Pennsylvania 14 year old TWH ridden in mild jointed snaffle and western saddle in round pen by intermediate level rider.

Question: We own a TWH, who doesn't park. Is this a learned trait? He has the best lineage (grandson of Ebonies Masterpiece)and can do just about anything-excempt park..I start by squaring him up, and then raising his head, I pull him a bit forward, to park. I am asking him
correctly? I've tried repeatedly, and with no results. Could you advise?

From Panelists Lee

Parking out is indeed a learned habit.  At first, in addition to asking him to raise his head after he is standing square, tap the back of his front fetlocks with the toe of your boot (tap, not kick) to get him to move each front hoof forward.  (you can also use a touch from a whip on the cannons to ask him to move each one forward).  As you are doing this, repeat the command "park out" (or whatever cue you want, just keep it consistent). When he is parked as far as you desire, praise him, let him stand a moment, then back him up and repeat the process. Don't ask a horse to move forward directly from a parked position, let him regain his balance by taking a step back before you move him.

As with anything else, practice practice practice is what produces results. Park him out every time you work with him -- even if all you are doing is a routine grooming.  In time the position will become second nature to him, and he may park without any cue at all whenever stopped.

Good luck with your horse.

Lee Ziegler

From Panelist Liz


When I teach the park and it must be taught. I back the horse to set the backs first, this may mean you may have to go and hand set the back hooves to. But give a verbal praise when it is done and then I do start by hand setting the fronts to, also saying the word park  and a
verbal praise so they know this is what I am asking. Then I will go to just tapping the front hooves with my toes to bump them in place, while lifting the head and say park so they associate the action with the word. Then you should be able to move  by tapping the shoulder to get the from hooves set once they know how with the tapping at the hooves. This can take a bit of time to teach. Remember parking is for showing in hand and not for mounting. 

Their fronts should not be asked to be far out front like a saddle bred either. They should actually be up under the horse with the backs being more out to behind the horse.


Back to main page
Ask a Trainer