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How to Sidepass a Horse

Sidepassing over a log in a ranch pleasure class asks the horse and rider to work together as a team.

By Larri Jo Starkey
The American Quarter Horse Journal
November 14, 2013

AQHA Professional Horseman Bill Bormes shows readers how to sidepass a horse in the December Journal's "Borrow a Trainer" illustration by Jean Abernethy

The real question of the sidepass is whether you can engage the front, middle and hind end of your horse, all at the same time, AQHA Professional Horseman Bill Bormes says in the December Journal's "Borrow a Trainer" article. (Jean Abernethy illustration)

Sure you can go forward and backward. But can you ride your horse sideways?

That’s the question the ranch pleasure patterns asked at the 2012 and 2013 AQHA, the 2013 Built Ford Tough AQHYA and the 2013 Adequan Select world championship shows. At each event, exhibitors were required to sidepass across a natural pole.

It’s not just going sideways, though. The real question of the sidepass is whether you can engage the front, middle and hind end of your horse, all at the same time.

AQHA Professional Horseman William “Bill” Bormes shows you how to sidepass a horse, one step at a time, in the December issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal.

“My first priority is to determine where the middle of my horse is in relation to where I sit on my horse,” says the Castle Rock, Colorado, trainer. “As the rider, I need to know where the ‘sweet spot’ is when I position my horse so she can best clear the pole with it centered beneath her.”

As the trainer of the first year-end high-point winner in open ranch pleasure, Lavish Love, Bill knows a thing or two about what it takes to build a formidable ranch pleasure horse.

In the December edition of “Borrow a Trainer,” Bill shows readers:

  • How to ride to the pole with authority, timing exactly when to stop in line with the log
  • Where the “sweet spot” is so you know you’re properly lined up 
  • Practice techniques for sidepassing perfection
  • Step-by-step procedures to utilize while you are crossing the log
  • And advanced sidepassing maneuvers that will be called for in ranch pleasure

“Make certain your horse sees the purpose in what you’re asking her to do,” are Bill’s parting words of advice. “If you work on sidepass¬ing regularly, just a little bit, soon you and your horse will find it easy, and it’s one more talent the two of you share.”

Try AQHA Professional Horseman Bill Bormes’ technique for how to sidepass a horse, a crucial maneuver in ranch pleasure and trail classes, from “Borrow a Trainer” in the December American Quarter Horse Journal.

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