Next Step to Finishing my Horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-31-2016, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Next Step to Finishing my Horse?

Sorry if this is a little lengthy, but I want to try to give you the best picture of myself and my horse.

I have a 10yr old grade gelding that I have been riding since he was 4. I have been training him on my own using natural horsemanship techniques and donít really know what to do with him next. He is bomb-proof, knows all his basics very well, just hasnít had a lot of higher-level training. He knows haunch turns, leg yielding, beginner jumping, trail obstacles, and even some tricks. I donít compete very much with him, just a fun show about once a year in western pleasure events. I mainly use him for trail riding, but I still want him to be a well-rounded horse. My horse is very smart and willing, loves to learn new things, and I love training him. I try to keep him occupied and thinking as much as possible, but Iím not sure which direction to go to take his training further. My basic thoughts were I could teach him collection, improve his jumping, or driving, but I also want other ideas on what I could do with him.

For collection, I was thinking I would like him to move more correctly and athletically, but I do not know how to train a horse to collect. I also was wondering if he would even need to know collection since I mainly ride western and do not compete with him.

I enjoy jumping with him, and he seems to enjoy it too, but I feel like I would need a coach to take him further than where he is now. One thing about my horse is that he is short, a cob-sized horse with a stocky build like a quarter horse. He jumps 24Ē right now and Iím not sure he has the right build to jump much more than that.

I have experience working with driving horses and have a lot of fun training it, but I have never trained a broke riding horse to drive. Iím not sure how difficult it is, and would my horse have trouble transitioning back and forth between riding and driving?

Iím open to ideas!
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-31-2016, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaFanda View Post
Sorry if this is a little lengthy, but I want to try to give you the best picture of myself and my horse.

I have a 10yr old grade gelding that I have been riding since he was 4. I have been training him on my own using natural horsemanship techniques and don’t really know what to do with him next. He is bomb-proof, knows all his basics very well, just hasn’t had a lot of higher-level training. He knows haunch turns, leg yielding, beginner jumping, trail obstacles, and even some tricks. I don’t compete very much with him, just a fun show about once a year in western pleasure events. I mainly use him for trail riding, but I still want him to be a well-rounded horse. My horse is very smart and willing, loves to learn new things, and I love training him. I try to keep him occupied and thinking as much as possible, but I’m not sure which direction to go to take his training further. My basic thoughts were I could teach him collection, improve his jumping, or driving, but I also want other ideas on what I could do with him.

For collection, I was thinking I would like him to move more correctly and athletically, but I do not know how to train a horse to collect. I also was wondering if he would even need to know collection since I mainly ride western and do not compete with him.

I enjoy jumping with him, and he seems to enjoy it too, but I feel like I would need a coach to take him further than where he is now. One thing about my horse is that he is short, a cob-sized horse with a stocky build like a quarter horse. He jumps 24” right now and I’m not sure he has the right build to jump much more than that.

I have experience working with driving horses and have a lot of fun training it, but I have never trained a broke riding horse to drive. I’m not sure how difficult it is, and would my horse have trouble transitioning back and forth between riding and driving?

I’m open to ideas!
(Strong opinion alert)
Collection is a huge topic. First thing I'd say is it is not about the way your horse carries their neck and head, the purpose is to drive with the hind quarters rather than pull with the front end. How it looks exactly depends on the build of the horse.

Morgans for example are more or less naturally collected and you don't see them moving around with their chin tucked into their throat. A lot of that look has to do with how the neck is set on the shoulders for the breed.


A coach with experience could really help with some of those things. You might consider auditing some clinics as they pass through your area since that is fairly cheap and you've had success teaching on your own.

Have you thought about some kind of competitive Western trail? Look up the EXCA (Extreme Cowboy Association). It is basically competitive trail riding with all kinds of obstacles and challenges. It looks so fun, at some point I'm going to give that a try myself.

Some youtube videos
https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...me+cowboy+race
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-31-2016, 11:23 AM
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Any horse, whether you ride English, western,show, or just trail rides, benefits from learning collection
You say you take him to fun shows, in western pl events, so don;t know how you do that if your horse does not know collection, or do you just run games on him?
Anyway, learning the basics of collection , will help you to move on to other things, like nice collected flying lead changes, able to ride a tight trail course, ect
I both show and trail ride, and you can certainly trail ride without your horse knowing collection, as my hubby ;s horse knows nothing about collection
However, I teach it , as I show many of my horses, and just like to have it on nay horse, even though I don't use it on trail rides
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-31-2016, 11:30 AM
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I think the Op has the idea that collection is not about the head set, as she wants her horse to move more athletically.
I think most people here, know collection starts in the back, and that a horse can have a head set, yet be strung out, and on the front end, often referred as being in a false collection frame.
Most here also know level of head carriage is also related to conformation, in the way the neck ties in, and varies with breed.
Thus, the Op needs to learn how to effectively ride with more legs then hands, know when to hold and drive, when to release, get total body suppliness, have the horse move driving up from behind, while respecting that bit barrier, which is either maintained with light contact, or with the horse learning to respect an invisible bit barrier, riding on a loose rein, yet collected, with shoulders up, light in front.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-31-2016, 02:20 PM
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is there an area that you feel is your horse's 'weakness'? that might be where you'd like to focus. or, conversely, his strength might take you further in that direction. only you know these.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-31-2016, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jgnmoose View Post
Have you thought about some kind of competitive Western trail? Look up the EXCA (Extreme Cowboy Association). It is basically competitive trail riding with all kinds of obstacles and challenges.
Yes! I have looked into competitive trail, and it does look fun! Unfortunately it isn't always around in my part of town and I don't really want to haul my horse long distance. That's a great suggestion, but I am looking for more things that I can do day-to-day while I ride.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
You say you take him to fun shows, in western pl events, so don;t know how you do that if your horse does not know collection, or do you just run games on him?
At the fun shows in my area, there are more backyard riding horses that don't have a high level of training. One of the only shows I do is hosted by an equine rescue and their rescue horses are part of the show. Most of them are pretty green and aren't competition horses :) Some people call them schooling shows, that are intended more for beginner/green horses.

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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
is there an area that you feel is your horse's 'weakness'?
My horse can get herd-sour if not ridden very much, and he is a VERY easy keeper (AKA fat), so I'm trying to get him exercising more, which is one of the reasons I am asking for suggestions.
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-31-2016, 03:27 PM
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A fat easy keeper, benefits form learning to be alone, just standing tied or in a dry lot, by himself, versus exercising those chewing muscles, Lol!
Not saying don't ride him more, but horses benefit so much, just learning to accept being separated from the herd, even when not ridden, and also do not need to chow down pasture full time!
After you ride him out, tie him up for awhile-alone
Do you have easy assess to trails, where you can put in miles,or do you need to haul?
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-31-2016, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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He is still being boarded right now, so I can only get him separated from the other horses when I am there. I have been riding him more and he is a lot better about being herd-sour. He will just neigh once in a while to make sure his buddies are still there. I just need new things to do while riding him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
Do you have easy assess to trails, where you can put in miles,or do you need to haul?
There are areas to ride him where he is. I usually choose to ride the trails and have started to trot/canter the trails for endurance training. The only problem with the trails at my barn is that the path surrounds the pasture, so my horse can still see his buddies while I ride.
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-31-2016, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jgnmoose View Post
A coach with experience could really help with some of those things. You might consider auditing some clinics as they pass through your area since that is fairly cheap and you've had success teaching on your own.
I'm seconding this! Find a trainer you respect and have a couple of sessions with them. A good trainer can find the strengths and weaknesses in a horse by the end of a ride, and can tell you what things you should be working on at home to improve them. If you buy one session at a time, it tends to be pretty cheap, too. I know my trainer charges the same amount for a training ride on a horse as she does for a private lesson, and you'll learn a lot from a couple of them.
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