Whats next? Video links (youtube) included
Hello.. For those of you who dont know, i have a 4YO gelding who had a bit of an attitude problem. Basically the long and short of it is he has had 5 homes in 4 years (im his 5th) and his previous 2 owners was a 17 year old girl who didnt have a clue, and a gypsy. He doesnt trust humans and hasn't had real time and work spent on him.
I have him now on a new yard (he loves it), new tack, rugs ect everything. he is now ridable. and i am schooling him to the best of my abilities. I will walk, halt, and trot him confidently. but when he decides he has had enough he will try taking me to the gate. i never had any control from him during this napping. so a friend of mine mentioned a Myler combined bit instead of the snaffle. she said. try this for a few months or until he has more respect for you as a rider and the bit, then go back to the snaffle. SO... today was day 2 with this new bit and i ADORE it! I am very light handed, and i pride myself for being so.. he still leans a little on the bit, but im letting that slide at the moment just until he is used to the different pressure.
I would like to know what i should work on next. His balance was very bad. as bad as cutting all corners so the school was actually a circle! now i can ride him calmly, and not rushed through every corner, and trot circles. I do not want to head into a canter until all aspects of trot have been established, but i dont want to take him to advanced trotting without a rewarding canter somewhere in-between (i lose control with canter, he will take off around bends and hurry back to the gate and try barging through. so until his manners improve, i do not feel confident to canter him. he is learning very quickly though !)
I know i will be getting "work on his manners first" but i am doing that with creating something new in the school to do. he can serpentine through the school in walk and trot without rushing, he can have a beautiful flowing trot picked up at any point in the school, we are even beginning to tackle trotting poles (shown in video). I'm stuck with the 'what's next' question. I dont plan on doing it right away, not until he has learned to think about his feet with poles confidently, without clipping them, or stepping on them and skidding off (yeah he done that haha)...
Any advice given will be welcomed ! Has anyone else been here and done this??:oops:
This is when i first met him. and being honest since then i been in control. his owner didnt have a clue so i took charge. ended up loaning him, then buying him.
This is now. (please excuse the napping.. i am working on this :) )
Day 2(With ground poles)
What do we think?? I dont know 100% what im doing, but i wont do anything unless i know both me and him are comfortable with doing so. I also have support from other people on the yard. (plus i do my research too)
As for your nerves about beginning to canter with him, if you haven't already you probably want to make sure he is good at the one-rein stop (and that you can sit it confidently without losing your seat!). My horse used to have an issue with bolting in the canter and cutting corners, and it used to make me nervous and therefore tense because when I pulled back to slow him, he would try to run against the bit instead. Teaching him the one-rein stop not only gave me a way to immediately get back down to the slower gaits or a stop whenever I needed and to gain control if he bolted, it also gave me more confidence as I knew that if things did get out of hand, I had an "emergency plan". Of course, the one-rein stop should only be used when it is necessary; it can be hard on the horse's joints and also plunges them onto the forehand. Establishing proper response to bit, seat and vocal cues for slowing and stopping should be done as soon as possible at the canter. You can always work on the canter on a lunge line too and gain respect on the ground before you move into the under-saddle cantering.
You mentioned he also has some balance issues. From the video it appears you have already made progress with this, but to further increase his balance more circles, serpentines, figure-eights and other off-the-rail work will help.
If you have come to a plateau with arena work and are looking for more things to keep him (and you) entertained and learning new skills, putting up trail courses with bridges, tarps and other obstacles could be a good experience. If you have a place to ride outside of the arena, this could also be good for your horse. Personally, my horse gets bored and sour if he is only worked in the arena, so I like to keep his mind fresh by riding through an even-footed pasture or even hitting the trails at least once a week. Working on "patterns" with lots of transitions could also keep you two entertained and learning! There are lots of ideas of where you could "go next" with your work.
Another quick note. From the way you make it sound, your horse has learned that the gate is his way out of work, and therefore when he gets frustrated or decides he is done for the day, this is where he heads. To counteract this, you can do a simple exercise to "rewire" his brain to no longer think the gate is his escape route! First of all, make sure you do not dismount him in the same place every time. If you always dismount at the gate, he will learn to head there when he is frustrated in hopes of ending the riding session, the same way a horse who is always dismounted in the middle of the arena may go to the inside when he is frustrated. Now, for the actual breaking of that connection for your horse, you can repeat a very simple concept either on the lunge line or under saddle. Basically, you want to make him work hard when he is in range of the gate, and then when he moves off away from this area, reward him and let him slow down to an easy walk. Repeating this long enough makes him realize that he actually doesn't like the gate as much as he thought he did! You can use this approach with any situation where a horse is attempting to evade work by going to an "exit zone".
It seems like so far you have done a wonderful job with him. :) I wish you two luck in the future!
The above post said a lot of what I would say. Great post!
I can see that he has come a long way. You ride him really very nicely. In fact, you have a terrific seat and a very sympathetic way of riding so I can see that your horse trusts you and your hands.
Now that he is exhibiting a good, rythmic trot and some balance, I would work more on encourageing him to reach forward and downward so that he elongates his neck and raises his back and steps through the contact. This helps to build the feeling of engaging the hind quarters and working toward the bit, over the back.
Yoiu will want to teach him to carry the bit forward and downward by kind of openning the front door little by little. You don't drop the contact, and you dont' just let him hang his head. But you use a kind of "tickling" motion of you hands and a giving forward to follow him if he reaches forward. Howver, maintain contact. I was taught to widen my hands a bit and lower them, though I often see people loweing their hands TOO much, trying to pull the head down. You only lower your hands if he lowers his head first. You follow the mouth, but you have a "breathing" contact. Trot along and see if you can think of increasing his step through, imagining him stepping up and through the triangle you create between your two hands and his mouth. Don't lean forward too much, keep chest up and leg on.
When you get this trot, push for impulsionm and when you get a surge, if he wants to bring his head up, let him but keep a good contact and I bet you will feel him actually come onto the bit, give at the poll and momentarily it will feel really good. Then work at stretching him back down and out. This sort of longitudianl stretching is really good for him.
Go over the trot polls with him in this stretch, pushing. Put them closer together so that he must stay engaged and lifting his feet. As they are, they are too far apart so he doesn't find and keep a rhythm.
Have him step his front feet only over the trot polls . STop and make him stand . Then see if you can get him to side pass down the poll length. Settle for a few steps at first, then change and ask for step over. Work on refining your comminication from "step sideways, not over" to "now step you hind over and let's go".
Weave in and out of the trot poles.
If he tries to shimmy out of one, turn around and go back to it again, dont' leave it.
Stop him and back him up, too. Then try to leave the stop straight into a trot.
Do turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches. Use the fence to stop him while you face right into it, and make his haunches turn around his forelegs.
I would also put him on a long line and play with him unmounted sending him over small cavaletting and such.
YOu are doing a terrific job and you ride really super well.
Ladies, i must say how much of a relief it is to hear you both say im doing good with what im doing. I gave him a day off today.. he deserved a bit of play time in the 8 acre field with the boys.
To mix things up i do agility (handy pony) on a Thursday in-hand (headcollor only) with atleast 3 other horses. Not a thing will spook him, even if there is another horse spooking infront of him, he will do nothing at the same 'scary' object. (will post vid).. I rode him bareback with a snaffle bridal on this video though. he seems to enjoy it.
Tiny.. Remember i mentioned he wouldnt lunge? Well HALLELUJAH he does now. not 100% quiet, but hes doing it with only the odd *head down try run off* tantrum. He had a good session with me doing serious ground work on the lunge. then i tried him for 20 mins the next day swapping and changing both reins walk trot and halt. So i think tomorrow to keep his brain working i will lunge him working on the 'gate issue'.. Then then next day i will place the poles closer together and in a different space in the school... The only reason i had them so far apart is because thats his first time over so many at once. hense why i places a single to the side so if he cant quite go over all 4, he has 1 to get his mind and feet warmed up. going over the set of 4 on both reins he was a little unsure.. but i suppose it is alot of feet to think about all at once and balance me too.. So at least he tried, and went over them anyway. Next time, we will up the steaks :D
Wonder when it is time have trotting poles raised on 1 side say ... first pole, the left is raised, second pole the right is raised third pole left is raised.. kind of thing. Does that help pick their feet up and find the middle better?? he likes drifting to the edge of the poles when hes not sure.
Bareback handy pony (just for fun)
In-hand, handy pony
Thank you ladies, i like to hear im doing things right! puts confidence in not only me, but him too :D xx
What is "handy pony"?
Cute video of you on bareback.
Handy pony is basically an obstacle course for a horse and rider to negotiate their way through. It helps de-sensitise them to spooky bags on the floor, or big scary flags.. it helps strengthen the partnership between horse and rider.. some courses have a gate placed somewhere in the school and you have to open the gate, back up holding the gate, walk calmly through and close the gate... ridden. its a good thing to work on.. if you go onto youtube it comes under 'horse agility' too :) x
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