training of youngster

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Lucy J

Weaver's Tale aka Ciara!!
Dec 5, 2001
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I have a 4 year old irish sports horse who is lovely in every way, but is very green. She has been professionally started, but only for a short time 2.5weeks. We get on fine considering the limited time I have due to winter + work ( only 15mins a day mon-fri), but I am concerned as she is forgetting all she was taught when being broken. I need some advice on how to teach her not to pull back when tied up, she has only just realised she can do this. I know the usual ways of tying her to something that won't move to teach her, but I am not happy panicking her like this. Also, she tries to kick when you pick up her back feet. You can brush her legs/put boots on and persuade her to rest a hoof to clean it out, just not lift her leg and hold it. She is fine with her front legs. Any ideas? I don't want to have to start from scratch in the spring, how can I keep her remembering everything with so little time? Is it possible? Any thoughts appreciated
 

ros

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Jun 9, 2001
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The most important thing with any youngster is patience, patience and more patience.

Did you own your mare before she was broken? Sounds as though you're probably new to each other. Don't worry about things like picking up feet - once she trusts you she'll be fine. Quiet insistance works much better than a ticking off.

Why does she pull back when she's tied up - is it uncertainty or just a new baby trick? Again, when she's more trusting she'll probably accept it no problem, but maybe just as well not to try leaving her tied up unsupervised for a while.

Also, are you getting time to ride her at all through the winter, or do you itnend to turn her away? When you first back a horse it's a good idea to ride every day, even for very short periods, for at least a month or so, so that you establish the idea of being ridden in its mind. If she was broken fairly quickly and isn't ridden on at all you'll probably find you have to go right back to basics when you eventually do want to ride her.
 

Lucy J

Weaver's Tale aka Ciara!!
Dec 5, 2001
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She has literally been in a field in Ireland, taken to the sales then shipped over and broken in. I got her 'fresh off the boat' She is being ridden at weekends, but its not enough, she's starting to tense up when the saddle goes on again, although she's fine when you are on her back. She gets lunged mid-week as well and before I ride at weekends, I just don't feel we are moving forward.

The pulling back is a new trick. She got herself in a tangle one day and since then she has realised she doesn't have to stay tied up and pulls back. Generally she will stand without being tied up, but that is not ideal long term.

As she will be 5 in the spring, I'm loathe to leave it till the better weather comes in, its a good learing time for her just now, but as I don't have an indoor school or floodlights its very difficult.:(

Although she's sweet, she gets her own way in the field with her friends, and does have a strong character, so I don't want her to have too much time to think up new tricks to try on me!
 

Wally

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Apr 16, 2000
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You can buy a thing called a "rubber rider" it is an immensely strong bit of rubber with clips both ends. The horse can be tied to this and if they pull back it will s-t-r-e-t-c-h- to hunge lengths without there being a solid pull back. This will stop her getting away. A motorcycle inner tube is a good alternative.
 

ros

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OK, shipped across from Ireland in a job lot, cursorily backed to make it not a crime to describe her as "broken" - chances are she doesn't have a clue what we humans are on about! You really need to make absolutely sure she knows the basics - respect when leading, what your legs are for, all those things we tend to take it for granted a "broken" horse has been taught. It may not be as bad as I think, but you never know.

Why does she tense up when you put the saddle on?

As for the tying up, you could try Wally's idea. I was going to suggest passing a lunge line from the headcollar, through a tying ring and round her quarters back to one (gloved!) hand, and a normal lead rope from the headcollar through the ring to your other hand. That way if she pulls back you can give a little with the lead rope so it doesn't panic her, at the same time tightening the lunge line behind her. You have give at both ends if you need it, and if the worst comes to the worst and she really panics or throws a tantrum you can just release the lead rope but you've still got her on the lunge. I think the method you choose depends on whether she's likely to panic if she really can't get free or whether she's more likely to think "oh b----r, I may as well give in and be good"!
 

intouch

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Oct 2, 1999
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If she has pulled back hard enough to break a tie the chances are she has a whiplash type injury which will need some attention, and probably a rest to recover. Probably why she is resisting the saddle.
If you can get hold of a copy of Hempfling's Dancing with Horses book or video, it will give you some really useful ideas on working with a youngster.
 

Lucy J

Weaver's Tale aka Ciara!!
Dec 5, 2001
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The "rubber rider" sounds ideal, thanks.
When she was broken in, she went to a professional yard and was given some really good training. She is a quick learner and loves human company. After a few 'exciting' moments she understands the leading thing and she does go on the bit and responds well to the leg, so she has understood what she has been taught, she is just forgetting as there is not enough repetition.

She tenses up with her rugs too, its not pain, she's just a little nervous. Her problem with the saddle is more the girth than the saddle itself.

Ros, I like the idea of passing the lunge line behind, I was going to try just simply passing it through a tie ring, but this will be better. She is likely to think 'oh b***** it, I'll be good!'

I will also try and get a hold of that book, I have a few books, but not that one.

Thanks everyone....I'l let you know how we progress!
 

ponynut

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Oct 14, 2001
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Dancing with horses-
book is excellent but the video is AWFUL -it is like a 50 minute advert!! It says very little and misses out the useful parts of the book. Watch it for the gorgeous horses but expect to learn little!
 

ponynut

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intouch, I think the video is OK but the production is just so cheesy!!
Technically it is very generic and lacks the charisma and soul of the book.
Saying that I am in love with the dun in it!
 

H & Bailey

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Nov 12, 2001
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Hi I have a 3 yr old who I bought in september and he was just ridden in a headcollar bareback I have achieved alot(i feel) and was congratulated by someone today!!(really chuffed)who had seen me schooling him.I am in a similar situation as weather, time, baby etc.is restricting the amount of time I can ride him but I can usually still spend about 30-60mins with him,I think if u can still go and groom etc just persevere keep trying to pick feet up etc do things that arent neccessarily 'by the book'ie dropping things,putting rugs etc on from both sides,at least u should build up some sort of trust when u bring it back into work.saying that I took bailey out for about 20 mins on a quiet walk(riding) up the rode and bumped into 4 of the horsey elite and he decided to be a prat and dance around.why do horses always show you up when there is someone who is likely to do a chinese whisper thing about you,saying 'she shouldnt have got that horse,or you shoulda seen what her horse was doing!'Never mind.
 

Lucy J

Weaver's Tale aka Ciara!!
Dec 5, 2001
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Yeah, I've been lunging with side reins which she's pretty good at, tacking up and untacking, rugging up etc, I got on her on Saturday and she was playing up cos her friends were in the field eating hay. I got thrown off which is the first time she's done this, I'm now sporting a huge bruise on my thigh. I got back on her on Sunday and she didn't throw me off, but wouldn't do anything. I give up!! I think I'll send her back to the guy that started her for a few more weeks, I'm nervous now and that just makes her worse...unless anyone has any great ideas???:)
 

H & Bailey

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have u got someone who can help..by help I mean be with you when you mess on to give you confidence even put you on the lunge on her so if she prats around you can just hang on if you need too?do a bit with her even if you can lunge and just practice getting on and off or a quiet walk round the field halting and turning.
 

Dizzy

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Jan 11, 2001
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Hi Lucy, I have been going through a similar situation with my youngster. I've had since she was born, she's now a 4 yr old, I backed her earlier this year with out a problem and was riding her out 2 to 3 times a week on short hacks with another pony. Our problem began when she started to nap, I have to pass the field where her pals are, the field has 2 gates and it runs the length of a long drive, and then a couple of hundred yards of the road I take. I won't go into great detail, but I got on one morning and she wouldn't leave the farm yard, she backed into and sat on my friends car, then backed into a cattle trailer and got her leg through the V of metal where the tow hook is. It was at that point I got off, got my long lines and drove her out on the ride I was going to go on.

Since then I've took a couple of steps back in what I've asked of her. Outrider gave me some excellent advice, he told me to get her obedient on the lunge. She has always lunged pretty well, but slow to respond, so I became more insistent, demanded that she moved up a gear immediately not 4 or 5 strides later. Did I have some fireworks, big bucks, stamping and grunting. I just let it run its course, didn't back off and kept quietly insisting, she settled after a while and worked well. I tried riding again and had the same response, she wouldn't walk on, backed up and bucked, I sat her out and she rode back to the yard, Thank the Lord! But it was at this point I knew I needed help.

I rang a good friend and told her what was happening, a couple of days later she came to help me. She brought with her, her western saddle. We tried it on and fitted, so we lunged her in it, she walked, trotted and then bucked like billy oh! but after about 5 minutes of objecting she went from a she-devil to a willing, forward going, young horse. I got on her and rode her back but still clipped on the lunge, it was like riding a different horse, before though she went forward it was at a snails pace, I'd never interfered much, just thought she'd find her stride as she became more confident. But the new walk was much more relaxed, forward going and swinging.

Since then we,ve done more of the same (but only 2 or 3 times, as my friend works and has loads of other commitments too), about 10 minutes lunging, then a short ride, my friend walks out with us, she hasn't put in one objection, she is now responsive and forward going (sometimes a little too fast, but she does listen to me).

Today we didn't lunge, I got straight on and we rode up the drive with my friend walking along side, she didn't even think about stopping at the gateways, though she did stick further out, but it was half hearted and she moved off my leg without even swishing her tail.

My advice is to get someone with experience to help you, plan what you are going to do, take her back to a level you can work that she's happy with, be firm but sympathetic and work out in advance how you'll deal with any problems that might crop up, I know some situations are impossible to fore-see, but you can engineer situations to work in your favour.

One thing my instructor drills into me is 'always think about what you are teaching your horse' if you're getting a bad response, take a step back, do something your horse is good at, and always end on a good note. Your horse sounds very like mine, young, is very well respected in the herd, and loves humans. Mine is very confident which is a good thing, but can backfire as if she decides she doesn't want to do something, she's not easily persuaded to change her mind.

I do sympathise, I've done alot of soul searching lately, doubting my ability, and my confidence has waivered. I know I have a way to go yet, but now I feel positive, and a strong sense of determination has kicked in.

Hope things improve

Lesley
 

Lucy J

Weaver's Tale aka Ciara!!
Dec 5, 2001
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Thank you very much Lesley, its good to know someone has had a similar problem. I am going to spend the next month lunging her. I'm at a private yard, so its difficult to get help...I'll ask hubby! I am determined to get her to respect all voice commands. Whoa is the one I have difficulty with! After this I am going to send her back to the chap who broke her in for a few weeks to get her going again and I can go up there and ride her and make sure everyting is OK before I take her back to the yard. By then I'll be in a new job and have more time on my hands which should make all the difference! Just one question. What difference did the western saddle make? Was there any particular reason for using that, or was it just because it was different?

Thanks again,

Lucy
 

Dizzy

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Hi Lucy, it was the added security the western saddle offered, I had serious doubts about being able to sit the bucks. I had never actually rode in a western saddle before, that first day it felt really weird. But I have got used to it and really like it.

The thing I like about it is, when things get a little tricky, I can have my reins in one hand and hold onto the saddle horn with the other and send her on with my legs. It was me using my legs that she objected too, and she'd reply with a buck, as my confidence wained abit, I think she felt my hesitation, recognised it as a weakness, making her more determined. Now when I grab the saddle horn, I give her washing line reins and don't hesitate in asking her on. At the moment she's walking on at quite a pace (we,ve gone from one extreme to the other!) I give her a very loose contact as forward is what I want, but ask for regular halts, using my voice, seat and the absolute minimum rein, just a couple of squeezes. Have her stand for a couple of seconds then walk on again and give her lots of praise. Once or twice I've felt her briefly seeking the bit, her trot is amazing, and the western saddle has helped with this too. When I ask her on I have hold of the saddle horn, give her total freedom of head and totally relax, after a few strides I use both riens on a very soft contact, her trot feels far more balanced than her walk, she literally feels as if she's floating.

Good luck with your horse (and your new job) I know how miserable and frustrating it is when things go wrong. It is supposed to be character building ;) lol! I hope things get better for you, keep us posted.

Lesley
 

Lucy J

Weaver's Tale aka Ciara!!
Dec 5, 2001
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Thanks again Lesley, I was seeing her yesterday and now she is hesitant about leaving the field - obviously she has become quite attached to the herd and doesn't want to leave! I don't have a western saddle but I will persevere anyway, I might just go back a few stages and not try and ride her at all at the moment. It is funny how you can go from being full of confidence one minute and loss it all the next. Still, I am in no rush with her, so we'll see how things go. I'll let you know.

Cheers

Lucy
 

Dizzy

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Do you have a lunge line? When your leading her down from the field, make sure your head collar is fitted snuggly, attach your lead to her inside cheek ring, use your lunge line as your lead rein. Hold the length of it in your outside hand, when she stops swing the line in your outside hand at her backside. Don't hold her tight at her head, if she rushes forward, give a sharp pull on your line, and circle her. If she's really strong you could use a schooling whip to act as a gate to your hand.

She must learn to respect you from the ground,, doing inhand exercises, teaching her to respond to your body language and voice will be a huge help when you ride. Have no grey area, class all good behavoiur as white - lots of praise, slow response, bad response as bad - be patient, ignore and keep asking, be totally consistant, so she always understands.

You're horse is so like mine its uncanny, she's totally besotted by a TB gelding, she's been in season ALL summer and is still folding at the back knees. Don't let her dictate to you, give her swipe round the bum and tell her to get on.

Lesley
 

Lucy J

Weaver's Tale aka Ciara!!
Dec 5, 2001
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Yeah, I'm working on that, she gets such a shock when I reprimand her!!! The look on her face is so funny its like "Ohhh, what did you do that for!" But she's been really good lunging so I'm working with that for now, I'm going to send her back to the chap who started her for 2 weeks then bring her back to a different yard where she will be more dependent on me and it also has a floodlit school away from the field which should help her concentration. I'd love to post a picture of her but I don't have one yet! Glad to here there is plenty of hope out there, thanks again.

Have a good Christmas

Lucy
 
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