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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay,
So we got this horse several months ago (so he has settled in well), and he was great to ride around at his last home. He was very responsive and fairly well mannered. He was ridden at his old home in a curb bit and a western saddle. He was said to ride english and western.
When we got him here, I changed his bit from a curb bit to a comfy snaffle to be a bit less harsh and stuck an english saddle on him to see how he would go. He seemed to not understand the leg cues well at all and just thought bending around the leg as a "move faster" idea and he would increase his speed. He is a western trained horse, so he could have been taught a more simple way of riding, but I just don't know what. I would like to know if there is something I am missing as a rider...? I'm only hard on the bit when he pushes me to it, otherwise I'm quite subtle, yet still firm. He got a little stubborn with the snaffle (so I think I might just get him a curb bit until he can behave himself a bit better and be less headstrong, or is there a better solution?). He does ride alone a lot...Should I try riding with a group? I've never really galloped him in a saddle, and he always seems eager to go...Should I just let him go for a long run? I'd have to find a person who will let me ride on one of their large fields (as we mainly have gravel/dirt roads), but it might be worth it. He always seems up-tight, and he has relaxed incredibly, but he still seems...I don't know...almost scared. He is a little shy of a horse.

Also, he doesn't understand lunging well, and every time I try to lunge him, he is quick to stop and swing his but out behind him (almost stand-offish) and face me if I even come close to crossing in front of his girth with my body. Of course, you want him to stop when you cross in front of him, but he stops, turns looks to me and almost refuses to continue (in either direction) unless I tighten the line a bit, walk over, get behind his girth, and urge him on. I'm confused at how he has been trained. Can someone let me know if I should accept those quirks (lack of recognition of leg cues and lunging problems) as just something he has been trained? How do I exercise him before a ride if he won't lunge? We have a riding arena (a huge outdoor one), but no round pen. Is there any way for me to learn and refresh what he has learned without confusing him with lunging? I've lunged him so many times since we've gotten him, but what he's learned in the past is ingrained in his brain and he never gets over that little stop, turn, and face me; it happens every session, no matter how long it lasts.

I will happily take constructive criticism as a rider and a handler, but I need to know what the problem is. Jack has been passed down many times over the years from western facilities and there is no way for me to track who he has been with, and I feel as though there is someone on here who knows what the problem is; either with me, or with the horse.

I appreciate your time guys, and all replies will be taken into consideration. I'm just trying to fix this problem and understand what is causing it.
 

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I sounds like he's been taught to keep two eyes on you so he swings his butt to do so. You are finding out what he doesn't know so you're going to have to teach him.
 

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The leg thing. LOTS of riders(and consequently horses) have no clue what a leg is, other than leg=GO!!. I know tons of people who never used the leg for anything but a 'go faster' cue, I have known people who think a horse should move into your leg, and just about any crazy notion in between. You just have to retrain him.

The need for speed thing. No, running him will not help. lots of walk/trotting will help to eventually teach him that he shouldn't expect to run all the time.

The lunging thing. Many, many, many, horses are either taught that they need to turn and face their handler when they are done, or they turn to face you as a unsure thing. They don't know what you want, so they turn and face you. You need to keep him going, and not let him stop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Okay, but how do you train a horse to keep his eyes on you? What is the point of that? How do you exercise a horse like that if they won't even walk in a circle for you? How can I exercise him or work with him in a way that he is more comfortable with? He is not improving terribly much with lunging, and it has been many months. If I just have to keep going with it, I guess that is just what I have to do, but I'm posting here to find out how he was trained, to figure out what he is thinking so I can make it easier for him to transition into understanding lunging and leg pressure, or if it is even too late to do so. Some habits are just kept too long that there is no real way to eliminate or modify them. He is almost 11 years old, and I have no idea how long he's been trained the way he is; how long he has had his habits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The leg thing. LOTS of riders(and consequently horses) have no clue what a leg is, other than leg=GO!!. I know tons of people who never used the leg for anything but a 'go faster' cue, I have known people who think a horse should move into your leg, and just about any crazy notion in between. You just have to retrain him.

The need for speed thing. No, running him will not help. lots of walk/trotting will help to eventually teach him that he shouldn't expect to run all the time.

The lunging thing. Many, many, many, horses are either taught that they need to turn and face their handler when they are done, or they turn to face you as a unsure thing. They don't know what you want, so they turn and face you. You need to keep him going, and not let him stop.
Under saddle, it is hard to get him into a trot. He always wants to go, go, go, and keeping him in a walk is even a bit tricky when he is separated from his friends. It could be a trust issue...? I've never hurt him, but he always has been a bit shy from the start. Perhaps a past abuse? He has always been fearfully submissive.

I'll work on him with the lunging, it will be a while longer, but at least I know a bit more about what others are doing. I'll keep him going as you say, but it isn't like he's stopping early b/c "he is going to", he doesn't have that mentality, he just stops looking scared or confused, but i've lunged him many times. That horse has always been willing to do what we want him too. My mare I started lunging not too long ago took it up in a heartbeat, not a problem, and it was her first session w/only about 15 minutes of work. He is just taking weeks of work to get anything out of it.

I appreciate the replies guys.
 

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When we got him here, I changed his bit from a curb bit to a comfy snaffle to be a bit less harsh and stuck an english saddle on him
First & foremost, I would consider, IS the snaffle 'comfy' for him? Snaffles are often thought of as 'soft' for some reason, but aren't, and aren't necessarily comfortable - depends on the type of bit, the horse's mouth, how he goes & is ridden... Also the saddle - are you sure it is comfortable & not hurting him?

He seemed to not understand the leg cues well at all and just thought bending around the leg as a "move faster"
Have only skimmed replies but see others have explained he may need to be *taught*. I'd start out on the ground, teaching him to yield to fingertip pressure.

might just get him a curb bit until he can behave himself a bit better and be less headstrong, or is there a better solution?)
Ruling out/treating pain/discomfort, be that from equipment or otherwise first & foremost. Then work on *teaching* him to yield(respond softly with understanding) to rein pressure, if he doesn't do this. I would personally start with a halter/bitless & only move to a bit when the horse is well enough trained to yield.

Should I try riding with a group? I've never really galloped him in a saddle, and he always seems eager to go...Should I just let him go for a long run?
Sounds like a bad idea if you don't have control of him at slow paces. You'll have speed & adrenaline to add to the other issues.:shock:

Also, he doesn't understand lunging well, and every time I try to lunge him, he is quick to stop and swing his but out
So instead of just trying to do your thing & getting you both confused & frustrated, whether or not he's been taught a different way or not at all, sounds like you need to start at the start & *teach* him what you want him to know. I think it sounds like you would benefit from a good instructor/trainer to teach you how to go about it.

How do I exercise him before a ride if he won't lunge?
Why do you need to exercise him before a ride - that's what the ride's about isn't it? - but there are plenty of other(better) ways to exercise a horse without riding aside from going round & round in circles. Take him for a walk, lead or drive him, pony him from another horse... or out your car window if you're in a safe environment...

any way for me to learn and refresh what he has learned without confusing him with lunging?
Find an experienced horseperson/trainer to help teach you.:wink:
 

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From description.,Sounds like the problem is a combination of both you & him:?. He sounds like he has not been trained much beyond the point & go forward,whoa means stop :lol:
Horses lack of more finished training & combine with you not using cues effectively.He's confused & your frustrated:-(
You say you move up to his girth & he stops to want to face you then won't want to go forward ??? well that is your body position:-( you should be STAYING behind his girth if you want him to continue to move forward or yes that is cue for him to stop if you are too far forward:-(.

Bottom line it is hard to know what is really going on here without seeing.Posting video would help:wink: I'd advise getting a trainer to watch you 2 work & identify the problems that need work on.:)
 
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Around here most people ride western and I only know 1 guy that lunges his horses before riding. I've never really seen the purpose on a horse that is already trained.
 

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You really don't need to worry if he has been trained a certain way or not. what you need to do is stay very consistent in what you want from him, and how you ask for it, and he will adapt to you. Horses always do. But, you have to be super clear in what you are asking, and don't let confusion about why he is facing you allow yourself to be derailed from your training.

You stay focussed on asking him to walk forward. If he is facing you, what is the first thing he must do?
he must turn away from you and line up on the circle. if you go back toward his hind end, he will more likely move that away from you, and end up persisting in facing and keeping his eyes on you. So, how do you get him out on the circle? think about this. . .

you get him to move his head and shoulders away from you, so that he is now ON the circle, facing the direction you want him to travel, and his "driveline" is available to you , so you can put some pressure there and ask him to walk forward.

stay clear in what you expect of him. expect him to meet you there, and don't stop half way, or you'll only end up confusing him.
 

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I think you have a really nice prospect to go on with. He has good basics. Look at it this way:

He is not herd bound.
He is not spoiled.
He is not trying to buck you off or go back to the barn.
He does not bolt and run away.
He is not spooky.
He is light and responsive.
His used to doing as he has been taught to do without arguing.
He does not require longeing or exercising to be ridden.

You can't find any better prospect than this!

I do not know what more you could ask for unless you wanted to pay a lot of money for a 'finished' hunt seat horse.

You have the perfect foundation to work with. You have found an unspoiled horse to train and finish the way you want and all of the hard part has been done right. You have found exactly what I look for when I try to find a prospect for a family or a 4-H rider to turn into a really nice saddle horse, either English or Western. The perfect 'prospect' horse is one that is not spoiled, does not need to be 'worked' or exercised before it is ridden and goes where you point its nose. The only other thing that is nice is to have an attractive horse that is a good mover.

Now, it is up to you to teach him the things you want him to know for the discipline that you ride. You need to teach him to bend by first using inside leg and inside rein. This will confuse him at first, but asking for a little more bend each ride and using a little more leg each ride, he will learn that when he moves off of your leg, bends and 'gives', you his head, you reward him with taking the pressure off of him and let him move straight forward on a loose rein. This will turn into the beginning of a 'leg yielding' exercise while moving forward.

You need to teach him to yield to the bit gradually. He has been ridden on a loose rein and not on a contact, so riding with one dominant rein at a time and using the leg on the same side will get him used to giving to the bit pressure and moving off of your leg at the same time. Every time he does the right thing, give him relief by letting him walk forward on a loose rein.

It is up to you to either teach him right or ruin him and spoil him. You do not want to run him. If you are not getting the correct response you want from him while going slow, speeding up will just completely confuse him and teach him to run out of control.

You can teach him to work on a snaffle, or you can use a transition bit that gives you the best of both snaffle and curb. It is a good transition bit when going either up or down, to or from a snaffle. We use a short shanked curb bit with a three piece mouth-piece. If can be ridding with one or two hands; it is very forgiving; it has a lot of slack and give in it any way you want to use it. These little bits are mild, comfortable to most horses, can be ridden with a running martingale and ridden one or two handed. The only horses that don't like them or do well in them are horses that do not like tongue pressure or a broken bit of any kind.

The best thing you can do with this horse is to find someone that can give you lessons on him, teaching you what to teach him. Someone with experience taking prospects like this, would have this horse working nicely under an English saddle within a few weeks.

You have found a jewel to start with. You will learn a lot while transforming him into a really nice hunt seat horse.

I want to see pictures of you and him.
 
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