How long do you work a horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-22-2012, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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How long do you work a horse?

Hi,
I am usually all about short sessions, but I am wondering if people find a great benefit to longer sessions. I ask because today I got on a horse that's big goals for last summer were to stop rearing when I got on, establishing a stop and to not duck and weave in the corner of the yard where the path to the riding arena is. Today, after a few months not being under-saddle I got on and he was good. He walked a little when I got on but that's an easy enough fix. He showed interest in going down the path to the riding area. I had him stop (a challenge for him) and got off him. Then he went and got dinner. I am just feeling like I could have pushed farther and I am wondering if maybe I should amend my short session strategy. If the horse does what I want in the first ten minutes of a ride then the ride is ten minutes if it takes sixty minutes then we ride for sixty minutes. Either way the reward (me getting off and leaving him alone) comes only after he does what I want. What do other people do? What do you think the benefits are? What are the cons? How do you know when enough is a enough?
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-22-2012, 08:14 PM
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I generally ride for around 45-60mins on weekends. During the week I ride before work at 6am, so am short on time and only ride for 30mins generally, or lunge.

If the horse is having a particularly good day, I'll still ride for a reasonable length of time - because I ride official dressage competition, my horses need to be fit and strong enough to cope with that - if I got off after 10 mins every time they were good, they would be very unfit! My rides are always a mix of something the horse finds a little hard, and things the horse finds easy and enjoys doing, so that they get a reward for their good work and don't feel resentful towards the harder work.

On a bad ride, I'll try and break the 'problem' down into very small chunks and see if the horse can master a small chunk at a time. I'm not scared of getting into a bit of an argument, but I won't take on a fight that I can't win, so always chose my tactics carefully if I run into a sticky movement.
Even if I can get the horse having a go at that movement, then I'll go straight back to something easy that the horse enjoys, for a break, and then go back and ask for the hard movement again.

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post #3 of 16 Old 05-22-2012, 08:27 PM
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I usually work my horse about 5-6 days a week for anywhere from and 1-3 hours. Usually I start with a 30 minute trail ride (or just around the farm) then I do an actual warm-up in my riding area (it's not an arena or anything fancy lol) and get to work on whatever we're working on. Afterwards, I usually cool down just by walking around the farm.

Every once in a while, instead of riding I like to make a day of groundwork and desensitizing.
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post #4 of 16 Old 05-22-2012, 08:27 PM
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^ Agreed with the above posters

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #5 of 16 Old 05-22-2012, 08:52 PM
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I agree also with the both posters.

I personally only have time to ride one horse each afternoon during the week and on weekends depend on whether anyone else is home. So my 2 horses get ridden about 3-4 times a week. Depending on how much time I have a can ride from 1/2 an hour to an hour or more.

I always end on a good note which can sometimes mean ending my ride when its getting dark then feeding them in the dark.

My two horse Apache and Sammy are my world
along with our dogs Patch and Bear.
But I will always love you Jimmy R.I.P
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-22-2012, 09:07 PM
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I agree with the OP since they are working with a problem horse. I think those real short sessions can really get the point across if the horse behaved as desired. When the horse no longer has those issues and becomes more solid then adding time and additional training is great.

I have also found giving a horse a few days off in a row can actually progress faster in training rather than constant training...I guess it let's it soak in. Same with going outside and doing somrthing different that gives the training purpose. I have also had problem horses that have been hammered on I turned out for a couple of months and brought them back and they have a better attitude.

But for my good riding horses I will ride until I get a slight improvement. Sometimes it's 15 minutes and sometimes it's more. I am not much on drilling one into the ground, you just end up with a resentful horse.
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-22-2012, 09:20 PM
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It depends. If it's a training ride on one just being started, until they make a good effort at whatever we happen to be working on. Finished horses, long enough to make it a work out - depending on their level of fitness.
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post #8 of 16 Old 05-22-2012, 10:49 PM
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At work, I deal with a lot of horses with issues. I like to keep my sessions short with a little uncomplicated goal in mind, such as being responsive enough to trot a circle or start making a good stop.

I'll just ride and ask for whatever goal I made for the ride, along with goals from previous rides to keep them fresh.

It's taken me between 15 minutes and an hour on some horses.
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-22-2012, 11:03 PM
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Others have already mentioned the stage of training approach. I also work horses with particular issues differently. Overcomming a fractious mind often requires a softer and more generous schedule, but once we've worked through things we can address fitness.
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-22-2012, 11:16 PM
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I think that on a horse with issues that need to be resolved, the short approach is good. Keep in mind though that a horse who's used to being done after 15 minutes is eventually going to try really hard to make you let them be done after 15 minutes. If the horse is really good when you do something else (trail riding, a nice long canter, whatever the horse is good at) I'd try to intersperse some longer sessions with some of that. There's not much worse than finding you've fixed one issue only to discover that you've created another....
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