New rider with 1st horse-TWH! Help! - Page 3

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New rider with 1st horse-TWH! Help!

This is a discussion on New rider with 1st horse-TWH! Help! within the Gaited Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category

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    10-27-2010, 10:24 PM
Super Moderator
Wow. No business owning a walker? OUCH. Harsh comments tonight.

The thing about a walking horse is, they like to go. Normally. They are good solid horses with giant hearts. They are kind and loving and really faithful friends. Because of there ground eating glide ride type movement, they very popular trail horses. It sounds to me like yours came from folks that liked to get on and go.

My first walking horse was like that. The moment you got on him, he took off like a bolt of lightening. I had to tie him to a fence to mount and then unhook him after mounting in the beginning (That's a very stupid thing to do, don't try it). He took so much arm strength to keep slow and to stop in the beginning until I learned how to use my seat with him.

Because of their side to side motion, you use your seat just a bit differently then a regular horse, even your leg position is a might different.

You have a couple options, one is to get an instructor, and it doesn't have to be one that specializes in walkers, especially if you are a trail rider, but it needs to be one that has real experience with walking horses. Have them check your bit. Make sure you are using one that works for that horse. I'm not saying rush out and buy a stronger bit, just make sure you have one that works for that horse. If it's used to a port with a long shank, then a snaffle may not be such a good idea (not that, that IS your problem - just a consideration).

My first walker did get to where you could ride him with zero rein contact at a slow walk, but it took practice. My new walking horse is SO lazy. She mosies along and never wants to go first.

Things to consider are that this horse is just too much for you and you need to trade him for something slower, you need an experienced rider or trainer to work with it for you, or with lessons you can continue. Don't make a quick decision based on the rantings of folks that read your first post.

TWH's are wonderful horses, especially for first time owners. Asking for help is a wonderful thing and an online forum is great for ideas and advice, but it sounds like you do need a real person to evaluate where you are at.

I wish you the best of luck.
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    10-27-2010, 10:37 PM
Congratulations on the new horse!! That is sooooo exciting :) What is the horses name? I am sure you will be fine, as we all had to start somewhere. I don't know anything about working with TWH, but I do know that if you fall off, you get right back on. The horse is taking advantage of the situation, so some learning does need to happen. There are tons of books to read. There are also tons of knowledgable people out there. Look on youtube- my guess is there are videos. If the answer is not clear, ask again, read again, look again. You can do it :)
    10-27-2010, 10:47 PM
After reading your post on how you fall in love with him everytime you see him, I think you should follow your heart....
    10-27-2010, 10:52 PM
Super Moderator
I wanted to touch on the bit again real quick. The snaffle is a terrific bit and obviously would be the bit of choice for most any horse owner. However each bit works a different way. A snaffle bit can really sore a horses mouth if you are placing a constant preasure on him or if you are continuously tugging at it. You see, a bit is really only as harsh as the riders hands. If you have soft hands then a port bit isn't going to cause the horse discomfort. Most walking horses that I know have been trained with a port bit. Most of the trail ones I know actually go in a port with two hands. (That will get some folks screaming).

A port bit and a snaffle work from different preasure points. If your horse is trained to a port, then he's going to have to be "retrained" to a snaffle, you can't just slap a snaffle in his mouth and go with it. It's probably a big part of your problem. I'm not saying it's your entire problem but it's some of it.

I would suggest trying a different instructor. I'm not saying dump this one if you are learning from them and happy with them, but I think keeping an open mind is a good idea right now. You need somone with walking horse experience. I can promise you, heavy hands won't fix anything.

With the horse having sat for 9 months, it's going to be a bit rusty. New rider and rusty horse will end in bumps and bruises. It's just the way it is. I still don't think it's "give up on the horse" time or "you have no business" time... just... open minded time....
    10-27-2010, 11:05 PM
As an ex-beginner who got hurt a few times at the beginning trying to figure stuff out on my own, run don't walk to a good instructor. You may have to try a couple to find one that fits you. If you can't understand (repeatedly) what they're telling you or if they aren't patient. Move on. Someone used to gaited horses would be great, but the most important thing is that they are good with you.
    10-27-2010, 11:11 PM
Green Broke
I disagree that a beginner has no business owner a TWH. I know a lot of beginners who had great luck with a TWH, especially when teamed up with a good trainer. True the breed is known for it's issues, but ALL breeds have one issue or another.

Now, in regards to the bit, I'm sorry but you may need to go back to what the horse is used to. I myself am not a fan of curbs or other shanked bits, however...if a horse has been trained with one and always gone with one, that is what they know, and if it were my horse I would probably go with that. The curb uses many different pressure points, therefore pressure on those points tell it stop, turn, etc. You take away those cues, you leave your horse completely clueless as to what you want. Imagine having a perfectly mindful child (okay, a mostly mindful child...the one in your dreams), you just have to tell them what you want of them and for the most part do it, with only occasional balks of attitude. Then imagine what would happen if you suddenly stopped speaking with your voice and instead went to sign language...that child wouldn't know what the heck you were saying, may even try to guess what you want....or even go with what they new was the correct thing in the past, and would most likely end up doing what they aren't supposed to because they won't know when you are telling them "no." It's pretty much the same concept. Change the mode of communication and confusion is what you get. Your horse isn't getting communication in the way it knows, so it trys to do what it remembers was correct in it's past.

If you truly do NOT like the shanked bit THAT much, have a pro retrain your horse to the snaffle and then teach you the correct way to use it. It sounds to me like your horse is merely acting the way it is due to a block in communication....
    10-27-2010, 11:21 PM
It sounds like the horse, himself, needs a refresher course in manners...a horse SHOULD NOT walk off on his own, just because your butt hits the saddle, and once moving he needs to stay in the gait of YOUR choice, not go faster on his own. Gaited or not, the horse's behavior needs to be 'reined in'... As a trainer, it always gets to me, seeing horses just waltz off just because their riders are 'up'...big pet peeve in training for needs to stand stock still until I give him a cue to go foward, sideways, left, right, whatever...

My recommendation is to find a trainer who will work simultaneously with the horse (to get his manners back in check), and you...maybe see if trainer has a lesson horse you could ride for a while, then start riding yours once you gain your balance and seat, and confidence back.

ETA, I just noticed that the horse may have been ridden in a different bit and you tried switching him over to a snaffle. Chances are the horse doesn't understand the new cues, and if you are new to horses, you probably do not have the skill needed to retrain him TO understand the new gear. I would go back to what he is used to, and if you are set on getting him in a milder bit, have a trainer work with him, so you aren't constantly blasting what confidence you have left, into the ground because you and the horse don't understand each other.
    10-28-2010, 02:02 AM
Originally Posted by farmpony84    
Most walking horses that I know have been trained with a port bit. Most of the trail ones I know actually go in a port with two hands. (That will get some folks screaming).

A port bit and a snaffle work from different preasure points. If your horse is trained to a port, then he's going to have to be "retrained" to a snaffle, you can't just slap a snaffle in his mouth and go with it. It's probably a big part of your problem. I'm not saying it's your entire problem but it's some of it.
I agree with the above quotes. Two-handed with a low-port curb and short shanks is exactly how my gaited-horse neighbors trail ride their Foxtrotters and TWHs and how they taught me to ride my Fox Trotter.

And believe me, I have a whole collection of bits and tried all sorts of stuff on her, from curbs to snaffles to tom thumbs to hackamores. What she does best in is a mild, mild, short shanked curb bit. Ridden either two handed (which she does really well in) or neck reined. She HATES any bit with moving parts, so I can only assume she was trained in a curb and ridden that way most of her life.

I am currently riding her in a low-port kimberwick, two handed. It's the mildest curb I could find (as she has a soft mouth) but still gives her the solid mouthpiece she likes. It's almost like they need the solid feel of the bit to ride into, rather than a snaffle or something with moving parts that they can't put any pressure on. I ride her with very light hands, but with a little contact. Bits with moving parts seem to make my Fox Trotter nervous.
    10-29-2010, 12:08 AM
I am in Caldwell, Tx. About 3 hours from you I could help you with your horse if you'd like to come over and I can put on a couple of different walkers so you can get a feel for them they can be scary if they are really forward as the horse you describe is
I have a couple like that I could spend an afternoon with you and lets see if we can figure this out.
    10-29-2010, 12:40 AM
I feel that your horse just might have not been trained well originally and probably ridden by novices, who mounted and away they went. It sounds like it's all he knows. Many years ago, I purchased a Quarter Horse like that. Had been ridden by a teenager until he tired of him. One foot in the stirrup and off he went. He was scary. Took me all one summer to make him stand still for mounting and 'walk' away when asked.

I think the poster above, has offered you a wonderful solution. Do link up with her and let her put you on different walkers. She can probably help retrain your horse too, which it sounds as though he needs.

I have had Saddlebreds and MFTs and I will admit, when they go flat out, it can be scary until you are used to it.


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