Episode 40: Why I Do Not Disengage My Horse’s Hips

“Disengagement is going to have the front end of the horse planted and engagement is going to still have forward motion with the horse.” Stacy Westfall Click To Tweet



There are times when you may need to make an emergency stop with your horse. One way to do this is to disengage the horse’s hips. This is something that I do not do in my training, and today, I’m going to tell you why. First, I’m going to explain exactly what I mean by disengaging the horse’s hip. I’m also going to discuss the difference when riding and doing groundwork. 

When learning about horses, I encourage you  to look at many programs including other people’s. When watching other programs look at the form to function and see if what they are doing falls into this category or something similar. They may not use the same terminology. I also have an interesting and forward thinking discussion with Dr. Monty about deworming. 

“I use disengaging for groundwork, because I'm using it to get the horse to turn and face me.” Stacy Westfall Click To Tweet

Show Notes:

[00:58] What I mean by disengaging the horse’s hip is that the horse should plant its front feet and swing its hips to the side when doing groundwork or riding. 

[01:19] You could also think of this as a turn on the forehand during groundwork. 

[02:01] During ridden work it’s when the head is pulled around to the rider’s leg.

[03:11] The interesting thing when discussing engaging versus disengaging is that it can be different, so we need to get really specific with our definitions.

[05:27] Disengagement is going to have the front end of the horse planted and engagement is going to still have forward motion.

[06:31] I have said for years, that I don’t teach my horses to disengage. I only did it as a requirement for a test.

[07:19] I don’t teach my horses to disengage during riding, because it’s going to slow my training down, and it’s counter to everything else I do.

[07:54] It’s easier for a horse to disengage than engage, so I’m not going to teach something easier right at the beginning. 

[08:12] I use disengaging for groundwork, because I’m using it to get the horse to turn and face me.

[08:32] I also don’t use any disengaging moments at higher speeds.

[10:49] Sometimes disengaging and engaging will look similar, because they both have forward motion. Maintaining motion is the hallmark.

[12:25] I teach disengage on groundwork limited to the walk and the trot. I don’t use it exclusively.

[14:32] When riding, I teach the horse to bend and freeze its feet.

[17:22] Having a horse disengage is uncomfortable, because it’s not very well-balanced.

[18:01] Use a one rein or emergency stop by bending the horses head around, so you can jump off. 

[20:48] Dr. Monty and I discuss deworming. 

[22:45] The old school way is to deworm every two months. 

[23:23] The latest thinking is to take a yearly fecal test and then determine what level of parasite load the horse has and then make a proper deworm plan. 

[24:03] You won’t be able to keep your horse from parasites, but they do have a natural immunity.

[25:05] Horses with a low parasite number are dewormed twice a year. A horse with higher numbers is dewormed every 90 days. Really high numbers are dewormed and then checked in two more weeks.

[25:44] There will be low numbers, medium numbers and high numbers.

[26:07] Get a fecal test done and treat your horse appropriately. 

“I don't teach my horses to disengage during riding, because it's going to slow my training down, and it's counter to everything else I do.” Stacy Westfall Click To Tweet

Links and Resources:

Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac-Episode 1-First Day-Part 1-Evaluating Jac

Episode 39: The Two Most Basic Cues When Riding a Horse

Equithrive

Tennessee Equine Hospital

 

Have you ever wondered what a live version of this podcast would be like?I’m hosting some live, online video calls that are like a live version of this podcast. I teach on a subject, answer questions and for those who are brave, I’ll turn your video on live too and you can join me for a conversation!

 

If you want to learn more about this you can visit https://stacywestfall.com/live/ for more information!

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