need advice on how to school a driving pony to ride

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need advice on how to school a driving pony to ride

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    11-05-2010, 10:09 PM
need advice on how to school a driving pony to ride

Hello. Im new here, this is my first post. Today I've been to look at a pony, he's 14.3hh and has mainly been used for driving. His trot is really short strides, I wasnt sure if this was because he's been driven or just because he's small. He wouldnt canter at all, he just seemed to do a 100 mph trot, it was sort of if he wanted to go into canter but just wasnt sure what to do with his legs. I was asking him correctly, tried him on the corners of the school and out in the open on a straight but no joy. I've schooled youngsters before and broken in horses but I've never actually had anything to do with a horse that has driven before. I need some advice on how to start re-schooling this little chap because he is very willing he just seems a little confused bless him, he's really honest we just need to sort out the cantering (or lack off) issue and see if we can sort anything with this trot he's got. So id really appreciate any help or suggestions. Thanks in advance.
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    11-06-2010, 10:34 AM
Ponies. Driving ponies.... A blast, but a little bit of work. About the short strides first. In order to get him to have longer, more relaxed strides, you're going to have to school a bit. Lunge quite a bit, (not too much though so he gets bored) and work on voice commands. Especially canter. When you ride, exercise yourself as well, and slow things down. How slow can you make your horse trot? After you have a mastered slow trot, your horse will calm down and relax. Then you can start asking for some lengthinings in stride. The trot will be faster, but shouldn't be "rushed". Then, bring back to slow trot, and make your canter cues clear, concise , and sharp. He should never, under no circumstances "rush" or "run" into the canter. You're better off doing slow relaxed transitions then rushed ones just to get the canter over with. It might take time for the canter, but it's worth it. I also reccommend LOTS of walk/trot , trot/walk and other transitions. I can't even count how many I've done in my life, but I can tell you that they are in the top 3 most successfull exercises that I've done. Eventually when you are ready, walk to canter, and even canter to halt transitions are great. Another great one is 4 stride switches. I believe that this should be done ALWAYS IN A RING. While on a circle if your're uncomfortable around the whole ring. Start at a point and halt. From halt, move into walk for ONLY four strides. Then halt for a few seconds. Repeat around whole circle until your horse starts relying almost 100% on your weight shifting back and to the point that you're barely asking for a halt through the reins. Next halt again, and move into the trot for four strides, then walk four. Trot four, walk four. You can do this with halts for a few seconds, or walk a few strides. Your horse's canter will naturally slow down and he'll be waiting for your cue to learn what to do next.Remember, to not overdo any drills and don't get frustrated. Your horse might learn slowly, but a solid foundation is better than a weak one. Remember while doing these that you should try to get your horse to respond to you weight and seat moving back rather than you pulling. Good luck! Hope this helps
    11-06-2010, 08:34 PM
Hi thanks for replying. He's really good at listening to your voice, walk, trot, whoa, stand etc he listens to what your saying, his trot is really fast and its near impossible to rise to but we did manage it the other day for a bit. I think he really just needs to go back to basics and start over, if all he's ever known is being out in a trap then this fast trot he has is what he'll probably do until he learns otherwise. I will try a lot of slow transitions with him and get him going off my voice, the transitions for 4 strides you suggested sound like a good idea, it will also get him thinking on the job we are doing. Hopefully we'll be able to get him going again with a regular trot and begin to work on his canter.
    11-06-2010, 08:40 PM
I have schooled Many many ex racing standaradbred horses and taught them how to canter, These horses have been trained only to trot or pace and to do so as fast as they can. Similarly with Pleasure Driving horses they are not very often asked to canter if driven as a single because of the action it puts on the two wheeled vehicles they are pulling. How I get them to canter either ask them when you are going up hill OR if you don't have access to a hill, get them to pop over a small cavaletti and as they rise to jump it, ask them to up a gear and continue after wards at a canter. May take a bit of time but it is well worth it and generally once they get the idea they learn very quickly how to do it without the hill or the jump.
    11-12-2010, 07:48 AM
Great news guys! I had him in the school on wednesday, got him trotting round, sitting trot mind cos his paces are fast, got him on the straight and really asked him with my legs and saying can'ter several times and we cracked it, I've found he responds to your voice much easier, so I continued with can'ter until we'd completed the circle. He's doing great just working on the trot now x
    11-13-2010, 10:17 AM
I wanted to expand a bit on teaching him to lengthen his stride. I would work on this walking and trotting on the ground. He needs to walk out with capping his front foot and work on having his rear foot step further than his front foot. His stride should not be quicker but longer. Get that worked out on the ground and it will make a big difference. He should walk that way all of the time and his trot would depend on if you are doing and exteneded trot or working trot.
    11-17-2010, 05:01 PM
Yes you will find he responds to Voice commands better as he knows what these mean. It will take a few sessions for him to start to understand what the leg aides mean. Give him the leg aide, then the voice command with the leg aide and he will learn quic enough what you mean.
    11-17-2010, 05:46 PM
Hes doing great! Rode him in the school yesterday and he's learnt to slow his trot right down so you can rise to it, he's got like 3 speeds of trot, 1 he does is like he's trotting with his front feet but walking with his back so it feel really weird but thankfully he got trotting round at a normal pace and went straight into canter when I asked and managed to canter full circuits of the school. He's also a good little jumper too, very willing indeed x

driving, re-schooling

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