training help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 02-11-2012, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Victoria, Australia
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training help

Hi, I have a 5 year old appaloosa/quarterhorse/thoroughbred gelding that I am hoping to train for adult riders club, so dressage, jumping and being a better trail horse. So he can be flighty and lazy at the same time. When lunging and riding it can be hard to get him to canter and to keep going until I want him to stop. When we trot circles his trot is sluggish. The only trails in my town are across the town from my place, so have to ride on roads to get there, he is nervous of cars, trucks, buses, basically everything on the road. Also he tends to pigroot a lot, especially at the start of the ride and when he is tired of work, so he will start pigrooting and tossing his head and fighting with me when I want to go the opposite way of what home is.
Any help would be appreciated, thankyou.
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-11-2012, 07:11 PM
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In general, it sounds as if you are describing a horse that is very self focussed. I mean, not that he's stuck up, but I mean that though you are riding him, or lunging him, he is not mentally connected to you. Thus, he pretty much stays in his own mind and deals with things any way he feels necessary. If he doesn't feel like moving, he doesn't put much into his canter, if he thinks he needs more rein, he pigroots, if he feels that he is going down the road by himself (without a confident leader) then he will be reactive and frightened.

All of those things would lessen or go away if he were more mentally attuned to the rider. Being that he's only five, he is still a "baby" in a way. So, his attention span will be particularly short. Your job is to learn how to cue him into you more, But that also means you have to be more cued into him.

This is very general "advice" so not really very valuable. But it is true that pretty much all those issues are due to him not having a mental connection or dependence on you for leadership.
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post #3 of 4 Old 02-11-2012, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Victoria, Australia
Posts: 64
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Ok, so how would I build up the mental connection and leadership ??
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post #4 of 4 Old 02-12-2012, 09:09 AM
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Location: Oklahoma
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I would get him out of a round pen or arena and start riding and working him out in a field.

Then. whether you are doing ground work or riding him, be more demanding.
Ask for more.
Ask for precision.
Ask for quickness.
Ask for instant correct responses.

Horses do not usually volunteer more than you are asking. If you just let him drift along and drag his butt, that is the best performance you are going to get.

If you become more demanding and ask for a LOT more, you will then have the opportunity to correct his mistakes. When you 'mash' on one, you also get the opportunity to interrupt unwanted behavior and you get one 'sharp' and 'responsive'.

You need a responsive forward moving horse that is anxious to please. You want him to know that he must listen or there will be a price to pay. Then, you will have a horse that listens to you on the trail and along the highways. You do not get one by nagging and picking at one. They just tune you out. That is how you get lazy and spooky out of the same horse.

Right now, he is drifting along doing little because you are accepting it.

Remember the saying that everyone gets from me because it is SO TRUE!

The worst performance that you accept is the best performance (or behavior) that you have any right to expect.

Think about this and come back to us.
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