My horse needs more Power Steering!
First of all, I’m new… So hey! My name is Halley (like the comet!) and own 4 horses in Texas. I live about an hour away from the coast, and have never taken a beach ride…sadly. I have two paints and two Quarter Horses. I don’t rodeo much anymore because I am in college, but I enjoy roping/cutting/barrels and just hanging out at the arena. My fiancé loves to rope, so we are out somewhere practicing every single weekend basically. Usually, I just run the cows back to the chute for the boysJ We live on a farm so in our off time we enjoy trail riding, arena work… scouting the woods for good deer stand locations. You name it. We use our horses pretty regularly.
Anyway, I was Google searching and found this site and thought I could get some more personalized help here.
Basically, I have a 6 year old Grey mare that I bought about 6 months ago. My boyfriend has a cutting/reining/roping horse that I LOVE to ride and I am basically trying to put that same “edge” on my Grey horse. In the end, I would like her to be able to spin, be super sensitive to pressure, do sliding stops, neck rein, side pass… all those things that cow horses do. Keep in mind that I lightly dabble in training, but I’ve never trained a horse from the ground up. My experience is ground work (as far as training goes.) I am a pretty decent rider, and have been on a horse since I was 5. I am extremely confident, skilled (I’d say anyway, haha… others may argue!) and I am one of those riders that will ride anywhere and do anything on a horse. Or off. I’m not one to be “scared” or “timid” around them, so I am up to any sort of training I need to do!
My horse was trained with the Clinton Anderson method before I got her, but had never been trained with any type of bit at all. She isn’t very “sensitive” to neck reining (or any kind of reining) and is a slower and “rougher” horse. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes you really have to yank on her to get her to stop. She requires a lot of pressure before she gives a response (of course, I don’t YANK on her.) I try to be soft handed as I can, but sometimes I just can’t. Up until now, I’ve ridden in a mechanical hackamore, until someone told me they were extremely painful… I have switched around from halters to regular hackamores and am now trying a snaffle.
I have a 50 foot round pen available to work in, but I would like to know some training exercises and tips that I can use to train my horse to become that “cowy” sort of Western horse. Are there any good books out there? Websites? Videos? Personal advice?
Right now, our routine in the round pen is: Join up, direction changes (but she won’t change direction toward the fence…only away from), flexing, yielding hindquarters, w/t/c… backing up… But, everything I do with her is really… stiff. Everything (besides yielding her hindquarters) is done slowly and only with quite a bit more pressure than I would like to use. For example, I would like her to flex as soon as soon as I barely wiggle the rope… I end up having to put about a pound of pressure on the rope (not a lot) but more than I would like. Her entire demeanor follows that general rule.
To train her to neck rein, I put on spurs and walk her around the pen. After I worked with plow reining her along with the neck rein on the other side, she would neck rein fairly well… not nearly as well as I would like. I then put on the spurs and lightly touched her neck with the rein, then applied a little more pressure, and if she didn’t turn I added light spur pressure. This helped, but it is now to a point that she is not getting any MORE sensitive to the neck reining. Sometimes, she will just prance along at a diagonal, not really turning...
Any advice would be appreciated, along with ideas of some more things that we could do in the round pen. I feel that we have that foundation of respect laid down; I just want to work some of that stiffness out of her.
In the end, I would like a horse that responds well and quickly so that I can ride one handed with ease and work cows. I don’t need her to be a champion cutting horse, just something with a better handle. My fiancé says that she needs a lot more Power Steering Fluid! Haha!