A horse that jogs instead of walks or trots is annoying and makes your ride uncomfortable. And jogging is actually a behavioural problem. It usually indicates that a horse is excited – all he wants to do is hurry when the rider would prefer to take his time and walk. The other cause could be that the companion rider has a horse or pony with a much faster pace, so the “jogger” tries to catch up. Then there’s the horse that’s encouraged to jog because the rider thinks it looks impressive.
Unfortunately, in all three cases, the horse isn’t doing what it should be doing – behaving. T o prevent this habit, it’s essential that the horse is never permitted to jog. When the horse breaks into a jog, it’s essential to tell him in a firm voice to walk. Use a half-halt, or squeeze the reins once until he slows down. A half-halt is a technique that dressage riders use to tell the horse that a change is about to occur. It‘s achieved by sitting a little deeper in the saddle and gently squeezing your outside rein. This aid should only be visible to you. When he returns to walk, give him the reins and encourage him to lower his head and relax.
Remember that most horses jog on the way out or on the way home. Don’t allow this. Rather long-line the horse before you go out to take off the edge. Do this a few times to see if it reduces the jogging. Using a weight aid will help and this is achieved by sitting slightly back in the saddle, which will limit the use of the back and thus slow down the horse. Perseverance will eventually result in the horse stopping this annoying habit.
It’s important to remember when driving a horse cart, not to bring the horse back from a jog to a walk with such severity that he confuses it with a halt. As he checks, the cart runs towards him causing the breeching to tighten. Then, if he is dropped by his driver, he may jerk forward into his collar from a half-halt, which will both confuse and upset him and do nothing in terms of teaching him to walk instead of jog. It’s also a good idea to long-rein a jogger. This will encourage the horse to be more collected. The most important thing when breaking this habit is consistency. Never loose your temper and jerk your horse in the mouth, as this will just make things much worse. – Kim Dyson (082 888 6511) |