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Horse-man-ship Mentality - Riding the Stop!

Updated: Jun 29

Horse-man-ship Mentality - Riding the Stop! 

Message From Dennis; 

Thoughts from Dennis;

Riding the Stop! Best example that I can think of is letting our minds get around a good stop. Is to look at that of a calf roping horse. Where the rider is sitting when that horse is dropping to the ground, folding up, and stopping behind the saddle. The calf roper has roped the calf, pulled his slack, and now leaning forward with his hand on the horse's neck as this can be used as a signal for the horse to stop.

The rider will have his weight in one stirrup which brings his weight forward in the saddle and his seat is completely off of the horse.  This is what I am thinking about when I stop my horses anywhere. Whether it be a rollback, stop, or straight stop, I want my body weight up off of that horse's spine so that the middle of the back can raise up and the horse can fold under me behind. 

 If I fail to get off of the horse's back and if I keep my weight down in the saddle, I am then placing pressure onto the horse's back, making it more difficult for the horse to lift his spine and fold or what I call stop behind the saddle. 

So leaning back actually makes it more difficult for your horse to stop. That is why you often find yourself looking for a slick or soft spot to stop your horse in, whereas the calf roping style stop can take place in any type of soil. 

Sequence of my stop: I am riding forward, and need to have a good forward motion before I can have a good stop. I will signal the horse to stop by stopping riding ( I get still and transfer the weight of my sitz bones to my stirrups,  so there is a slight rise). Sometimes I will reach and touch the neck, that will put slack in the bridle reins, which is a benefit to the horse stopping. Pulling on the bridle reins will cause a horse to brace and stab their front feet into the ground, which is detrimental to a good stop. 

Then I access what happens after that.  

By that I mean if the horse tries or stops I might sit there and do nothing for some time, as a reward to the horse. If he doesn't stop I might back him up until I feel that fold behind the saddle and softness in his face for one thing. Or I might do a rollback with some urgency to leave that spot. Or I might lift straight up on the bridle reins until I feel the folding behind the saddle.  

In other words, if the horse doesn't stop, there will be a consequence associated with it and a release when I feel the horse's back in the position that it needs to be in for a proper balanced, and solid stop with confidence. 

Mindful Riding,

Dennis Cappel - Master Horseman

Cappel Training and Shoeing


Horse-man-ship Mentality Dennis Cappel
Horse-man-ship Mentality

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Feb 05
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I love a good stop! Interesting article and I like the explanation of some biomechanics of the horse and rider on how to ride a stop to make it easier.

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