<span class="threadTitle">basic basics. green ottb & out of shape rider</span> - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-28-2015, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb <span class="threadTitle">basic basics. green ottb & out of shape rider</span>

I have recently had the opportunity to start riding a very green gelding named Moose, who has amazing potential. He is an 8 yr old ottb. I dont know a ton about him but he has been off track for about 2 yrs and spent the last year being loved but not having very much training. Ive only ridden him once. We worked on walk and whoa, both of which he does very well in a straight line. Both of us are very out of shape which I know is contributing to the minor difficulties we have. He is very dead to leg and does not seem to understand that applying one leg means move over, or that leg with a little rein means go in that direction. ive been riding for mny yr nd have ridden plenty of green horses. None however were as clueless as he seem to be. I love the fact that I'm able to work with a clean slate but im scared im going to teach him bad habits. Im willing to go slow as he needs to but I think once he knows he has a job and a person he will learn quickly and happily. My question is what is the best way to teach these basic things like how to turn properly. Ive apent alot of time teaching leads and jumping, headset and forward movement, but never "how to turn without getting my knee taken off on a tree/fence/standard. So... where do I start!? (He responds very well to seat ques and has an excessively soft mouth)
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post #2 of 4 Old 01-28-2015, 08:28 AM
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Think of this experience as an opportunity to establish a language with the horse. While you may want a horse to understand certain cues, you may likely need to begin with something a little easier for the horse to understand and transition from there.

For example, I usually get a horse to turn by simply drawing my outside leg back an inch or so and rotating my upper body in the direction I want to go. This brings a lot of things into play including the outside rein touching the horse's neck. On the few occasions when that doesn't work. I might take my inside hand out to the side to help draw the horse's head in that direction. I would release any pressure the moment the horse gave an indication of a response. In that way, I could repeat it if necessary. I would not, however, be pulling the horse through the turn.

One particularly sensitive horse didn't even seem to understand that. When I touched his withers with my outside hand, however, he turned. I used this action to help him understand what my other actions had been meant to communicate.

Another example is the leg-yield. I begin this work at a walk so the horse has more time to think and respond correctly. Rather than steady pressure with the inside leg. I "pulse" this pressure with the timing of the horse's inside leg stepping forward. As the horse lifts this foot off the ground to move it forward, my leg is telling him: "Let's move it sideways just a little bit as well." The other legs will naturally follow the diagonal motion of the first.

Think about how you asking and how the horse might be understanding. If the horse doesn't seem to understand, don't simply shout the same thing more loudly. Try to find a different way of explaining what you want.

Another important thing to remember is not to inhibit the horse from doing what you want. Riders often concentrate on one thing they are doing and don't realize how other things they are doing at the same time may be preventing the horse from doing what they want. Worse yet, is when the horse thinks the rider's other action is telling him to do something else.

An example of the latter is the rider who draws his leg several inches away from the horse's side in order to "open the door" and get the horse to move in that direction. To keep balance on the horse, the rider shifts his weight to the opposite hip. Rather than moving in the direction of the "open door", the horse tries to keep his rider from falling off by moving in the direction of the excess weight.

I wrote an article once about a teacher who worked with children with learning disabilities. He explained that the difficulty was often one of perception. The children weren't stupid. The teacher just needed to find the correct method of communicating.

Since every person and every horse are individuals, there is no one magic cue. A broad knowledge of methods that have worked for others with other horse provides the rider ready variety of things to try. But the rider should also be open to experimentation. Try something and be sensitive to how the horse responds. Alter your next attempt accordingly.
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-28-2015, 11:26 AM
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i have been told that Parelli's porcupine games is a good way of teaching the horse how to much the different parts of it's body from the ground in response to pressure

recently i got a lesson on how to do something similar from my riding instructor
we had her very basic lesson horse with a lead
we started out applying pressure to the neck and getting her to take a step away from the pressure
when she tool a step, we stopped and let her process it (licking lips ect.)
rinse and repeat asking for a step, then 2 steps, until we got to a half circle

then we moved the pressure back towards the base of her neck
rinse and repeat until we get a half circle

we did that for about 15-20 minutes and then moved to something she was familiar with -- leading walk, whoa, backup

then we moved back and applied the pressure at the point of her shoulder
rinse and repeat until we got a half circle
10-15 minutes of that
each time watching for the signs that she was processing/thinking about what we were attempting to teach

at some point we will go back and repeat the exercises until we get the pressure to the point a few inches forward of the stirrups so that it can be reinforced from the saddle

i feel they get it best when you teach in this format
step 1 - most fundamental part of the lesson from an exaggerated position
step 2 - most fundamental part of the lesson from a less exaggerated position
step 3 - move to something more familiar to the horse
step 4 - repeat step 1
step 5 - repeat step 2
step 6 - more advanced version of step 2 from a less exaggerated position
step 7 - move to something more familiar to the horse
end the lesson

next lesson
step 8 - repeat step 2
step 9 - repeat step 6
step 10 - do something familiar
step 11 - repeat step 6
step 12 - repeat step 6 with a more accurate position
step 13 - do something familiar
end the lesson

i.e. intro, imrpove and refine, do something familiar, --- 2 steps forward, 1 step back
introduce something, 2 steps forward, 1 step back rinse and repeat
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post #4 of 4 Old 01-31-2015, 03:15 PM
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Green OTTB
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Originally Posted by FalKoLilMurph View Post
I have recently had the opportunity to start riding a very green gelding named Moose, who has amazing potential.

He is very dead to leg and does not seem to understand that applying one leg means move over, or that leg with a little rein means go in that direction. ...None however were as clueless as he seem to be. love the fact that I'm able to work with a clean slate but im scared im going to teach him bad habits.

(He responds very well to seat ques and has an excessively soft mouth)
Just for your edification race horses generally have three gears: fast walk, fast trot and full out run. They are not taught to turn or stop. Generally the bit in the mouth is to induce pain in the mouth to turn and stop. Ring bits are for the jockey to yield off of. If you do find a right or left leg response generally it's the cue to change right or left lead and the horse will pull (a faux turn) and bolt in said direction. If he canters it is probable sideways. So green he is.

Start him as if he has never been ridden. Lots of ground work; Lateral and Pole flexion. Yielding front and hind quarters, backing and leading. Due a week of desensitization including sacking him out with a blue tarpaulin. Do all your ground work under full tack and saddle. This will get him to associate ground work and riding as one endeavor. Do a good hook up secession first if you haven't already. If he still has his wolf teeth at this age have them pulled. Don't put a bit inside until they are gone. OTTBs respond great to side pull halters. I use MR Dully Halters exclusively. No metal in any horses mouth. But there are several brands. MR's works great because they are strong enough for training and light enough for riding.

After 2 weeks on the ground mount him and start teaching how how to be ridden. Be very light on the reins. Teach him a one rein stop first if you can. Let him do a lot of free riding. Let him make the mistakes first then you correct him with turning from the side pull and one rein stops but keep those feet moving. Work that seat pressure to get him good at walk, trot and canter. After that you can start teaching him leg yielding and turning.

Good luck and keep us posted, Greg
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