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Controling The Engine Of A Horse
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Why would I need to control the hindquarters of a horse?

The hindquarters of a horse is like the engine to a car. It is where all the power comes from. Now imagine if you were in a car and whenever the car wanted to it could just take off and make you go 100 mph. You wouldn’t feel much in control would you? That is what it would be like not controlling the hindquarters of a horse. Disengaging the hindquarters is like pushing the clutch in on a car.

What does disengaging mean?

Disengaging the hindquarters is when one foot steps in front and across the other. Imagine if you were standing with both feet side by side strong. It would be hard for someone to push you off balance, but if you cross your legs and put one in front of the other, then it would be pretty easy at that point. It is the same with making the horse disengage themselves.

Ground and under saddle

I teach all my horses how to disengage their hindquarters on the ground, and then under saddle. (Under saddle means when you are on their back) It is the first thing that I teach the horse. Again the reason being is because the hindquarters is where all the power comes from. You have to control the engine before you can control the rest of the horse. If you don’t have forward movement and have that movement under control, there is very little you can do with a horse.

You control the engine

A horse can’t rear, buck, bolt, spook, take off, or anything else when they have their hindquarters disengaged. Later we will talk about engaging the hindquarters. Where you want to put the hindquarters to work for you. To engage the hindquarters is when you do lead departures, and flying lead changes. Which means to change leads while you are going forward. But that starts with disengaging the hindquarters because to engage the hindquarters is a technique to be taught when the horse is better trained. You wouldn’t want to give the horse power in the hindquarters before the horse is ready and you are able to better control the horse.

Final words

So to disengage the horse’s hindquarters is to push the clutch in on the car. You can control the horse from the ground and when they are under saddle. Doing so will give you the peace of mind that whenever you need to, you can stop the horse if they spook or decide to do something silly. And by doing so you can be safe and have a fun and enjoyable ride.


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