View Full Version : Parking Out
01-19-2010, 12:53 PM
When parking out, do you want the horse to shift his weight onto the forehand to flatten the croup? If so, how do I accomplish this? My horse will park out nicely but when I try to ask him to lean forward, he steps forward.
01-19-2010, 03:34 PM
First, make sure he isn't parked so far that he can't get over his front legs. Then, make sure he knows that whoa means whoa. You can practice this when he is not parked. Entice him with a treat, and back him up a step if he moves a foot. He only gets the treat if he reaches way forward for it without stepping. Pretty soon he will be stretching and leaning forward for his treat. Then park him out and work on it. Parking him on a slope where his front end is higher than his hind end will also help. The higher you can hold the treat, the better his form will be.
01-19-2010, 03:48 PM
SmartAlex pretty much covered it all. I park my young ones out everytime they come out of the stall so they get the message. When you get ready to do it from the saddle you will need someone on the ground (with a treat) and I tap them on the shoulder with my toe and tell them to stand up (or whatever word you want to use.)
01-19-2010, 04:34 PM
When you do the young ones do it on an incline so that the front feet are higher than the back. Raise your hand with the lead. You need to get him to step forward in front leaving his back feet pretty much stationary. You will need to work around the young horse taping the back of its front legs with a stick to get them where you want him to put them. If they don't move use your foot. You may need to arrange the back feet a little too. Be persistent and most importantly consistent. The colt will eventually just do it. You can also do exercises in the stall when you groom a colt. Mount a ring high up on the wall and run a lunge line through it. Attach the other end to the colts halter. Whenever you groom him, hold him using the line and make him stand and park out. Here again make sure his front feet are little higher than his back feet. All stalls have high and low spots take advantage of them. It will pay off.
As someone else said, don't over do it. Horses that stretch way out when they park are not attractive and it is very hard on their backs if they do it with a rider. If this happens you need to correct it quickly so that the colt doesn't over park out. Make him put his feet where you want them to be.
01-19-2010, 05:26 PM
Thank you for your replies!
He already parks out - he somehow learned that from my fumbling attempts.
I did not think to try encouraging him to RAISE his head.
I think he is probably putting his front feet out too far ahead of him.
I agree with what has been said here and there is another thread covering this from a while back. Like was said above, I use an incline to get the weight over the front legs.
But, I also caution that we taught horses to park out in the old days when they did not back as often. And because the judges rarely walk the line up to judge conformation, parking out is not as important as it used to be. All pleasure horses must stand quietly and back readily and all amateur and ladies horses are "to stand quietly" in the line-up. So, I try to teach my horses to stand comfortably on all fours with their feet pretty much under themselves. They tend to stand better that way and can back without moving them forward off their feet and then backing (the old school way). I also try not to sit there tapping with the whip, kicking the front shoulders, twisting in the saddle, sawing the bridle or otherwise looking like I am working at something that is not being judged and maybe doing so at the expense of two things that are. And in country pleasure, the judges sometimes ask for a canter from the halt, so if you are parked out, you have to move forward at least a step to canter -- technically not doing what was called for.
Also, I try to keep it simple and letting a horse stand naturally with all four legs more or less straight down is simple because that is what he will do naturally. He is less likely to drop a hind leg standing on all four.
I love a beautiful horse that parks out and cranes his neck, but, for most horses, I would focus on the things that you know are going to count. I've also learned over the years that horses sort of either stand up pretty on their own or they don't. We can teach them where to put their feet, but it is difficult, if not impossible, to teach them to pose and say "look at me." And if he is not posing, "parking out" usually looks more like just over stretching the horse than anything useful.
If you are going to show in-hand, "parking out" a half step is more important, but standing still on all fours is still more crucial because the judges cannot evaluate your horse if it is moving or you are fidgeting with it. And the USEF Rule book says that a judge may ask you to stand the horse or colt naturally on all fours, so real conformation is supposed to be judged with the horse standing with its feet under itself.
JMO, as always.
Good advice Sit. I always wondered when judging pleasure classes the horses that were parked out....so many when asked to back just backed.....and without going forward , like Sit said, it's quite uncomfortable and often leads to a sloppy back. I guess what I am questioning is why so many do it....or is this the new wave of teaching? Just wondering.... RKR
01-20-2010, 12:50 AM
it probably has alot to do with trainers not taking the time to teach their riders how to back a horse properly.
I know some trainers that hardly ever, if ever, have their riders back a horse at home. So when they get to a show they don't have a clue how to do it right.
Of course the best backing usually comes from the barns that actually practice it regularly. Where I come from, you rarely get off a horse without backing at least once. If you dare do it wrong, you do it till you do it right LOL
By the way, I teach horse to stand properly and to stand still on the ground as well as in the saddle or in the cart. The first thing is to just stand. I don't kick legs or mess with them. If they are way off with their legs, I just move around and stop again. I do not bump the halter or bridle. They just stand. When they do, they get praised and patted and maybe even a treat. The lead is loose. I then work on moving around them and have others move around them. Under saddle, we stop, do nothing and just stand. Sometimes, I have someone come over and pat them or give them a treat. I drop the reins completely and just sit there as relaxed as possible.
We work in three or four people moving around the horse, "boxing" at him, snapping pictures, cracking whips, dropping swizzies in the general area, and otherwise causing quite a bit of commotion. Don't try this at home, but a few times I have gotten down on my hands and knees and crawled under the horse -- obviously a stupid and dangerous thing to do, but it builds trust. I can tell you that after learning to stand no matter what, a horse will sometimes react just a little with his body or eyes when you jump at him or try to startle him and then smile thru some pretty big eyes with great pride that you didn't "get him."
If you work on this for 30 seconds or a minute once or twice a week, pretty soon the horse gets the idea that "whoa" means stop and don't move. But if you move or ask the horse to move his feet out or bump the bridle, he can take that as a signal to do something else. I like to have clear distinct signals for each thing we do and doing nothing means for the horse to keep doing what he is doing -- nothing.
I'm almost 62 and ride and drive and show a lot. I need my horses to stand still to get on, hitching and unhitching, when we are making adjustments and letting the tail down, in the line up, and when we are lucky enough to go to the winners circle. I have had a couple that didn't stand (at first) and it is really embarassing when your horse drifts around and plays bumper cars with the other horses.
And I'll put a big PS on this. In a qualifier in a park class several a few years ago, my horse didn't stand in the line up and we were second. In the championship, the judge (a real good one) said to me quietly: "Just let him stand." and we won. And another time, Ruxer was judging on three-judge panel at a big show and my three gaited horse had made a real nice show. In the line up, she kept jumping away from a rotating fan in center ring (that I didn't see until about the third time). He rather dramatically scratched her off. We still got a pretty good ribbon, but I vowed then and there two things: 1) I would never again get beat because my horse didn't stand (a matter of personal pride); and 2) I would never line up next to center ring (except on a horse that is bomb proof)!
Having said all this, at the next show, one or more of my horses probably won't stand -- maybe just to humble me, but almost all of the time they do, and it makes the whole deal of riding, driving and showing a lot more pleasant.
I can't believe those two other judges missed that...........
01-20-2010, 02:00 PM
This thread makes me feel so much better. My then 4YO didn't park out when I got him. I tried for a while to teach it to him, but I could almost feel the eye rolls when I asked him under saddle ("oh, I guess I'll move my foot a little if you insist..."). Finally I decided to just be happy with standing square and not moving unless asked to -- forwards or backwards. I hate how it looks when someone is sitting there tapping and nudging and jostling the bridle to get a response.
01-20-2010, 03:36 PM
Finally thanks to Sit I now know why so many saddlebreds don't park out much. Being an old (older than Sit at 63) ex morgan trainer they either parked right out or were eliminated. That said with my harness horses I just back a half a step to get them square behind (the front always seems to square up) and let them find something to look at. :) I also back everybody down the aisle to their stalls after working so mine back nicely.
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