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Vidaloco 05-14-2009 07:32 PM

1st time trainer
As some of you may know I am attempting to saddle break my 2 fillys (3 years old) myself. We have been doing time in the round pen just working on walking out, whoa and back up.
I've started putting a bit in their mouth and letting them walk around with it. I control them with a lead rope mecate sort of set up and rope halter from the saddle.
They are both doing super, Saro is starting to move off of voice commands and Shiloh is doing great pretty much just off leg pressure.
I have started getting them to give their head and turn in the direction I want them to go.
I have started to keep both the rope halter "reins" and the reins attached to the bit in my hands so they start to associate the bit feel with the head pressure.
I'm really exaggerating my leg cues. Way forward for whoa and back, and really tap tap tapping for go.
My trainer friend has been out of town for a couple of weeks so I'm pretty much winging it. Does any of this sound like the right thing to do? I'm also limiting my sessions to about 15 min. is that too little or to short on time? We are on about the 10th ride, should I be further along than this? Green broke is just learning to go forward, whoa, back and left or right, Right? Isn't that what most trainers will teach them if I sent them off to be broke?

I'm just so afraid I'm going to mess them up, Please reassure me ;-)

Midwest Paint 05-15-2009 06:42 AM

As long as you dont exaggerate your cues beyond what your trainer left on, any light work you are doing sounds fine. 15 minutes is not too short, thats about on target with a good solid implimented plan. With greenbrokes, its always about slow and minor steps of progress. You dont want to overload them and cause frustration on the horses part!

Vidaloco 05-15-2009 09:09 AM

So far I've been able to tell when they are confused and frustrated. Shiloh will stop dead, kinda get a bunched up feel and give a little buck :lol: Its great when they do the lick and chew so I know they understand....finally
Thanks for the response.

smrobs 05-15-2009 10:13 AM

It sounds like you are doing great so far. I agree, don't exagerrate your cues TOO much but just enough to let them know that yes it is a cue and not just a random leg movement. 15 minutes is not too little time but I tend to spend 30 to 45 minutes in the round pen and then when I go on trails, I will go several miles at a pretty good clip. Keep up the good work. :)

Curly_Horse_CMT 05-15-2009 11:29 AM

It sounds like you know your horses and when they have had enough :-) Keep up the great work!

MaieuticManege 05-17-2009 11:03 PM

It sounds like you are doing good, but remember that you still want to start really small with your cues and then work up. Don't just start at exaggerated, but you might need to go there in order to get the response you want.

MacabreMikolaj 05-18-2009 12:10 AM

I'm pretty much going to reiterate what everyone else said, but ask why you're moving your legs so much for the cues? Was this something you were told to do?

For me personally, I wouldn't worry about things like backing up right now. It's not neccesary, and really is more of a command that should be taught once the horse is already balanced and soft on the mouth. It sounds like you've done very little bridle work with them so far, so I'm concerned you may be confusing them by trying to train multiple manevours all with your legs.

Ultimately, the leg signal for back up and go shouldn't really change - what changes is the level of resistance in your hands, and the level of resistance in your seat. Once you start teaching things like leg yield and sidepass, you may be overloading them with the amount of things you're asking for with your legs.

Anyway, no, I don't think you're in any worry about messing them up, and you're completely welcome to ignore my advice, I'm definately no professional horse trainer, just my opinion from working with them for so long. Good luck!

Chavez 05-18-2009 12:17 AM

Sound like yoiu have a very good base..good luck

Vidaloco 05-18-2009 12:07 PM

I've been doing ground work with them for 3 years. They know the walk, whoa, back, lateral and vertical flexing, giving to pressure at rear and fore quarters. Its just transferring that to the saddle. They are great with the face when I give the cues that way. I just want them to rely more on leg, verbal and seat cues.
I move my legs I guess because thats the way I ride. On my mare I try to stay out of her mouth completely just using my legs, seat and neck reining. Thats where I would like the fillys to progress to.
Saro is now walking out, whoa and backing pretty much on verbal cues alone now. Shiloh on the other hand refuses to go forward unless I twirl the reins or a quirt. She is beautiful for the whoa and back.
My trainer friend has started me out doing the walk out, whoa and back. Saro has progressed to the arena to circle cones and obstacles.
I'll take everyones advise and try to use a less exaggeration on my leg cue.

I'm assuming we do the whoa and back because the cues are pretty much identical

free_sprtd 05-18-2009 01:17 PM

I think you're doing fine. I remember I had the EXACT same questions when I first started Thunder.. I took it slow, a ride a week maybe, and then stepped it up a little bit. I really depends on your timeline goal. For me it was I wanted him to be pretty good on trails by summer. Because I knew that he was mentally and physically ready for it, I started pushing it a little more. I just recently had the vet out for a check up and he said I don't work him enough (1-2 a week and almost never into a sweat) because he had so much soft muscle and a layer of fat over it, and it was a bit much for a 3 year old he said... so now I need to step it up again. he's ready for some real training now, I just need to do it.

Since you know your girls so well, just wait til you feel they are in a good spot to move forward and try something new. I learned to back up after a few rides. It's really simple, just sat deep, and brought my hands into my belly button and he backed. At first it was a little confusing and he resisted, but then put it together and got it at the first try. Plus since you have done so much ground work, you have that on your side. As far as the reins go, I personally just tie off the lead and just use the reins, but then have the lead line after I get off so I'm not yanking on the bit from the ground. We actually just started riding without it every once in a while. So I guess ultimately, what is your goal for them and how far would you like them to be by when? that will set if you're behind or not. If it doesnt matter when they are broke, then maybe set small goals, like by this date, I would like to have them learn to back. Horses learn so fast, most simple things that have already been imprinted don't take more than a lesson or two to figure out, and then it's just practice from there. And once they learn those simple things, you can add to it like using those cues and tools in different situations, like going in between poles set up like this l l and over logs and being on their back while re-despooking. Your doing great and all your feelings are natural. Sorry for the book!!!

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