Is it really that simple? And a question - Page 3

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Is it really that simple? And a question

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        12-03-2011, 04:16 PM
    Thank you everyone! I finally rode today.

    I got my friend over to ride the quiet older pony while I was on my mare. I switched bits so that my horse had the kimberwick. I really dislike just bitting them up and having to use force for control, but to me it didn't make much sense to have the quieter, easier horse in the harsher bit while the one who was more likely to give us problems was in the snaffle. So I figured that if I have the bit, I might as well use it.

    We started off and already my horse powered to the front. We rode across plowed field (she slowed herself accordingly), then decided to trot them for a while in one of the big open fields to get their energy worked out. My horse was okay at first, but about halfway down the field, she started getting faster and faster and more: "OMG this is FUN!" and began breaking into little canter strides.

    So I picked a corner of the field and did circles. Lots and lots and lots and lots of circles. At moments she seemed to be settling (she would give a big sigh and lower her head and even out), but then the next second, she'd be fighting for speed again. She actually crow hopped twice which really surprised me since it's been so long since she's last tried anything like that. But, when she did, I took her around and around and around in really small circles and made her work. Though I don't like to admit it, I think there may have been a pretty good chance that I was sending her conflicting signals and confused/frustrated her. That's no excuse for behaviour like that, but...I am willing to acknowledge she didn't do it out of meanness.

    Eventually, she settled. Not really, she was still be out, but at least she was not trying to bomb around with her head in the air. My friend (who had been sitting patiently waiting while I worked with my horse) and I went on. I stuck my horse, because she likes to power walk and get so far ahead, right behind the pony's plodding little butt. My friend trotted the pony ahead to make room so that my horse wouldn't be riding her up behind, and I'm pretty happy that my mare didn't try to follow. She walked more briskly and said she wanted to trot a couple times, but a gentle check with the reins or a bend around my leg and she fell back to walk and didn't make a fuss.

    It was really windy today, so we went back to the forest to get out of the bitter cold. As soon as we got in the trees, it was like a switch went off and my horse slowed down, paid attention to me and was just awesome. We went down (and up) fairly steep, snowy hills and across water/ice. I took pintophile's advice and didn't look at the water/ice, but held her steady with my reins and legs so she couldn't bulge out, and she went over it all.

    Alas, as soon as we emerged onto open field again, she was back to her eager beaver self, but it was manageable. We had no choice but to come home by the road, so I put the pony between her and traffic, and though at first she raised her head and got a bit insecure when cars passed, the pony was a huge help and a really calming influence.

    We did a bit of schooling when we got home. She wasn't the best she's been, but she was good enough so I was satisfied to end it.

    I am fairly happy with how she behaved. Besides the trotting/field incident, she was good. No spooking, she never bolted or ran away with me, she was really good about listening to all my cues (though she got a little bargy when we were trotting in the field).

    I know that the trainer who broke her liked to take her riding up north in the national parks, so I guess it's natural that she is good at forest riding. But around our house, we mostly have open fields so I'd like her to be better about that.

    How can I get her to calm down when in the open? I really don't run her, she can't be anticipating galloping off, but it seems that she is.

    And how do I get her better and quieter and easier about trotting (this mostly goes along with the question above), mostly in the open?

    Do I just ride her lots and get her lots of experience in the open? What can I do to ensure success?
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        12-03-2011, 04:32 PM
    Oh, also: out on the trail today, she really didn't want to stand still. She would for a short amount of time, then decide she would rather be going and would try to move off. I backed her up every time she moved without being told (it seemed to have little effect) and she didn't fuss about that or being pulled back to a halt, but she just wanted to go. I really dislike horses who won't stand still, so this is another thing I really want to work on. Will she become less eager and goey the more she gets out, as long as I keep correcting her for every infraction?
        12-03-2011, 06:49 PM
    Originally Posted by AllThePrettyHorses    
    Will she become less eager and goey the more she gets out, as long as I keep correcting her for every infraction?
    The short answer is "Yes".
        12-03-2011, 06:52 PM
    Originally Posted by iridehorses    
    The short answer is "Yes".
    That goes for the raciness too? The excitability? The unfocused...ness? The insecurity/excitement in the open?
        12-03-2011, 07:06 PM
    The more time, patience, and consistency, you put on your horse, the better he will get. The moment you slip and let him do what he wants because you don't have time to correct him or you just get tired of correcting him - then you lose and he takes a few steps backwards in his training. If you don't have the inclination or time to correct him, don't ride that day.
        12-03-2011, 11:13 PM
    My TWH is a finished trail horse and I know she goes through water because I believe the guy who sold her to me and I've had her go through water on organized trail rides for me.

    On pasture riding or other casual riding with water, my trick with first timers is to approach the water crossings on my way home and only if I have time to sit there in the saddle till the cows come home. Works about 100% of the time, with the pressure-release technique as needed.

    Having said that, I have to confess that there is this one little puddle in the gateway to the neighbor's pasture that I still haven't gotten her to walk through when there's water in it. One foot, maybe, but not power through.

    At first I was worried that she wouldn't go through any puddles or water for me, but I found that she will go through whatever on the trail, if it's on the trail.... she's just thinking it doesn't make sense to go through that puddle when there's 12 feet of grass all around it. The only time I have trouble with her now is in truly boggy marshy wetlands - she is looking for a better crossing and we have to discuss it on occasion. As we've gotten the hours on the trail, though, she's better and better about accepting that she can trust me to not ask the impossible.
        12-03-2011, 11:41 PM
    I'm inclined to allow the horse to skirt a puddle, just the same as a human would, really, if it's unnecessary to get wet feet. You can make the horse go thru it, but the horse won't think better of you for it. However, there's another option, which is to make a game out of it, to habituate the horse to go through the water that you ask it to: hold a treat at the other side of the puddle, & give it to her if she goes through it. Sounds to me like she's not scared (since she goes through any water on trail), so she's probably a more food-motivated type, who'd love this game! I'd also then give her a treat from ahorseback after she cooperates that way.
        12-04-2011, 12:03 AM
    You know, I've given treats to reward her for other things, mostly in the arena (standing for mounting, standing ground-tied, etc.) but I realize that I have never done it with that puddle! I'll give that a try, if she'll put a foot in there! Thanks for the idea.
        12-04-2011, 12:04 AM
    Originally Posted by iridehorses    
    The more time, patience, and consistency, you put on your horse, the better he will get. The moment you slip and let him do what he wants because you don't have time to correct him or you just get tired of correcting him - then you lose and he takes a few steps backwards in his training. If you don't have the inclination or time to correct him, don't ride that day.
    But what did I do wrong today? I feel like I failed-I didn't get her totally focused on or listening to me, I didn't get her really slow and relaxed trotting, I allowed her/caused her to crowhop...she's just so UP, so full of energy, and I feel frustrated with myself because I don't know how to properly react to that.

    What could I have done better today? What can I do to be a better rider next time?
        12-04-2011, 12:11 AM
    When she's "up", you match that, plus 4 ounces! Reverse psychology works with horses; after you say, oh, let me help you run up hill & down dale, over obstacles, etc., she'll say, can't we slow down? :) The worst thing to do is try & squelch her energy.

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