Outside the round pen - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-12-2012, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Outside the round pen

Afternoon all,

First time poster here from the mtns. of SWVA. I am still in the midst of my round pen work and progressing well. Working on my seat in the trot and lope. Flexing him, getting him to break at the pole better and to become more responsive to the snaffle. Just working on a little bit of everything.
He is 7 years old and has been out of the round pen with me on him a couple of times last year. Last year when we did venture outside of the round pen he did want to run back to the barn uncontrollably and was stubborn to leave the round pen area. I was able to get him to do both but with great work. This year after working with him a great deal more in the pen I want to know when is a good time to try him outside the pen and what should I start first or what regiment should I fiollow once outside the pen? What should I absolutely have mastered before attempting to leave the pen? He is a really good horse and not aggressive in any way. I just don't want to build a great horse in the pen and then when I want to ride outside on the trails he is all confused and causes us both to go backwards or much worse get hurt.

Thanks all

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post #2 of 7 Old 07-12-2012, 05:14 PM
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All I can say is poor horse!
At least a year in a round pen only being taken out of it twice? No wonder he messes around when he does go out.

Personally I can think of nothing worse for a horse than constantly being made to got round and round in circles.

You cannot get everything 'perfect' without variety. No matter how well you are riding and how well he is going when he goes outside and sees the wide world he is going to be looking at anything and everything acting very much like a green horse - which he will be as he has seen and done nothing.

For goodness sake, give him a break and get him out and about. Of course he will want to go back to the barn and not leave the round pen area - it is all he knows.

Just imagine that you are home schooled and have to stay in the same room repetitively doing the same thing again and again - being allowed to play in your yard and then someone tells you to go to town and do the shopping. You wouldn't have a clue and nor will your horse when you want to take him outside.

I never ride any of the young horses in the arena - first time of being ridden they go straight out on the roads and tracks, they will have been long reined out there or ponied from another horse, but they learn to go forward and meet all sorts of things way before they are asked for anything like 'breaking at the polL'

Give your horse a life.
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-12-2012, 05:34 PM
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welcome to the forum !

i can see why you would be worried to take this horse out of the round pen after having such a bad experience ! do you have a trainer or friend that can come help you ?

i would start by making him work in hand and on a lunge line in the places you would like to take him to ride. he needs to learn that other places are work places, not just the round pen.
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-12-2012, 05:44 PM
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I second what gypsy said. Take him out in hand, or teach him to longrein, and have adventures that way.

Is it possible for you to work him in a field hes not used to? It is a new place to him, like the trails, but is enclosed enough incase something happens. Dont work him all the time in this field, vary if possible. It could be the needed step between the safety of the pen, and the big wide world!

Do you have another person you could ride out with? Another horse may be the encouragement your boy needs to face those trails, and its good banter hacking with someone else :-D

We lose ourselves in the things we love, we find ourselves there too ~Kristen Martz
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-12-2012, 07:04 PM
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Hi Sid. Welcome to the Horse Forum.

Back to my old observation-- "Round pens are for people and not for horses."

It is NOT good to keep a horse in a round pen more than a couple of rides or a couple of warm-up laps before heading out to a bigger area, preferably a big field or a trail.

After a couple of rides in a round pen, all the horse learns is to 'depend' on the round pen fence for security and a boundary. They are very prone to bolt or run sideways until they find the security of another fence or another barrier to follow or they try to get to the barn or a friend. It can require a VERY experienced rider to get them over this problem. They just 'rubber-neck' and go the way they want to go.

If you have a way to get a trainer to ride this horse for a few times, you will have a lot better chance of not trading this problem for a bigger problem of bolting and running out of control.

Ground driving would be good, but it also requires a lot of experience and skill to do it right. Longeing would be good, but again, I would expect your horse to just pull really hard to get to a fence.

I had to fix one of these horses a while back and I used a post out in the middle of a pasture to take a wrap on with the nylon rope longe line I was using. My 240# husband could not hold him with a chain over his nose when he bolted for a fence or the barn.

I wish the people that advocated training in round pens would also enlighten people to the problems they can create if a horse is not taught to work without one. Round pens work very well for the people that do not need them. If a rider / trainer has the skill to teach 'shoulder control' and to teach a horse to 'follow its nose', they do not need a round pen. If a rider does not have the skill and experience to teach these things, the round pen just becomes a crutch that the horse 'leans' on.

Again, "Welcome",
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-12-2012, 07:27 PM
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Hi Sid,
I would say that getting out of the round pen is due. I think it will be challenging at times because that is so the routine for your horse. If are feeling nervous about the idea. I would say see if you can find a friend at the barn or in the area who has a steady eddy trail horse. Your horse will take some of its behavioral cues from that horse. They are also going to take behavioral cues from you. If you are relaxed and confident so will they. Go on a day when you feel relaxed and you feel like your horse is responding to you. Don't go on the trail on a day because you have decided that today you are leaving the round pen. I would also start small. Go to the first big pine tree or down to the trail head and if they are good turn around and go back.

Good luck, the world outside the round pen is wonderful! Have fun!
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-16-2012, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Outside the pen

I first off want to thank all of you guys for chiming in. I really appreciate it.
Well I just did start to get a trainer to come over to the house once a week. He does not bring his horse though nor do I have a person to ride with so the "companionship" horse is not there for the aide of riding. I am not sure what you mean by "green broke". I obviously can get on him no problem. He leads, takes the bit, and turns right, left, figure eights, even backs up when asked. IN the round pen. He also stops on a dime when I ask, in the pen. Its a large oval pen not round for what its worth too. I do have my mare out in the pasture when he is in the pen with me.

I took him out of the pen this weekend to give him a try around the pasture and through the creek and just around the barn. I walked him out with the reins from the pen. No problem at all. We found a level spot to mount and still no problem. Once on he wanted to immediately start walking. The simple WHOA was no longer getting it. He would not stop walking. I had to one rein stop him and even that was a chore. He wanted to get over to where she was I'm thinking. Once I got him gathered we started again. this time he wanted to trot over. One rein again to a stop. Not fun. then after awhile he calmed down and would somewhat go where I wanted him to but not very easily. The WHOA definitely was not working outside the pen. The leg commands that work in the pen became an almost tug of war with the reins.

Yes he is 7 yearsold. Stubborn probably. New to me on his back outside the pen. Yes. I sawe where you guys said I have to be able to flex him in both directions and get a good WHOA before venturing out. I had that definitely insidethe pen. Not too sure why we lost it outside. I am going to continue to ride him outside or work him outside. Its obvious he has no problem inside the pen so outside I guess is where he needs his work. I just wish I had the WHOA part down outside. I feel bad doing the one rein stop thing all the time and I'm sure his mouth does noty appreciate it either.

Last thing. When I try to flex him to one side or the other by just holding pressure with the rein he'll turn his head and the hind quarters follow and then round and round in circles we go. How do I get him to stand still and not walk in circles while flexing?

Any help, as always is greatly appreciated.

Have a nice day all.

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