Trouble going from the ground to the saddle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-11-2012, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Question Trouble going from the ground to the saddle

Hey everyone!

I have been working with my horse on the ground on yeilding the forequarters. She has gotten it down good that when I press her shoulder she puts one front foot over the other and pivots on her back feed yielding to my pressure. But, the problem is once I get in the saddle and try to do the same manuever she acts starts walking forward, or in some cases will turn but not where she is pivoting on her back feet (she will turn while walking forward)

Any advice would be helpful!
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-14-2012, 08:45 PM
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When I do the ground training, I start by pushing the shoulder, rear, or side to teach the horse that it should move when I push. When I start refining that to teach the horse to move on cue, I use either my thumb or the end of a training staff, depending on the force required, to get the horse to move by pushing on a point right where my heel would be if I were riding. In other words, if I want the fore end to move, I push my thumb into the horse's side just forward of the cinch. If I want him to move his rear quarters I push aft of the cinch, where my heel would be pushing if I were riding. For the sidepass, the pressure goes about in the middle between the two other cues, or about on the cinch. I teach this last. I do just what you did in teaching the horse to move by crossing the near hoof over the far one as they move. You should teach them to move without pressure on the leadrope, responding only to the cue. This teaches the horse how to do the move on the ground, so all you have to teach when you get in the saddle is the cue. The ground cue is meant to simulate the riding cue, to shorten the learning curve.

Once you are in the saddle, you have to start over again by giving the heel as the cue and looking for the first effort to do the right thing, then releasing the cue and giving praise. By doing this and progressively asking for more, the horse will quickly learn what you are asking for and will execute the move the way you taught him from the ground.

Now, when you start giving the cue from the saddle, at first you will have to check his forward movement with the reins, until he starts to "get it." Remember, a horse will only become as precise with his moves as you require before removing the pressure and giving reward. And he will only learn to respond to light pressure if the next time the cue is given is more uncomfortable. I give the cue once, twice, three times, then it gets progressively more forceful. The graduation in force is quite steep. They quickly learn that taking the first cue is better.

Consistency and firmness with the cues is paramount. Also, I find the proper use of spurs greatly increases a horse's willingness to be obedient and shortens the learning curve greatly. I have found the difference in the responsiveness of a horse during training when ridden with spurs and without is astonishing. As with any training tool, however, you must learn to use them properly and you must get your horse accustomed to them before just jumping on and jabbing.
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-14-2012, 08:54 PM
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In order for your horse to step over in front, ask him to rock his body back without taking a step back. This shifts his weight rearward and lightens his front end.
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-14-2012, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
In order for your horse to step over in front, ask him to rock his body back without taking a step back. This shifts his weight rearward and lightens his front end.

Whenever you can help to set your horse up into the position where they can be more successful at moveing laterally, then you will have a more willing horse. your goal is to have the horse move his "inside" front foot first. I mean, if yo are moving the shoulders over away from you , and you are on the horse's left side, his front right should be the first to step over, away from you. in order to do that, he must be rocked back onto his hind, and if he is bent in the direction of movement (bent with his head over to the right a little bit) then he will be naturally incined to move his front right over, first.

When moutned and trying to do a turn on the haunches, get the hrose to rock back again, and this will help a lot to free up the front half for movement.
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forequarters , groundwork , yielding

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