Horse Training Notes, Buck Brannaman


Weight on all 4 quarters balanced.


Hands down & wide for “Soft feel”.





Horse Training:

It’s not “training” but working to have their feet an extension of your self.






Proper backing is diagonal trot cadence.


1st need to be “Soft” for cadence with head down and in. “soft collection”.

Quit them when they are rhythmic. Don’t over ask.  Begin with Down & in “Soft feeling”.  In timing with the horse release the rein for each foot backing.


Is an independent hand release.  In sync with foot.  Release with the foot coming to the ground.


Ask for hurry and the “quiet soft” to work on speeding the cadence.


Backing reveals their reach and what to work on, whether the rider or horse.


Floating back ask with very little rein for backing.


Soft feel is a Bridle Horse in form.


There is mechanical riding vs. riding that is operating on feeling.  Fine horsemanship is subtle where the horse is operating on feel, responsive but not punchy.  Alive and flowing on feel.  Crisp but without spurs.


Over-flexed horses that are behind the bit. 

Is a false collection.  You have to get them moving to get a flow of energy.  An over-flexed horse starts bad in the bit.  Have to open them up to get to the feet.




Trotting on a loose rein accurately.

Working for a soft feel, collection & release to form.

Ride trot in arena, bend on corners and loose reins on straight sides.

Work on soft feel transitions between walk and trot. 

Also long rein straight-side slow to walk with body, not reins. 

Walk to trot without driving them into the bit, looking for soft feel without much leg.  Leg yields on the corners to guide them with soft feel in the reins.


Flow without “punching” legs.  Flow without losing the soft collected yield.


Hurry up to trot without losing the soft collected yield.  Soft “collection” then release long in reins & then slow body to stop the horse without reins.


Don’t push too hard with legs or will drive them through.  Soft feel to extend to soft.  Not wallering, but accurate & perfect. 





Balance is even weight on all four feet.  It is not the absence of bending or stiffness. 


There is lateral and there is vertical flexion, separate them out.  Un-track the hind and then cross the front:


Circle ½

Roll hind

Roll front

Walk out.


Get to a point where it looks elegant and are dancing with them.


Back an arc 1/4

Bring across


Stop “soft”

Walk off.



Just pulling them around in a circle doesn’t undue them and with touchy unconnected horses it can just make them go faster otherwise instead.


Teeter back, and rock outside front leg across.  Lift leg as it comes off the ground with the leading rein.


If backing an arch to the left, they are bending to the left and looking left.


The reaching foot.  The outside rein against the neck is The Supporting rein which moves the inside front leg as the active foot.


(…with hackamore the hands are out more and in)




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