prospective horse needs work, how hard? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 07-14-2012, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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prospective horse needs work, how hard?

After looking for many months for a horse that is safe for beginner/kids, sound and healthly, and well trained, a new horse has come to our barn that fits the first two. He seems to be calm and not spooky and he is a bit pokey. He was used as a 4-h walk trot horse for a 12 year old. Those are all his good traits; however, he is unbalanced at the canter (the trainer at the barn is working on this) and in my opinion he is wiggly (i.e. he doesn't stay straight when you ask him to move). I have noticed when my daughter is riding him he doesn't bend to the inside in his corners and sometimes he is bending to the outside, especially when she is trying to get him to canter. I also feel that when I am riding he doesn't seem to steer very well. Now, I am used to riding a horse that neck reins and works off your leg and this guy doesn't do either so as a beginner I am assuming that I am doing something wrong. But I guess my question is how hard is it to get a horse to steer well and not counter bend? My daughter and I will be working with a trainer but I am a beginner and my daughter who has been taking lessons for 2 years now is 9. Thanks for the advice.
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post #2 of 2 Old 07-14-2012, 10:05 PM
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First, congratulations on your new horse! It sounds like your horse is similar to my project pony (mr. vacation). The thing that has helped me the most has been working with a trainer/instructor. I have been riding for a long time, but I have never put finishing work on a green horse (my current project times two). So, having an instructor give me advice on what I can try to correct issues before they become problems is really helpful. Its also nice to have another set of eyes to see things that you as a rider can't see.

Think of there being eyes on your shoulders, and your seat bones. These need to look where the horses going before you ask with your reins. Sort of like how when you ride a bike you start to make a turn before you make the actual turn. You lean into and you don't have to yank the handlebars around to get a turn its just smooth. Think through your turns. You want your shoulders and your horses shoulders to be pointing the same direction. This allows your horse to be on the same path as you.

For the turn, it might be a simple matter of using your outside rein and inside leg. Its sort of counter intuitive because you are asking the horse to go the opposite direction than you want. I would guess that your problem is similar to my problem in that you are use to riding western and are now riding a horse that does not direct rein. As a result, your hands are perhaps busier then you would like and it can confuse the horse. If the horse has any training on him (and it sounds like yours does) than this problem should be corrected fairly quickly by steady and consistent riding by you. Even if he does not have much training (like mine does) then he should respond fairly quickly to this because you are making the "right" decision easier. Thats just my humble (probably incorrect) opinion. I think your instructor will have some better tips based on what they see happening with your horse.
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