Help me debrief and evaluate my first non-arena ride? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 23 Old 03-28-2016, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Folly View Post
I'm really quite smitten with her, but am almost afraid of jinxing it... so am afraid to really relax and just enjoy her.
All in all I'd say it sounds like you had a good ride with your mare. Really the only thing that stood out to me was her not wanting to stand still when you stopped during the ride and the above quote could have played a part in that. Some horses are more sensitive than others to the vibes that are coming from their rider.

I like to concentrate on what they are doing right and deal with what they are doing wrong as calmly and mildly as possible when it happens instead of expecting it to happen. For instance when grooming or out riding and you want them to stand still my first correction is a soft verbal "whoa" followed by "good girl/boy" if they mind. The next step up is the "whoa" along with a lead or rein cue with immediate release of pressure. They keep dancing and the pressure last longer until they stand still with the release coming the second their feet stop moving and the "good girl/boy" the second you feel their muscles relax.

Don't get frustrated with them if it takes a while for them to pick it up. Sometimes a horse that is already trained with another method takes a little longer to pick up new ways than a horse that is trained this way from the beginning but once they get the idea of what you're wanting and figure out you aren't going to put them through some big ordeal you can just feel them relax their whole body.
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post #12 of 23 Old 03-28-2016, 02:46 AM
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No major issues that i can see either. I don't mind a horse that walks out, and won't hold a good walker in, just to match the walk of a slower horse. BUT, that walk has to be on a loose rein, versus leaning on the bit, or jigging.
I also want a horse to stop, and stand on a loose rein, when asked to. Many people skip this part of training, or working on it on a regular basis. I will often, during a riding session, just tell my horse to 'whoa', then give my horse slack reins, and expect that horse not to try moving off until asked, or fidgeting,
On trail rides, horses are usually eager to keep moving, yet there are times I will ask my horse to stop, place my reins on the horse's neck, and then take a picture, without getting off
These are just little things to work on, but you had a successful first ride out, the horse sounds sensible, so a win/win situation

For a horse that won't stand, I will correct them with my legs more than with my hands, and don't try to hold them with my reins, but instead, after that correction, give them a chance to do the right thing, and that is to stand there on a loose rein, until told otherwise
Thus, if they try to move off, I will take hold of them, repeat 'whoa; and back them hard a few feet, using legs, then give them slack and repeat whoa.
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post #13 of 23 Old 03-28-2016, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, it is fun to work through little issues and make progress - and it's good to know these appear to be little things. In thinking back, the jigging slightly while tacking and not always standing still after stopping occasionally appeared in the arena as well, but were just more pronounced outside... so I hadn't really thought much about it (was so easy to stop that I didn't really notice it) - so I now know things I need to work on.

FYI - the jigging while tacking was definitely a bit of testing (she also resisted giving me one foot... and was a little stubborn about taking the bit... not big stuff, but I recognized a little 'don't wanna'). On the ride it appeared to be eagerness.

As for backing her up as a correction, her response to 'back' cues is great. My previous horse would actually 'pop up' in the front if I tried to back her when she was resisting, so I'm really gun-shy about backing as a correction. Also, when I first got Kota she tested me slightly a couple of times by not moving forward but rather taking a couple of steps backwards... we discussed that (with a tap of the split reins on her shoulder), and she's never done it since. Circles work really well on her usually... I might just need to get more assertive with those?

She's really soft and responsive - I NEVER have to 'haul' on her mouth, and almost never use any contact. She walks and trots on a loose rein, and I only tip the bit and sit back slightly to whoa. To rate her trot I have learned to use just a slight amount of contact (again, just tipping the curb bit). I may need to learn to occasionally use the bit more firmly? Being a novice, I don't completely trust my hands - so I feel like I won the jackpot by getting a horse that goes so well off of other cues. I have learned to be good about not clutching at the reins or gripping with my legs - my previous horse's touchiness taught me some things, but it shook my confidence on others.....

Last edited by Folly; 03-28-2016 at 11:27 AM.
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post #14 of 23 Old 03-28-2016, 11:30 AM
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It sounds like it went well. I am working on my mare regarding different speeds within a gait. I want to choose the speed, not let my mare decide. If I don't want to pass another horse, I would like my mare to comply. Just an obedience exercise.
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post #15 of 23 Old 03-28-2016, 11:52 AM
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Depends on the level of training of the horse , of course, but I never hang onto my horse's mouth constantly, even lightly to rate speed. I will correct them, by taking contact, firmly, but then get 'out' again.
Far as the backing, it is not the only way to teach a horse to stand, but I don't either wish to ride little circles, when a horse won't stand-i want that horse to stand.
The reason I use backing, is to get that horse off the bit. A horse trying to move off unasked, will also be leaning on that bit. If you just try to hold a horse in a stop, using the bit, the horse will either get more up tight, maybe try to toss head, even go up a bit, or just figget around
Thus, the back I use, is not the saft cues I use, asking fro a backup in some class, or on a trail course, but it is a correction, where I take hold of that horse, trying to move off, and then really bump him several times with my legs-hard, backing him just enough until he is off that bit, , repeat whoa, and give him slack again, expecting him to do the 'right thing', and that is to stand there, on a loose rein, until asked to move
I guess you could also kick his hips around, taking his head to the side, and then ask for that whoa. The point being, not standing for that whoa, has to become the hard and wrong thing, to make that obedient whoa and standing there, the easy and right thing to do
Yes, I expect my horse to accept any place in line, but you can also ruin horse that naturally walks out nicely on a trail ride, the type of horse you want, and something desirable in a trail horse, by forcing him to go at the walk of some horse dragging himself slowly down the trail.
This is not the same as teaching a horse to rate his speed in a show ring, so you avoid constantly passing horses, thus looking like your horse can't have his speed rated. In a show ring, you can ask your horse to move deeper, more collected, which will make him more slow legged, thus covering ground slower
I don't do that on atrail ride. If ahorse tries to go to a trot, from a walk, unasked, to pass another horse, that is a different thing, then that horse just having a nice long stride ata walk, covering ground-something I encourage, not discourage!
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post #16 of 23 Old 03-28-2016, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
I don't do that on atrail ride. If ahorse tries to go to a trot, from a walk, unasked, to pass another horse, that is a different thing, then that horse just having a nice long stride ata walk, covering ground-something I encourage, not discourage!
Smilie, I agree with this in that you really want a brisk walk rather than a plodding one and that the other rider should be the one rating the speed of her horse so that it can keep up however.....we can't control others and having to constantly either stop or circle back around because you are losing your riding buddy every couple of minutes is really a PITA.

In some cases, while it might not be the ideal, you do have to rate down for speed, like when your horse is 15.3 hh and you are riding with a minor on a 12 hh horse or with a rider who can't figure out how to get a lesson horse to pick it up the pace a bit without trotting. Not ideal, but sometimes you need to do it.

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Last edited by Reiningcatsanddogs; 03-28-2016 at 02:05 PM.
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post #17 of 23 Old 03-29-2016, 12:20 PM
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I didn't say anything about holding onto a horse's mouth constantly like riding the brakes. That is not how I would ask for an adjustment in pace. I read the OP as saying she thought her horse was too fast. She did not clarify if the horse was going at a relaxed natural fast pace or hurrying. I took her comment to mean the horse was hurrying.
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post #18 of 23 Old 03-29-2016, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Whinnie View Post
I didn't say anything about holding onto a horse's mouth constantly like riding the brakes. That is not how I would ask for an adjustment in pace. I read the OP as saying she thought her horse was too fast. She did not clarify if the horse was going at a relaxed natural fast pace or hurrying. I took her comment to mean the horse was hurrying.
Hi Whinnie... yes it seemed like she was hurrying; she can do a nice slow walk, but that day she was hurrying. I'm so hesitant to put contact on her (since I don't usually have to) that I frankly didn't think to try and rate her walk like I've learned to do to slow her normally fast trot, where just tipping the bit for a few seconds slows her down and she will usually maintain that if I relax it. My instinct is that she was too eager for that to have worked, but I intend to try it next time.

Again, at no point did she try to break into a trot - this was all walking. I'll eventually trot her of course on trail rides, but I was wanting to gain confidence and control on this first outing.
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post #19 of 23 Old 03-29-2016, 03:57 PM
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Folly, sounds like you know what you are doing. Happy trails!
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post #20 of 23 Old 03-30-2016, 01:54 PM
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Sounds like a great ride to me.
I have been on horses that when trail riding are walk much faster than when we are just working in the arena. Also it was her first ride out with you so there is a chance that the more often you go out the slower she will get.
Also, from the sounds of it she might be one of those horses who will purposely walk faster when behind other horses on the trail so that they can get in front and then once in front they calm down and slow down a little bit because they are happy with their place in the line. I have had lots of experience with horses like that!
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