Teaching The Rollback

Riding Questions

“Does anyone have a method for doing rollbacks? A friend of mine simply moves along a fenceline, cues her horse & she’s on automatic. I however, have not had that much experience in this. I understand this is a great exercise & would like to try it. ” — RR Cowgirl

“The rollback is actually 2 separate maneuvers. A nice square, balanced stop with hindquarters tucked under into a pivot. Start by riding your horse down the fenceline and ask for the stop. When the stop is complete turn your horse into the fence and move the shoulders around with your outside leg (the leg on the outside of the turn). The leg should be at the cinch or slightly in front, not behind. As soon as your horse is committed to the turn release the cues and if he has enough impulsion he should follow through on the turn. Before asking your horse to do rollbacks he should be broke enough that he moves forward with impulsion, tracks up, rounds his back and breaks at the poll. He should be able to make a square, balanced stop on his hindquarters and be light in front. You should also be able to move your horses shoulders around. ” — Claudia Smith

I had always been taught to stop a horse by sitting deep and closing my legs on his sides and riding up into the bridle. Last week I took a lesson from a reining trainer who taught me something different. He said that to stop you take your legs off the horse and shove them forward (which pushes your tailbone into the saddle) and hold the horse in front. If your horse is correctly in the bridle he should back a step or two when you don’t release your hands immediately after the stop. ” — Claudia Smith

“I have been working with my 4 year old on rollbacks too. The first thing that I taught him was to stop when I cued him to. Then when he got that down, (start off walking) go down a fence line, sit back, say whoa, and (if your mare neckreins) lay the reins across her neck and use your outside foot to push her shoulders over. This has helped a lot in my barrel turns with him and its making him a lot smoother.” — Racin’ Cowgirl

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