Under saddle suggestions - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 05-14-2009, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Under saddle suggestions

So I REALLY started Sammy under the saddle yesterday This is how it went:

Mounted, he antsy'd around a bit, but was fine.
Turned him and walked him out, he wanted to eat, I said no, asked to go out into the pasture. Refused, reared.
I turned him in circles, both directions, asked again and finally started to get somewhere.

Argued with him for ten minuets, I wanted him in the far left of the pasture, not in the far right were the other horses are. Lots of backing up, dancing around, little bit of rearing but nothing unmanageable.

Refused to enter were I wanted him to. Alright, fine. Took him a few feet away from that particular spot and asked again with success.

For the next half an hour I made him do circles and figure eights around trees, walking up and down the fence line, random turns, stops, etc. Just plain worked him nice and slow at a walk.
He responded with lots of minor rearing, dancing around, backing up, and trying to rush back home. He was fantastic when he did mind himself and didn't try any funny business.

I kept a loose rein as much as possible with lots of emphasis on neck reining and leg cues. When he started to act up, refuse, rear, etc. I would have him do turns both right and left, then ask again.

I expect by the end of next month he'll be just fine and dandy again. After months of no riding, no work, just being spoiled, I don't expect a perfectly calm and respectful horse, even from a horse as calm and respectful as him xD
He does respond to leg cues and neck reining though, big plus. When I first rode him out he steered like a boat :p

I am VERY proud of him for walking calmly back home and responding well to what I asked of him. I expected him to try to take off, but nope, a nice calm walk, went right were I asked without so much as a pinned ear.

I'm riding him in a western saddle, with a hackamore. No pain issues, saddle isn't pinching and the hackamore is just fine. He DOES respond, he just gets pissed and doesn't want to :)

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding under saddle training? My plan is to work him at a walk until he responds nice and easy again, then start with trotting and work up to the canter. I'm treating him like greenie, taking it nice and slow. Not rushing or forcing him.

I'll be starting Loki this weekend or early next week as well he hasn't been ridden in three YEARS. I expect him to act the same way as Sam.
The last time I rode him, he was EXACTLY like how Sam acted. He reared, he backed up, he refused, rushed, etc. the only problem is at the time I was to scared to handle it properly and he got away with it. I had never had an experience like that. It completely shattered my nerves. When I got on Sam last week and he reared I wanted to get off. I was kinda freaked.
But then my dad growled at me to stay on...so I did, and ended up getting off confident.

I know how to ride a horse. I took lessons for that, plenty of lessons. But they never taught me how to HANDLE a horse. What if they buck, rear, spook, bolt? Thankfully I've asked a lot of questions over the years and paid close attention to all the answers

Wait! I'll fix it....
twogeldings is offline  
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post #2 of 4 Old 05-14-2009, 09:51 AM
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Pay very special attention to the moments before his funny business. What is happening before the rear? Or before the involuntary backing up? Could there be anything in that time frame that the message is not clear enough? Or that perhaps the aid being given in too much? Horses who have a first reaction of fighting pressure needed to be dealt with a little differently, in my opinion so that you avoid an on-going argument. Even though your horse has been wonderful in the past, he isn't now. You need to ride the horse you have now, not the horse that used to be. So I am glad to see that you are treating him like a green horse, that is good.
I think you maybe asked too much too soon. To avoid such behaviors, go back to something extremely simple. Something that the two of you can walk away feeling like winners.
Instead of correcting his every effort and continuously telling him he's doing the wrong thing, find something to do that works with him, and that you too can feel happy about. If he is anxious away from his buddies, and you keep telling him he's doing everything wrong, then where is his confidence supposed to rise? He'll feel irritated and anxious and his need for his herd will increase.
Maybe for now ride him within his herd. Practice weaving in and out of the different horses, circling one, then the other. So that you aren't putting too much pressure on him.
Most people would think that that is not an option because you aren't addressing the herd-sour mentality of your horse. But in reality, you will be working with him, at his level, and still training responsiveness and submission but without too much pressure. From there he will start to believe in you, trust that you aren't leading him away into a world of high-stress. Then you'll be able to incorporate his training farther and farther away from the herd. Let him have his security blanket for a little while longer. I don't believe he is ready for the ambitions you have going, so take it down a few notches. Horses will be your forever partners if you work as a team. :) Good luck.

In riding, a horse's energy is like a river- guided by the banks but not stopped by them.
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post #3 of 4 Old 05-14-2009, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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What is happening before the rear?
-He reared the first time, because I did not allow him to graze and go back to the barn. I gave him light pressure to bring up his nose then asked him to turn with leg, vocal, and rein cues. He wasn't t'all happy about it.
When he would rear again it was because of a request to turn, or to go in a direction he did not want, but I did want. Again, leg, vocal, and rein cues.

Or before the involuntary backing up?
-He would back up on a loose rein after being circled. He would do this after trying to rush for the barn, at which point I would circle and ask him to go in the direction I wanted to again.

Riding him within the herd is unfortunately not possible, as my other two will pin and kick if he gets to close to there space. He's not really within 'there circle', they put up with him, but thats the extent of it. He usually grazes within sight of the barn, and he was kept within sight of it while riding.

Wait! I'll fix it....
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post #4 of 4 Old 05-14-2009, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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I rode Sam again today, same half an hour as the day before. Great things to report:
Absolutely NO rearing. Not even a tiny bit.
Neck reined like show horse
Moved incredibly off leg cues
VERY few hiccups. I only had to turn him maybe three or four times all together. After that, nothing. He wanted to go over were Loki and Red were grazing. I would point him in that direction, then turn him around and go in another. Barely a fuss, after a few times, nothing at all.
Weaved him inbetween T-Posts (were setting up more fence) and he did pretty awesome.
Accidentally walked him into a bog walked him right on out of it nice and easy.
NO! Steering like a boat today! He was very calm and collected from the start.
I rode him through his paddock, he wanted to go to his grain bin, a small correction and he ignored it.

I'm extremely proud of him. He got extra peppermints and grain (plus oodles of love and praise) for being such a good boy. My dad even said "You were right, I was wrong, he is worth the money"

I'm going to start working Loki tomorrow and give Sam a break. I'll be getting some video and pictures, but otherwise he'll get to relax x)

Wait! I'll fix it....
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