How To Teach Your Horse to Side Pass

Being able to open a gate while sitting is one of the benefits of training a horse to side pass.The process of teaching a horse to side pass includes training a turn on the haunch and forehand.You will improve your riding and your horse’s performance by following these steps.

Step 1: Your horse can move away from pressure.

Humans and horses have the same instinct to move away from where pressure is applied.You can test this reaction in your horse by bumping them with an open palm.They should move away from you.If they don’t respond to you, keep bumping your horse near the girth.Release pressure when they take a step away.In order to move away from you, you should practice this until your horse needs only a single bumped, or no bumped at all.

Step 2: Train a turn.

If you have to grab a crop, put your horse on a lead rope.Stand so that your body is behind the barrel of your horse’s body, and gesture with your arm or crop towards their shoulder.Put pressure on their shoulder if they don’t respond.They want to move away from your pressure by rotating their body around their back legs.If your horse walks in the opposite direction rather than crossing their front legs in a turn, grab the lead rope and hold them straight ahead.When your horse crosses their front legs in a turn on the haunch, release pressure, drop your eyes, and reward them for doing what you asked.Your horse will respond to the same signals when riding if you continue practicing a turn on the haunch.

Step 3: Go for a turn on the forehand.

Similar to a turn on the haunch, a forehand turn is done when your horse rotates their body around their front legs by crossing their back legs.Stand near the shoulder and gesture towards the haunch with your crop or open hands.Push against the haunch with your open hands or tap them with the crop if they don’t respond without pressure.If your horse backs away or turns to the side, don’t remove pressure.If necessary, Straighten them out and keep bumping pressure on them until they cross their legs.When your horse gets a single step in a turn on the forehand, release pressure and reward them for following your instructions.When your horse requires a minimal amount of pressure to turn on the forehand, practice this over and over.

Step 4: A grounded side pass can be accomplished by combining your groundwork.

Stand next to the horse’s body and use a crop if necessary.If they don’t move how you want, give them the signals for a turn on the haunch and a forehand.Continue working back and forth until your horse clues in and does at least one successful step in a side pass.As soon as your horse takes a single step in the form of a side pass, reward them and let them go.Continue until they don’t need to turn on the forehand and haunch in order to recreate a side pass.They will only need to be bumped on their side eventually.

Step 5: Your horse should be in position.

When starting to teach a side pass from the saddle, it is easiest to move to a location where your horse won’t mistake your one-sided bumps as a cue to go forward.If you want your horse to face a fence or wall, move them.They can only move to the side or reverse.

Step 6: The proper lines of communication can be created by opening your body.

In order to get what you want from your horse, you need to practice your body language.If you are side passing to the left, you need to lift your left leg to let the air out of your lungs.On your right side, you will apply pressure.If you want to side pass to the right, you have to reverse these signals so the left side of your body is open.

Step 7: Your horse is going to side pass.

With one side of your body open, move your opposite leg forward and hit your horse with it.As you do this, keep the opposite side of your body open.Continue bumping if necessary, and then stop as soon as your horse takes at least a single step in a side pass.As soon as they manage this, reward your horse.

Step 8: The side pass is practiced at a stand still.

Continue using the same cueing patterns to get your horse to side pass.For a while against a wall or a fence, and then move to an open area and do it again.Your horse should be able to sidestep several feet in both directions.

Step 9: A side pass is performed while walking.

The same as a stand- still seated side pass, the only difference is that more pressure is put on the rider to perform correctly.As your horse walks cue the side pass by bumping their side at the same time their barrel moves in the opposite direction, you should follow the directions.There will be a break between bumps instead of constant pressure because the barrel of the horse swings back and forth.The horse can get away with simply turning instead of side passing, as it requires more attention as well.If you want to get feedback on your horse’s reactions, have a friend or trainer stand on the ground.

Step 10: At higher speeds, do a side pass.

When you feel like you have mastered the side pass in both directions at the walk, cue your horse into a trot and then a canter.The horse should respond the same as the rider.The leg-bumps should be timed with the swing of the barrel.If you are doing a side pass at a canter, you may want to perform a half-halt first.