YARG! neeed help!

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YARG! neeed help!

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        07-06-2008, 07:04 PM
    YARG! neeed help!

    Ok... I don't have a trainer anymore. Now I'm in trouble until I find a new one...

    I am having problems with Lucky. I would normally consult her about this stuff but I'm hoping to get some advice from you guys, so I can work on it. Just some background:

    Lucky is a 6 year old QH Gelding (Today's his birthday!). He is "fully" (im told atleast) trained in Western Pleasure. He also has training for Team Penning, some Reining and was started on barrels but only just barely since he was 4 or 5 when they started him.

    I plan on doing Western Pleasure and Team Penning, but right now I'm focusing on Western Pleasure.

    Some of the things he can do are:
    He does walk, jog, trot, trope(yuck), lope, canter, and gallop and he can extend all his gaits as well as collect them, he can work in a proper frame at the w/t/c I've seen it done I just can't do it yet, he does rollbacks, sliding stops, small slow spins, works off a riders leg alone, neckreins, he's very light and responsive to rein/leg, he's willing and obediant to say in the least, he backs, sidepasses, turns on the forehand, turns on the hind, and he does half passes.

    Honestly, he can do it all and I can't.

    I can get him to work in a nice frame only at the walk... we are just starting the trot. The thing is, I don't know HOW exactly he was trained, so we've been playing "guess and check" to see how he works so its been slow going.

    I can get him to slow down and jog, in a long and low frame, as well collect up, but only for a few strides. I'm trying to work on him collecting... I have to constantly remind him to keep his headset, as soon as he takes it, i'll ask him to hold for a few seconds, then release, and pat him for holding. If I ask him to hold for more than a few seconds he will slow way down and walk instead. I've tried asking him to hold more gently to make sure I'm not over-cueing but then he will drop out of the frame, so I tried squeeze, with nothing more than my thighs he'd walk and then he'd pick back up again but too quickly and we'd be trotting instead of jogging. Then I'd have to slow him down and it'd be an on going process of stopping and going too fast and being just plain irregular in the rythm. If I leave his head alone, and let him carry it wherever he's comfortable, he jogs beautifully except its all over the place and not collected, or even long and low for that matter. Its just natural! If I as him to drop into a low frame and leave him alone after he does, his head always sneaks back up after a few strides. I devoted an entire day o just reminding him to drop his head and he was no better by the end of the session. I must be doing something wrong! I can see he's trying, he will start licking and chewing after a few times to figure me out. I feel frusterated, he's trying to figure me out and I'm afraid I'm confusing him. I am geting video asap. The arena lights are out and we are waiting on the electrician to see whats up. I'd take him out during the day but right now I can only go riding after 10pm because of me and my moms work schedules and by then its too dark to take video and the laterns only light up enough to ride, the video camera isn't sensitive enough to pick it up.
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        07-06-2008, 08:12 PM
    First & foremost, I'd be checking his saddle & back for good fit & comfort. Unfortunately, most saddles are designed to fit a horse comfortably at rest(if at all) and they are often uncomfortable when a horse tries to raise his back. Horses & saddles both change shape over time, so saddles should be checked for fit and adjusted if necessary at least every 6 months.

    I would also be concerned with how I was sitting - if you're leaning forward at all, not balanced well, you may be causing him to have to raise his head to balance you comfortably.

    If you're not sure if you're asking him correctly, considering how he was trained, I would be inclined to wait until you have an instructor, so you don't confuse him and undo his training. Collection should come from the horse's hind end, with 'headset' being a natural result of this. Concentrating on headset will likely teach him to do this without collecting his body.

    If you're going to ask for it, I would continue asking him to hold for only a few seconds. Ask him to do it while backing up, going up or down hills, to encourage him to use his whole body. Get him really good at doing this on cue whenever you ask, before asking him to hold it gradually longer. I would also be asking for it in a low key, low pressure sort of way & avoiding making it an intense, worklike affair - eg. Ask him for this behaviour on again, off again for 5-10 minutes in an hour session, rather than hassling him about it all day.
        07-06-2008, 09:33 PM
    Thanks for the advice! I will have to keep that in mind.

    I have to point out, I don't use saddles. I ride bareback only at the moment and I don't plan on using one. If it is my fault he's picking his head up, I will work on sitting back because I know I've gotten a habit of leaning forward now.

    When I ask him for collection I will usually tap on the reins, with that he will get his headset, and then I will put a little leg on him and he will pull up under himself but only at the walk...

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