Driving turned Riding Horse

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Driving turned Riding Horse

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    08-26-2009, 11:20 AM
Driving turned Riding Horse


I have recently started training a 14.3 Cob who has only ever pulled a trap. He has been broken into and is quite happy with someone riding him and voice commands are more useful at the moment but I have been asked to try and school him. He goes into a lovely trot and canter but his steering is a problem.

He doesn't really know what I'm asking him to do when I try to turn him with the bit and kicking him doesn't really do alot.
I wanted to know if anyone has any tips to introduce steering at a level pace for him to understand and get the hang of?

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I don't want to confuse the poor boy. He's a big baby really and he does try and I think with a bit of training he can be a lovely riding horse :)
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    08-26-2009, 11:30 AM
Green Broke
He used to be a driving horse? If he was, try to remember how they turn driving horses. They turn them trough a series of quick jerks to the left or right. They don't use steady pressure to turn. Try the quick jerking methods, but don't jerk too hard, you might hurt his mouth.
    08-26-2009, 11:31 AM
Green Broke
Oh, and when you try to turn him use your legs too. When you're turning left use you left leg bu pressing it against his body at the girth. This should help him turn.
    08-26-2009, 04:40 PM
Try turning him wide the first few times and gradually pull him round shorter most driving horses are used to turning with the slightest pressure on that particular rein
    08-27-2009, 05:42 PM
Thanks! I am going to train him tomorrow (weather permitting) so I will report back on how it went
    08-28-2009, 08:42 AM
Well today went good in some places and annoying in others! Thes steering in small jerks and wider turns seem to work..... sometimes, but it took a while to get him out into the paddock where I work him as he kept refuses to walk on. Towards the end of the session I got a lead rope and thought I would walk him around so that he gets used to me being there and he gets used to the area and it was going well before he saw his field buddy Brandy, running up to him which then followed with him bolting away.

I managed to get him back and took him to yard to calm him down and untack him before ending for the day.

I did start off with him in his driving bridle with his blinkers, he was much calmer but didnt like turning in it, should I go back to that to get him back to his usual ways which were quite good, but now with his open bridle I think it was too soon.

Thanks, Bobby x
    08-29-2009, 05:47 PM
Hi there!

The thing about driving horses vs riding is that when you drive a horse, you obviously never want him to turn tight, in the sense that you flex him (nose toward the shoulder, doesn't have to be to your stirrup) and move his hip over to turn.....the driving horse turns wide and generally stays straight on.

You don't want a riding horse to just be straight on and give you wide turns, you want to be able to ask the horse to break at the poll and bend his neck to bring his nose to his shoulder without his pulling against the bit.

It's going to take some time to retrain this horse to think of pressure differently, so don't expect him to be 100% for a few months at least.

What I'd recommend is the following:

Steer the tail, not the nose. Using a basic snooth bar snaffle (no shanks)

1. Ask him to go forward
2. Pick up the left rein and ask him to bring his nose toward his shoulder (as you drive with both your legs...drive him into the bit)
3. Ask his left hip to move over to the right...put more of your left leg on him to tell the hip to move to the right.....you're bending him around your left leg....for a left turn...
4. Release only when he's not fighting the bit (be sure to use enough leg to drive him forward into the bit....don't ever kick, only squeeze your calves and if needed roll your heels into his sides) and release when he's bending and has disengaged his left hip (left hind foot crosses in front of the right hind foot)
5. Repeat the above with the right rein only.

I'd ride him one rein at a time....direct reining,.....by way of steering the tail for a while, til he's softer to bit pressure

When you can pick up the left rein and he turns left by way of bending his nose to the left and moving his left hip to the right....and vise versa with the right rein, you can then ride him with two hands, and simply close your left fingers on the rein (as you drive him into the bit with your legs) while you open your right fingers and he should give you a nice turn.

I'd go back and forth between using the direct rein this way and two handed steering.

Be sure never to pull, but to take out the slack and drive him more with your legs.

Also, for the leg cue....to turn left, your left leg does tell the left hip to move over to the right, and your right leg tells his right hip to move to the left.
    08-29-2009, 05:55 PM
^^ Good post CJ. It will take some time for him to figure out the whole turning short thing. Just keep at it an put about 1,000 more miles on him doing circles and serpentines remembering to keep your hands as soft as possible.

Tempest, I have never heard of turning a driving horse with a series of jerks on one rein . We always used combo voice commands and constant pressure to one side or the other.
    10-09-2009, 06:47 PM
Thankyou all for your help :) since my last post I haven't had the time to go back and see him but luckily I had some good weather and a few hours last thursday and paid him a visit. He's a bit chubbier but was very happy to see me which was nice, tacked him up and attempted to ride him out into the field. He walked quite nicely and when It came to turn him I thought I would try the small jerk movements and something may have clicked as he got it straight away and looked really good!

I didn't know if It was a one off so I kept walking him on both reins and he did as he was told. He is still used to voice commands such as ' walk on', 'trot on' and clicking with my tongue, so as I click and give him a little kick, as he gets scared if I do it too much. We ended up walking for 45 minutes but he was a diamond.

I don't want to introduce trot just yet, maybe next time as I didn't want to ruin how well he was doing in the walk! :)

Will keep everyone posted on how the next session goes, but I think I can make a riding horse out of him yet!
    10-13-2009, 10:14 AM
Originally Posted by tempest    
He used to be a driving horse? If he was, try to remember how they turn driving horses. They turn them trough a series of quick jerks to the left or right. They don't use steady pressure to turn. Try the quick jerking methods, but don't jerk too hard, you might hurt his mouth.
OUCH, I feel sorry for the driving horses you know! All the driving horses I know are taught just like a riding horse, but the whip replaces the leg. I do combined driving, and that involves driven dressage, so it makes sense to drive them as if you're riding, but even with non-CDE driving horses, they aren't normally turned by jerks! Many (definately NOT all) are turned via voice commands (gee and haw).

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