New Horse! Need Conditioning and Training Ideas
 
 

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New Horse! Need Conditioning and Training Ideas

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  • 2 Post By Foxhunter
  • 1 Post By julianeAHS
  • 1 Post By Skyseternalangel

 
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    06-01-2012, 08:46 PM
  #1
Foal
New Horse! Need Conditioning and Training Ideas

Hello everyone, I just got a new horse - a 15 year old half Tennessee walker, half Arabian/Morgan mix. As a youngster, Sam was very well trained and even ridden in a parade at 2 1/2 years old. He is gated and rides in a low port pelham, which I'll switch out for a snaffle when doing ground work.

He has been ridden twice in the last 10 years (yikes!) I lunged him, got on and rode him and he did pretty well considering that fact.

Big Issues:

-severely herd-bound

-not very confident

-very spooky

-very overweight

I want to take him camping at the end of the summer, so I'm putting him in horse bootcamp. I will be working with him every day for at least an hour, although I don't plan on riding very much until he loses some weight.

His ground work is still very good, yields hind end and front end, backs up, picks up feet, ties. Not good at lunging or being "sent," so I will work on that and teaching him the fundamentals of ponying.

I would like some suggestions on bringing a horse back that hasn't been ridden in a long time. I plan on short lunging sessions, some ground driving, taking him for walks off the property until he is secure enough to be ponied, and riding for 20 - 30 minutes at mostly a walk with some transitions, figure eights, neck reigning exercises, and leg yielding.

He has been separated from the herd to begin training and is not very happy.

Any other suggestions to help boost his confidence would be great!

     
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    06-02-2012, 10:26 AM
  #2
Super Moderator
I have found one of the biggest problems with soft horses that are overweight is that they can easily get girth galls so, be very careful that he is clean. ~sometimes they come up spotty and I use vinegar to both harden the skin and stop any spots.
When you lunge him use a saddle on him to help harden the skin.

Personally I would just get on and ride him. Mostly at a walk for a couple of weeks and then trotting. I would trot until he is 'puffed' and then walk until he recovers his breath and then trot on again. I would also ride for at least an hour and increase this to 90 minutes after a month.
If you are going to pony him, have him saddled and he can do twice as much work as with a rider.
Restrict his diet, if grazing give him a smaller area, if he is being fed hay, cut it back.
laceyf53 and myhorsesonador like this.
     
    06-02-2012, 07:15 PM
  #3
Foal
I agree w/ Foxhunter.
I also have a little exercise that I use for horses w/ separation anxiety:
Have someone get on the horse that your horse is anxious about leaving and stand there. Then, have your horse do several circles, I usually do 10-20 but if your horse is out of shape you don't want to exhaust him, around the horse he's attached to. Then, suggest that your horse leave this horse. If you can't get him to leave, even get off and lead him away. Even if it's 20-30 ft away he'll get the point. And let him rest there. Then, have him go back to this horse and work near him. Let him rest away from the horse. Eventually he'll get the point that being near the horse means work, and being away from the horse means rest. Gradually increase the distance from the horse.
Then, once your horse has gotten the point, you can reinforce the training a little bit by asking him deliberately to go near the horse, and making him work again. If the horse puts it together, usually he will decide to leave the horse at this point, and let him do this and give him an extra big reward. Overall, in the end, it'll be your HORSE's idea to leave the other horse, not yours. Have the mind set that your horse can be wherever he wants, but he'll be working near the horse and resting away from him .It's his decision.
This requires a lot of patience/consistency but it works so well! Let me know if you try it/whether it works or not!
As far as his lack of confidence goes, I always suggest groundwork/natural horsemanship. This way the horse will begin to see you as his leader and horses trust their leaders. Then, gradually expose him to new things (tarps, jumps, plastic bags, streams, noises etc) one thing at a time, and if he respects you, he will trust you. I also have some other specific exercises so let me know if you need anything else! :)
Juliane
laceyf53 likes this.
     
    06-02-2012, 07:16 PM
  #4
Foal
PS - GORGEOUS landscape in that pic. And the horse is a cutie too! Congrats!
     
    06-05-2012, 09:02 PM
  #5
Foal
Thank you for that advise Foxhunter, the vinegar will be a life saver for sure. I've had that issue before and didn't know how to fix it, I bought him a nice fleece girth cover too so hopefully that will help.

Thank you very much Juliane for the suggestions, I don't ride with anybody else so most exercises will have to be completed on my own. I will try the riding away from the other horses when I go on group rides, but it will be a few weeks before I do any trail riding. Thank you though, I'll have to take some update pictures now that everything is green - although I don't plan on riding in the pasture, only did that to try him and see how he goes. If he bucks me off, I'm dead meat with those big rocks everywhere.
     
    06-05-2012, 09:11 PM
  #6
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by laceyf53    
Thank you for that advise Foxhunter, the vinegar will be a life saver for sure. I've had that issue before and didn't know how to fix it, I bought him a nice fleece girth cover too so hopefully that will help.

Thank you very much Juliane for the suggestions, I don't ride with anybody else so most exercises will have to be completed on my own. I will try the riding away from the other horses when I go on group rides, but it will be a few weeks before I do any trail riding. Thank you though, I'll have to take some update pictures now that everything is green - although I don't plan on riding in the pasture, only did that to try him and see how he goes. If he bucks me off, I'm dead meat with those big rocks everywhere.
You might want to look into the airflex cinch. I've attached a link so you can see what I'm talking about. I have one, and my mare loved it. She moved beter, and she was not near as hot when we were done with a long ride in the FL heat! I wish they made pads out or that stuff! It is also very easy to clean, mine still looks new, and all I did was hose it after every ride!

Weaver AirFlex® Roper Cinch
     
    06-06-2012, 12:06 AM
  #7
Yearling
Fox hunters advice is great as always.

I'd also add in a couple of ground poles or small caveletti. Not at first, a couple of rides in. It will increase the work load slightly and even encourage slight stretching of the back muscles
     
    06-06-2012, 12:57 AM
  #8
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by laceyf53    
Big Issues:

-severely herd-bound

-not very confident

-very spooky

-very overweight

I plan on short lunging sessions, some ground driving, taking him for walks off the property until he is secure enough to be ponied, and riding for 20 - 30 minutes at mostly a walk with some transitions, figure eights, neck reigning exercises, and leg yielding.


Any other suggestions to help boost his confidence would be great!
Okay.

Overweight can be fixed fairly simply. Look at his diet; if there is something that he doesn't really need right now then slowly cut it back. If he's on straight grass, perhaps get him into a turn out rotation (inside part of the day, outside another part of the day) or a grazing muzzle.
Then you know with exercise, weight will slowly go down as long as he isn't getting over-fed. So that one should be fairly easy to handle. Communicate with your vet and maybe run tests if he's not losing it easily (weight-tape him and write it down for a month or so in order to keep track of his progress!) incase he has some underlying problems.

Spooky comes with a horse due to their flight instinct. You need to gain their confidence and respect by setting boundaries, teaching them to look to YOU for instruction when in the presence of a scary object, and again.. look at the diet and make sure you aren't feeding them a diet full of sugar.

Depending on the severity of the spooking, it may be a good idea to spend some extra time desensitizing them and "sending" them as you planned.

Confidence is going to be a little drawn out. In order for a horse to gain confidence, they have to FEEL as if they are able to do as you ask without hesitation or fear. Praising at appropriate times will help a horse to retain confidence that they have gained from working on something challenging and succeeding with baby steps. So if a horse isn't confident at the canter, and you canter for 3 strides and it's wonderful.. and you praise them, they will slowly gain confidence in their abilities.
It sounds phooey, but that's how it is.

They also gain confidence from their leader: YOU. If you are confident and trusting in them, they will slowly build up confidence too. And in turn will trust you.

Herd bound is also something that will take some time. To me, a herd bound horse doesn't think of you as their herd leader. They feel insecure away from their group or they think of THEMSELVES as the herd leader and fuss over their herd too. So you get the flighty herd bound or the aggressive herd bound.

How I deal with herd bound is make them feel good around me and safe. When we get to their herd and they act out, I make them work. Right then and there. I correct any aggressive or rude behavior and allow them to 'be' when they are being respectful.


ALL of these problems will be resolved if you are a herd leader.

That's the bottom line.

With respect for YOU, and trust for YOU, all these problems will go away. You must be consistent, corrective, supportive, and you MUST SET BOUNDARIES. You will be tested, you will be challenged, and it will frustrate you to no end but you must control your emotions.

Your plan is wonderful; but I would do more ground work before you lunge, drive, or ride. You need to establish your relationship with this horse or you leave it with too much to decide and you end up with serious problems that will only escalate. With horses you must be clear and direct. Mix every session up to keep their focus and interest. But work on leading; following your body language as you halt, back up, turn, etc. because this will help the horse learn he needs to follow you. And do the same without the halter on (but be careful.. make sure you trust this horse first and he trusts you)

Hope I helped.
julianeAHS likes this.
     
    06-06-2012, 06:56 PM
  #9
Foal
Skyseternalangel definitely has a point. I'm sorry that you don't ride with anyone else, so using the herd dynamic to your advantage might be your best bet. Being the leader I believe is essential for many reasons...
Being bucked off is a valid fear, but don't let it impact your riding! Confidence is key.
And also, try not to give up and let the horse "win." They have great memories, so if you give up once they start to intimidate or annoy you, which they can be great at, they will not forget easily. Even if you're having a hard time getting him out on trail because he's herd bound, instead of going on a long trail ride like you were intending, opt for going out a couple hundred yards then turning back. Once he gives you a few good steps, QUIT and try again the next day. When it starts to go a little bit better after a long fight it's tempting to keep pushing your horse, but it's important to call it quits once he starts complying - horses learn from the release of pressure, not the application. Hope this advice can be a little more pertinent than my last advice and definitely let me know how it goes, and send some pics!!
     

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