Hey all! So at the camp where I am barn manager we are slowly starting to buy the horses that we rent every summer. These horses are all really nice and basically bomb proof because when they weren't owned by the camp they were used as commercial trail horses, but other than that they all seem to have some major holes in their training. These holes don't make them dangerous for the kids, just sometimes they don't understand what is being asked of them so they revert back to what they would have to do on their hourly trail rides... follow the horse in front of them and stop at the gate. Now that the camp is starting to buy them off of the lady who ran the trail riding business I have more access to help fill some of the holes in their training. This being said, I will probably end up posting here a lot because while there is major buddy sourness going on, every one of them has their own little "quirk" and I would really like some tips as where to start/where to go next. I have been riding horses since I was like three and working with them since I was fifteen and I am now 22, I helped start and re-start several horses both with help from a trainer and by myself, but always have had someone there to call if I needed help. I by no means know absolutely everything but I am knowledgeable and comfortable enough to do most of the "training" without being supervised. Also, I do have a trainer that can come out and help but she won't always be available so it would be nice to have some starting/ending points to work on without having to rely on her. Especially since she won't be able to come during the week when there are campers there, so it would be helpful to have some exercises to work on without her having to be there.
Note, all of these horses have been vet checked, their tack fits, they have their feet and teeth done regularly. I am not looking for top notch performance horses, but it would be nice to help make them a little smoother for the campers since most of them have never ridden before.
The first horse I really want to work with is an older arabian mare. She was a rescue horse before she came to camp, they literally found her along the side of the road with her foal o.O It is assumed that she was some sort of brood mare that had little to no riding experience. She has had some very basic training done. She goes when you squeeze your calves and cluck, turns left and right by pulling on the reins, and stops when you sit deep and pull back. She is a calm little girl and is actually my favorite horse out of the bunch! She does, however, have her flaws. Because she has had such minimal training she doesn't understand a lot. She doesn't understand how to yield to pressure. To her, any kind of leg means go faster! and any kind of rein pressure means turn of stop. She has also gotten into the habit of if she is ready to be done she will continue to walk around the arena until she gets to the gate. Even if the rider is sitting deep and is pulling back and saying "whoa". She will continue on with her head flung into the air and her little grey lips pointing skyward and she'll keep on truckin'! She won't go any faster than a walk while doing this and is as calm as can be, she just does not want to listen to that bit! She is also really hollow in her back when she trots. She does come down calmly to a walk but still evades the bit and always has that head up like a giraffe!
I started to work with her a little bit last summer on trying to get her to soften to the bit. I took her back to ground work and did lots of disengaging, backing, lunging, ect... we also worked under saddle in lots of circles, did lots of flexing, and lots of half halts! I was just wondering if you guys had any more suggestions on how to help her. She rides in a plain 'ol loose ring snaffle, although I was debating to picking up a french link for her and seeing how she likes that! Like I said, she is a really good horse and really smart! She just has holes in her training and it would be nice if someone could help me find them so I can fill them in!
Thanks in advance for any advice and brownies to you if you read through the whole thing!