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How to get your horse to turn better - A quick Guide

Welcome to our quick guide on how to enhance your horse's turning abilities through effective training. By implementing these techniques, you'll be able to achieve smoother rides and have better control over your horse's movements. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider, these tips will help you improve your horse's turns and enhance your overall riding experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding the basics of horse training is essential for improving turns.
  • Developing flexibility and balance through specific exercises is crucial.
  • Refining turning techniques, such as neck reining and leg yielding, enhances responsiveness and precision.
  • Patience, consistency, and prioritizing the horse's well-being are key throughout the training process.

Understanding the Basics of Horse Training

Before we delve into the specific techniques for improving your horse's turning abilities, it's crucial to establish a solid foundation in horse training. By understanding the basics, you'll build trust and enhance communication with your equine companion. In this section, we'll cover essential topics that will help you lay the groundwork for successful horse training sessions.

The Importance of Establishing Trust

Trust is the cornerstone of a strong bond between you and your horse. It enables effective communication and collaboration, ensuring a harmonious training experience. Take the time to establish a relationship built on trust by spending quality time with your horse, grooming them, and providing positive reinforcement.

Consistency is key when building trust. Set clear expectations and maintain a calm and confident demeanour during your training sessions. Your horse will respond positively to your consistent approach, fostering trust and respect between both of you.

Using Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in horse training. By rewarding desirable behaviours, such as responding to cues or displaying willingness, you encourage your horse to repeat those actions. This approach creates a positive association with the training process and motivates your horse to learn and improve.

When using positive reinforcement, choose rewards that your horse finds motivating, such as treats, praise, or a gentle pat. Timing is crucial; ensure the reward is given immediately after the desired behaviour to reinforce the connection between the action and the reward.

Building a Solid Foundation

Before focusing on turning abilities, it's essential to establish a solid foundation in fundamental skills. Teach your horse basic commands, such as "walk," "trot," "stop," and "back," as well as yielding to pressure and responding to rein aids.

Consistently practice these foundational skills before progressing to more advanced training exercises. A solid foundation will enable your horse to understand your cues and aids, making it easier to refine turning techniques in the future.

"Without a solid foundation, your horse's training will be like building a house on shaky ground. Take the time to establish trust, use positive reinforcement, and build a strong foundation of basic skills."

By understanding the basics of horse training, you set yourself and your horse up for success. With a solid foundation in place, you'll be ready to delve into more specialized techniques aimed at improving your horse's turning abilities. Stay tuned for the next section, where we'll explore exercises and strategies to enhance flexibility and balance in your equine partner.

Developing Flexibility and Balance

Flexibility and balance are crucial for a horse to execute smooth and precise turns. In this section, we'll explore exercises and techniques that will help your horse develop these essential skills. From suppling exercises to lateral movements, we'll provide you with practical tips to improve your horse's flexibility and balance.

Flexibility is key in horse training as it allows your horse's body to adapt to different movements and positions, minimizing the risk of injury and maximizing performance. One effective exercise to improve flexibility is carrot stretches. Stand beside your horse and hold a carrot or treat below their shoulder. Encourage them to reach and stretch their neck towards the treat. Repeat this exercise on both sides daily to gradually increase the range of motion in their neck, improving their overall flexibility.

Suppling Exercises

Suppling exercises are another valuable tool in developing flexibility and balance in your horse. One technique is the "shoulder-in" exercise, where your horse moves their shoulder towards the inside while maintaining their straightness and forward motion. This exercise engages your horse's hindquarters, improving their balance and suppleness.

A lateral movement such as leg yielding is also effective in enhancing flexibility and balance. Begin by asking your horse to move their body sideways, crossing their legs over, in response to gentle leg aids. This exercise stretches and strengthens the muscles throughout their body while promoting balance and coordination.

"Flexibility and balance are crucial for a horse to execute smooth and precise turns."

Another essential aspect of developing flexibility and balance is engaging your horse's core muscles. Incorporating pole work into your training routine can help with this. Set up ground poles and ask your horse to walk or trot over them. This exercise encourages your horse to lift their hooves, engaging their abdominal muscles and improving their overall balance and coordination.

Remember to always warm up your horse before undertaking suppling exercises and be mindful of any signs of fatigue or discomfort. Flexibility and balance are developed gradually over time through consistent training and patience.

Benefits of Developing Flexibility and Balance:
Improved agility and responsiveness
Reduced risk of injury
Enhanced overall performance
Better communication and partnership between horse and rider

By incorporating these exercises and techniques into your horse training regimen, you'll enhance your horse's flexibility and balance, setting them up for success in executing smooth and precise turns. Remember, every horse is unique, so be patient and adapt these exercises to suit their individual needs and abilities.

Refining Turning Techniques

Once your horse has developed the necessary flexibility and balance, it's time to refine their turning techniques. In this section, we will explore advanced training exercises focused specifically on turning, such as neck reining, leg yielding, and direct rein aids. These techniques will enhance your horse's responsiveness and precision when turning, enabling you to have better control over their movements.

Neck Reining

Neck reining is a technique used to guide your horse's movements with subtle rein cues. To execute a neck rein, hold the reins in one hand on the same side as the direction you want your horse to turn. Gently apply pressure against the horse's neck, allowing the weight of the rein to signal the intended direction. By consistently practicing neck reining, your horse will become more responsive and sensitive to your rein cues, making turning smoother and more effortless.

Leg Yielding

Leg yielding is another valuable skill to refine your horse's turning abilities. Start by asking your horse to move sideways by applying pressure from your inside leg behind the girth. The goal is to have your horse cross their front and hind legs while maintaining forward movement. This lateral movement enhances their flexibility and encourages them to engage their hindquarters, making turns more efficient and balanced.

Direct Rein Aids

Direct rein aids are fundamental in refining your horse's turning techniques. Begin by holding the reins in both hands and applying gentle pressure on the side opposite the direction you wish to turn. Simultaneously, use your inside leg to support the turn. The combination of rein and leg aids provides clear communication to your horse, guiding them smoothly through the turn. As your horse becomes more advanced, you can begin to use indirect rein aids to further refine their turning abilities.

"Refining your horse's turning techniques takes time, patience, and consistency. By practicing these advanced exercises, you'll experience improved communication and coordination with your horse, leading to precise and effortless turning."

Remember, each horse is unique, so it's essential to adapt these techniques to suit their individual needs and abilities. Building a strong foundation of trust and clear communication is key to refining turning techniques effectively.


In conclusion, improving your horse's turning abilities is a vital aspect of effective horse training. By understanding the basics of horse training, developing flexibility and balance, and refining turning techniques, you'll be able to achieve smoother rides, better control, and a stronger bond with your horse.

Throughout the training process, it is important to be patient and consistent. Building trust and a solid foundation with your horse is key to success. Remember to prioritize the well-being of your horse, ensuring their comfort and safety at all times.

So, get ready to embark on this exciting journey of enhancing your horse's turning abilities. With dedication and the right training techniques, you'll be able to experience the joy of a harmonious partnership with your horse. Happy riding!


How can I improve my horse's turning abilities?

To improve your horse's turning abilities, it's essential to focus on horse training techniques that enhance flexibility and balance. By incorporating suppling exercises and lateral movements into your training routine, you can help your horse develop the necessary skills for smooth and precise turns.

What are the basics of horse training?

Before diving into specific turning techniques, it's important to establish a solid foundation for horse training. This includes building trust with your horse, using positive reinforcement to reinforce desired behaviors, and understanding the principles of effective communication. By mastering these basics, you'll create a strong bond with your horse and set the stage for successful turn training.

Are there any specific exercises to improve flexibility and balance?

Yes, there are various exercises that can help improve your horse's flexibility and balance. These include stretching exercises, leg yields, circles and serpentines, and lateral movements such as shoulder-in and haunches-in. Incorporating these exercises into your training routine will contribute to your horse's overall agility and ability to execute smoother turns.

What advanced training techniques can refine my horse's turning abilities?

Once your horse has developed flexibility and balance, you can focus on advanced turning techniques. These include neck reining, where you use one hand to guide the horse by applying pressure on the neck, leg yielding, which involves moving the horse's body sideways by applying leg aids, and direct rein aids, where you guide the horse through rein pressure. Implementing these techniques will enhance your horse's responsiveness and precision when executing turns.

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