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Episode 255: The Good, Better, Best, Bestest of Asking for the Hip

In this episode we discuss what it means to disengage a horse’s hip. That phrase doesn’t sound as though it is something a positive reinforcement trainer would want to do to a horse. And that’s true. We don’t want to do it to a horse. That would put us into force-based training, but it is something you need to teach a horse so you can ask for the “dance step” when it is needed. You need it for such everyday tasks as taking a horse through a gate and then turning with your horse so you can close the gate. You need it at other times for safety when your horse is startled or gets excited, and you need to direct him out of your space. And you need it to teach the balance needed for advanced performance.

So you need to be able to ask a horse to yield his hips. The question is not are you going to ask him for this maneuver, but how are you going to teach it? This is what we explore in this episode. We define what is meant by disengaging the hips. We look at how it is typically described and taught in the horse world, and then we look at this behavior from our perspective of positive reinforcement teachers.


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