The problem with Arabs... - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 37 Old 02-17-2010, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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ReiningTrainer - how would you go about teaching that cue? I've tried many different things with Zierra and nothing seems to work - the minute we ride in a group and I've run with another person, she's jigging and blowing the entire rest of the ride. I can calm her down if I'm alone, but if I'm with someone else, even CANTERING is virtually out of the question unless she's in front and the other horse stays a good five feet behind her.

Her "racing" days are done, but unfortunately she doesn't seem to know that. I've given serious thought to doing endurance on her, but unfortunately a horse that expends all it's energy trying to race every living thing that moves is not a good endurance mount!

I'm assuming a stronger foundation would help, she needs to respect me, but I just question if it's even possible to get into her mind and let her know she doesn't need to race the wind. The minute a horse gets out in front of her, her mind just seems to SNAP. And absolutely ironically? If we're walking, she's the horse in the back. She's content to walk and jog with her nose lodged firmly up another horses butt all day long. She's a dream on trails - just don't canter, or you're in for about three hours of sweating, blowing, snorting, panting Arab!

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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post #32 of 37 Old 02-18-2010, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Haha, your last post reminds me of an old friend's Arab mare who was the same way. If my horse got in front, this Arab got MAD. When we finally did have ourselves a race, I won - on my older tank of a Paint =] - and this Arab was pretty upset for a few minutes but after that she was content to just go along with us since she couldn't beat us, lol.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #33 of 37 Old 02-18-2010, 12:03 PM
Green Broke
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ok. i know exactly what you are going thru. I have an arab mare. When she is riding she has a higher head carriage than I'd like but what i have done is this: i dont know the bit you are using but i know a snaffle works side to side not straight back. i ride in a regular western bit. always have. no matter... if you continue to use the snaffle, one thing you can teach her to lower her head while riding. you will have to use both hands. one on each side close to her shoulders. take your first fingers and press down sideways, just enough pressure that you get a reaction from her. continue that pressure until you see the slightest drop in her poll. she may fight initially, that is a given. but she will only do this until she understands what you want. do not give in to her. her only way out "reward" is to drop her head, and pressure taken away immediatley. continue to do this until she starts to drop that head. i would suggest just to sit on her, bareback, saddle,,, doesnt matter and work on that. i would only do this in a controlled area. then continue this, when she understands, at the walk and so on. the faster you want to go the more that head will come up. so becareful and give it some time before you move ahead. tiedowns arent a solution. just something more she can fight you with and possibly make a new problem. i hope it gets better but remember to give it time. you will know when you can move ahead. pressure/drop/release.
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post #34 of 37 Old 02-19-2010, 02:31 PM
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What you are describing to me is a horse that has no emotional control at the lope. There are so many things you could do with this horse to quiet her down. There is the calm down cue, rating your speed, control of the hips and shoulders and tons of work on emotional control. The horse that is running away is not softening to the bit and waiting on the rider. You need to ride more specifically and consistently.

So here is the calm down cue as I teach it:

There is a secret button on your horse like a light switch that you can uncover and use whenever your horse is getting scared or excited in order to help calm him down. Once you install this cue on your horse you will be able to help him cope with preshow jitters or calm him down when leading him past an unruly horse in turn out.

Now we are not talking about getting your horse to hold his poll level to the withers or even 4" below the withers. In order to get the cue taught correctly we need the horse to think he is taking his nose to the dirt and in fact we will ask him to do just that in the beginning. We also want the horse to hold his head at the elevation asked for until we ask him to bring it up. It is not a quick jerk down and then back up again.
This is also the cue that is used to minimize rearing as well as jigging. It is possible to over work the horse with his head down below his withers and cause his front end to get too heavy, so once the horse has demonstrated that he has mastered the lesson we will only use it when needed or the horse needs a refresher lesson.

You can begin on the ground using your hand on the poll, a lead rope at the poll, halter and lead rope or a full check snaffle bridle with continuous round rope reins. You can also teach this from the saddle with the bridle. The direction of the pressure will be different from the ground then the saddle, but everything else is the same.

You will start with applying pressure to the poll, upward from the saddle and downward from the ground. You are not trying to move the horse's head, that's his job, you are just putting enough pressure on the horse to motivate him to change. As soon as the head travels in the downward direction, immediately release the rein. Continue the pressure release until the nose gets to the ground. If when you add pressure the nose goes any direction but down, keep the pressure the same and watch for the downward movement. This is a head down cue not a put your head here cue.

Once the horse is consistent with lowering his head down to the ground, raise the emotion. Move, jump, something to cause the horse to raise his head and then immediately apply the rein and have him take it down again. This is the only cue we will make a demand cue. No matter what, the horse takes the head down. It also becomes the first thing the horse does in the saddle when you apply pressure. We are teaching him to always guess down first.
When you go to the saddle, the cue direction will be different so there will be some learning, but it should go fast. When getting to the last 6" to the ground you will want the horse to pull the rein when he goes to the ground. This is the only time and place the horse is allowed to pull and needs to to get to the ground.

After the standstill, work it at the walk until the horse will keep his head down until you ask him to raise it. You ask him to raise it by releasing the rein on the up instead of down. Next move to the trot and then the lope. Don't take his nose to the ground at the lope as he could trip, just pick a low elevation and work on it until he leaves it there.

Again, this is the calm down cue we are working. Once the horse understands we will only take the nose to the ground if he shows signs of not understanding.

Accredited Josh Lyons trainer, and Certified in John Lyons training techniques.,
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post #35 of 37 Old 02-19-2010, 02:32 PM
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This is what I use for teaching a horse to rate it's speed:

When a horse jigs on trail he is telling you he is not solid on his cues for his gaits. If he were, he would wait for your cue for each gait. So you can help this problem by getting your horse more responsive to your cues at home first. Make sure he is sharp on all up and down transitions and then rate his speed in each gait.

I use my rein position to tell my horse to increase and decrease speed at a gait as well as my seat. It is easiest to teach if you have a round pen of at least 60' with good footing so you can feel safe on a loose rein.

Let's start with the trot and I will use my cue system. On a loose rein, ask the horse to trot. Change your seat to two point position and push your hand as far as you can up his neck without letting your face get over or in front of the pommel. Cue with voice and or leg to get your horse to go as fast as he can without changing gait. Example: I use both legs at the girth for walk, trot, and slightly behind to speed up at these gaits.

Let the horse stay at the increased speed until you feel he is thinking about slowing down. At this point sit down and bring your hand back. If the horse slows, praise him. If he does not slow then rise up, push your hand forward and ask him to speed up again. If the horse breaks gait, turn his head toward the rail, change direction to the outside and pick up the trot again. Use the rail to help turn the horse as you want a definite stop going this direction and start going that direction to get the horse to break gait down. You also want to only pick up enough rein to get the change of direction and then give it all back.

There may not be a big change at first, but as your horse tires and starts to understand, the change will be more and more pronounced. You should work on the lesson until you have a strong working trot and as slow a trot as possible. The greater spread of speed the better the control you have. You may need to work on it several days depending on your horse. Look for improvements by at least 20mins of work.

Now when you go on trail give the horse as much rein as you can, I give it all. If the horse breaks gait, turn him back as you did in the pen and ask for the original gait. If he breaks going the new direction, turn him again. Continue until the horse stays at the desired gait. For obvious reasons you will want to do this before going on a big group ride as that would be a lot of pressure for the horse. Start alone or with another rider who will be able to stop and wait quietly for your horse. Then add the number of horses until your horse will listen in as big a crowd as you desire.

Hope this helps you.

Accredited Josh Lyons trainer, and Certified in John Lyons training techniques.,
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post #36 of 37 Old 02-19-2010, 02:37 PM
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You can add the cue spot on the withers after teaching the calm down cue. I hear some use this same cue when approaching a step over so the horse will 'look' at the obstacle.

Accredited Josh Lyons trainer, and Certified in John Lyons training techniques.,
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post #37 of 37 Old 02-19-2010, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Thanks a ton ReiningTrainer, that was extremely helpful.

It's kind of ironic because for the most part, Zierra is very laid back - right from her first show, she's never had any issues being nervous or silly in a group or under pressure. She's content to stand at a fence while I drape my leg around the horn and watch a class with all the hustle and bustle behind her. On the ground, she's the most polite, respectful and well behaved mare you could ask for.

Her "want to run" is literally her ONLY vice. It's the only time I can't seem to bring her back to me, or calm her down. It's the only time she get's so strung out about that she'll trip over her own feet or bounce off trees because she's not paying attention to where she's going, she's so concerned about where everyone else is. Any other time, I can mosey anywhere I want on a loose rein. Heck, half the time someone else can be trotting by, just don't go galloping by!

Luckily, I have Shay-la so we'll be able to work her both at home, and then graduate to the group trail riding in a controlled training environment. Thanks again.

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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