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Teaching Your Horse To Whoa: Putting On The Brakes:


One of the most important things that you can teach your horse is the command "whoa." There is nothing scarier than being on a horse that will not stop. That is why I teach all of my horses and riders how to put on the brakes, before they learn anything else.

Lunge Ahead
The way I teach all of my horses to whoa is through a process that I developed over many years of breaking and training horses. You start this process by putting the horse on a lunge line with a 30" stud chain wrapped over the noseband of the halter. To wrap the noseband you first run the chain through the side ring of the halter, wrap it around the noseband of the halter and over the nose to the other side of the halter. Then you run the chain through the ring on the opposite side of the halter. After that, run the chain through the bottom ring of the halter where you attach the lead line, under the chin, and attach the snap of the chain to the other end of the chain where you have the lunge line attached. This makes a complete circle with the chain. If done correctly the chain should move freely and not be tight on the nose. This is NOT to be used as a device to punish the horse but to enhance the whoa command. This will allow you to have that extra control if you need it. So many times I see a horse lunging and pulling the owner around. You would think the horse is leading the owner.

Stop Watch
After you’ve finished with setting up the lunge line, it's time to start lunging your horse in a circle. Divide your circle into quarters, like a clock with the quarters being at twelve, three, six, and nine. You will ask your horse to lunge for one quarter of this clock.

Stop watch

Start to lunge at the twelve o'clock mark and ask the horse to stop at the three o'clock quarter mark. You will then ask the horse to lunge off from three and then stop again at six and so on. When you ask the horse to stop you should give the whoa command three times. At the first and second commands of whoa you will be looking for your horse to start trying to stop. By the time you say whoa for the third time your horse should have stopped.

If your horse has not stopped by this third time you will make contact with the horse by a slight downward snap of the lunge line at the same time that you say "WHOA!" This command of "WHOA" should be said with authority. Continue this process until you see your horse starting to stop on the first command of whoa.

This exercise should not last any more than 30 minutes. Any longer and your horse may become tired and lose his focus. You should see some progress by the end of the very first lesson.


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