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Is it really that simple? And a question

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  • worst ride ever horses
  • Milking the reins

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    12-03-2011, 11:12 PM
  #31
Yearling
You haven't convinced me that you did anything wrong, really. She was fresh and she had company, so the situation was different from some of the other times you've ridden. Sounds like you got her settled down a bit, all in the right direction, you did what you set out to do and came home safely, all in one piece, calmer than when you started out. A lot of people would say that's a gold star day!

My horse is antsy when we first start out and can be go-ey off and on. It's her one big flaw....and we're working on it. A gaited horse trainer gave us some really good advice. As long as she is walking (even though it's faster than we want) I don't punish her or try to shut her down. Instead, I sort of 'milk' the reins one at a time, in slightly slower rhythm than her leading foot. Not really pulling back but just firmer contact for a second. That soft action is enough to allow herself to calm herself down and slow down some, naturally. It really works. If we have room, I've done the circles, too, but she could do circles for an hour without getting tired so that's not as effective as 'milking' the reins or simply halting and pausing until she lowers her head and licks and chews.

Hang in there, it sounds to me like you're doing a lot right!
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    12-04-2011, 08:31 AM
  #32
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern    
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.
She is most definitely the type of horse who can just go..and go...and go...and go faster, faster, faster. FOR example, when we trotted today, it started alright, but as we kept going, she just got more and more excited, and decided she liked the addition of speed and began fighting to go into a canter. She can literally go for hours, and even if she's wanting to lay down and die, if you ask her for more, she'll give it. The faster and more uncontrolled you get with her, the more stupid and unfocused and excited she becomes. Even if I did run her into the ground until she was dead tired and ready to collapse (~6 hours later..), I am willing to bet anything she'd just be ready to do it again tomorrow, and she'd anticipate it then.

So then, I'm left with a dilemma. I can't just run her around out of control, or she just learns that she can run around out of control and it's real easy. I need to work with her on better control (clearly) and regulation of speed, but I can't do that when she's full of wind and piss or I won't achieve anything. I also can't really stifle her energy and speed and excitement, or we get a crowhop like I did today-eh, yesterday.

But, I think you are on to something with the rough terrain. I think that's why she's so much quieter in the forest, with the rocks and water and steep hills, and turns in the path-she needs to be kept busy, and the challenges in the forest just do that naturally for her. On the open ground, the only challenges are the plowed fields, and even over those, she does slow and concentrate a little bit.

Do you think I should spend a lot of time just riding her over plowed ground? Then, when she's (hopefully) a little quieter, with a little less energy, and a little more experienced with being 'out', I should reintroduce her to flat, wide open ground?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladytrails    
You haven't convinced me that you did anything wrong, really. She was fresh and she had company, so the situation was different from some of the other times you've ridden. Sounds like you got her settled down a bit, all in the right direction, you did what you set out to do and came home safely, all in one piece, calmer than when you started out. A lot of people would say that's a gold star day!

Hang in there, it sounds to me like you're doing a lot right!
Maybe...I just don't feel like I am I am never happy with how I did. There always seems to me to have been something I could have done better, something a more experienced rider could have achieved that I didn't.

Everything that my horse does, everything that happens just suggests to me that my horse is not well trained, that she needs a better rider. I know nothing comes instantly, but...I still get frustrated that I'm not good enough.

Quote:
My horse is antsy when we first start out and can be go-ey off and on. It's her one big flaw....and we're working on it. A gaited horse trainer gave us some really good advice. As long as she is walking (even though it's faster than we want) I don't punish her or try to shut her down. Instead, I sort of 'milk' the reins one at a time, in slightly slower rhythm than her leading foot. Not really pulling back but just firmer contact for a second. That soft action is enough to allow herself to calm herself down and slow down some, naturally. It really works. If we have room, I've done the circles, too, but she could do circles for an hour without getting tired so that's not as effective as 'milking' the reins or simply halting and pausing until she lowers her head and licks and chews.
I think I may try this. When you get too much in her mouth, my horse gets frustrated and doesn't like you just pulling. Do you think this will work with her?
     
    12-04-2011, 09:05 AM
  #33
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllThePrettyHorses    
That goes for the raciness too? The excitability? The unfocused...ness? The insecurity/excitement in the open?
You might want to consider only asking her to stand still when she is prepared to do it and only asking her to do it for ALMOST as long as she can. Horses that have a lot of go can build up some anxiety when they are made to stand longer than they are mentally prepared for. When I ride a horse like that I like to build in leg yields as soon as possible. Then when the horse can't stand still I can leg yield them and back them up and turn them on either end and just work on general handiness. This has two effects, first, it allows the horse to move its feet but does so in a way that is physically difficult for the horse. The horse will soon decide that it is much easier to just stand quietly than to do all that work. Second, the horse learns to wait on you for what to do next rather than filling in and deciding for himself what to do. I'm a very large man and I can't FORCE a horse to do much and I surely can't force one to hold still from the saddle but with proper training I can DIRECT the energy or life in a more positive and acceptable direction. Before long you'll have a horse that will stand still AND move his body any way you want him too.

As far as the water crossing, the first thing you should do is take your watch off and throw it in the water. That way you won't know how much time you're "wasting" trying to get across. Second, don't give up EVER. Your horse will get tired of fighting you and cross the water. It may seem like no progress is being made but as long as you control your emotions and don't get angry, nervous or frustrated then you will win. I apply pressure when the horse is moving any direction but forward and as soon as the horse moves forward or even thinks hard about it then I release the pressure. If the horse is staring intently at the water then I allow it to stand but as soon as its mind wanders (doesn't take long) then I expect a forward step and the pressure stays on until that step is taken. If the horse backs up five steps then I may ask for 4 steps before the pressure is taken off but I always try to take the pressure off before the forward movement stops. I rarely takes more than 15 minutes anymore for me to get a horse to cross but I remember as a kid how frustrating it was to not be able to cross a stream or ditch or walk past something "scarey" on the trail. Luckily, I had a dad that would pull me off my horse warm up my rear end and throw me back up in the saddle if I got whiney or crying so I learned there was no place for those types of reactions when riding.
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    12-04-2011, 04:15 PM
  #34
Yearling
ATPH, yes, I think the technique I use can work for you. It's not just for gaited horses; it was shown to me by a dressage-trained clinician who trains gaited horses and their owners. You can use the 'milking' of the reins along with the techniques that Kevin explains - make her think about where she's putting her feet by asking for the leg yields as Kevin describes. I taught my horse to half pass by doing that our first summer together to channel her energy.... which contributes to what Kevin describes as 'general handiness'.
     
    12-04-2011, 08:28 PM
  #35
Started
Yes, I had in mind to put her to obstacles, so she'll start to use her mind in negotiating them, to cause her to want to slow down. You're right in your observation that she thinks better with obstacles to negotiate.

It's great that you want to progress, but getting down on yourself for mistakes isn't the way! You learn from recalling your successes! Plus, your horse knows that you care, which is more important than how much you know!
     
    12-05-2011, 04:15 PM
  #36
Weanling
Ah, a much better ride today. I knew as soon as I got her out that we were going to have a quieter time than on Saturday. I didn't ride yesterday as it was raining, but I guess one day off is better than the week off she had before Saturday's ride.

I worked with her in the shop yard a bit, getting her moving off my leg and yielding and such, and then we went for a 'hack', as the English people call it. I rode her down the ditch towards the corner, trotted a little bit, and put her in the soft, deep plowed stuff when she started to get fast. The whole ride, she was very forwards, but that's just her and that's something I will need to learn to just deal with. Besides, she never tried to trot without a cue or run away-the worst she did was do her little power-walk thing.

She went along looking around, but in mild curiosity-not frantic, head straight up, nervous looking around. When we got to my dad's little patch of unplowed field down the road, we trotted a little and she was a bit fast, but I rode with one rein and kept her bent and she went alright on a loose rein. As we turned in the direction of home, she would power-walk off, so I had her circle and serpentine and meander our way back. I felt like, at one point in time, she used to get more worked up by stuff like this, but I think because today I stayed really calm and confident in myself, it had a positive effect.

I put her in the ditch on the other side of the road coming home, which is really rough and uneven, and the hard terrain made her really focus. Since she had been so eager to get home, when we got there, I did some schooling with her. It went decent, but not great, until I realized that I was being way too fussy with her mouth and I was a bit tense in my seat, so I did my best to correct myself and she went much, much better. I still have trouble just throwing my reins away. Even if I give her a big draped rein when she lowers her head and she's moving along nicely, I am always preparing myself to snatch it back up and correct her. I really need to work on that (among other things) with my trainer this weekend.

So, all in all, the only thing I really have to complain about is her desire to get home, or turn for home. What can I do about that? Besides that, I don't really have any problem with how either of us acted today. I think we did pretty good considering our limited experience, and I couldn't have asked for better under the circumstances.

I am going to have to go back to my trainer with a whole list of issues we need to work on. Oh well...I guess that's what I pay her to do. Answer my silly questions.
     

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