Beginning Trainer Looking for Help!
 
 

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Beginning Trainer Looking for Help!

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  • Trainers looking for help horse
  • How to fine tune a spur trained horse

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    10-04-2011, 02:38 AM
  #1
Foal
Exclamation Beginning Trainer Looking for Help!

Hello - I've been riding most of my life and have shown regionally he last three years in Western Pleasure, and have taken lessons in western pleasure/riding and reining the last four. Recently I've been getting into training, or starting to learn, and my boss/friend has given me two "project horses" to start with. They are two aged mares 8+ years old, well broke and good minded. They are not well versed in neck reining, leg cues, head set and slowing down. One is progressing nicely - the other I just started with and have come across and issue.

The one mare is a lovely little girl, however I was informed she had been in training in the past with an excellent trainer (I know him personally, very good trainer). She didn't respond especially well to his more "aggressive" and assertive training, in fact after a week she refused to let him catch her. I rode her for the first time today, just to see her pace, how well she gave her face, her buttons and her starting ability. When I asked for the lope, I pressed with a spur and she just about jumped through the arena wall. (I don't jab, roll or repeatedly poke, just pressure and release). She started twisting, throwing her head, speeding up and just generally displaying a lot of displeasure. I removed my spurs after calming her down and we finished working at a walk and trot.

I am wondering how I can teach this mare that spurs are not something to wig out at. I plan on keeping them off for a bit so she doesn't associate past training with me so I can access her without her shutting down. But in the future I'd love to use them to fine tune cues. Also she lopes VERY fast. Slowing her down is hard. This could all be from my mistake with the spur and she got nervous, but if there's a way to help her get over that fear/help her slow down - I'd love to hear about it!!
     
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    10-04-2011, 02:48 AM
  #2
Showing
If you have never trained a horse before, then I strongly suggest that you find an older, more experienced trainer to work with you and teach you. Training horses isn't really something that you can just figure out for yourself or from asking questions on an internet forum. You really need someone who is there, someone who can be hands on and tell you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong the instant you do it. You'll learn faster and the horses will be better for it.
iridehorses and .Delete. like this.
     
    10-04-2011, 03:05 AM
  #3
Foal
I have a few more experienced trainers around that I can talk to and help me, however, being in university, our times do not always work to be at the ranch at the same time. The trainer that worked with this mare is at the ranch, and I am definitely going to talk to him.
     
    10-04-2011, 03:20 AM
  #4
Green Broke
I would ride her for awhile with no spurs and when she's more comfortable try some bumper spurs. If she responds well to them then you can gradually build up to the type you wear.
You know it sounds like she may be really sensitive to them and may not even need spurs.
     
    10-04-2011, 09:22 AM
  #5
Green Broke
Here's a tip for training horses: Use as little pressure as possible but as much as necessary.

With that said, when you used the spur, was that your first cue for her to lope? Or did you first ask with your calves and she didn't respond? Using your spurs first can and will cause her to become dead on her sides. Maybe that's how you learned to ride, but that's not the correct way to use spurs.

IMO You want to first ask, squeeze your legs on her sides. If no response you want to suggest, squeeze and kiss/cluck. Finally, if she still doesn't respond, go from squeezing to bringing the spurs to her sides and roll them if needed.

She probably is soft enough on her sides that the spurs were too much pressure to start with. That would be like your parents taking a belt after you to ask you to go wash your hands instead of just asking.
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    10-04-2011, 09:40 AM
  #6
Weanling
I have a unique horse that went threw 5 trainers before we found the right person for him.
This is going to sound odd but if you think of it it makes sense. When she gets upset stop and make her put her head down as fare as it will go. All the way to the grown if you can. The reasoning behind saying that is in the wild if a horses head is down grazing they are not scared they are calm.
I know this sounds nuts but it works when their head goes down it like triggers that natural response that everything is ok.
The last trainer that had my boy explained this to me I thought that she was nuts and why would I want my horse to put his head down that fair till one day.
My boy got upset and I tried it it was amazing it was like putting a pacifier in a baby's mouth.
ReiningGirl likes this.
     
    10-04-2011, 11:18 AM
  #7
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by usandpets    
Here's a tip for training horses: Use as little pressure as possible but as much as necessary.

With that said, when you used the spur, was that your first cue for her to lope? Or did you first ask with your calves and she didn't respond? Using your spurs first can and will cause her to become dead on her sides. Maybe that's how you learned to ride, but that's not the correct way to use spurs.

IMO You want to first ask, squeeze your legs on her sides. If no response you want to suggest, squeeze and kiss/cluck. Finally, if she still doesn't respond, go from squeezing to bringing the spurs to her sides and roll them if needed.

She probably is soft enough on her sides that the spurs were too much pressure to start with. That would be like your parents taking a belt after you to ask you to go wash your hands instead of just asking.
Posted via Mobile Device
I should amend my above statement about how I cued her. I have only been allowed to use spurs as a reinforcement aid in the last year and a half by my instructor/boss and I always use leg pressure cues to steer or direct the horses I ride lol. This horse in particular is so small, I'm talking 14hands at most and I'm 5'9", that when I went to pit leg pressure on her I must've got her with my spur as I was reaching for her side. Lol I'm not used to riding such a little horse but thank you for the advice! I appreciate any and all help!!
     
    10-04-2011, 05:17 PM
  #8
Foal
I've had lots of horses come in like this; this mare more than likely had some emotional trauma connected to the spurs.
She may have been a very sensitive mare that was actually "ruined" to speak do to the old trainers methods. A good horseman knows to alter their program to each and every horse.

My most recent was a mare who had such emotional trauma from one trainer, that every time she stepped foot into the arena she had diahrrea instantly, had a nervous, shaking, sweating panic attack and couldn't breathe, and before I got there would become a witch and strike at anyone or anything. If you let her go, she would roundpen herself at a gallop, ears pinned, teeth gritting. -- She had been LONG under a program that was too intense for her in the wrong ways. After a month, in a new program, she turned completely around. The next month, she was a whole different horse and was taken to shows. I might add that the stallion from the same barn who was trained by the same man was a lazy fart and needed the push. And another horse from the same barn was just worried about every little thing you did to him, I had to undo his training and reassure him, and start him from the ground up, like the mare but with more sacking out. You have to alter the program and your methods to each horse--they're all different and respond to things differently, like people.


Keep the spurs off of her. You will have to undo everything, and reteach her, giving her confidence and to help her realize that work isn't something to hate--which she probably does.
I'm not much of a spur person at all, I do not believe in spur training my pleasure horses. Some horses I've trained do need them though, but they are "push" horses--those who do well and listen when pushed.
She may be sensitive enough that a little leg should be fine. If you feel it is neccesary to finish her with spurs, after she's comfortable with a walk/jog/lope and all of her lateral work for a few weeks, put on BLUNT english spurs faced downward. Make sure you give her a warning before you use spurs, if its just a little tap or tightening of your calf muscle. Then gradually work her into western spurs.
Val1991 and ReiningGirl like this.
     
    10-04-2011, 05:31 PM
  #9
Foal
Also, when in the lope:

If she's going to fast, check her down with a half halt. Roll your knees in, sit deep. Use slow, even flexes of your elbows to check her down with give and release. If she blows through the bit, then unarm her--get her mind off of whatever she's thinking. Do patterns, get her thinking. Slide your hand down one rein, and slowly turn her into the arena. Half circles first. Make slow S turns. If you think slow, and slow your body, she will feel it.
Then take her back on the rail. If she speeds up, continue this process. It may take her a few days until she gives in, but she will be way more willing to listen than taking short cuts.
If she gets rude however, and blows through the bit and gets more defensive when you suggest the slow easy turns, then turn her around real quick, get after her with a "AH!" or "NO!" and send her back off to give it another go. She's not allowed to be a witch. It's think slow and easy, or she's going to get in trouble.

Hope this helps, good luck on your project mares (:
ReiningGirl likes this.
     
    10-04-2011, 07:30 PM
  #10
Foal
Thank you so much for this advice. I only use spurs on push horses and honestly touched her with them on accident, however it uncovered her issue with trauma associated with that tool so now I know to stay away from them until she is ready. She displays a hair of nerves when its not "mom" (her owner) riding her or kids. But she is highly responsive to rein pressure, giving her head and turning. So I think all of this advice is excellent I'll be getting back on her tomorrow and I'll be keeping the spurs OFF, use these techniques to slow her down and build her confidence back up. Im a tough person but seeing her nerves after my mistake with the spurs made me sad/angry that someone would have scarred a horse so. The trainer that worked with her before is excellent at adapting his methods for push horses or super sensitive ones, but she must have had a rough go of it!!

Thanks for the advice! I'm looking forward to increasing my skill, getting on her and helping her over her fear/fine tuning her and using this.advice! Thanks again!!
TheChelseyDee likes this.
     

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