowns in the bud before they ever get started.


                                    • #19
                                      My opinion is there is no such thing as a "hard mouth," only a "hard brain." The horse isn't responding because he doesn't understand what you want, or doesn't have respect. Both problems can be solved through training.

                                      When I got my quarter horse, she had bit sores from somebody using a big ass bit. She was a barrel and working cow horse, turned parade/rodeo horse, turned pack horse/turned Roy Rogers tribute show star, turned royal pain in the ass. She was a grouch from years of bad fitting saddles, she had whip scars on her flanks, horrible feet, she was thin, and generally ready to just kill anybody who looked at her. Here's the photos from that day:


                                      The next day after we had her home, I put her in a d-ring snaffle and rode her in a small paddock with no problems. I quickly found out that I had no breaks when cantering in a field. So whenever I trail rode her, I put her in a Kimberwicke and worked a LOT on softening, giving the head and rib cage, and basically just training her how to respond to cues. She was so used to whip and run, get your face reefed off, then do it all over again.

                                      I went to a KK Ultra snaffle which is very very soft, and finally to a Little S hackamore with a padded noseband. Then to a Kincade hack which is basically a sidepull- round leather ring around the nose. No leverage. I even wrapped that in a gel padding and fleece! I did a 16 mile trail ride with her in that bridle, in which we did a lot of galloping across grassy fields with as many as 20 other horses. She was in total control and was a real superstar. No problems. Here is that setup:

                                      And my friend riding her:

                                      I can now ride her with a rope around her neck if I want to, or a halter with a leadrope attached. I would never weld up a special harsh bit to put the stops on a horse, but like I said, that's just "me." Glad that what you did worked for you Norval. I don't want to screech the horse on the breaks through man power. I want her to know the cues and respond to them due to the training. Same reason I wouldn't just kick a horse in the sides with sharp spurs to make it move forward, but I would carefully train the horse to respond to subtle cues and pressure.

                                      We initially birthed that horse out on our farm - she was out of my Appendix mare - but we sold her at 3 1/2 years old, or so. When she left here she was a gorgeous little filly, just started riding her lightly. But she sure got "ruined" fast by idiots. When we got her back, about 4 years ago, she was a totally different horse than when she left this farm. So sad.

                                      Yes, I have wiped out 3 times - and none of them from doing a ORS. All 3 were when the horse lost it's footing on either wet grass, or snow.

                                      Edited to add:
                                      I like my horses to eat and drink freely along the trail. They do this much better with no bit in their mouth. To me it is very important that my horses go bitless. Just my personal choice. I put my Arab in a bit for a while when she was protesting nose pressure but since I've bought a new hackamore noseband that is a flat beta strap she LOVES it. No problems at all. That mare has extremely fine tuned breaks and I could stop her from a gallop with a dental floss. I guarantee you a million bucks if anyone ever put a "big bit" in that mare's mouth, she would rear and flip.
                                      Last edited by Auventera Two; Apr. 18, 2008, 10:00 AM.


                                      • #20
                                        Why do I want my horse to eat along the trail??? I pass through some large corn fields and the stalks are right there in his face and he doesn't touch them. As for drinking he drinks out of alot of the puddles along the way and the bit is not problem. Drink yes, eat no.
                                        If I want to stop and graze him I will slip the pit and tie the neck rope I always carry on the back of the saddle to one hind leg.

                                        Alot of the times I get one chance to fix someone's problem. I don't get days, don't want day's. One ride and it will be corrected.
                                        Road a barn sour horse, an everter with a very successful carrer and mid 20's rider. The horse suddenly went sour and she couldn't correct it.
                                        In despiration she asked me to do it.
                                        Good bit, good spurs and riding crop I hate carrying. I let her have my horse.
                                        Went about 100 yards off the property and the horse reared and spun and broke for home at a run. He got about 20 feet and I set him on his rump, hauled him around, jabbed the spurs , hit with the crop and helled all as one. He leaped forward in the direction we were originally going and at a walk almost immediately. Tried it again in another couple of hundred yards.
                                        Went to try it again after a few miles but he changed his mind and was really good.
                                        I have very gentle hands, gentle Q's, very soft but back them up with authority with either the spur or the bit.
                                        I use to work rental horses sunday mornings. you had a problem I took the horse out and fixed it.. It usually doesn't take long.
                                        I worked dogs for 12 years and dominated all obidience trials where ever I went and put 13 titles on Lance, he was also featured to a week at a sportsman show.
                                        I don't believe in loosing your temper but I do believe in setting a horse or dog straight.
                                        I shoe horses on the side and the owners all give me permission to teach their horses manners while being shod.
                                        If you look at someones horse and envy it's manners, it's training why not follow the advice of that trainer???
                                        Vickey I believe in training, like I said early every day for 2 years, intensive training but at the end I better have a fixed horse.