what im understanding, and please, correct me if im wrong, is that I should not be trotting my horse, because he's gate sour. Nor should I be canter, because he bucks. K. So how would you like me to fix those problems without riding him?
I don't think we've been saying don't ride him ( I might've missed others saying that). I'd focus primarily on the ground stuff, but DO ride him. Start at the walk. Get that to the point where 99% of the time, there's no issues. THEN move up to the trot & walk, rinse, lather, repeat... Build on things.
Give him a chance to learn that you aren't the enemy and what you want out of him. I've heard this from every great barrel rider I've ever met, including Sharon Camarillo, "the BEST way to teach a horse to ga fast, is to go slow."
Thank you busysmurf, for clarifying, and helping me out. At the walk, he's fine. Never loses that hollow frame, but just plods around. At the trot, he's much better lately. Wiggles a little the first couple times past the gate, then settles after some firgure eights and circles.
We'll wait to go back to the canter I think, until he can collect under saddle at the trot. Sound better?
I still may canter in the round pen, just to keep the cues fresh.
Put either a sidepull or smooth snaffle on him. START ON THE GROUND.
- teach him to give to pressure. Laterally at first.
- START with laterally flexing at a standstill
- AT A WALK do serpentines, figure 8's and the like, teaching him what LEG means, and only FOLLOW leg with rein pressure.
- Aim for a nice soft bend both left and right with a lower/relaxed head carriage
Chances are, he was jerked around by his face all the time and doesnt quite understand leg or light rein.
Bump him into a trot, do ALL the same exercises, reward reward reward. Aim for relaxation, and his head will slowly bob down naturally. If he resists, show him the way! With JUST your fingers, ask for him to give to the bit/hackamore (riding 2 handed) and when he lowers his head, reward reward reward.
I would NOT be working on a lope yet, if I were you. OR thinking about barrels.
When you get to loping, ask for it on a corner or circle, let him lope a few strides and transition down again, until he lopes just as easily as he trots.
No one is trying to be rude, we just notice things that you say or are doing that can be done much better, safer and easier for your horse.
Put away the barrels for now, solidify his foundation, and THEN think about barrels.
Also, OP, I know how excited you probably are and I know how it is to want to do something right now. But, you will end up regretting going too fast.
I made that mistake already, and now spent a year patching up training I skipped. And I am STILL not where I could have been if I just went slow and carefully made everything solid.
Thank you QHrider. I have no problem with advice, I have a problem when its used to demean, or based off of assumptions.
I AM going to be changing his bridle set up, I really like the idea of a sidepull for him.
I honestly believe that he was origially very well broke. The barn he came from has a great reputation. He was out to pasture for a long time, and needed restarting when the woman bought him. A lot of the things im doing, im sure he has learned before, correctly too. When done properly, he picks things up semi-instantly.
I think you're doing fine.....a few tweaks but nothing to freak out over.
What *I* would do is just focus on putting a solid riding foundation on him. Horses that have had abusive situations....or bad experiences under saddle generally do better when they have " comfort" zones to fall back on if they get frazzled. In other words: a foundation.
I would just forget about barrels for now. I agree that trotting large circles around the barrels isnt hurting anything BUT I wouldnt want him having that mindset towards the pattern. WAIT until he has that foundation ;)
If I where you id put him in a little s hack. Theres no rule saying he has to be in a bit and if he seems happier without a bit...why change it. If down the road something comes up then address it.
thank you for your explanation of the hackamore, however your evaluation of my personal experience is wrong, full of assumptions, ad offensive.
This horse and a bit......are right now, not a match. His previous owner was ROUGH with her hands. The horse has no topline, because riding meant gaping mouth, lolling tongue, giraffe moves. She stopped him with her hands at her shoulders. It was painfull to watch. I don't understand. Have you tried putting a simple smooth mouth snaffle bit in his mouth? Have you tried to re-train him to accept the bit? The bit is only as harsh as the hands behind it (as you already know).
Again, in a restarting sense, I would pretend this horse is two-years-old and has never had a bit in his mouth. I'd go through "giving" exercises, backing exercises, ground driving exercises, etc etc to have a soft mouth horse before I ever climb aboard.
The first time I put this hackamore on him, it took an HOUR. He reared, he struck out, he wanted nothing to do with it. He heard jingles and said UH UH. She used to sedate him to tack him up, 13 pills to ride. The horse was a NUTCASE about tack, halters, etc after two weeks with her. She got his halter on, and it stayed on for 2 months at one poit because she "didnt want to go through the trouble of putting it on again" the horse had oozy sores from the nylon. Its taken patience, practice and lots of time to get him to let me put that headstall over his head the first time. Then in the TRUE spirit of restarting, as someone mentioned earlier, what does he do when you put the halter on? (Much less progressing to a bit or hackamore) And possibly treat him as if he is an unstarted wild mustang?
I appreciate FRIENDLY advice. But if your going to be demeaning, make assumptions, or just generally bash, can ya try to clean it up first?
I don't coddle people. If that means you think I am offensive and mean, well so be it. I don't sugar coat things. You came on here asking for advice, and myself and others are giving it to you. (And I do detect some "snark" in some of your responses too, mind you.....) I'm sorry that we haven't patted you on the back and praised you to the high heavens, but you've got a lot of work on your hands.
Trust me. No one here is bashing you. But we don't poop rainbows either.
You ran barrels when you were seven years old. My assumptions were perfectly correct. You are indeed not familiar with training a barrel horse as I said earlier. (if you don't even know the difference between different bits, how can you properly train a horse for a precise event?). Sure, you may be offended by me saying it, but it is true. You'll come to realize that someday.
I've been barrel racing for 23 years. And I still don't know as much as some people about barrel racing. Even though I do know a lot, I am humble enough to admit I do NOT know it all. But you can't seem to even accept the level you are at. There's nothing wrong with not being experienced. Everyone has to start somewhere. But don't act like a know-it-all.
If his teeth have been checked and are fine, then there is no reason you cannot try to get him to re-accept the bit. I would suggest something like:
But before you get to that point, you may want to further work on re-starting him.
How are his ground manners? Does he ever get into your space? Does he ever crowd you when leading? Does he ever refuse to pick up his feet? Can you "send" him anywhere? Can you lead him anywhere? Will he cross any ground obstacle willingly? Does he spook from plastic bags or flags? Does he panic from a rope around his butt or under his belly?
With a horse has been treated so badly for so many years by his previous owner, it is vitally important to do ground work exercises every single day to build respect and trust. I myself am a fan of Clinton Anderson's methods because I feel he explains things very well about what he is doing and why. Any horse (especially one with bad issues) can benefit from 15 minutes of ground work daily.
And with a horse like this, I'd be very careful about who you let handle him. If one thing is allowed to slide by, it may honestly set you back to square one, because it teaches him he doesn't have to listen to the leader all the time.
And your fiance needs to wear actual shoes around him. That's a good way to deglove the skin off your own foot. I've seen it happen. Safety first. And I'd be hesitant to let any children around him at this point (as in the pictures you posted). He has a long way to go and a child won't know how to properly correct him when he does something wrong; even on the ground. What if he tries to bite them? (You said his nipping problem is not gone yet.) And they don't correct him? You've just allowed him to get away with it, and at this point, that's a recipe to put him back to square one.
Honestly, I've very surprised you've picked this horse to be a lesson horse with his past. I'm not saying it isn't possible, but it certainly is going to be YEARS down the road, and the issues will NEVER go away completely. You'll always have to re-enforce his "new" training with you, and he's going to test new riders that he hasn't gained respect for yet. So just a thought.....
I agree with the others that he should not be cantering at this point, much less trotting. You have got to teach him how to carry his body correctly at the walk first, and how to properly give to the bit. If you have to walk-only for weeks, then so be it. The old saying holds true: You have to walk before you can run. Even on my colts, I expect them to give them their nose laterally and vertically on their first and early rides, because I've given them the tools from the ground to do so.
Teaching a horse to give to the bit (especially if they have prior issues) is not easy to explain over the internet. I'm a little leery of the trainer you've chosen to work with if he says "you're doing fine" and allowed you to continue riding him in a mechanical hackamore over the top of a knotted halter, with a hollow back at the canter. I'd say get a new trainer. One that can show you how to get this horse soft in the bridle. It is all about precise timing. If you leave the pressure on too long, you've taught him to brace and ignore the cue. If you take the pressure off too quickly, you've taught him he doesn't have to do anything.
And for two circuits in teh past two years, but its ok if you conveniently didnt read that part. Oh, and it was under the instruction of a trainer.
His ground work: which we work on CONSTANTLY. He does not crowd, and when he does, he has to back to the end of the lead rope and stand. I can lift all four feet, when ever I ask, tied, haltered, or standing free. If im stading in his paddck, I can scrunch my eyebrows, lean forward and point and he either backs or trots off. If I want him to come to me I call his name, and turn my hip to him with my hand out. Treats or no, he usually comes. Recently, we've begun hands free leading. He'll walk, nose at my shoulder, trot, though he runs off when he feels good, stops, thuogh he sometimes puts his shoulder up to mine (always backs to position when I ask him) will turn and yield the hind. We're working on getting him to "count" as a trick in our ground work sessions.
Yes, I've tried with a bit. He tastes metal and UP he goes. Threw me a few feet in the air. If it aint a problem, dot gotta fix it. I like the side pull, but I have an s hack a friend is letting me borrow for a few rides.
I have no problem with your advice beau, though I disagree with your desire to shove a bit in his mouth. I dislike your demeaning "high horse" (pardon the pun) tone. I take offense to your assumptions. But, I can't do anything about you. I can take the good advice here for my horse.
Ad if you;d like to take a try at convincing my fiance to be intelligent, go for it. I've warned him a million times.
Thank you red horse. We don't always go in a pattern around the barrels. We'll figure eight em, or do one and double backwards to another. Sometimes we'll do the clover, but not enough to make him go "oh!"
AP, you've chosen to ignore a very knowledgeable poster because you feel she's "mean" - look past the bluntness and take her advice. She's obviously taken the time out to type out thoughtful, long responses, which you reply to with hostility and snark. Might want to rethink that. I learned my lesson long ago. Pride goes before the fall. In order to learn, you have to set ego aside.