Cues on a green horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 08-09-2010, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
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Cues on a green horse

Well im currently searching for a western saddle but in the meantime I finally borrowed a saddle that fitted my boy and i tightened the girth to riding tightness(ie I could get on without it slipping) and he was fine so I leant over and he was fine so I took the plunge and got on.
He was perfect

Only problem is Im usually on my own so im struggling to get him to learn the cues and I want to be really light on his mouth so struggling with turning as well.
He walks on,backs etc on voice command on the ground but doesnt work on board.
My boyfriend/friends sometimes lead me which is good because then he can link walking on with a squeeze from my feet but it cant always happen.

So can anyone help me? I know people are going to say lunge but although he will walk in a circle he quickly gets bored and wont trot no matter what.

So any tips to help him learn his cues so I can get on with working him...

Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 39 Old 08-09-2010, 02:04 PM
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I am of the opinion that if you haven't trained him to lunge yet, you shouldn't be on him yet. Riding is the step that comes when EVERYTHING else is done, and just sitting back and accepting the fact that he won't lunge is an extremely bad training strategy. This tells me your horse has no respect for you and you are content to be disrespected. His ground manners should be flawless, and he should be performing every gait flawlessly on the lunge or in a round pen by voice command before you get on.

I understand that some people don't lunge or round pen, but the fact that you've tried and just given up so easily tells me you probably shouldn't be training this horse period. Get some help.

I train my horses by voice command in a round pen, and when Jynx was confused, all I did was have Shay-la stand in the centre for the first ride and it all clicked for her. Round pen training is invaluable if you're not just bucking them out.

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post #3 of 39 Old 08-09-2010, 02:12 PM
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I agree if your horse WONT trot on the lunge, and bores of walking quickly there is still work to do there.
I think it would help to teach a physical cue as well as voice for turning, etc., which you can do by using your hand against the horse's side to move it away from you, while saying "over" or some such thing.
Also, familiarizing the horse with giving to bit bit pressure while on the ground, turning the head side to side, helps them understand your cues while mounted.
Good luck.
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post #4 of 39 Old 08-10-2010, 06:36 AM Thread Starter
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MM- There is also the fact that I dont agree with lunging... Single line lunging is considered widely, bad for the horse. It easy to say 'oh do it in a round pen' well I would if I could but I dont have one. Not everyone has the money to spend thousands on a round pen and my yard has only the basic facilities so all his training is done in a paddock. I didnt give up as I am still teaching him to lunge but I have also had a saddle on and girthed up and me sat on him as I want him to get used to it.. Once he understands lungeing, the next step would be lungeing in tack.
I am quite offended by you saying dont train him. I havent given up but he was struggling with it and as im often on my own its hard to teach him something like that.. I will have a trainer in a week or so when he can get to me(lives not that close) but I am still going to be doing the training, he is going to help me and give me homework etc but I am doing the actual work mostly. I am only getting a trainer as with this horse I am going western so as I have no idea on western riding, we both need some help.
As for actually breaking in the horse... I have broken in many successfully on my own I was just asking for a little help!

He does respect me and he will turn on haunces, back, walk on, sidestep(learning) on the ground but he wont transfer it over.
I was simply asking what everyone else thinks I should do...
If you feel I should lunge then thats fine but maybe state how I could get him to lunge better, not tell me I shouldnt train him.
Its not that he has no respect, its that im mostly on my own so teaching him to go in circles(need someone leading) is slightly difficult plus he was not affected by me using the lunge whip(not on him, but behind him) which is why I couldnt get him faster than a walk..

If you could make some suggestions to how I could get him lunging then please do but as I said im not a fan of it... I only tried it because people on here feel that it is good.

Surely is it not fine to have someone leading him with me on so when they walk on, i squeeze and he associates it. That is what I have always done but my horse is having trouble making the association.

Also, what do you all who ride western teach your young horses as he's is going to be broken western.

Thanks payette :) I have been doing that but whilst he's fine with me on the ground it seems like he gets confused transferring me asking him to turn whilst on board. I will continue with groundwork and il try lunging again if anyone can give me some tips!
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post #5 of 39 Old 08-10-2010, 09:58 AM
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I understand your difficulty as I dealt with the same issue with one of my newbies this summer. And, truth of the matter, even though he lunges quite well, he didn't associate the voice commands I gave him from the ground as the same ones when I was on his back. As I had done a lot of ground work and I wasn't fearful of bucking, I would squeeze with my legs, say 'walk,' and, if there was no response, I would lightly encourage w/ the end of my rein. As soon as he took a step or two, I'd give him a lot of 'good boys' and pats so he'd know he did what I wanted. It didn't take long at all for him to figure it out. Good luck!
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post #6 of 39 Old 08-10-2010, 10:20 AM
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As someone who just went through the whole backing process on my own fairly recently, I can only present you with a story of contrasts. I own a 5 year old mare which I took 6-8 months doing ground work, lateral work, long lining and lunge work. I board with a bunch of rodeo wannabes that used to harrass me because I didn't just "jump on and go". A man at the barn I currently ride just purchased 2 beautiful paints the same age as my mare about 1 week ago, no groundwork, no lungeing. When I backed my mare for the first time, she was unsure of the weight change but balanced enough because of the groundwork to adjust her body. She was familiar with her body because I gave her a chance to get to know it. By the third ride, we were trotting and people wondered how she understood the rein aids enough to keep a light contact through turns. (lateral work and ground driving!) Whenever she got stuck I'd just reinforce with verbal cues. The man with the 2 paints just threw saddles on them and I got the opportunity to watch a true rodeo show, complete with an ambulance ride for him at the end. (no lie) Watching the horse he was on was insightful, because with each dig of his boot to its side you watched the horse try desperately to figure out what this guy wanted. Eventually the tension built and built, ending with rearing, bucking and crow-hopping. The horse just about pile drove the man into the ground. I'm not saying your are anything like this man, that is the extreme. However, if something is getting lost in translation, you may be wise to talk a step back and make sure your horse knows the cues well enough from the ground. To me, if your horse can't work through this boredom you speak of when lungeing, the same boredom will occur when you are on his back. I'd ask for tons of transitions on the lunge, meaning no more than three circles before changing gait or direction. This will reinforce verbal aids and teach him how to feel comfortable in his gaits. If you can't move your horses feet, than there is either a miscommunication in your ask or he doesn't respect you enough. If he doesn't respect you enough, then there is no point in riding him yet.
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post #7 of 39 Old 08-10-2010, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by SarahRicoh View Post
If you feel I should lunge then thats fine but maybe state how I could get him to lunge better.
plus he was not affected by me using the lunge whip(not on him, but behind him) which is why I couldnt get him faster than a walk..

If you could make some suggestions to how I could get him lunging then please do but as I said im not a fan of it... I only tried it because people on here feel that it is good.

I just want to give you a suggestion that will make lunging easier. I had a feeling this could be your problem when you said you could not make him trot, and it confirmed it when you said you use the whip behind him, not on him. For some horses, it is enough to have the whip behind him, but for other horses, if that is not enough, you actually have to follow through and tap them with the whip, or they will only learn to ignore the whip tapping the ground behind them. It usually only takes a few "spanks" with the whip, and then they immediately trot when you request it. If you watch Clinton Anderson's techniques, he says you're like a nagging mother who uses no consequences if you don't follow through with a spank after you whip the ground. He says to be as gentle as you can but as firm as necessary, and I have seen that this is really important. It used to be hard for me to do things this way because I am a "softie", but it does work and build respect from your horses. I think "lunging for respect" makes your horses more inclined to obey all of your requests.

To help out with the signals for riding, I would suggest ground driving first. A lot of people have had success with it.
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post #8 of 39 Old 08-10-2010, 11:27 AM
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I am not a big one on lunging. I do not lunge any of my horses past the point I really start riding. However Lunging in the beginning with a green horse has many many useful properties. One you need to teach your horse to move his feet. Contraier to popular beliefs horses do not know how to follow their nose or move their feet. These are things they need to be taught. I start all mine on the lunge line and put verbal cues to everything from walk to trot to lope. I get them moving their feet. Once they get the idea that moving their feet is a good thing and that is what you want them to do and what speed in relation to the verbal cue you are using does translate to under saddle work. Once I get them moving their feet on command I then go to lunging with 2 lines. I really do not consider this driving a horse b/c I am not behind them I am still in the middle and the second line does work but not in the way it would if you where actually driving the horse. This way the horse will be use to pressure on the bit giving to the bit and have a general understanding of what the bit means.

Once they get the general idea of this that is when I start riding. I do not spend a lot of time working a horse on the ground b/c I start with leg cues and neck reining from ride one. This is when I start teaching them to follow their nose. All I need is for the horse to have an idea of what the pressure on the bit means. Does not take them long to figure the rest out under saddle.

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post #9 of 39 Old 08-10-2010, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone :) Im going to try lunging again and try tapping him.. I think its not so much boredom and disrespect but he is very babyish in some ways as before i got him he was in a field with his mum and had lived in the same home since a baby.
So as I dont have a school I work in a paddock so he is only blocked from his friends by fencing so he does get distracted.

I will try again with lunging and then once I get my western saddle il try that on and see if the lunging makes a difference to me riding him then...

Hopefully it will :)
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post #10 of 39 Old 08-11-2010, 01:01 AM
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I suggest getting a good teaching book that can help you learn some of the techniques others have suggested. Clinton Anderson's Down Under HorseManship book is a good place to start, as it is really simple to understand. 101 Ground Exercises is also very helpful. These could atleast help you visualize how to lunge properly, as well as possibly point out what you might be doing wrong; he may just be confused, because of where you're placing your body, or how you are asking him to move, etc...

I totally agree with the others, in that ground work needs to be complete before really focusing on riding; he should know how to bend, flex, back, stop, move sideways, etc, before you attempt to really ride; you should be able to move his hip, and his shoulders individually off of a cue, he should know how to move foward from some kind of verbal cue, as well, in all three gaits. I use "walk on" for walk, a click for trotting, and a kiss for canter. If he has some kind of 'verbal' cue, he will translate that easily from the saddle.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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