How to teach a SSH?
I have recently been asked to train a SSH and I have never worked with a gaited horse before. He rides nice,when in an enclosed space, but 1)he doesn't quiet understand the reining concept and 2) I for one do not know how to ask for each of his gaits.He's 8 years old and was ridden before I got ahold of him, but I have no idea how he was reined. I've tried everything I know to steer him. He does respond a little to direct reining but really over bends his neck and tries to spin around completely when I only ask for a small bend (the corner of the arena).
His owner and the lady who owns the barn where he is boarded wants him to be a trail horse. Well, I took him out in the bigger field today and walked him along the perimeter (all trees) and he freaked at one end of the field. The thing is, there are deer EVERYWHERE around here and he flips out at them. He refused to go anywhere near the end of the field that possibly had deer in the trees. I would appreciate any advice on "deer de-spooking" :wink:. He's definitely terrified of them and that end of the field. Even as I was walking him back towards the barn he acted as if he was going to rear :shock:.
Walk him in hand around the field. Let him stand and watch the deer. When he's near them, let him graze some. Grazing releases endorphins, helping him to relax and feel positive.
Also, try putting some Vick's on his nose. This will help block the smell of the deer, which should help calm him some. Once he's used to the sight of them, stop using the Vick's and let him get used to the smell of them.
As for his reining, try an indirect rein, kind of like a neck rein and direct rein at the same time. Pull your turning hand out just a little and back just a little. Pull your off side hand in toward his neck, but not back. Look in the direction you want to go, shoulder's back. Step your foot into the stirrup and away from the horse a little on your turning side. Put your leg against him on your off side. Does that make sense?
Have you tried neck reining him?
If all else fails, start on the ground from step one, like he's a totally untrained horse. Work on giving to bit pressure, slowing working toward ground driving.
what kind of bit?
to get a horse to single foot or rack, raise your hands about belly button height, separate them by about 6-8 inches, and "pick" your rein; that is, lightly bump each side independently; at the same time squeeze with your knees and kiss/tap to go forward.
the despooking thing is the same as with a "normal" horse :lol:
For the reining part, start him back on the ground if he doesnt fully understand the concepts in the saddle. Once he understands it, then go from there. Time, time, time will desensitize him to spooking.
I have been reining him like you described and he is beginning to get the hang of it. It really helps him when you look where you want to go. I think when I do that (look) and the rein & leg motions, he connects them to understand where to go. Good Sonny! :D
I was already planning on hand walking him to the end of the field, it just that I am worried that if he pulls away from me, I don't want him dangerously dragging a lead rope behind him....
Thank you all for the help so far! :wink:
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