ASKING FOR ADVICE: on riding someone else's horse at a dude ranch.
I'm a beginner rider. I do believe what Cherie said in her thread is the essential truth: every time we mount a horse, we're teaching them what we expect from them and what we're willing to take.
I'm learning and I'm a good beginner, learning to exert control of my horse by foot and seat. I guess my weaknesses at this point are maintaining my body and mind during canters and overall hands and feet skills in certain exercise like tight hind and front turns and I'm working hard on staying calm minded.
So here's my question:
later this summer I will be riding the mare I rode last summer at a dude ranch. She a fine girl, stoic, calm and powerful - a Belgian draft. but she dives for weeds. this is dangerous on a downhill slope. and it's distracting.
it could be she just said the heck with it, this woman doesn't know how to ride and she can't stop me. at that time I didn't know how to ride at all. I had taken a couple of lessons before the trip so I wouldn't make a complete fool of myself (looking at the videos I realize I knew less than nothing). On her side I was told she has a hard mouth because she has riders who don't know how, all summer handling her reins like a steering wheel. and no one's teaching anyone how to ride at a dude ranch.
the wranglers told me to pop her so I did. she didn't care. to kick her - nope. she continued chomping. personally I wasn't comfortable with that way anyway. I don't want to go to war with a horse...that's ridiculous. so they put a feedbag on her and obviously that stopped the diving. but is that the only way to control this sort of behavior? isn't it disrespectful of her to ignore my requests? or is it just how it is with dude ranch horses? how can I work with her? or can I?
I'd like to reintroduce myself as she may or may not remember me so maybe we'd have a fresh start. I will only have a week but I have long stretches with her...twice a day for long climbs. there are trot and canter rides too, which I'd like to try with her. but I won't if she isn't taking direction by foot. I don't want to learn bad habits riding her either. I'd like to work on some skills if possible.
bottomline: I want to ride her because aside from her stubborn determination to behave as if she is at a buffet, she is calm and good natured. she is the horse I fell in love with riding because of. she did trot for me, although when she felt like stopping she stopped. ugh!
does anyone have any advice for me or am I hoping for the moon?
I wouldn't really put a label on her because of her diving. She might be disrespectful because all people do is pop her in the mouth, or she may think her job is boring, or -being a horse- she may feel that it is perfectly acceptable for her to eat whenever.
As for putting a feedback on her...that is a quick fix because someone advanced isn't able to train the horse from doing that.
As for riding her like that, keep the reins short enough (but not pulling on her) so that she can't put her head down. If she slows down while she eats, every time she slows squeeze her forward.
Hope you have fun, I'm jealous that you get to go on a horse vacation.
Wild, the problem is that you're only going to be with her a week, and the other 51 weeks of the year she has different riders. There's not a whole lot you can do to correct her behavior.
She may or may not remember you. Horses have good memories, but I'll bet she has so many people come and go in her life that one person probably doesn't make much of an impression.
do you carry a crop with you? When she puts her head down to eat, give her a slap with the whip (or the end of the reins if you don't ride with a whip) scold her with a no and kick her on. The whip lets her know you mean business and will not tollerate her ingoring you.
Thb the surprise of the whip might get her head up initially. Teach her to expect the whip/rein if she puts her head down and pretty soon you'll be able to correct her with a firm no and a kick on.
If you don't feel comfortable using a whip (I don't like using one, but they have thier uses sometimes) when she puts her head down pull up with one rein. She'll find it a lot harder to keep her head down when only one rein is pulling her head round. Tell her no!, pull her head round and push her on.
Another alternative is a grass rein which physically stops the horse putting its head down. There are some different versions but they all have the same basic principle
I've only ever seen the third one in action, but I assume the others work too!
with any stuff you use the person using must know how to use them right or it will do the opposite
I do like your idea about squeezing her forward. That may or may not work depending on where we are but I think just momentum may work for me if she's thinking about what I'm telling her.
The thing is...she doesn't slow. She just DIVES and STOPS simultaneously, like she's sized up that little patch of flowers about fifty feet back so she knows exactly where and when she's going for it. And then it's a sudden HEAD DOWN. Laughing here...it was interesting, but frustrating.
I agree with Speed on this one. It's going to be tough to make any strides with a week on a horse that is continuously ridden by different people. If you were to have more time with her then I would worry about fixing it.
I'd say let them put a feed bag on her and just enjoy your time.
I've been told she's a good horse, so perhaps (and believe me, I've considered this) she may have written my riding skills off as "hopeless dolt" and decided her way is more delicious anyway. :)
I thank you very much for your ideas. I think I will try them, providing she ignores me. I believe my skills were so ****ed poor (I'm embarrassed by what I saw on that video of me last year) she just did whatever she wanted because she's huge and she can. I didn't know how to assert myself in any convincing way.
(and NO I will not post that video as a lesson on how not to ride ;) )
The tack is provided so I think any changeup in that department is out.
I gotta tell ou, I LOVE this horse and I wouldn't do anything to make her miserable. She gave me the best week of my old life last year. She taught me quite a bit about horses. I KNOW how bad I was. She had to haul my stupid self up and down mountains while I did heaven knows what. I know now every movement conveyed to a horse is talk. So she had to listen to my gibberish for a FULL WEEK. All the while, she didn't rear up and dump me off some mountain. She stoically walked along, sometimes gave me a thrill by listening to me. ALWAYS halted for me and even backed up so I THOUGHT there might be hope for me.
I will ride her as best I can. thanks. :D
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