How far do you "push" a young horse? - Page 2

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How far do you "push" a young horse?

This is a discussion on How far do you "push" a young horse? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        04-20-2014, 09:14 AM
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    Trainers that 'push' horses are usually competitive 'event' trainers. They typically put a lot more 'pressure' on every horse they train because they have a goal and a specific job that their horses need to do well. This does not mean they are abusive or 'rough'. It means they have to expect more from every horse they ride. Many are riding toward age related goals -- like all of the trainers that have owners nominating these horses for futurities and derbies.

    This system of age related events causes many trainers to put more pressure on some horses than their bodies and/or minds are ready to handle. Getting a horse to these events costs a lot of money in both nomination fees and training fees and since many of the prospects are bought at 6 figure prices, it is usually the horse owners that keep putting pressure on the trainers to get more done faster.

    This is one of the main reasons that I got out of show training. A trainer has to be able to 'read' horses very well to know haw hard they can push that horse. They also need to be soundness 'experts' because it is often the body that 'breaks'. But, they also need to be able to 'handle' owners. Their ability to make a living depends as much on handling owners as it does handing the horses.

    Most recreational riders never get close to putting enough pressure on a horse to 'blow it up'. As a matter of fact, they seldom put enough pressure on their horses to get them doing very much a even a moderate level, much less a competitive level.

    The 'key' to training horses is to make every ride count. You should strive to have a horse doing something better at the end of every ride than it could do at the end of the last ride. Knowing when to 'quit while your ahead' is one of the greatest tools any trainer can use. Never ask a horse to do anything that it is not ready and able to do. Then, once you ask, make sure that the horse complies fully.
    loosie, smrobs, BlueSpark and 1 others like this.
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        04-21-2014, 06:32 PM
    Knowing when to 'quit while your ahead' is one of the greatest tools any trainer can use. Never ask a horse to do anything that it is not ready and able to do. Then, once you ask, make sure that the horse complies fully.
    This is absolutely key, but unfortunately much easier said than done. Most recreational riders have little if any feel for when to quit, don't know what the horse can and cannot do, and lack the commitment to make sure they follow through. I don't know how many times I've seen people bucked/reared/thrown off a green horse, sitting there in the dirt looking utterly hurt and bewildered, asking "what happened?" when they pushed to far, asking a horse to do something it wasn't prepared to do, or didn't "quit when they were ahead". Or how bout when someone doesn't follow through, and suddenly they don't understand why 'princess' is trying to rear, buck, kick, refuse to do things.

    those all important qualities Cherie mentioned are learned through experience and time working with horses, which is why, when someone complains of a problem, the best solution is to refer them to someone who possesses those qualities, and can help the person learn them, through hands on instruction, IE, a trainer.

    I think the concept of pushing something outside its comfort zone to encourage growth and confidence transcends species. You are not really learning much living inside a comfortable bubble. Stepping out of the bubble, where there is much to learn, but its a bit uncomfortable, is pretty essential to development. Pushing a creature so far outside its comfort zone that it panicking and very afraid teaches very little if anything, and is rarely warranted, and that only in extreme circumstances.

    you wouldn't stick a complete beginner on a set of skiis at the top of a double black diamond run and expect them to get safely to the bottom, and they certainly would not enjoy the experience, or want to repeat it. I think many horses that are scared by "flooding" get the same way; leery of people, fearful of whats coming, and eventually broken and resigned if its done enough.
    Mochachino and Hackamore like this.

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