Well trained, BUT...
I see this a lot and it really perplexes me. People will post about a horse that is 'Well trained, BUT doesn't do **** or needs work in ****'. It just doesn't make sense to me.
In my mind, you can't call a horse well trained, or well broke, or whichever terminology you use, unless it can AT LEAST walk, trot, canter and gallop, balanced and in control. It should also be adjustable within each gait, know and be responsive to leg aids, know it's leads without fail, have perfect simple changes if not flys, and have a consistent and free back up and side pass. It should move forward freely and without resistance, and stop when asked without bracing or resisting, from any gait. It should also have no vices and have good ground manners. And this is a MINIMUM. this doesn't take into account any discipline specific skills, which is a whole different ball game.
Do people really think a horse is well trained in say Dressage, if it can't canter a 20m circle balanced and cadenced? Or a horse is well trained in any sense if it won't stand to mount, or won't stop when asked, or won't go forward when asked?
Do people just not expect enough from their horses? Or are naive people being told the horse is 'well trained' and believing it despite evidence to the contrary?
I think it's because so many people don't ever get the chance to ride a truly accomplished horse, so when they find a horse that's a little above what they think of as average then that horse translates into "well-trained."
I know I suffer from that syndrome (haha). I've only ridden one or two really well trained horses in the entire 9 years I've been riding and both of those were in the last 6 months. I even caught myself thinking that today with Lacey. I was riding along and she was basically moving completely off my legs. I very rarely had to even touch the reins for anything. I caught myself thinking "man! she's well trained!" but when I started thinking about it, she's just in the begining levels of "well-trained," imo. She's adjustable in all gaits and she's a fun ride. She moves off leg well and she stops and backs with just weight shiifts. She has excellent ground manners, compared to most horses I've been around (she has areas that she could be better but I figure, better than 90% of the horses I've ever worked with is pretty good). However, I don't know if she can do lead changes, simple or otherwise (I plan to find out/train for them a little this summer) and I know she doesn't understand sidepassing. There are other things I include in "well-trained" that she doesn't do yet, like step into a canter from a standstill or walk, she's not truly balanced at the canter yet but she's getting there, she dislikes water (a well-trained horse goes through water without hesitation), and there are other things. However, for just mucking around and doing trails, Lacey is trained to the nines compared to your average trail horse, at least in this area.
I think people just don't expect enough from their horses. I mean, I never really expected much from Lacey, to tell you the truth, but look what I got! People around here are always telling me about what a good horse she is, when she really isn't that extraordinary. I mean, yes, she is very well behaved, but any horse can be like that with the right guidance.
That's just my take on it. I completely agree with you on this. I mean, the other day I was riding with a girl who was riding a bully of horse who was just pushing her all over the place and he kept stopping to eat, ON THE TRAIL, and she was talking about how well trained he was. Um, excuse me? haha
Lol! I do have to admit that Bundy, while in my view is on his way to being well trained, is a massive greedy guts and will try to snatch bits of grass while we ride if I'm no paying attention! He gets what for every time, though, lol.
That's a good point - There are a lot of people who may not have seen, let alone sat on a relatively well-trained horse, even in the general sense.
I guess I expect a lot from my horses - It boggles my mind that people can ride for years on a horse that has no concept of moving off the leg, that is one of the first things I teach any horse I ride. But I suppose you don't know what you don't know! And you can't miss it unless you know what it is to have it.
I think it's a bit sad that people settle for mediocre horses (Well, not the horses themselves, but the quality of training/behaviour they settle for) because they don't know how much better it can be. I don't know how you would get around it, either. If they don't want to learn, and improve, then there's not really much you can do I guess.
To be honest, I don't understand why you care. If someone is perfectly happy with their horse than I see nothing wrong with the horse not having a perfect education.
On the other hand, I do strongly agree that it is important to have a basic and solid education in the beginning to improve both well-being of the horse and rider/owner in the coming future.
Although, like I said before, it isn't your horse or your problem if the horse isn't as knowledgeable as you would like him/her to be.
What I do mind, though, is people calling disobedient, disrespectful horses well trained. it gives the more naive members of the horse world an incorrect view of a well trained horse, and effectively sets them up to accept medicority as the norm - After all, if a 'well trained' horse can't canter a 20m circle, what hope does their backyard pony have?
Mine has months of training under his belt and he's still green. LOL. I remember I was at a show and signing up for the green class and the lady asked me if I was sure he was green. I was like, he's 3...and she said, a horse could be 2 and not be green... GOOD GOLLY! LOL... my poor guy is now 4 and still green...
Now clarified, I do agree. I do see people having misbehaving horses, turning back around and saying they are very well trained.
I think you answered you own question in your original statement! I think far too few people know what an actual well trained horse IS. Most people seem to think if you can climb on, point, and go, the horse is "well trained".
Anyone can climb on my gelding Claymore and putt around, even small children. He's calm and responsive to basic commands, he can do trails, and handle relatively (I say relatively because at a canter he is still less responsive than walk or trot) well at all gaits, and steer completely off of leg cues, but for all intents and purposes I still consider him completely green. He has little collection or balance to his movements. He has no real body awareness and still has soooo much finesse to learn. So in my opinion he's FAR from finished. Sure, he could be a perfectly suitable trail mount, as is, for the rest of his life, but in my opinion, he's at the bare minimum for general riding purposes right now.
Does it really matter?
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