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How to Slow Your Horse in an Open Field

How to Slow Your Horse in an Open Field

Today we are talking about slowing your horse down in an open field.

Watch the Video Here or continue reading below!

What’s going on team MG! Today I am working with Carl. Carl is a three-year-old Quarter horse. I’m going to be working on slowing down my horse in an open field. The big misconception in big open fields is the big open field is making your horse run away.

Is My Horse Flexing

There’s really no difference between the big open field and the round pen in the arena. In the round pen or in the arena we don’t want to slow that horse down by holding them back. We want to redirect them right or left. So, the first thing I’m doing is checking to make sure my horse flexes in both directions. I have their head, then I am making sure I can move their butt. The secret to getting your horse to slow down in an open field, on a loose rein, is that we take their butt away from them.

The next thing that I’m going to be looking to do once I have their head and their butt, I’m going to let that horse move off on that loose rein. Every time that he speeds up, instead of me looking to pull him back where he argues with me, I’m going to pull him around to the side. It creates this circle here. You see me touching the reins to the right. This guy’s a little goosey so maybe he’s a little bronco-like. He’s pretty green, less than 30 days under saddle.

Look how I just come around here and from the place that I’m sitting I can see his right eye. What you’re going to see is as this ride goes on, he’s going to get flatter and flatter. He’s kind of bunched up right now. There he really doesn’t know what he wants to do with that energy, so I am touching and releasing the reins to the right. Going forward touching the reins here to the right again, the whole time I can see his right eye. Then I’m giving him the rein back. Look at the slack and the looseness in the rein.

Redirecting Slows A Horse In An Open Field

There I’m up in the saddle, I’m encouraging him to go forward. Look at how I’m one-handed leaving that inside hand free to pull him around. If there were an issue, if this horse was going to run, buck or rear, he needs his back end under him. You see when he’s tracking straight how his back end is driving in a straight line. That’s where his power is coming from. So, if we have the ability to just slide down the reins so softly and so easily, then you can redirect his head to the inside. Then let the reins go very quickly.

Hot Horses Can Slow Down In Open Fields

The hottest horse is going to want to go somewhere. It’s going to slow down because straight lines are where they’re strong or where they’re powerful. If he thinks every time that he surges without me asking, I’m going to redirect him, he will start to slow down in an open field. In this case redirecting him in a circle around my camera woman he wants to slow down and back pedal on his own. He is slowing down in an open field.

Notice how I keep drilling to the right, to the right, to the right. “I would rather whole ass one thing than half-ass two things,” in the famous French words of my grandfather. Now we’re switching sides because he got good at the right side, now we’re going to do the left side.

Look at my outside hand. Since I know I’m not going to be pulling him to the right, I use my outside hand or my right hand to hold the center of the reins. What I’ll do is use that outside hand to pull the reins outward. This is so I can slide my left hand up the reins and find his face on the inside. I then pull him to the inside. In this circle, the inside being the left, I give him his face. I slide my hand down the reins, pull him to the left, give him his face, slide my hand down, and pull him to the left.

Loose Reins In An Open Space

If you get where you can do this at a walk, trot, canter or gallop your horse will never run away with you. They don’t think they can. This will help to start slowing them down in an open field This is the opposite of grabbing up on a tight rein. Look how loopy these reins are on the little colt in a big open field. He has nothing but space and opportunity. He doesn’t feel like he can really take us for a ride or run.

Now we’re going to ask him to canter off. Look how nothing changes just because we’re cantering. I do not tighten up the reins. If anything, I give him even more rein. Look how floppy and loose those reins are. That’s the big misconception that we’re going to hold them to the speed that we want. For more advanced horses, we start grabbing them with two hands and putting them in their place or grabbing them with one hand and getting them shorter on the rein. That’s for a horse that already knows his job and already knows how to be calm, relaxed, and easy.

Young Horses Can Go Slow In An Open Field

 This little colt can go out here with less than 30 days of riding and go in a big open field. Then there’s no reason that any of your horses at home shouldn’t be able to do this. If you can’t go in a big open field with your horse and you can’t control them in the field, the misconception is you can’t control them because of the field. What that tells me is we weren’t in true control and real control anywhere. We weren’t in control in the round pen. We weren’t in control in the arena. The only difference is the horse felt enclosed, so it didn’t try to do anything. If we can’t turn them around or pull them around in a big open field with nothing going on, that tells us that we don’t have enough control.

We need control of the horse’s head and his butt. Once we soften that up and really get that horse giving up his face and moving his butt it’s going to be a lot clearer and a lot easier to control it. We will start slowing down that horse in an open field. Then we use that redirecting and changing directions to slow him down versus pulling him back. It’s going to give you a complete next level in your horsemanship. We’re moving his face and his butt.

In Conclusion

As long as you guys do that, you’re going to be able to get your horse to lope around on a loose rein anywhere you go. I want you guys to go home and try this left, right, control the head, control the butt. You’ll get that horse where he doesn’t want to speed up whenever he gets in a big field. He doesn’t want to speed up in an arena. Try that and let me know how it goes. See you guys in the next video!

Check out more free training resources HERE!

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Promotional image featuring Michael Gascon with his horse, used to promote the Horse Safety Free PDF Checklist. Encouraging horse enthusiasts to download the checklist for essential safety tips and guidelines.


Can you control every part of his body, even if he’s scared or unsure?

There are some specific things that I believe every horse should be able to do before they are considered completely safe to ride. So that you can see how safe your horse is to ride, I’ve created this FREE Horse Safety Checklist.

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Meet The Author: Michael Gascon!

I'm a 5th-generation, world-renowned horse trainer. My training methods have given tens-of-thousands of people a direct, no B.S. guide to training their horse to create more confidence, more fulfillment, and more enjoyable times with their four-legged friends.

As riders, we all want our horses to achieve their potential, but many people struggle with the process to get there.

I'm here to help you achieve maximum performance, relaxation, and focus by teaching you The Language Of The Horse.

The only requirement? The desire to learn more and have FUN with your horse.