Need advice training young horse. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-06-2009, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Need advice training young horse.

I bought my new mare, Amber, about 2 months ago, but I hurt my back around the same time and needed surgery and couldnt ride. Well I'm starting to ride her finally and I just have a couple of questions about her behavior and what I can do to correct it. Firstly she's only 4 years old, shes a big percheron/thoroughbred mare, and we all know drafts mature a bit slower.

Shes green broke and has learned walk trot under saddle, shes a saint on the ground and really playful and friendly. Anyway when I rider her I notice she tends to be all over the place she cant walk a straight line to save her life lol, shes very distracted and will get "stuck" when I try and turn her, she'll stop and wont move. She also tends to stop when we're trotting and refuse to pick it back up, I know these are all normal baby behaviors but shes the first baby that im training myself so any advice would be great.

Also once I get her walking and trotting nicely, how to I go about teaching her to canter? Thanks bunches!
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-07-2009, 12:24 AM
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With any young horse we always want to remember that they are like kids. They aren't really balanced yet and don't yet know how to pay attention to the teacher. What we are teaching a young horse is how to move forward balanced and rhythmically in three gaits and through the transitions between them.
I highly suggest starting off working with young horses on the lunge line with properly adjusted side reins. If you don't know how to do this then get a knowledgeable person to help you. This helps the horse get used to contact and moving forward in a smooth line without the added weight and imbalance of a rider.
When we get on the horse we always want to enforce that leg means go forward no matter what. And not in a mean way, we want to do it in a really encouraging way that is easy for the horse to pick up on. So with beginning on the lunge line, we teach the voice aids and use them as enforcement for the leg and seat aids for go and whoa. Also enforce that a stalling seat means stop, and never ever pull on the reins! As your training progresses keep the training scale in mind, and know that you always need the beginning steps solid to advance to higher steps:
Good luck!
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-07-2009, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Shes already been lunged a lot by me and the people I bought her from, she'll do walk/trot/canter and halt on the line using only voice commands
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-07-2009, 04:05 PM
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Not being able to walk a straight line is perfectly normal. She will improve once she's balanced.

If she stops while trotting, keep at her until she trots again. Even if it takes you 2 hours. If you give up, she's only learning that is she stops when she feels like it, she's getting out of work. Same with turning.

Distraction is also normal. When you find her starting to get distracted, that's a good time to ask her to do something. Even if its just a 45 degree turn.

Also, keep beginning training rides short and sweet.

Keep at it! You'll get there :)
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-08-2009, 11:28 AM
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That is all very normal behavior. Young horses have very short attention spans and easily unbalanced with a rider. It sometimes helps if you can ride with a friend and takes turns riding nose to tail, play follow the leader games to keep her focused on where she is going.
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-08-2009, 06:09 PM
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She probably isn't completely sure on cues and it's hard for her to stay in between your hands and legs. I've ridden many young horses like that. They just need more time to get used to you and what you want them to do. Keep at it, but be sure to release pressure instantly when she does what you want her to. Just keep working on your cues until she has mastered it. When she gets stuck be patient and persistent and wait for her to turn. You can encourage her, but don't give up and when she does what you want reward her instantly

I'd recommend getting her turning and walking straight before you worry about getting a canter. If you try to canter and her steering doesn't work the way it should you might be in for a lot of trouble
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-09-2009, 06:41 PM
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groundwork. groundwork. groundwork.

long line her, see if she can walk straight when your on the ground.

it may be that she needs to learn to balance or was trained to respond differently to rein pressure. maybe it's her bit, what kind are you using on her.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-09-2009, 07:53 PM
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Forget the canter for now... what you need to focus on is the walking and trotting like everyone else is saying. I've just recently backed and started my first horse by myself (ie, I'm the one doing everything, my gelding was my first horse I backed, but had a friend start)... so I know what you're dealing with.

Honey would just randomly put on the anchors and refuse to go forward. The first thing to say is : don't get off. Simply turn your horse and push forward. If the horse still wont move (I know, its frustrating!!), keep turning... if you still dont get result and you're firmly asking forward, gently slap the end of your excess rein just in front of your saddle on her shoulder... it's to make a noise, not to hurt. I've only had to do that twice, and only resorted to it after like twenty minutes of no movement... Honey soon learnt that forward was what she needed to do (she's the typical "yay look at me go" kind of horse, who enjoys her rides and thinks she's super cool cos she can do it haha)... she tried it once in the trot, out of no where she slammed on the brakes and just stood there... its just a baby "but i dont wanna" and you have to be the one to encourage forwardness.

Straightness is a time thing, it also depends on how much this horse is accepting legs on its side. I kept it simple in the beginning with Honey's training, and introduced the leg aids in once we had been walking for ages and just started thinking trot. I used my legs to ask forward and to balance the halting, but to promote straightness I wasn't too concerned in the first few weeks. Once she was okay with the idea of me being there and doing what I was doing, the leg became more important. Make sure your horse is good with the leg, ie, can bend around a corner correctly with leg support and not so much aiding with the hand... again this is a gradual thing, some horses take longer to pick it up.

You sound like you really need to get a bit firmer with your leg aids... I was taught that if a horse is kept forward enough the horse doesn't have the chance to be too distracted... keep it interesting, change it up, make sure to be forward all the time, with lots of praise... sounds like you're doing a great job with your mare, it will all come together with time!!!

Good luck, looking forward to hearing how things go! Oh and don't forget to use voice commands that you do when lunging!!!

Seoul Searchin' for the Lovebug
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