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How To Teach A Horse To Side Pass Videos

Teaching a horse to side pass, also known as lateral movement, is a valuable skill that enhances the horse’s agility, responsiveness, and overall performance.

The side pass involves the horse moving sideways without moving forward or backward, crossing its legs as it steps to the side.

This maneuver is useful in various riding disciplines, including dressage, trail riding, and ranch work.

This article and two videos provide a step-by-step guide and professional tips for teaching your horse to side pass.

The Modern Horseman’s Countdown to Broke: Real Do-It-Yourself Horse Training in 33 Comprehensive Steps
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Patrick, Sean (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 578 Pages – 08/01/2017 (Publication Date) – Trafalgar Square Books (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Understanding the Side Pass

  1. Benefits of the Side Pass:
  • Improves Agility: Enhances the horse’s ability to maneuver and respond to cues.
  • Strengthens Muscles: Works the horse’s lateral muscles, improving balance and coordination.
  • Versatile Skill: Useful for opening gates, maneuvering in tight spaces, and performing advanced riding techniques.
  1. Prerequisites:
    Before teaching the side pass, ensure your horse is comfortable with basic cues and groundwork. The horse should understand leg pressure, move forward and backward willingly, and respond to rein cues.

Preparing for Training

  1. Equipment:
  • and Bridle: Use a comfortable, well-fitting and bridle.
  • Ground Poles: Optional but useful for initial training to guide the horse’s movement.
  1. Environment:
    Choose a quiet, distraction-free area with good footing. An enclosed arena or round pen is ideal for focused training sessions.
  2. Warm-Up:
    Begin with a thorough warm-up to loosen the horse’s muscles and prepare it for training. Include walking, trotting, and basic groundwork exercises.

Steps for Teaching the Side Pass

  1. Groundwork Preparation:
  • Desensitization: Ensure your horse is comfortable with pressure on its sides. Use gentle leg pressure or a whip to touch the horse’s sides, rewarding it for calm behavior.
  • Yielding to Pressure: Teach your horse to yield to lateral pressure by gently pressing its sides and rewarding movement away from the pressure.
  1. Introducing the Concept:
  • Start on the Ground: Stand at the horse’s side, facing its hindquarters. Apply pressure to the horse’s side with your hand or the handle of a whip, encouraging it to step sideways.
  • Reward Small Steps: Reward the horse for even the smallest sideways step. Use treats, praise, or a gentle pat to reinforce positive behavior.
  1. Using Ground Poles:
  • Set Up Poles: Place two ground poles parallel to each other, about 3-4 feet apart. Guide the horse to step sideways over the poles, using the poles as a visual aid to help the horse understand the sideways movement.
  • Repetition: Repeat the exercise on both sides, gradually increasing the number of steps as the horse becomes more comfortable.
  1. Mounted Training:
  • Leg Pressure: Once the horse is comfortable with groundwork, mount and apply gentle leg pressure on one side to encourage the horse to step sideways.
  • Rein Cues: Use rein cues to guide the horse’s head slightly in the direction of the movement while maintaining light contact on the opposite rein to prevent forward or backward movement.
  • Combining Cues: Simultaneously apply leg pressure and rein cues, rewarding the horse for each successful step to the side.
  1. Refining the Side Pass:
  • Consistency: Practice the side pass regularly, gradually increasing the number of steps and the fluidity of the movement.
  • Balance and Rhythm: Focus on maintaining a steady rhythm and balance. The horse should move smoothly without rushing or stumbling.
  • Advanced Exercises: As the horse becomes proficient, incorporate the side pass into more advanced exercises, such as figure-eights, serpentines, and transitions.

Training your horse to side pass on the ground will make side passing under easier to teach.

– Tips for Effective Training

  1. Patience and Consistency:
    Teaching the side pass requires patience and consistency. Progress at the horse’s pace, and avoid rushing the process. Consistent practice will yield the best results.
  2. Positive Reinforcement:
    Use positive reinforcement to reward the horse for correct behavior. Treats, praise, and gentle pats reinforce the desired response and build the horse’s confidence.
  3. Clear Communication:
    Ensure your cues are clear and consistent. Confusing or mixed signals can frustrate the horse and hinder progress. Use distinct leg and rein cues to communicate the desired movement.
  4. Monitor Body Language:
    Pay attention to your horse’s body language. Signs of frustration, confusion, or resistance indicate the need to adjust your approach. If necessary, return to basic groundwork to reinforce understanding.
  5. Breaks and Rest:
    Allow the horse regular breaks and rest periods during training sessions. Overworking can lead to physical and mental fatigue, reducing the effectiveness of the training.
  6. Seek Professional Guidance:
    If you encounter difficulties or if the horse is particularly resistant, consider seeking guidance from a professional trainer. Experienced trainers can provide personalized advice and hands-on assistance.

Common Challenges and Solutions

  1. Reluctance to Move Sideways:
  • Solution: Return to groundwork and reinforce yielding to pressure. Ensure the horse understands and is comfortable with lateral movement before progressing.
  1. Forward or Backward Movement:
  • Solution: Use clear rein cues to prevent forward or backward movement. Adjust leg pressure and body position to guide the horse accurately.
  1. Inconsistent Steps:
  • Solution: Practice in short, frequent sessions to build consistency. Reward even the smallest correct steps to reinforce positive behavior.
  1. Uneven Movement:
  • Solution: Work on both sides equally to ensure balanced muscle development and coordination. Use ground poles to guide straight, even steps.

Teach a Horse to Side Pass Conclusion

Teaching a horse to side pass is a rewarding process that enhances the horse’s agility, responsiveness, and overall performance.

You can effectively teach your horse this valuable skill by following the steps outlined in this guide and incorporating patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement.

Regular practice, clear communication, and attention to your horse’s needs and responses will ensure successful training and a harmonious partnership.

Mastering the side pass for competitive riding or practical purposes adds versatility and finesse to your horse’s repertoire.

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