I was reminded recently of this technique I’ve seen several therapists use during hippotherapy, and wanted to share, because I forgot how much I love it!
The Silent Stop
Silently ask the leader to stop the horse with a little stopping motion of your hand. Give the rider a few moments to realize what has happened and problem solve. If they do nothing, prompt, “Oh no! What should we do?” If they still do nothing, prompt them to figure out how to get their horse to walk on.
I love this because it takes away the instructor always telling them what to do, and can imitate real life hose riding situations they will encounter when they ride off line one day.
This can be used to work on halt/walk transitions and maintaining the walk. It can also be modified for steering – silently motion for the leader to bring the horse off the rail, so the rider can practice steering their horse back.
Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgment!