So spring is rolling around and I know there are a few of you out there that are waiting for their little ones to grow up so you can throw that saddle on! Whether you're waiting for them to turn 2,3,4 or whatever age, are you getting excited?? What's your game plan and schedule like? I'm hoping to have Thunder ready to go on trails by late may....so that gives me like 3-4 months to get him ready. I am not consistently riding him, but as the weather gets more steady, I plan on having a schedule each week. So what's yours like??
The only young one of mine I needed to start got done this last time I was home. It was sooooo difficult. It took all of 20 minutes to go from pasture to saddle and 1 day from roundpen to trails. Only 2 days to go through town. Smart boy and oh so sweet. Really is a gentle giant. The only project I have lined up now is my brother has a 4 yo QH mare out of a Dry Doc stud that needs to be started. He doesn't like to start the young horses, so I will do it for him. And yes, I am anxious to get started. I rode her one time as a long 2 yo before he picked her up from my dad's house and she is really sweet.
Wow! That was quick! Any tips to get them to move forward when asked? Mine is so darn stubborn....won't walk on and ends up getting frustrated with too many turns. I don't know how im going to get him to the point of moving when asked whether he feels like it or not.
Good luck on the 4 year old! It's definiately exciting! And then summer rolls around and there's so much to show them out on trails and everything :)
Free - I use voice commands from the ground... Like when leading before we actually go forward, I say "Walk" Its amazing how easily that transfers to the saddle when they have it down really well on a lead rope.
( I wanted to add that when teaching a horse to walk on from the ground a whip may be necessary to reinforce the verbal command. Tap on the butt when they don't go. I'll walk with the lead in my right hand, whip in my left, I'm on the left side of the horse and I say walk and take a step, if the horse doesn't move, I'll use the whip behind me with my Left hand to tap the horse on the left hip Make sense? I never turn to tap, just swing the whip behind me)
Western riding for the most part is do what I told you to do until I tell you to do something else. That, can be taught from the ground. I will hand walk the horse until I want to stop. Then I say "whoa" and plant my feet. The horse SHOULD stop. If not we practice Walk, and Whoa until the horse is starting to read my body language and getting the voice commands down.
If I can't get something across in the saddle I get back on the ground and practice it until I have communicated what I want to the horse and the horse understands. It takes longer than a whip and is more labor intensive but I find it makes for a better bond and a happier horse that understands what I'm asking of him.
( That and I'm not a professional cowboy and have long ago lost my taste for dirt!!! )
To get them to go, I work on cues from the ground when lunging with the saddle on. I don't use word cues because I have ridden horses that were trained like that and would take them out of context. I would be having a conversation with whoever I was riding with and the horse would hear a word that sounded similar to lope and would just take off. :( No fun. I cue with smooches and clucks. Once they have the idea from the ground, I get on up and give it a shot. I smooch and give a little bit of leg pressure and if they don't respond, I tighten one rein and give them a soft pop on the but with a bridle rein. That will usually get them moving. As for stopping, I let them trot circles until I get tired before I ask them for a stop. I tighten the reins until I feel soft contact with the mouth and maintain pressure until the horse stops then immediately release and give a scratch. It doesn't take long for them to be responsive to even the slightest cue.
Yeah, it was really fast for him. Normally I won't take a young horse out of the round pen until at least day 4 and wait to go through town until a couple of weeks but he is just so layed back and mellow and SMART. After being shown a couple of times, he would pick up cues like he had done them all his life. (plus, I wanted to show off) No one in my area has a saddle horse that big. LOL
LOL... You ROCK!!! I don't blame you one bit for being a show off....He's drop dead gorgeous and he's a riding horse...**drool**
Excellent point about the verbal cues...I guess I was just lucky with my boys and they knew the difference in me chatting away with my motor mouth and when I was talking to them. I'll keep that in mind from now on, I'd hate to get someone in trouble.