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Setting a horse up for halter

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  • Setting a horse up for halter

    I am not a halter person but my local saddle club has a ranch horse division and to qualify for high point ranch I have to show in ranch halter.

    Yesterday was the second time I showed in the class and we placed 3rd out of 5 or 6 (can't remember). As I was leaving the arena the judge called me over and told me that I would have placed higher if I had set my horse up better. I have never put any thought into this or practiced with him. We trot in and stand there. According to the judge, I had him to strung out.

    How do you start teaching a horse to square up? This is totally new to me!

  • #2
    Begin with the front feet, get them even. To do that you use slight preasure on the halter, easier if you use a chain with a show halter.

    After you get him consistent doing that then you begin working on the back feet. For practice at home you can place them with your hand but do not do this in the show ring. Same idea, small adjustments with your halter to get him square.

    Do this every time you handle him, especially right before you finish working him and soon he will just set up pretty much by himself.

    I think it is great the judge gave you some feedback so you know how to get better.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Luseride View Post
      Begin with the front feet, get them even. To do that you use slight preasure on the halter, easier if you use a chain with a show halter.

      After you get him consistent doing that then you begin working on the back feet. For practice at home you can place them with your hand but do not do this in the show ring. Same idea, small adjustments with your halter to get him square.

      Do this every time you handle him, especially right before you finish working him and soon he will just set up pretty much by himself.

      I think it is great the judge gave you some feedback so you know how to get better.
      THANKS! I am giving him afew days off and then we will get to work. I LOVED that the judge pulled me aside and spoke with me. I had no idea what I was doing and felt bad that I was the reason Grover did not do as well. Hopefully, we will be more prepared next time!

      Comment


      • #4
        I have never shown at halter, but worked with a trainer that did and he taught me to first get the horse to respond to my prompts with the halter to move each one foot as I ask, starting with the hind feet.

        Once I could do that, do the same off lead weight, no pulling him around.

        You need to do that so you can position your horse, stand at the end of the lead on the side and see if you are right and tweak the horse a bit more if not.

        Stacking a horse up square is also very good to teach any horse, any time you handle it, helps with the horse also learning to stand there quietly, but also ready to move on when asked, not just parked there.

        Just as when you are riding, any small movement of your hand on the leash will direct his feet, as if you had reins in your hand doing that, keeps your horse light and it impresses the good judges that the horse is so light on hand.

        You also need to work on yourself, so you complement the horse with the way you stand there and move around your horse.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Luseride View Post
          Begin with the front feet, get them even. To do that you use slight preasure on the halter, easier if you use a chain with a show halter.

          After you get him consistent doing that then you begin working on the back feet. For practice at home you can place them with your hand but do not do this in the show ring. Same idea, small adjustments with your halter to get him square.

          Do this every time you handle him, especially right before you finish working him and soon he will just set up pretty much by himself.

          I think it is great the judge gave you some feedback so you know how to get better.
          Disagree with some of this. Have shown showmanship/halter for years and taught many horses and students. I ALWAYS start with the hind feet. Get your horse used to moving his feet only a little (not a full back step). I also plant one hind foot and just move the other back and forth - not just constantly keep moving both feet. Once you get the back then do the same with the front. Make your horse take small steps.
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          Comment


          • #6
            It's been forever since I showed in halter or showmanship- way back, I taught mine to square up with tiny moves on the halter, reinforced initially with just putting my toe on the hoof I needed them to adjust. Practice, practice, practice, whichever of several workable methods you use.

            And mostly- practice standing still. On the ground and under saddle. On the ground, be able to move back to end of lead shank (or better yet, train horse to ground tie) so you can see for yourself if the horse is standing square. Over time you'll be able to train your eye to tell from all angles.

            Final point,ALWAYS show your horse when in the class, even if you think the judge isn't watching. They must judge what they see, and if the judge glances back up the line and sees a horse that has moved and not been set back up, it can certainly be a difference maker.

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