Consistancy is the key . . . that I don't have

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Consistancy is the key . . . that I don't have

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    06-17-2009, 09:21 PM
Unhappy Consistancy is the key . . . that I don't have

Could someone PLEASE help me out? Please read the whole post to minimize misunderstandings.

Ok, so, I have a 6 year old TN Walker that I got almost a year ago. For the first couple of months, all I wanted to do is ride, and I didn't want to train him. My friend's horse (Onyx) got badly injured, so Kayla worked on groundwork. I decided to train Spirit along with her and I found that I LOVED training him.

Then I got SO excited about ALL the things I could teach him! I could not wait to teach him all this great stuff so I started like a million things at once.

I trained him to:
- do a flying lead change
- fix his gaits
- rear (DO NOT, say anything I will ignore it, I already got pounded)
- stay
- come
- disengage his hindquarters (almost exactally like Parelli (I play w/ Parelli, not fully committed to it yet) . . .)
- disengage his front end
- sidepass
- lunge
- desensitized to the whip (completely)

Here's the problem, he does all of these things, but I've begun teaching him and I never finished. I got SO excited that I kept adding more and more and more to the list without ever perfecting anything (except stay/come)

My dream is to ride birdleless (Stacey Westfall style) and I planned on training him that in August (of course now I realize I must fix this first)

I have a BIG problem with consistency (which is a pretty bad problem when training) and I need major help!

What should I do with all the things? Which ones should I drop and come back to at a MUCH later date or should I do that at all? The lungeing is a freaking MESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

So in conclusion, how should I fix this problem of too many unfinished things? How can I become more consistant? When in the future (don't care how long) should I push the bridleless too?

Example of my inconsistency: I've picked up and dropped rearing and flying lead changes twice. I vary up the ground work so much because I want to work on everything at once. There are some I do everytime (come/stay/disengage hindquarters)

This is a really big problem and I know I screwed up big time and I just want to fix it.

NOTE: Please do not criticize me for being inconsistant and training him too much. I realize what a huge mistake I made and it won't happen again.
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    06-18-2009, 01:14 AM
For one, I would say slow down, get calm and breathe. You'll actually get further faster if you go slower, I'm not saying that you are training too much, but just let him decide how fast you go.

The first step to building consistancy is to always reward his slightest try, then he learns and will do what you want and you don't have to ask so much. And just because you don't do the same thing everyday doesn't make you inconsistant. If you did the exact same thing everyday it would actually make you boring. It is good to keep it varied. The one thing is that you still need to try to work on as much as you can.

You need to get a strong foundation before you worry a lot about flying lead changes and going bridleless. You should do a lot of body control exercizes now and work on transitions, direction changes, and suppling. That way you will eventually master these and doing more complicated things later will be a lot easier for you.

Right now work on more of the basics until he completely understands them. He should flex laterally and feel like nothing and you should get him to go faster and slow down almost unnoticably to anyone watching. And you should be able to get him to stop without touching your reins before you even think about bridleless. I would just keep working on things that you notice need worked on. For example, let's say he starts breaking gait and going faster than you want, then you need to work on your "cruise control" and make sure he knows not to break gait. Or let's say he is getting dull in the mouth to the bit, then you need to do more suppling exercises.

After he is responding well to you when you ask and he is really intune with you, that's when I would start trying to get bridleless, but if you push it too soon he won't be ready and it could end in a bad experience for both of you.

Best wishes and God Bless
    06-18-2009, 07:07 AM
Thank you very much! There are a couple things I know that we have to work on, so I'll do that before I even think about anything as complicated as going bridleless. :)
    06-18-2009, 05:24 PM
Glad I could help! Keep us posted and if you ever have anymore questions feel free to ask
    06-18-2009, 10:35 PM
I wouldn't be too worried about him forgetting something. Horses have very good long-term memories. If I were you, I would pick something like flying lead changes, practice that, then once in a while (like at the end of your little lesson) ask for him to stay, rear, come etc. This way you're perfecting one thing, but making him remember others.
    06-18-2009, 10:36 PM
I don't think you're necessarily too far gone...if he's already got the foundation's to the things you've already taught him, it won't be difficult to go back and refocus on them individually, at the same time as you continue refining other things (if that makes sense).

I am constantly overlapping, I think it's safe to say 'most' horse trainers will over overlap some in their training regimine; now, how they go about it will be different; for example, when I teach something, I will go back to that the next time, I work the horse, and then add something I reinforce, while overlapping with a new concept...understand? So what you've done isn't totally 'dumb' or "pointless" you just need to develop a strategy toward picking up where you left off.

Something like this...

You said you always usually work on your come's\stays\disengagings, use those as your 'reinforcement' cues...things that will be easy for him to do, at any point in your work session; you can begin, or end, or even pick them up in the middle of a session. Then choose a few other things, or just one 'complicated' thing, say lead changes, or your rearing trick, or sidepassing, the 'meat' of your session; this will be the 'teaching' part of the session.
    06-19-2009, 05:02 PM
Thanks so much everyone! :)

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