Retraining a Western Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-21-2012, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Arrow Retraining a Western Horse

I recently purchased a 13 year old QH X that I am retraining him to be an English horse - hopefully a jumper, but that's not high on the list right now.

The challenges:

1. He wont settle into a slow gate and continuously speeds up. I've lunged him and he is ABLE to settle into a nice slow trot but usually trots very quickly. His canter is VERY fast, but we are just working on trotting and getting that sorted. Once I trot him he does not want to gear back down to a walk and does not walk slow.

2. He tries to get back to the exit as soon as he can and wants to leave. Not a huge issue as I exercise him in an enclosed arena always.

This is more behavior stuff that may be the root of the under saddle issues:

1. He trembles when I saddle him - we've gotten over the fear of my saddle pad, but he still worries about my saddle. I don't do any thing harsh to him - set it on gently, walk away and do something else (while my husband keeps an eye on him). I girth him gently, checking him several times and making sure nothing is pinched.

2. Mounting - I sit carefully on him, but he trembles like I am going to spur him and looks for the door. I don't wear spurs - ever, I don't even kick my guy.

So what is going on here? He is a very nervous horse (tight lips and clamped tail) but does everything I ask him. He just moves FAST.

Any insight is welcome.

Equito Ergo Sum
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-21-2012, 04:18 AM
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I don't think this is an English vs. western thing at all. He sounds very green and very spoiled. I would start over from the beginning like he's never been ridden and work your way up from there. Be firm, but kind and fair.

PS, if it is the horse in your avatar (even if it's not) check your saddle fit. It could a bad fit. If it's the horse above, you're going to need some creative saddle fitting to work with those withers!
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-21-2012, 08:30 AM
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I think you are 'babying' your horse and playing to his fears. It does not work. It only makes them more fearful. It only reinforces that everything should be feared.

We have not found the horse that we cannot teach to stand still while we 'sling' a saddle on -- it usually takes two or three sessions and you can just say "Whoa!" and sling a big, heavy roping saddle up on any of them.

Get him out of an arena. Give him a job or take him on some LONG rides, like 10 miles or more. He'll settle down and 'go to work' for you.

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Cherie is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 10-21-2012, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
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You're right, I do have a tendency to baby him. He's my first horse and one of my main issues is that I'm going to "hurt" him. He is a bit stubborn and smart, so I am finding I need to be the "parent" more than the "friend."

I do not believe him to be green - just rusty, but he's a quick study. He also kind of quits when he feels we are done/he is tired. So he could have very easily been spoiled by a former owner.

He is still very thin and I wonder if riding him 10 miles is really good for him in the long run. I think he's just been allowed to do whatever for so long that's the way he thinks it should be!


Equito Ergo Sum
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-21-2012, 01:40 PM
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What did he previously do discipline wise, yes western but WHAT in western.

Conformation is how far the horse CAN go,
Mind is how far the horse WILL go,
Training is how far it DOES go.
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-21-2012, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BarrelRacingLvr View Post
What did he previously do discipline wise, yes western but WHAT in western.
I believe he was mostly a trail horse - he may have possibly been used for barrel racing.

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