The flexion is a very important training method for several reasons. Beside the fact that flexing will make the horse physically soft in the sides and neck, it will also help the horse to get mentally soft by turning it’s head towards the side.
For our own and the horses security we need to have a way to take control in all kind of situations – even if the horse gets really frightened. The most efficient way is to use the one rein stop – to take a hold of the horses head and ask for the bend to the side with only one rein. In that position he cannot buck or rear, and it is very hard for him to run if you have the shoulders under control.
To be able to do an effective one rein stop I train the horse how to flex, get soft and stay in position. It is important that he gives to the bit when you ask for the rein. If not, you have no control over his shoulders. If the horse gets heavy in the hand when flexing, you need to move his back legs and get his backside out of the way. The best way to do that is by looking at his inner hip and push him with your inner leg. As soon as he softens, you will turn your head and look at his shoulders, and at the same time stop pushing with your leg. When he stops, gives you the eye and feels soft in the hand you must let go of the rein instantly so he will be able to stretch out completely and be rewarded for a good try.