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MacabreMikolaj 11-23-2009 12:50 AM

Moving Forward?
So I've put maybe a half dozen rides on Jynx this fall, and it's sure a lot different then training my Arabs! :lol: She's extremely laidback, and very lazy to a fault - in virtually everything. When the herd runs, she's dead last and the first to drop out of the fun to graze. When I lunge, she'll go just as fast as I ask her to with whoa being her absolute favorite, naturally. I've never owned a horse that wasn't an Arab, and while all of my Arabs have been extremely laidback and docile, the gas pedal has never been an issue. I was hoping to find a happy medium, but I've gone from one extreme to the next! (Zierra's most hated gait is the walk, regardless of WHAT she's doing).

Jynx is very obediant but I work like mad to keep her going. We've only jogged under saddle briefly about three times now, keeping my rides on her extremely short and positive. In both gaits, my heels are prodding her with every step. If I stop working, that means whoa. I'm pretty sure this filly could spend an entire schooling session standing happily in the centre of the ring without moving a muscle.

Any suggestions? Should I just keep at it and hope she starts listening to my leg a little more? She's extremely unsensitive, and I've had to resort to a good boot before which offers absolutely zero reaction out of her. Would it be wise to use spurs at this stage to stop her from becoming "dead sided"? It's not that she doesn't know what the leg cue is, or even that she resents me on her back, she's just VERY laidback and quiet in absolutely everything she does, involving a human or not.

I'm also tempted to think she may be developing a bit of a "make me" attitude - she's quite a strong willed horse, and she actually moves out about ten times better if I get someone to stand in the middle of the round pen. Unfortunately, then she's focused on them and not me. As soon as we're solo, she just plods as slow as she can go without stopping.


kevinshorses 11-23-2009 01:11 AM

You've got to escalate your cues. Give her a little leg and if she ignorse you tap her with a crop. If she still doesn't listen tap harder. If she isn't moving like you want then really give her a wack. If you do that often enough then pretty soon she will anticipate whats coming next and move out when you put the leg on her.

JustDressageIt 11-23-2009 01:26 AM

I employ an ask, tell, demand system.
First, you "ask" nicely, with light pressure. (eg, if asking for the horse to move forward, squeeze with your calf, rock your seat slightly forward, and ask with your voice.)
If there is no response, you "tell" with a more aggression. (eg, bump with your calf, become more aggressive with your voice.)
If there is still no response, let all heck break loose, MAKE the horse respond. (eg, bump with the spur, smack with the whip.)
This system makes them learn that a quick response means they don't get a more agressive rider.

MacabreMikolaj 11-23-2009 01:31 AM

Thanks guys. I kind of assumed it was an escalating scale, but it's kind of odd how it's such a simple problem and yet one I've never really dealt with. She'll have times where she's happy to move out but it lasts for about a minute and then she just decides it's time to stop. I didn't want to escalate until she knew my leg cues properly, but it's safe to say she knows them and just stops caring because she's starting to realize there's no consequence to plodding along and attempting to stop frequently, hence why an individual in the round pen makes her change (she's gotten the whip touched lightly to her bum before for trying to be a slowpoke for lunging, and she learned in an instant it's easier to just listen to my voice commands).

JustDressageIt 11-23-2009 01:36 AM

Oh!! I completely forgot to mention.... have you tried training her to voice commands? It worked beautifully for a mare I worked with that was apprehensive under saddle. She was the Nervous Nelly type, so I didn't want to "let all heck break loose on her" as I said with the demand phase. I took it back to square 0 and taught her voice commands on the lunge and long-line. Then I had a friend lunge me on the mare, and re-affirmed the voice commands. Off lunge I could associate the verbal command with my leg pressure.

starlinestables 11-23-2009 01:37 AM

I second Kevin and JDI... :o) Perhaps work on building her stamina as well. longer periods of trot and canter on the lunge.

MacabreMikolaj 11-23-2009 01:45 AM

She's actually 100% voice activated on the lunge/round pen. I always employ voice commands, which was what made riding my Arab mare a cinch and a half. The first ride was a breeze because she simply listened to all my voice commands, upon which I began associating them with my leg. Jynx can do all gaits by voice, including altering her speed based on just saying "easy" or clucking more. Once I'm in the saddle? Apparantly she loses her hearing abilities :lol: She's a smart little filly, but I'm virtually re-training her voice commands in the saddle. Again, I don't think it has anything to do with not knowing them, but learning that I don't have the "ability" to really add a consequence - or so she obviously thinks. I've been patient with her up until now, as it's understandable she'll be confused the first few rides. She's walking and jogging on command now though, along with turning very nicely, listening to the bit so now it's time to stop being nice and give her a little more action methinks. She's smart as a whip, it only ever takes once or twice to reinforce the consequence but unlike my Arab mare, she tests me at every boundary. Being disciplined for one action means she learns to either do or not do that particular action, but it never carries for the NEXT action. (ie. trying to kick me, or being lazy on the lunge).

Shay-la is also training her filly, and she's about as laidback and "lazy" as Jynx - but in watching them, I've realized how badly Jynx tests me. Eve picked up her commands quickly and simply obeys Shay-la - when she's asked for a walk, she walks until she's asked to stop. I don't think it's ever even occurred to her to do otherwise, consequence or not. She just assumes there IS one. Jynx is definately one of those sly ones you have to keep on top of - if she can find a way to weasel around it, that's what she's spending her energy doing, thinking!

smrobs 11-23-2009 03:09 AM

Completely agree with all the previous posters. That is one reason why I like using split leather reins on my young ones. When they are sluggish to other cues, a good pop on the rump with a rein will sure get them moving. :D Plus, I don't have to juggle something like a whip or crop (but then I am not used to using them anyway).

SavvyHearts 11-23-2009 10:49 AM

To me it sounds just like what my trail horse used to be like...he needed motivation and I wasn't finding what motivated him.
I will be the one to disagree with everyone, that force is not needed, it's motivation that your horse needs.

What motivates your horse? Treats? Play point to point...set up different things in the arena, whether they be tires, barrels or whatever and place treats to them. First ask her to walk to a couple. When she gets there, she gets a treat...motivation for her to go...then try a trot. If you don't have barrels or whatever, a friend is great to use. Have your friend go to random parts in the arena and just stand there, ask your horse to trot to her..if she trots with little to no effort on your part, and at least goes half way, reward for that, then start being more demanding. "Ok I know you can trot and you get the game, how about now we trot all the way with little to no effort".

Hitting the horse on the rump with reins or a whip or spurring them in the sides will work, but it's called a quick fix. You want your horse to want to trot when you want them to...not to be forced to when you want to :)

My trail horse now, the second I raise my energy, he matches that energy, whether it be the energy for a trot, or canter. We played point to point for a couple months at each gate until he was just able to match energy

gypsygirl 11-23-2009 10:59 AM

with your leg pressure, soft med, hard, if they arent going forward cluck ONE time, if they still arent use your crop til they are. i usually tap them with the crop til they canter personally. if you have a really clear system with this they should catch on really quick so you wont have to hit them any more. i havent used a crop on my boy in a few years, but if i have to cluck he shoots forward instantly

i know many people dont like this method very much, but in extreme cases i will get on & use my crop til they canter. def not for all horses, but once they get that crop means run like heck the above method works very very well.

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