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Advice?

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Krickette
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Advice?
OK, so I finally got to ride Jazz today. She started out LAZY. I had to get a crop just to get her started. So we finally got going and we were trotting along a little and mostly working on serpentines at the walk so she'd figure out that we were not going to the barn end of the arena any time soon. She's terrible about stopping down there and I don't have the leg to fight her through it yet so we're just avoiding it atm. Anyway, I don't remember what provoked it the first time, but she threw a big kick and I came off. Well, I was sideways parallel with the ground for a while and decided I didn't have the strength to pull myself back up so I put my feet on the ground and got back on. So we decided to try to canter. Now this is what I need major help with. We did 2 laps of the fastest trot I've ever sat in my life. I hurt. It was terrible. At the end of it we got 3 strides of canter but then she was going to run into people so we slammed on the brakes. Then I trotted more and more and could never get it again. I need 2 more hands I swear. I want to be able to hold both reins and pop her with the whip and hold the horn when need be. What do I do? I mean, surely this fast trot thing isn't the answer...I hate fast trot. I hate horses that fast trot when you ask them to canter. I don't want Jazz to do this. Anyway, we never did get to canter again because we got in a corner and she reared up and we both went down backwards. I scraped my arm up pretty good on the rail but I got out from under her. Then when we stood up she tried to kick me so I had a come to Jesus meeting and whooped her with the crop till she was backing up good. Then we walked and trotted around a little to make sure she hadnt hurt herself and I got back on. She was really good after that. I warned her vocally when she started acting up and Mom said she could see the whites of her eyes haha. So I guess I put the fear of God in her :P Anyway, she trotted along like a dream after that and I didn't have to use the crop again. So we finished up after about 15 more mins or so but I was getting dizzy and needed water so we called it a day. I untacked her and got some water and then we did some work on ground manners because she was really pulling and dragging today. She did very well eventually though we're still working on pivoting on the haunches. She doesn't move off of pressure well. She's retarded. I can literally throw all of my weight at her and she just pushes back harder. Eff. Anyway, I just...I need help! How do you make a horse canter? Seriously, it shouldn't be this hard! Should it?
accphotography
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Re: Advice?

I think she may need a bunch more "come to Jesus" moments. She's bigger than you and she KNOWS it right now.

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Daylene Alford
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Re: Advice?

It depends on the horse. Some young horses who are not used to moving with weight are very hard to get to canter. My dad always just pushed them into it and it always worked well for him. I've found I don't always have the confidence to do that. In those cases I just continuing working at a (comfortable) trot and the canter comes as both myself and the horse gain confidence.

Maigray
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Re: Advice?

That's really common for a young horse, especially one who hasn't been worked consistently. She doesn't have the muscle strength or balance to just "pop" into it, so she has to run into it. She doesn't really like it any more than you do. Stay off her mouth, sit balanced and just keep pushing. As time goes on, her transitions will get better and better. Riding long straight lines instead of circles can also help, since a young horse has more trouble balancing on the circle. Not moving well off pressure is normal too - horses instinctively move *into* pressure, and it can take a lot of time and patience to teach them otherwise.

Andrea
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Re: Advice?

What Maigray said...
I'd spend a couple weeks working her on the ground. This will help with those manners and also getting her into condtion so she can better handle carrying the weight and using her back muscles to balance her and you.

PurplePower
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Re: Advice?

OK, so I finally got to ride Jazz today. She started out LAZY. I had to get a crop just to get her started. ... so she'd figure out that we were not going to the barn end of the arena any time soon. She's terrible about stopping down there and I don't have the leg to fight her through it yet so we're just avoiding it atm.

Some observations:
1. I remember Jazz having a bit of a "stubborn" streak on the ground. I realize that when you have limited time due to school, etc. that it would be nice to be able to just saddle up and go for a "perfect" ride, but Jazz is "only" a 4-year old and she will not go from "greenbroke" to "perfect" while enjoying a "summer vacation" under those beautiful trees at your parents' farm. She'd probably benefit from some "ground school" and a bit of time getting re-oriented to which one of you will be the leader when you ride.
2. From my observations when a rider uses a crop they generally turn their body to "apply" pressure and that means the horse may be getting 4 or 5 different cues - seat (rocking forward); left knee forward (because of body twist); right heel back (body twist); heels kicking (Jazz asks "why?"); reins (pulling on mouth? left on neck?) - now, are you confused? and you have a logical brain to "figure things out" - she doesn't. So we need a consistent go forward cue with "escalation", i.e. seat- thighs - heels - butt (hers). When I am starting a young horse on the "increase speed forward" cue I prefer to use a bosal with cotton reins, but with a "green broke" horse I prefer a large ring joint mouth snaffle with mecate reins, OR a single rein (8 feet) and a 12 foot 3/4 inch lead (rope or nylon) with a knot tied in end clipped to a nylon halter. I use the extra "lead" for the "butt" cue.
3. Jazz should walk before she can trot. That means you give her the "go forward" cue and she walks off and walks until YOU give her a cue to do something different. AC tells me your riding "arena" has rounded corners so this would be the place I would do this lesson. Jazz should be willing to walk for an hour (or more) if you do not give her a stop cue. Ah, but she will go down to the gate near the barn and stop, I see. So, let her go there. When she gets there, make her uncomfortable. Go forward cue, including (and probably necessary at first) the "butt" cue. Using the lead you can stay looking forward and better keep your balance if she lurches forward. If she decides she is going to do the back up and flip over trick then you will need to do a bit of work on the ground (another lesson entirely). Do NOT take that lightly as it is extremely dangerous. But, if she will start walking away from the gate, stop all cues and let her walk. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO GUIDE HER! Giving a horse a "go forward" cue AND a "go this way" cue is confusing to that horse. (They will figure it out after a while, but they also can figure out other things, like how to get you to stop asking them for anything.) Let her walk whereever she wants to walk as long as she KEEPS WALKING. When she stops walking, give her the "go forward" cue, and sit relaxed in the saddle, reins ON HER NECK and let her walk where she wants to go. If she walks to the gate and stops, (and you LET her walk all the way to the gate and stop) let her know that is an uncomfortable place to be - when she walks off then you relax. Stop her at random places in the arena (when she will walk relaxed as long as YOU want) AWAY FROM THE GATE and give her some "love". I dismount at these "random places", loosen my saddle and walk one to the gate and back to the barn. Tighten the saddle when you get back to the barn, tie her (she stays tied doesn't she?) and go into house and enjoy a cool libation. Lead her back to one of those "random places" in the arena and unsaddle there. The longer you can leave her saddled at the barn the better.

Anyway, I don't remember what provoked it the first time, but she threw a big kick and I came off. Well, I was sideways parallel with the ground for a while and decided I didn't have the strength to pull myself back up so I put my feet on the ground and got back on. So we decided to try to canter. Now this is what I need major help with. .....................
Anyway, I just...I need help! How do you make a horse canter? Seriously, it shouldn't be this hard! Should it?

From the first part of my answer do you still think this is where you need help? Remember, Jazz (and Krickette) need to WALK before they TROT and TROT before they CANTER (she probably wants to LOPE instead of CANTER anyway!! - LOL) You will do the same thing for TROT as walk (she is willing to trot for an hour until you give her a different cue - -and can go ANYWHERE in the arena she wants to go, etc.) .

You can do this little at a time if you stay consistent and wait until she has passed the first grade before asking her to do junior high and college stuff!

Tell you mom and dad I said hi, and thanks for watching the premiere of "Swamp People" when we were there.

Doc (PurplePower)
Versailles, KY

hoofpick
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Re: Advice?

Great advice PP! I would even accentuate the ground work more . 8-) Every thing I start has a good week or 2 just leading... this is not just getting a horse from a to b but the horse stopping when I give a vocal cue and going when I give a vocal cue. I back these up quickly with a longe whip or sharp motion on the halter to get a "military " (a NOW) reaction. Then the backing up.. and the turn on the hind quarters-all leading. All this is established before I lunge. Lunging is not and never should be just mindless circles..infact I will lunge all sorts of shape like squares- anyway, on the lunge I get them to halt and walk and halt and walk then move onto walk/trot/halt transitions etc, etc. I make sure a horse can go from canter to walk or rein back to trot etc on the lunge. I only have them stay in the one pace long enough to prepare to make the next transition-that may take a couple of steps or half a lap. I then long rein and make sure I have stop/go/turn. All this is done with clear and consistant vocal comands till the horse could ( and will! :mrgreen: ) perform it all without a physical action from me (pulling etc.) Please be careful girl, you sound like you had a rough go after wanting to ride so much!!! :love

PurplePower
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Re: Advice?

I agree with hoofpick about spending time on the ground. I prefer free lunging in a round pen to start, then mix free with restrained (on a lunge line), but without a round pen using a lunge line can be productive, especially when diversified as explained by HP. I also like to do "response drills" on the lead line (lateral flexing, back, etc.). It always intrigues me how much a horse takes from the ground drills to the riding lessons. In re-reading my first post I felt I may have left the impression that you do not stop walking until she will walk for an hour. That is a "goal". The first time she walks more the three steps with me "relaxed" I'll give the stop cue and let her relax. The I keep increasing the amount of time she must walk before getting that "reward" again. As I said, doing that kind of "step up" training builds a foundation that will still be there when you get back home after a 3 or 4 week "school break".

Krickette
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Re: Advice?

Thanks for all the advice! I am going to really try to work on a lot of what yall pointed out.
I just found out that my new neighbor has two nephews who are professional cutting horse trainers in east TX, but maybe they'd be willing to put 30 days on her haha. I'll have to find out if theyd charge me an arm or a leg first, but she's got to learn that just because she is bigger and stronger does not mean she is the boss. ACC saw how crazy she was getting with me in the arena when we were trying to get pics of her. And I showed my mom what you wrote Doc and she agreed. If only she didn't have a bum hip I'd make her go do it for me hahaha! I need Dad to get back in the saddle, too.

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Morgan
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Re: Advice?

I've gone through the same with all but one of my young horses, it's just that they aren't balanced or strong yet like said before :) One took a year before he would break to a fast lope and 2 years later to manage a balanced one (he was a total clutz about everything though lol) I did have one that loped balanced on her 2nd ride but she was just like some mutant ready trained filly who knew everything before I did. :lol: :hammer The rest have just taken some months to build up for it.

Jenks
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Re: Advice?

What doc is saying about consistently asking - seat, thighs, then if you have to heels? That is what my trainer has been having me do. First ask with my butt and head/body language then apply leg and then if I have to give a rein cue (and I ride in a halter with no bit on them mostly), then if I have to, heel. No matter what we are doing, after the first few escalations to the heel (which really was rare), they begin to respond to the previous aids. Backing up and going forward were first with lots of praise when they do what you ask. But it began that simple - we developed a common language - and don't get frustrated. I've never used a crop on either of my babies, and I really don't think you need one either!

I don't know much, but I do think you should have some help! That's why I got help- I got frustrated and they got confused.

pandemonium