Advice on young horse training - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 4 Old 06-02-2013, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Advice on young horse training

So I once again must ask for a bit of advice re: young horse training.

I have a little arab mare, 4yo, that I got a few months back. She was halter broke and had been handled lots when she was a baby, so she was comfortable with people but hadn't been trained at all. Well, I let her get used to me for about a week, at her new home, just meeting her herd buddies and getting to know me. Then I started her training.

She was lunging really well in one day, then we learned to saddle, go through obstacle courses, and I was riding her in no time flat. She never offered to buck, rear or kick out. She stands perfectly still while mounting. She is very forward moving, she loves to go places and isn't in the tiniest bit lazy. On our third ride we cantered in circles and she immediately picked up the right lead and stayed on it. The first 10 minutes she learns something she can be a bit confused which is normal, but then she learns what you want and remembers it. We have been out on the trails and she's been great.

Now I'm at a bit of a crossroads. I have worked with lots of horses before, but never one that learns this quickly. We are currently working on rhythm and straightness (we do English), but I am a bit weary of moving on from there for now because she is so very green, I have only even had her for a few months. So I am kind of wondering how long we should stay at it until we move on to things like bending properly etc. The thing is, she is smart and I don't want to bore her. But she hasn't been working for long and even though we do lots of conditioning exercises, I don't want to over-face her for something she isn't ready for, and not physically conditioned for.

Any ideas/comments would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-02-2013, 01:48 PM
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If she's 4, she's physically able to do anything you want her to do. Also at 4 they usually don't have a lot of that baby-type behavior. Just go slow and steady and take the pace you and her are comfortable with. If she's had enough, she will tell you.
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-02-2013, 03:48 PM
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I would think adding in small amounts of lateral work, then returning to forward/rythm , then a bit of lateral, and so on would be the next step.

Isn't it great to have a quick learner? Maybe , this is the first horse you've ridden that has not been already trained by someone else? I mean, if you are "retraining" a horse with maybe not the best training, it's bound to take longer and be harder than the first training, where you are working with a clean slate.
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post #4 of 4 Old 06-02-2013, 08:49 PM
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Does she follow her nose well? If so, then it is time to introduce your leg aids.

I prefer starting with inside rein and inside leg -- what I call using the lateral aids -- using both rein and leg on the same side. Work on bending around your inside leg and doing leg yielding exercises by pushing her deeply into corners and expanding a circle using inside leg -- called 'spiraling out in a circle'.

When a horse has learned the idea of moving off of an inside leg while using inside rein, I start using the diagonal aids. That would be the inside rein used with the outside leg. This teaches the horse to move its hind quarters into the inside for lead departures and later for the 'half pass' and 'flying lead changes'. The diagonal aids are much more difficult to master for both rider and horse.

When a rider can control both the shoulders and the hind quarters independently, you control straightness.

When a rider starts introducing the lateral and diagonal aids, it is also time to teach different speeds at each gait. Teach a slow sitting trot, moving into a faster rising trot and finally an extended trot. Teach the horse to come down to slower gaits willingly and extend with good control.

You can also introduce Cavaletti and obstacles.
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