More on Forward Motion - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-10-2016, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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More on Forward Motion

We know teaching a willingness to go forward is good, but exactly do you teach that?

Pour in your ideas!! Specifically when just starting a horse, and with older horses that haven't had good training.
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-10-2016, 02:13 PM
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Had to do this with Gibbs, whose default was stop, and Troy whose default was slooooow...

What we did was do a lot of loose rein work, especially in warm up, just holding the buckle (well would have been on the buckle if we weren't western!) Then ask for forward, with a nudge, ask again, if nothing then a pop with the dressage whip, letting them go forward at whatever speed, then slowing them back down if needed. The whole exercise was to get them moving smartly off a small leg aid, and simply thinking forward. We built on that every session going through up and down transitions from and to all paces, and they both got a lot sharper in their response to cues, and a lot freer moving and forward in whatever pace we asked if them.

Once we had that, only then did we start to pick up the contact, and start to 'use' the energy that we had created by getting them working off the back end, in the beginning simply 'smartly forward' was good.

“Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity”
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-10-2016, 02:25 PM
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Hitting the trails a lot is often a great way how to teach a young horse forwards movement.
bsms, phantomhorse13 and Foxhunter like this.

I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
/James Wright/
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-10-2016, 02:38 PM
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A young horse who is started properly will have no problems moving forward.

When I start one in the round pen, they first know that cluck/kiss means trot/canter. They have a general idea then when I get on about forward. Leg pressure for forward comes secondary.

It's about making it easy for them. Most colts want to lock up and stop when you get on, so you have to free them up. I usually carry an over under so that I can encourage. If they are used to the lunge whip, they will know what this means. It's cluck, and let them go forward. I want them walking freely. If they do not I will encourage them with the cluck followed by a light swat with the whip. I don't knock them around or anything, usually you don't have to, but the light swat is enough to let them know there might be consequences.

I trot and lope mine out a lot. I don't just lope two circles and stop, I lope five or six or seven and then break to the trot. If you stop them too soon, or stop them every time, they will lock up and hunt the stop a little too much. The pressure comes off when they are moving forward.

Forward has to come before anything else, otherwise you can't really accomplish anything. Once they are free moving around the round pen, I will start to figure eight them in the round pen or make smaller circles. After that, I will ride them in the big arena and it's the same deal - Around the rail first, figure eights second, then more advanced steering. By easing them into it they learn they can move forward and steer at the same time. Usually by that point, when you are teaching lateral movements, they understand what forward means.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-11-2016, 07:33 AM
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In the beginning you initiate forward motion by making it uncomfortable to resist the command. You do this increasing pressure with your aids until you get a response. I always ask the horse for movement with a subtle cue as if they knew the command first, but if they don’t respond you apply as much pressure as required to get the desired response. Once you get movement you release the pressure, but not until you get forward movement or the gait requested. On a horse that is reluctant to move you may need to be very assertive during the first training sessions, but once they figure out what you are asking them to do you will find they soon start moving off with less pressure and eventually a subtle cue.

Each day I will ask a little more of the horse, requesting them to trot or lope for longer periods of time. Again enforcing the request aids if required.

Best of luck.
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-16-2016, 08:15 AM
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My current horse has made me very sensitive about keeping my hands out of his mouth. He needs
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-16-2016, 08:18 AM
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softness from me to keep him happily moving forward. And he appreciates it when I maintain proper balance.
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