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SWR Blog: Driving from the Rear


It’s always necessary to give credit where due. California clinician Dennis Reis always teaches:

An  amateur rides the front of the horse. A horseman rides from the hind end forward.” 

I began to teach this principle on the ground with our Stormwalker Ranch students riders last spring and was amazed at how quickly they were able to maintain good position, to watch the whole horse, and to anticipate the shoulder dropping in and adjust.

Additionally, they learned to walk a straight line while driving from the rear on a 12-foot lead. From there, we learned to 2-track in a circle, on the same track as a straight line. Say that three times fast. And note, these students were 8-15 years old.

Things were a bit tricky in the beginning. We made tons of circles and lines that were anything but straight. I certainly got some exercise during these drills, as I walked and walked with them, giving them verbal adjustment commands. But soon, one by one, the kiddos began to “get it”. You too can do this with your horse as a prelude to riding, leading and achieving forward from the rear.

This is a beginning step in the development of both leadership and a trust relationship with your horse. Teaching these concepts to young people, at this young age, helps them become familiar with how horses learn, as well as how we all can communicate with our horses from a leadership position. This is foundational to what young horsemen need to have.

Dr. Karl Cloninger
Director of Products & Programs

Driving from behind.

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