Training a horse to move? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-04-2007, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Training a horse to move?

Ok, my horse is pretty good, shes really sweet and usually willing to do what shes told, but we are having some trouble cantering. She just doesnt want to do it, and she will turn in and cut out and throw a but or shake her head hard enough to throw me off balance. That is, if she even goes. What are some things I can do to make her more willing to go?
Also, about jumping, she trots over poles no problem but she doesn't seem to like jumping. She stops right in front of 1'3" x's and walks over them, and ya she just seems to not want to do it. How do I know if she is ready?
ox-tuff_rider-xo is offline  
post #2 of 8 Old 11-04-2007, 08:08 PM
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Wear some light spurs, and/or carry a crop. For both of those.

When getting to canter, canter.....means CANTER. Let your horse know that when you ask her to do something she has no choice but to do it. Ask her politely to canter, and as soon as she shows any refusals, or throws her head, or whatsoever, smack her on her belly direcly behind your lower outside leg. Hard. Smack her until she does it, that is unacceptable.


Wear some prince of wales or tom thumb spurs, less than 1 inch, and spur to get a canter. Make sure you put your outside leg back enough so she knows you want her to change her gait, not just her speed.

And...for the jumping. Again, wear some light spurs. Don't stop asking before the jump, keep squeezing, and if she breaks before the jump, spur her, even if she doesn't jump it, she just trots or hops over it. As long as you get her over it. When she gets to the point where she goes over it, and doesn't jump it, raise it to a small vertical (like 18inch), and trot/canter her over it.

Just make sure when doing all of this, keep it controlled. Don't just recklessly smack or kick/spur ect...make sure it's precise, and strong, cause if its not done in the right place, she will just get confused.

Good luck, and make sure to post any other questions/concerns if what I wrote didn't make sense.
Jumpit007 is offline  
post #3 of 8 Old 11-05-2007, 09:14 AM
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No offense honestly, but I would not suggest the above. This is just my opinion, but horses are not robots. They should be allowed to express an opinion. If you want something that doesn't give an opinion, get a boat. What if the issue is a saddle fit issue or another physical issue? Then you would just be whacking or spurring the horse for something she physically can't do. Not so good for the relationship. This is just forcing the horse to do something, not setting it up so the horse is willing and soft.

I've posted this before, but I'll do it again. Here is a quick article about getting a horse to go that may help you.

Horse Won't Go

A common question I hear is what to do about the horse who doesn't want to go; he's dull, lazy, stubborn... and other creative words people use!

I like to examine all horse behaviors by categories. If you think of an engine having three systems; air, fuel, fire, you know that if any one of these systems is not working, the entire engine will not operate properly.

Horses also have three systems that operate in a specific order; the RESPECT system, the IMPULSION system, and the FLEXION system.

Therefore, if there's a problem in the second system, IMPULSION (won't go), look for the problem in the first system, RESPECT. I'll save FLEXION for later.

Getting the "go" right
Most people are told to kick a horse to go, which is ridiculous when you think about it from a horse's point of view. Imagine if you were kicked in the ribs on the way to the dance floor... what would your attitude be towards that dance partner? Would you even want to go?

By using four distinct phases of polite assertiveness, the horse can quickly become a willing partner; happy to take our lead to the dance floor.

Phase 1 – Smile with all your cheeks! Take a long focus, stretch your hand out in front of you with the reins, and tighten your cheeks. If the horse has not moved forward from this suggestion, continue through the phases and be ready to release as soon as there's forward movement.

Phase 2 – Squeeze with your legs, starting at the top, then all the way down to your heels (turn your toes outward to make smooth contact). This is not a strong squeeze. If you are straining or getting cramps, it's too strong! Remember, a horse can feel a fly land on him.

Phase 3 – Smooch while holding the squeeze, do not let go with your legs.

Phase 4 – Spank. Start by spanking yourself lightly slap your shoulders from side to side with the end of a rope (like the 12' Lead section of the Horseman's Reins on the Natural Hackamore).

Allow the rope to grow longer and keep up the flapping rhythm until it starts touching your horse on the sides of his hindquarters, letting it get progressively stronger if he has not responded.

The moment your horse responds, release your legs, quit spanking, and keep smiling. If he stops or slows, repeat the phases again. Always begin with Phase 1.

Common Mistakes
• Probably the most common mistake is kicking out of habit, quickly losing whatever respect you just earned, so really keep a watch out for this.

• Another mistake is to keep squeezing and/or spanking after the horse has made the effort to go forward. This feels unfair and confuses the horse because they don't know what the right behavior is.

• Be sure to put slack in the reins. It's a common habit to put contact in the reins when the horse goes forward. This is sometimes enough to confuse a horse trying to do the right thing.

Begin each time at Phase 1 and be prepared to go to Phase 4.
Finally, be sure there's enough 'life' in your body when you ride. Think about how fast you want your horse to go and bring up enough life in your body to stimulate that... then let the squeezing, smooching and spanking support it. Your horse will learn very quickly how to get in tune with you.

I can guarantee that just reading about this will not fix the problem. Go out and play with your horse. I'll bet you'll both find a new level of respect and communication for each other. Happy dancing!


Now here is another abotu refusing jumps. It may give you some ideas if anything.

Refuses Jumps

If you've ruled out painful feet or joints as the reason for your horse not wanting to jump, then more than likely he is afraid of jumping or sick of it. There are usually two major reasons horses will react to your request to jump. Fearful horses have panic reactions; confident horses have defiant reactions. Either way, smacking them is not going to help. While you might scare them over it a few times, it won't take long before you have even greater problems. Your horse will start to associate jumps with you smacking him and that does not bode well for making positive progress.

If your horse has a tendency to brace and rush at the jumps, or run off afterwards, he is most likely afraid of jumping. If you have a horse that doesn't want to go forward, tends to buck going into the canter, he's probably more lazy, stubborn or unmotivated about jumping.

The fearful horse needs lots of time, repetition and baby steps... like starting with a pole on the ground and crossing it at a walk, turning back and crossing it again and again (don't go around in circles until he's confident). The defiant, unmotivated horse needs a reason to jump. He's highly motivated by rest, scratches and treats / grass. You'll be amazed at how quickly he starts to like jumps.
Spirithorse is offline  
post #4 of 8 Old 11-06-2007, 10:44 AM
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I really really really would strongly suggest holding off on jumping until you can get the canter up to par. If you are having trouble with "GO" on the flat, you are going to have even more trouble with "GO" over fences, no matter how small. Your horse is already telling you this, and is going to get into some seriously bad habits that will at best be difficult to break and at worse be downright dangerous for both of you.

Having said that, I completely sympathize with you. Getting horses to canter was probably the most difficult issue I ever faced in learning to ride ... and an obstacle that took lots of practice and many tears to overcome. It's not easy, so don't be discouraged. It will just take time. I've also spent years teaching beginning and intermediate riding, and cantering is by far one of the most difficult things for riders to learn.

I wholeheartedly agree with Spirithorse's suggestions. Also, I'd start by having your horse canter freely (without a rider) on a lunge line or by free lunging. If that works, try it with a saddle, and if it's still ok, try it with the bridle. This should be a pretty easy way to tell if your horse is comfortable and isn't being difficult from a physical issue.

If your horse isn't use to cantering in a ring, or in a specific space with turns, it can be hard for them to learn to collect and bend.

They key to getting a horse to canter is to set her up correctly and not punish her once she picks it up. Your inside leg should be at the girth, your outside leg should be back a bit, and your horse's haunches should be bent towards the inside. If you are asking for canter from a trot, make sure you are sitting and not posting. Keep your horse collected while you ask, and be sure to drive with both your seat and your legs (squeezing all your cheeks! ). If she starts trotting fast and gets strung out, you need to bring her back to a collected trot and try again. If she makes an effort to pick it up, make sure that you aren't catching her mouth or landing on her back. It's not helpful to lean far forward when asking for the canter(many people thing leaning forward will get them to go, but it prevents you from using your seat to drive), but riding in a half seat once she's picked it up will keep you lighter and her more comfortable while she learns her job.

It may be that she's still learning what it is you want and what exactly your aids mean, so be sure to encourage her for every little effort. Even if she only takes 2-3 strides, let her know that's what you wanted instead of just kicking and trying to get her to go further.

Has she cantered well for you in the past, or is she just learning? How well do you do with cantering on other horses? Has she cantered for anyone else?

Let us know how it goes with her. Wishing you all the best!
regardinghorses is offline  
post #5 of 8 Old 11-06-2007, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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thanks everybody. She has cantered well for me in the past(with alot of effort) so ya I think maybe since shes still young I shouldn't expect her to do the same good behavior every time. I'll try to be more sympathetic wiht her on the weekend, and also from a critique I just learned that my saddle is to far forward so I hope things will go well with my new knowledge.
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-07-2007, 01:11 AM
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i think the first thing you should look at if she has cantered fine before is whether or not she may have something that is hurting her when she canters. my old gelding used to do that as soon as i asked him to canter and it t urned out he had a calcium build up in his airways (granulomar lesions) and he couldnt breathe properly once he was asked to work more.

there are a number of things it could be so i would suggest maybe thinking about that. if she had never cantered before it would be a different story

good luck

p.s. this is only my opinion but i feel spurs to be unnecessary at any time. horrible things sticking into their sides. a horse should do things out of respect for you and a want to do it. not because he has an inch of steel jabbing in his sides

"I whisper but my horse doesnt listen...So I yell!!...He still doesnt listen"

jazzyrider is offline  
post #7 of 8 Old 11-12-2007, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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yay she cantered like she used to this weekend!=]
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-13-2007, 06:52 AM
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awesome ;)

"I whisper but my horse doesnt listen...So I yell!!...He still doesnt listen"

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