Learn how to school against seasoned and green horses’ tendencies to anticipate. Photo © The American Quarter Horse Journal

How to School a Horse that Anticipates Cues, Part 1

Horses are not always completely honest when you drop your hand to show in the show pen, and that’s just normal. For those of us who have shown a lot, it should never be a surprise. Your horse stops early, or he breaks gait, or he lopes off before you ask him to.

It happens to every rider, whether you are a novice in your first out or a seasoned professional, and it happens for a number of reasons. It is not unusual to have your best ride in the practice pen right before you go show.

I also think of it as “losing efficiency.” By that I mean if you are practicing at 100 percent efficient, when you head to the show pen, automatically your efficiency = or correctness – drops to 75 or 80 percent. It’s just due to that horse’s natural tendency to anticipate his rider, to lose focus, be lazy or get anxious when you drop your hand to show, and you can’t help him like you can when you practice. For whatever reason, he’s not waiting on you but taking control from you; that’s not correct, and it will affect your performance.

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