Focusing the Horse
What are some things ya'll do to keep your horse focused?
My mare is 6 years old and still green. Her attention span is still lacking, apparently, because in our lesson yesterday she was all over the place. She's very nosey and checking out EVERYTHING. She would pay attention for a bit then stare off at the field or at her boyfriend Charlie that was walking around. At times she would listen to my commands but I could feel that she wasn't 'all there' because she was still focusing on other things. By the end of the lesson she was much better, but I'm curious as to what you guys do to keep your horse on track and pay attention to what you're doing. I don't expect her to be totally focused the entire ride - she is still young - but I want to get her thinking more.
Is it just when riding that she loses focus? Does it happen when you are working with her on the ground?
It's sometimes on the ground, too. I only just bought her. She came to the boarding facility earlier this month and still just seems so distracted by the other horses and everything.
I do a lot of serpentines, side passes, weaving objects, circles, and zig zagging, with my mare, who also has a young horse attention span.
^^^ I agree with that. She may be getting bored, so when riding (atleast for now) try to switch up what you do and keep her guessing. As for the ground, an exercise I do with my younger guys may help you: when on the ground (preferably somewhere you will be riding) have her stand and you walk a couple paces in front of her, turn and face her (it is best to have a longish lead rope) and let the lead rope have minimal contact between you and her halter (a slight bow towards the ground whilst still in your hand). the point is to have her attention on you: she should be facing you with her ears (atleast one) pointed towards you. if she turns her head to look at a distraction, gently wiggle the lead to get her attention again, I usually do this for a bout 3 mins, until i can count to 10 before she looks away.
Thanks guys! Last time I rode I spent little time on the rail. I did circles, serpentines, diagonal change of directions, etc. She did really well and focused more but she had her distracted moments. I'm going to introduce more cavalettis and ground poles. I also have to get her to bend better to the right.
I'll definitely so more groundwork, too. I have a Clinton Anderson book to refer to
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Keep her busy, busy, busy. Switch up what you are doing a lot. Too much repetition will bore her pretty quick. Set up some trail obstacles, get her used to walking over tarps, dragging ropes, dragging tires, backing up in a circle, going around barrels, etc.....
Bending, moving off the leg, roll backs, keep her moving and focussed on your leg and hands.
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