How to Teach Work and Play - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-09-2011, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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How to Teach Work and Play

Someday I want to be able to train my Bashkir Curly mare to be an all-around horse. This mare is built, so my dad also wanted to use her for logging (smaller logs, nothing near what a team of belgians would be faced with). Logging involves alot of pulling back on the harness, and essentially would be teaching her to push against pressure. Then pleasure driving would be more calmly floating along. For her to feel pressure against the harness she would really have to be pulling, and that would mean gaining quite a bit of speed.

Is there any way I can get her really to understand when I want her to be the burly logging horse, the pleasure driver, and the calm cool and collected mount? Does anyone have horses that are truly all around? (Mainly logging/riding). I really want her to be a trail horse, but the seller with my father was having a working horse. Most of the work she would do is getting cedar posts to make fences for the horse pasture. These posts are not that heavy. I can carry them most of the time, and at least drag them.

Right now she is 4 years old, and I do not plan on driving her with any weight untill at least 5 or 6. Before anything I want her to be broke to ride, and untill then I won't worry too much.
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-10-2011, 10:18 AM
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If she is 4yrs now, you should be progressing with her training work. Under saddle or driven, whichever you prefer.

Being an all-arounder is a good goal for any horse, but some "work" may not be as helpful to go with horse's other jobs. Draft horse pulling of logs means that horse will learn to pull with the front-end, to get the load moved regardless of difficulties. The load MUST be moved, horse has to lay into the load to do it. You NEVER want a pleasure driving horse pulling with his front legs as he moves along! He needs to be "driving from behind" to get overstride and collection.

Has anyone in your family logged with horses? It is a skill that needs to be learned, taught, to avoid getting into trouble. Driver travels uphill of the animal so log doesn't roll downhill over them! Butt-end of logs and poles will snag while dragging, so you have to stop horse, move them over for pulling at a different angle. Snagging will stop load for a second, then log or pole JUMPS free with horse still pulling, can hit things or swing sideways to sweep you down. There is a real art to logging with equines. If the wood is small like fence posts, just a few, you might (after much practice with tires, NEVER TIE ROPE ONTO HORSE or saddle) try dragging them with horse under saddle. Wear chaps, that rope will put a hole in your pants leg fast.

Teaching a horse to drive is your time to put the basics on horse, voice commands, PROMPT response to a command. Using the whip for aiding the horse to bend or move FORWARD when asked. Horse has to get really solid out on the long lines before you try attaching any items to it. You have to build up the pulled loads slowly, make horse confident they CAN MOVE the load. Don't scare them with big loads first, they give up, go real stupid if nothing moves. Learning to move into pressure can take a while.

Some never drive, just don't have the mind for it.

Horse is a good age, should be fairly well developed with a mind that can listen and process what you are asking. Riding is fine first, long line work is still VERY helpful to horse in learning those commands, understanding what you ask. Get Whoa down VERY WELL. Should be a voice command, in case a rein breaks or gets dropped. Good solid Whoa is the best gait a horse should know!
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-14-2011, 05:19 PM
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It is more natural for a horse to push into the harness than do saddle work. She will quickly learn the difference that the harness means one thing and the saddle another. My mare learned that the snaffle bit meant schooling and the hackamore meant games. Put a big curb bit on her and she was a lovely western pleasure horse.
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-15-2011, 09:59 AM
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Hey kid. How old are you anyway? Your post was more intelligent than many of the ones written by adults. The bar that attaches a horse to a cart by the long straps called traces that run from the collar is called a single tree. I am not that familiar with the terms used for working draft equipment. I made a tow bar with hooks on one side for the traces and a ring on the other to tie a rope to to attach whatever I wanted to pull. I started with an inner tube and then a tire. I was pulling smaller diameter firewood logs out of the woods when my horse was two. My horse is definitely an all around horse. He could be shown western pleasure in a curb bit. He is beginning to do spins and roll backs. While he doesn't slide stop he does have a nice smooth stop when I raise the reins a few inches and sit down in the saddle. He also does pirouettes at the canter and trot and he will do shoulder in and two track diagonals. All of this stuff just makes a horse more responsive and safer under harness and besides it's fun. It works both ways. Driving will also make a horse more steady under saddle. I gave my horse a good workout under saddle today before taking my 82 year old mother in law for a cart drive because he hadn't been out in a week. It was after feeding time when we returned and I figured he would be anxious to go back to his paddock but he turned into the arena all on his own. To him being under saddle is work and driving is recreation. He loves it and he will come to the paddock gate and stick his nose into the halter when I take him out. In the old days some logging horses became so steady that they would haul the logs to the landing and return to the log deck without a driver.
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-02-2011, 03:32 AM
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It is not hard at all to teach your horse to be allrounder but I guess its better to use a horse for one single suppose. Horses that are strong are used for draf purposes they cant run like running horses. On the other hand running horses cant pull heavy loads and they can run well. So if you want yours to do both yours wont be an expert at either of the two,atleast from my perspective. But who knows it really depends on the individuals.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-02-2011, 08:13 AM
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Duel purpose horses.

Today all sorts of breeds are used for driving. My horse is a Fjord Qtr cross. He does everything although I will admit that he is a little slower at picking up things under saddle and not quite as responsive to the aids as a hotter bred horse would be. He is very seady once he gets something. On the other hand, the retired Standardbred is the horse of choice for many police departments. Temperament has a lot to do with choosing any driving horse. Here is the problem. A lot of people do not train their horses. They just get on them and go. I would not want to put that kind of horse in front of a cart no matter what the breed. So much depends on the common sense and skill of the owner. I have a friend who raises haflingers. His horses are wonderful duel purpose horses. He can go into combined training events or ride any of his horses. He's a good trainer.
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