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paulaedwina
Jul. 24, 2011, 05:32 PM
So Fella has been here about 10 days I think. It's been as hot as heck, and I have a couple of classes winding up so I've been on him only twice outside of the test ride. This is the first time in lesson with my equitation trainer.

He has some training issues - none bad, but definitely stuff to work through.

1. Somewhere he learned to be BTV. I don't know if someone trained him to look like he's collected or what. The two horse breed is both have natural carriage, but he has such flexion in the neck that I wonder if he was in side reins at some point. So that has to be undone. It's false collection and well behind the vertical - he's collected to the base of his neck, but the rest of him is not connected as yet.

He's quite sharp though and learned a great deal in our first hour. Also, recall I've been working him in hand and he's done very well in giving to pressure (at the hip, and backing). He has a real brain on board.

2. He balks at the gate. It's an interesting evasion, but we'll work on it.

3. Had to retrain him to stand to be mounted at the block. I think this might be a hold over from the cowboy days because I know quite a few Western riders who don't require the horse to stand still to be mounted - but I am only speculating. The way I reinforced this was to set the mounting block on the off side , getting up on the block and draping myself over him. Like me, he had no idea what to do with someone trying to mount on the wrong side, so he stood still. Lots of praise. Go around to the correct side to mount, no problem.

4. He's really behind the leg. I think this will improve as he relaxes. I took up the dressage whip and that worried him alot. Instead I used my mild spurs and that was better for him. I'll keep working with the whip as it is a good tool for cueing, etc.

Here's a brief video from today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTXovCgC4-0

You can see the BTV and behind the leg. We started some bending lessons - 20 meter circles first at walk then trot, and tighter circles at walk. He started to bend nicely towards the end of the class.

Paula

atr
Jul. 24, 2011, 05:42 PM
You make a nice pair.

I suspect a lot of his BTV thing will go away when he learns that a request to go forward actually does require him to get his booty into gear and keep it there, which will come with increased fitness and confidence that you are in fact in charge and mean what you say.

Good luck and have fun!

paulaedwina
Jul. 24, 2011, 06:48 PM
Thanks for the kind compliment. Yes, I'm hoping that he'll learn to be more forward. Apparently he's different on the trail but we've yet to test that. I'll ride him most days of the week - I think that will help him get used to me as well as build up his fitness. The balking is annoying, but I am sure it is quite fixable.

Paula

Petstorejunkie
Jul. 24, 2011, 08:41 PM
You two make the cutest pair! I can see why you just had to have him.

1 and 4 are connected, and I'm sure you know ;)

A little position critique (I know you and Fella barely know each other, but I can't help but offer observations that may help things move along quicker)

Go to 0:15 and study your shoulders in that upward transition....
Start this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV0tNtFuyHA) at around 2:15 for an explanation of what giving your shoulders away does to the rest of your equitation. (I'm sorry my audio sucks)

Okay, other thing that may help is you need to pick one or the other
1. light half seat (like huntseat angle but not perchy) with open low hands like in your video. This is to encourage the horse forward, seeking the bit down and stretching over the topline

...or


2. seated tall, working the bounce of the seatbones (think of bouncing your seatbones on a trampoline), elbows bent and at your sides with raised hands (most horses your hands will be 5-7" above the wither). This is the position of raised work. the horse must be sufficiently sent forward so that the poll can rise and yield accordingly, and you'll have that sacred line from elbow to bit.

Right now you are doing pieces of both and it's confusing and throwing you off balance.

You are smart for solving the mounting issues from the offside. You can use that same way of thinking to solve the btv lack of forward stuff. Once you know eachother better, work on your dressage stuff out on the trail until it's solved. You may also find that if you have access to someone who is skilled at in hand work, it is a fantastic avenue rarely explored, and therefore rarely tarnished. It could be the secret doorway to fixing both issues (it is most of the time for my projects)

paulaedwina
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:09 PM
Very good, petstorejunkie! You have bionic eyes. The video was very helpful even though the audio was tough. Indeed, I have an issue with throwing away my contact in upward and downward transitions and have been working on it with both my dressage and equitation trainers. I've been getting better about it, but he was so behind the leg that I kept getting in front of vertical like I could pull him along. Two things happened there; he stops, and he loses his fragile-for-now balance. I have to remember to squeeze the tube of toothpaste I'm sitting on instead of returning to the hunter hand thrust half seat.

And you're right; that bobbling about makes him think he has to take care of me, and removes any effective leadership on my part. He has great packer potential that way. So I have to decide, like Yoda said, to "do or do not".

I like what you say alot in #2. It jibes with what my equitation instructor suggests to fix his poor head set. But what you're saying is that instead of one hand raised, I need to take that position you describe totally. I'm riding again tomorrow morning before work so I will attempt that "position of raised work".

Regarding in hand work - it is something I'm very interested in. I have a book I've been reading; Horse Training In-Hand: A Modern Guide to Working From the Ground (Schuthof, E., and Mistral, K). Also, I began learning to longe from my equitation trainer. Fella have been working in hand as well and, at risk of giving away my dog background, I can walk him at a loose leash heel in patterns, including backing down his body so he circles to face me!:lol:

I can see in hand work will help a great deal here. And he has an excellent whoa. I'll ride tomorrow and maybe Tuesday between classes can be the longe session.

Thank you so much. I am very analytical so I enjoy being able to discuss these things in detail.

Paula

GreyStreet
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:21 PM
I'm sure you're excited to be getting to know your new guy better. One observation, please take it from the perspective of someone who is her own harshest critic...do you need to sit his trot right now? In terms of getting him forward, posting the trot might be your best bet for now. Posting really takes the pressure of any issues you may have with your own position at the sitting trot and allows you to focus on rising and keeping him forward and really getting him in front of your leg for now. Many people (myself included) have a tendency to want to get too "handsy" and slow down the trot when we first start to sit, so we end up sending a few conflicting messages. This can be especially difficult for a horse that tends to get BTV and one that also needs to build up more muscle and strength through his topline.

Good luck!

Reddfox
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:28 PM
I like what you say alot in #2. It jibes with what my equitation instructor suggests to fix his poor head set. But what you're saying is that instead of one hand raised, I need to take that position you describe totally. I'm riding again tomorrow morning before work so I will attempt that "position of raised work".
Paula

Very cute guy - you guys are going to have a lot of fun together! To further this idea...One hand raised doesn't do a lot to uncurl a horse. It is used more to encourage a flexion at the poll, (Philippe Karl uses this this type of work) but IMO, it's something your guy doesn't need more of right now.

Petstorejunkie has the right idea.... BOTH hands should be raised and should be feeling as though they could come forward - It's amazing when you pay attention to this, how often we as riders tend to ride with pulling pressure on the reins. How high the hands are are somewhat dependent on where the neck comes out of the wither - a horse with a low set neck wouldn't have hands held as high as a horse that comes high out of the wither.

To bring the horse out from BTV, BOTH hands must raise (think a quick "bump" up), leg must say "GO!", and the hands must IMMEDIATELY give FORWARD to give the horse somewhere to go. if you are restrictive or backwards with your hands, the horse will only curl more with more energy from behind. Repetition of this will help uncurl the curler.

Do be insistent that he go forward from your leg...ask with your seat, and if you are not satisfied with the response, a quick "attack" with your small spur and then back to neutral leg and ask again with seat will get the message across. And work on desensitizing to the dressage whip, you'll be happy that you did as you continue to work on forward :)

Good luck - update us!!

Edited to add, I agree with the above regarding not sitting right now...You can use your posting to generate energy and solving the forward will help you solve the BTV problem.

Re-edited to add: I would work on calm, forward, straight riding at the moment and less on bending...ask for too much bend and the horse can use it as an excuse to curl and get further behind the leg. Bending IS important, but you had mentioned doing small circles, I would keep the circles large and keep up the tempo to drive the horse into the outside aids and then bring the head up as needed, as often as needed as I described above...

Sorry, usually not so wordy - but I have some experience with curlers and hope that some of my experience will help!

paulaedwina
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:29 PM
That's a brilliant observation. Posting did get him more forward. I think I was tempted by his beautiful perch/stb action with his tea-sipping trot. I'm not especially handsy with the sitting trot - I actually warm him up on the buckle, but I will post more to get him to move out. I'd try two point, but when you lean forward he stops :lol::lol: so I'm not sure what he'd do with 2 point. I'll give it a shot tomorrow morning.

ETA I'm taking notes! I'm going to try to be more assertive tomorrow morning (not harsh, but more clear). Forward is important to me. I've had a taste from riding a PSG schoolmaster of what forward and suspension are and I don't want Fella to settle in to a typical school horse pace - if you understand what I mean. I want him to be strong and athletic.

Paula

DutchDressageQueen
Jul. 24, 2011, 09:57 PM
I agree with all that was said above. especially no tight circles, too much bending and posting the trot for right now.

May I suggest something? Act as if he is a young horse just getting started. With that I mean, a young horse will be ridden very forward to get him straight and to carry himself. I think that that is what your new horse needs right now. Then once he is forward, carries himself, and is quick off the leg, you can/should sit his trot again. Hope that that helps!

paulaedwina
Jul. 24, 2011, 10:20 PM
I'm going to focus on forward. I guess we'll be using the outer edge of the arena more and more. We will still take 20 meter circles I think, but I do think we need to get more forward. I'll also see how he goes on the longe.

Paula

Petstorejunkie
Jul. 24, 2011, 10:45 PM
I have to remember to squeeze the tube of toothpaste I'm sitting on instead of returning to the hunter hand thrust half seat.
Most importantly, remember your whip. Don't EVER use more force with your leg for any movement than what you want the horse to respond to all the time. Ask with the lightest of aid, then the maximum you are willing to use of leg without compromising position (this for me ain't much force!) then whip whip whip until you get the forward in any form, even if it's a launch forward. Getting a horse to go forward should take mere thoughts when executed correctly.


And you're right; that bobbling about makes him think he has to take care of me, and removes any effective leadership on my part. He has great packer potential that way. So I have to decide, like Yoda said, to "do or do not".
Fix the shoulders, fix the loss of balance. you are throwing each other off. And believe me, I'll raise my hand to the giving shoulder club. I hear Paul in my head (the clinician in the video) every time I set up a new horse for forward raised work "hold your position, ride forward"




at risk of giving away my dog background, I can walk him at a loose leash heel in patterns, including backing down his body so he circles to face me!:lol: oh we can talk dog! instead of viewing in hand work as obedience work, think of it more as a way for your horse to explore his body and balance without having to worry about you. you can SEE what is happening, and give checks to the rein, or taps with the whip to shape and perfect it. In hand dressage work is like a whole different catacomb of learning and mystery. I'm so grateful for my classical in hand training,... it fixes just about everything.


And he has an excellent whoa.
Ok, when you say this, do you mean he stops promptly, or that he stops correctly by lowering his haunches? They are two different entities.


Thank you so much. I am very analytical so I enjoy being able to discuss these things in detail.
Paula
I LOVE the nitty gritty details... that's what makes dressage so dang facinating!

atr
Jul. 24, 2011, 11:59 PM
My favorite clinician calls it "pushing the grocery cart." Making sure your hands are always thinking forwards...

Kazan
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:04 AM
In the sales video, this horse was not BTV and he looked big, strong and relaxed. In your video, he looks like his mincing his steps and he shrunk.

As someone else mentioned, please post, and before you try and put him together to look like a "dressage" horse, why not learn to ride him with more freedom so he can find his balance with you, a new rider. Once he is confident doing what is easy, you can work on bringing him together a little bit more.

He is a very nice horse, you do not want to loose what made him so attractive in the video, ie, he was calm and trusting but he moved out for his rider and he appeared quite regular. You want to be careful not to confuse him, and he looks confused to me. If he has never done dressage then treat him like a baby green horse and start at the bottom, dont expect because he is older that he will step up to where you are, that's stressful.

paulaedwina
Jul. 25, 2011, 06:09 AM
Trust me, I'm not trying to put him together like a dressage horse at all. He doesn't have the balance or the muscles. He has never had a dressage lesson in his life. Actually in his sales pictures you do see the BTV (they're gone now because he's sold). I'm not putting his head there at all - he is doing that on the buckle. I'm trying to unwind him. If you recall the sales videos he wasn't very forward either, even when I test rode him. I got those very gaits when I sat his trot then too.

Here are his sales videos I saved to You tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcXRgh8SZnY In this first one with no bridle he is a different horse. He is quite relaxed, but his gaits are not large.

Here is the other sales video with some stills http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3QxjzNK3iA Look at the second still and the last still before he rides out in the field - BTV. Then look at the video - under Western tack with Western aids that BTV is much less pronounced. He neck reins beautifully. Further into the video you see him in English tack and he changes again (at about 4:01). I think Petstorejunkie called it - when I raise my hands he'll unkink his head.

He has never done dressage. I bet you dollars to donuts if I put my Aussie stock saddle on him and neck reined he'd relax. The problem is that he is not relaxed, and you're right, he's confused as heck. He is new to the barn and he'd never done ring work in an indoor either. He just doesn't know what to expect. That will change.

I will post more and sit less. I will also do some longe work with him.

PS. Petstorejunkie - when I said he had a good whoa it's not put together, he just stops on a dime.

ETA Now you've got me wondering whether I should put the Aussie on him and ride him Western to get him to relax or whether that is just sabotaging his training.

Also of course he's not relaxed yet. He's still in quarantine. He hasn't interacted with any of the horses on the farm yet and I'm sure that's contributing.

Paula

in_the_zone
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:06 AM
After watching parts of the sales videos, I don't think you have a horse who has learned evasions like BTV or behind the leg, he's just confused by the questions his new rider is posing. He was ridden on a loose contact previously, he's thinking the hand brake is on. Although he is giving to the bit, it's not in the correct manner and he's trying to spit it out (dropping the bit) to get to his comfortable place. I think it would help to warm him up on that loose rein and get him going before taking up the reins. Also, keep your hands close together as keeping them wide encourages curling. I love his temperment; he seems like a really cool dude! I think the most challenging things about this horse will be developing schwung in his body (making more suspension) and unlocking the base of that neck. Do continue posting to help make these things happen. Ride him out to the bit, don't make the contact by making him come to you. I would rather see him moving forward and on a long rein like a hunter right now. Teach him how to package himself up one piece at a time rather than all at once.

carolprudm
Jul. 25, 2011, 08:54 AM
Like others have said post, and post the trot you want. If you want a big dressage trot, post big, not the little hunter barely geting your butt out of the saddle motion.

Ride straight lines for now, that will get him more forward, but that doesn't mean just ride along the outside of the arena. Ride the diagonals and quarter and center lines, pick a point and go straight for it. Don't let him anticipate which way you are going to turn before you reach the end of the line

paulaedwina
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:05 AM
Well we had a session this morning. It did not go very well. On the plus side his ground manners are quite good and it only took one setting the mounting block on the off side before he would stand still for me to mount. I get the feeling this is the second time in his life that he's been in an indoor (the first time would be the last time I rode him). His walk is much more relaxed too. Like I said I warm up on the buckle.

He is balking though. He balks at the door, he balks at the window. He'll trot and then stop. Sigh. I think in_the_zone is right - any contact is the brakes. Though I think he also balks on the buckle. I'll have to give that some thought.

Tried to lunge- yeah wow that was tough. First I had to convince him to stop trying to join up. I'll use the round pen the next time.

I think I'm getting ahead of him and will work alot at walk and on the buckle to get him to relax. And yes, when we get back to trotting I will post.

Paula

alto
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:15 AM
Can you turn him out in the indoor & just let him explore for an hour or 2 - if your BM will let you turn him out overnight with some hay & you get there early & clean everything up, that will get him relaxed very quickly :)

GreyStreet
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:17 AM
10 days is plenty of time to acclimate to a new environment - after all, he's not going to have time to acclimate to every new show environment you go to. That being said, as others have noted, it sounds like he is still trying to figure out what you want. I would also note, it sounds like from your last post, the first thing he needs to learn (or re-learn) at this point is forward at all times when you ask. It's okay to investigate things if you let him, but balking is not allowed. My horse is not a balker, but I can sense when she is distracted in the least bit, and she gets a tap and asked to go forward until she re-focuses.
As others have suggested, I would forget working too much on his poll position right now - getting the forward will fix that eventually. If he is balking regularly, you have to get him forward and you have to MEAN it. As much as we want to be subtle, he has to go off your aids and focus on you. Escalate your aids but again, as others have noted, when you get to that third and final escalation, he MUST go. Horses appreciate a clear sense of direction, so don't hesitate. It sounds like once he grasps this concept with you, you two will be working confidently together in no time.

paulaedwina
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:30 AM
RE: I would also note, it sounds like from your last post, the first thing he needs to learn (or re-learn) at this point is forward at all times when you ask. It's okay to investigate things if you let him, but balking is not allowed.

In a nutshell this is where we are. Like I've said; I'm not at all concerned about his poll except to unwind that BTV, but I am really interested in him going forward when I want him to for as long as I want him to. I think, as other posters have said, the BTV will fix itself with forward. According to John (the broker who bought him from his seller), his seller was intimidated by him so I think he might have learned some behaviors that got results at some time in his past.

I have no doubt that we'll get past this. It is just a matter of time.

Would you mind describing an escalation of aids to get him forward and not balking?

Paula

FlashGordon
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:31 AM
I would also note, it sounds like from your last post, the first thing he needs to learn (or re-learn) at this point is forward at all times when you ask. It's okay to investigate things if you let him, but balking is not allowed. My horse is not a balker, but I can sense when she is distracted in the least bit, and she gets a tap and asked to go forward until she re-focuses.
As others have suggested, I would forget working too much on his poll position right now - getting the forward will fix that eventually. If he is balking regularly, you have to get him forward and you have to MEAN it. As much as we want to be subtle, he has to go off your aids and focus on you. Escalate your aids but again, as others have noted, when you get to that third and final escalation, he MUST go. Horses appreciate a clear sense of direction, so don't hesitate. It sounds like once he grasps this concept with you, you two will be working confidently together in no time.

This.

There is nothing I dislike more than a balky horse, and it is something that needs to be addressed and corrected. If you are not feeling confident enough on him yet to do so, see if your trainer might hop on for a few rides?

meupatdoes
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:36 AM
Would you mind describing an escalation of aids to get him forward and not balking?


At the very first hint of sucking back and balking, a swift tap tap! with the whip.

Done correctly, the spectators should only see a slight hesitation, a little jump forward, and then you two matter of factly continuing on with what you were doing.

Btw, congrats on the new horse; I think he is really cute!

quietann
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:40 AM
The horse is adorable!

Agree w/everyone else on establishing forward momentum first. My mare has a lazy streak and one "escalation" of forward aids reminds her that forward is the best thing... and then she can be a little *too* forward :)

BTW the latest Dressage Today has an article about working with the "cold" or lazy horse.

paulaedwina
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:41 AM
I think I can pull this off myself. I do have the back up of a trainer who can put a few sessions on him if it comes to that, but I can do this. It sounds like I need to switch from my nice comfortable dressage whip to a crop to deliver that tap tap. Where to deliver it? Shoulder, behind the leg, rump?

It sounds like that would be a great way to get past that. I'm riding again between classes tomorrow.

Paula

meupatdoes
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:45 AM
I think I can pull this off myself. I do have the back up of a trainer who can put a few sessions on him if it comes to that, but I can do this. It sounds like I need to switch from my nice comfortable dressage whip to a crop to deliver that tap tap. Where to deliver it? Shoulder, behind the leg, rump?

It sounds like that would be a great way to get past that. I'm riding again between classes tomorrow.

Paula

Just use the dressage whip the same way you would normally use a dressage whip. You don't even have to take your hand off the rein.

Tap tap! right behind where your leg aid goes.
If he is balking at stuff outside the ring, put the whip on the inside.

If there is a particular part of the body that is really swinging "wider" move the whip over to that area to pop him back straight and then use whip by your leg as normal. Ie if his haunches suddenly swing all the way in, aim for the hip and tap them back out. A long whip is MUCH more helpful here than a short crop.

carolprudm
Jul. 25, 2011, 11:49 AM
There are some really good dressage videos on youtube (and some horrible ones too) and Jane Savoie's videos are among the best.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq_0OdBEYFw&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

One thing to remember is NOT to lean forward when he slows. It's a habit many people have if they have done much hunter seat (Ask me how I know this)

Shiaway
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:21 PM
He is darling and you look like you've lost weight! My very first thought when you said he is perch x STB is, does he have a canter? It didn't really see much of anything in the sales videos which kind of worries me. But that's kind of a different topic all together.

You're getting some great advice. I wouldn't sit his trot at all, I would post. In order to sit a horse's trot the horse should be through the back and he's not even near thinking about that yet. So I wouldn't sit at all. He's not ready for it and it will only hinder getting him forward and relaxed.

I would not worry about his head at all. If he curls BTV I would just ignore it. You have to fix the hind end first. Once that gets fixed the BTV problem will resolve itself. So like everyone else is saying I would just work on getting his forward to 100%. And it doesn't mean go faster. It just means he needs to be in front of your leg and none of this balking stuff.

I'd get after him for that right away or he's going to start doing it all the time. You're lucky he has some perch in there because if he was 100% STB he'd have you licked by now LOL. He'd probably not even be moving for you. At least my STB would have you figured out as soon as you got in the saddle, he wouldn't even need you to let him balk once he'd already know that you would let him do it before you knew and then he would just not move at all. Sometimes they are too smart I think.

Good luck. He's quite handsome. I don't usually post critiques because I'm just a total moron/nobody. But the reason I chose to post on your thread is that I really like you because you seem so level headed and modest and I love STBs.

FlashGordon
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:58 PM
I'd prefer a dressage whip for this, not a crop. Just deliver as Meupatdoes suggested. Swift tap behind the leg at the first sign of him sucking back.

FlashGordon
Jul. 25, 2011, 12:58 PM
double post.

WILLOW&CAL
Jul. 25, 2011, 01:06 PM
He's lovely. You two look great together. I'd just add that forwardness can also be improved by hacking out and schooling in the country. If you have a riding buddy on a more forward horse ahead of you it will be even easier. Best of luck and many happy years riding and competing with him.

Reddfox
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:01 PM
Paula, to help with the balking, you really want to be insistent on going forward. Do realize that some horses that have learned this behavior can put on quite an intimidating show because they just. don't. wanna. go. :)

You said that the dressage whip made him nervous...I would carry it with you when you're grooming, leading and riding to help get him over it. If you feel that his nervousness is going to be explosive - then carry a smaller bat while you work on desensitizing to the whip.

For a balker, or a horse that has a less than adequate response to seat/leg aids... make sure that you are in balance and then ask with your seat and leg. My rule is a touch (leg or seat aid), vibrate (the whip), and kill (quick attack with the spur or a smart pop of the whip (side note: the bat would be used behind the leg - but a whip is preferable because you won't have to let go of reins or sacrifice your position)).

These aids should be in quick succession. It's not ask for 10 strides, ask a little harder for another 10 strides and then go after him. Response should be immediate! After all, you have a goal of riding him to the best of his abilities and that means a horse that is sensitive to the aids (especially the invisible seat aids).

You know your comfort level best - if you feel that you may not be able to deal with the resulting jump forward (or whatever else he may try) when he figures out that you REALLY MEAN it, then have a trainer help or supervise.

alto
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:02 PM
Fella is obviously a very sweet horse - he was ridden in a western saddle that did not fit & the rider was very jiggly on his mouth; the "english" rider looks to be a western rider in an english saddle (the saddle has changed but bridle & contact remains western): the horse is not forward in any of the footage, he was allowed to run into the canter etc.

I suspect it will take awhile for him to trust the bit, riding him as a young horse being started will help him to relax & trust & move forward.

Watch this video (http://www.youtube.com/user/53Apollo#p/u/17/baYt6EQSk2c) (borrowed from Bighorse326 web TV) for a nice young Welsh Cob that is only 2 weeks into training.

paulaedwina
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:06 PM
You guys are awesome. Let me annotate, and I apologize if I miss anybody.

1. Shiaway, please do feel free to post critique. I love the feedback, I love learning from people, and often many heads are better than one. I'm not re-inventing the wheel so I figure someone on the forum would have something to say. I am not sure whether I've lost weight or grown muscle from all the dressage lessons :lol: I do have a comin' to Jesus physical approaching so I'll find out.

2. Fortunately Fella does have canter. John (the seller) ran him into it, but he did get it. I have a feeling he'll learn his transitions easy though, because a couple of times he responded to the spur by picking up his front end in a bit of a hop (see the video, last few seconds). So I think there's a walk/canter in there somewhere. I do love STBs too and funny to say, in the beginning of my search I was looking at STBs and drafts. Go figure I end up with a draft/STB.:lol:

3. I have no access to trails yet. I am working on that even as we speak. However I can hack out around the farm so I plan on doing that too.

4. I will definitely take your advice to forget about the BTV and focus on the forward for now. I'll definitely look for the DT article on the cold/lazy horse (I'd like to think of Fella as cold rather than lazy :D).

5. I will stick with the dressage whip. Interesting thing about leaning forward when he slows;
a. I did come from a hunter tradition so I've had to learn not to throw away my contact.
b. I am not anticipating his balk so the momentum tips me forward when he stops short.
c. I have to stop trying to pull him along (that's the root of the leaning forward).


6. I've scheduled a round pen session with my trainer for Wednesday. Let's see if we can get him to keep going there.

Hopefully I haven't missed anything. I really do appreciate the feedback. He's a nice Fella :D he comes to me when I call, and that has nothing to do with plying him with carrots :lol:

Paula

Shiaway
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:20 PM
I wasn't worried about the running into canter. Green horses do that--or horses that just were never taught to do it any other way. As long as there is a 3 beat canter in there somewhere.

My STB have a very bad canter. He really wanted to be a driving horse I guess. LOL Now he is. I just took him around in the sulky again (yes you read that right, I'm pleasure driving my old STB in a sulky LOL). He discovered today (thanks to the horrible biting flies) that he can do a running walk. I didn't know I had a TWH but I guess I do now. hee hee.

meupatdoes
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:24 PM
5. I will stick with the dressage whip. Interesting thing about leaning forward when he slows;
a. I did come from a hunter tradition so I've had to learn not to throw away my contact.
b. I am not anticipating his balk so the momentum tips me forward when he stops short.
c. I have to stop trying to pull him along (that's the root of the leaning forward).

Haha, well, don't worry about that, that is just physics.
Ever stopped short at a stop sign?

Even really advanced riders tip forward on a sudden balker; don't worry about it or think it says anything about your riding, just try to sit up again right away and leg leg, tap tap!

paulaedwina
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:30 PM
Wow, so much happened while I was composing.

Reddfox, the balking is definitely going to be interesting. He hasn't done anything dangerous. He's spooked in place a couple of times (looking out the window), but that's not getting him anywhere. I think I'm in the midst of an extinction burst - he's going to throw every evasion at me before we're through I think.

Alto, he's a brilliant horse. He's just learned some interesting behaviors. John said he felt the woman who sold him seemed intimidated by him so I think he's going to try everything. You observed all the things I did in the video (except the saddle fit). He's not forward, he was run into the canter. But he's got a good mind and is willing. And I have the resources (people) to manage this.

BTW the video was wonderful. It has inspired me to truly treat Fella more like a new horse and work more at the walk (addressing that balking) and trot later. I am inspired to approach his balking like one would approach teaching a dog to shut up. If you teach the dog to speak then he'd only speak when you tell him, and subside when you tell him. I'm thinking that in addition to going after the balk, that I will have shorter trot sessions so that he successfully goes forward when I tell him, and halts when I tell him. Those sessions would naturally increase in duration with much more success.

Shiaway, Fella does have a nice canter. He does have some driving in his past though.

Paula

Petstorejunkie
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:41 PM
PS. Petstorejunkie - when I said he had a good whoa it's not put together, he just stops on a dime.

ETA Now you've got me wondering whether I should put the Aussie on him and ride him Western to get him to relax or whether that is just sabotaging his training.

Also of course he's not relaxed yet. He's still in quarantine. He hasn't interacted with any of the horses on the farm yet and I'm sure that's contributing.

Paula

I thought so. :winkgrin:
Well, Paula, one of my mantras is "Light off the leg, soft in the hand, ride the horse and not the plan" sometimes that calls for an aussie saddle, sometimes it calls for riding in a bitless for a few weeks, sometimes it calls for doing jump gymnastics for a while... Trust your gut, you have a good one.
For the first month things will be weird, like getting to know each other in an arranged marriage. Just be aware of it, as you are, and make the best of it.

Petstorejunkie
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:46 PM
He is balking though. He balks at the door, he balks at the window. He'll trot and then stop. Sigh. I think in_the_zone is right - any contact is the brakes. Though I think he also balks on the buckle. I'll have to give that some thought.

Tried to lunge- yeah wow that was tough. First I had to convince him to stop trying to join up. I'll use the round pen the next time.
Paula
He's sizing you up... trying to figure out what he can get away with long term, and figuring out who's the boss in the relationship. Both under saddle and on the lunge it's like he's saying "does she really mean it... let's find out!"
Time to meet mr. whippy. mr whippy can explain that Paula meant it the first time. As you know, it's not an emotional lashing out on the part of the rider/handler, but more "you can either listen when I ask politely and subtly with my leg or with a cluck (if lunging), or mr whippy can clarify,... mkay?"
mr whippy shows no mercy :D

Petstorejunkie
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:51 PM
I think I can pull this off myself. I do have the back up of a trainer who can put a few sessions on him if it comes to that, but I can do this. It sounds like I need to switch from my nice comfortable dressage whip to a crop to deliver that tap tap. Where to deliver it? Shoulder, behind the leg, rump?

Paula

No! Stick with the dressage whip, better yet arm both hands so the signal is clear. you should tap right behind your leg so that he associates it as a louder cue from the leg. Don't be afraid to tap with both at the same time, like the clashing of cymbals on his sides.
Timing is the key, get the tap in the millisecond he hesitates.

My new project pulled this garbage for the first two rides, now he's light and forward off thoughts, and happy as a clam to be working.

Petstorejunkie
Jul. 25, 2011, 02:54 PM
Paula, to help with the balking, you really want to be insistent on going forward. Do realize that some horses that have learned this behavior can put on quite an intimidating show because they just. don't. wanna. go. :)

You said that the dressage whip made him nervous...I would carry it with you when you're grooming, leading and riding to help get him over it. If you feel that his nervousness is going to be explosive - then carry a smaller bat while you work on desensitizing to the whip.

For a balker, or a horse that has a less than adequate response to seat/leg aids... make sure that you are in balance and then ask with your seat and leg. My rule is a touch (leg or seat aid), vibrate (the whip), and kill (quick attack with the spur or a smart pop of the whip (side note: the bat would be used behind the leg - but a whip is preferable because you won't have to let go of reins or sacrifice your position)).

These aids should be in quick succession. It's not ask for 10 strides, ask a little harder for another 10 strides and then go after him. Response should be immediate! After all, you have a goal of riding him to the best of his abilities and that means a horse that is sensitive to the aids (especially the invisible seat aids).

You know your comfort level best - if you feel that you may not be able to deal with the resulting jump forward (or whatever else he may try) when he figures out that you REALLY MEAN it, then have a trainer help or supervise.

:yes::yes::yes::yes:

carolprudm
Jul. 25, 2011, 03:56 PM
bucking strap

paulaedwina
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:15 PM
Mr whippy made me laugh out loud in the lab! I'm going to go out again tomorrow.

Erm...bucking strap?


Paula

Reddfox
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:22 PM
Mr whippy made me laugh out loud in the lab! I'm going to go out again tomorrow.

Erm...bucking strap?


Paula

You know the "Oh S@#& handle" in your car? It's the "Oh S@#& handle" on your horse for when you bring "Mr. Whippy" out and mean it! :lol:

carolprudm
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:24 PM
Erm...bucking strap?


Paula


http://www.smartpakequine.com/grab-strap-2445p.aspx?cm_vc=Search

aka grab strap, sos strap

paulaedwina
Jul. 25, 2011, 04:37 PM
LOL! It's all good. Famous last words, but I think I'll be fine.

Paula

Kazan
Jul. 26, 2011, 01:59 AM
After watching parts of the sales videos, I don't think you have a horse who has learned evasions like BTV or behind the leg, he's just confused by the questions his new rider is posing. He was ridden on a loose contact previously, he's thinking the hand brake is on. Although he is giving to the bit, it's not in the correct manner and he's trying to spit it out (dropping the bit) to get to his comfortable place. I think it would help to warm him up on that loose rein and get him going before taking up the reins. Also, keep your hands close together as keeping them wide encourages curling. I love his temperment; he seems like a really cool dude! I think the most challenging things about this horse will be developing schwung in his body (making more suspension) and unlocking the base of that neck. Do continue posting to help make these things happen. Ride him out to the bit, don't make the contact by making him come to you. I would rather see him moving forward and on a long rein like a hunter right now. Teach him how to package himself up one piece at a time rather than all at once.

That's what I saw as well.

Oberon13
Jul. 26, 2011, 07:56 AM
The bucking strap can be helpful for those moments when "Mr. Whippy" (love the name) has to come in and back up what you say. Because Fella is already sensitive to the whip even being around, he may lurch forward the first time you deliver a tap,tap to remind him to keep going. You DEFINITELY do NOT want to pull back on the reins in that moment...LET him lurch forward in whatever gait you get. The whip says, "Forward," so if he offers it, you take it...don't inadvertently punish it by bopping him in the mouth. So, the strap is helpful to just hook a finger or two in so that you can tap and be ready to move with whatever he gives.

paulaedwina
Jul. 26, 2011, 05:52 PM
Follow up: It couldn't have gone better!

Here's what I've learned about Fella. Someone used some kind of whopper stopper bit on this horse. I rode him on the buckle the whole session. Any time I picked up any contact - like barely picked up the reins -he went BTV. So we worked purely on the buckle or near to it. This is fine for now because he is very responsive. We will address contact veeeeerrrrrrryyyy slowly.

I took a long time to warm up. First we hand walked the entire arena both ways - he stopped to blow at his reflection in the mirrors. Then we walked alot of patterns.

The coming to Jesus went very well. I carried a crop because it feels more satisfying than the dressage whip when laid on. There's something about that thwap that works very nicely. I also wore my spurs again. Coming to Jesus was a series of,

"Walk on NOW" with the NOW being the spur. That provoked a WTF from him. I did have to learn not to cue rhythm with my leg and spur as I've become accustomed on the schoolmaster. Instead of showing him the pace all it did was create noise.

Probably 3 separate times he gave me the finger and I smacked him smartly with the crop. It took one good smart smack and he would leap forward and then continue. Of course I praised with "well done!" when we got going.

We successfully walked and trotted the arena both ways twice round. I ended there, on a high note. I won't be riding tomorrow, but will be riding on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. My video people won't be at the barn this weekend, but I expect I'll have great video and much progress next weekend.

Thanks for all the help, guys. If anyone has any suggestions on reintroducing contact I'll welcome it.

Paula

cb06
Jul. 26, 2011, 07:32 PM
Not much to add, except you sound like you are on the right track. I can tell you I bought a project horse last year with very similar behaviors as your guy...my advantage was that I knew his background. He's a basically sensitive yet easy, cooperative horse that was ridden inconsistently, mostly by beginners. So he never had a good foundation to start with and was putting-up with noisy, inconsistent aids and absolutely no follow-thru when he got frustrated and just stopped (balk)...a sure-fire way to learn how to give the horsey middle-finger. For your horse, that 'whopper stopper' bit (great description :) just adds to the insult and confusion for the horse.

My humble advice is to just be conscious of being very, very clear and consistent with your aids, firm but fair when needed, and hearty praise when you get the answer (forward!) you want. Your horse will eventually thank you for it! :yes:

I think you are wise to leave his mouth alone for now, maybe a good time to refine your 'whoa' and 'go' cues using seat only? Others will have better advice about contact, but sometimes mixing a little lunging into the routine with correctly adjusted side reins (i.e. not flopping, but not too tight), can really help a horse trust and start to figure out proper contact because it give them a consistent place to be. (no expert, so take with a grain of salt).

You sound very sensible about it all and he is really cute and looks like he will be a lot of fun once he starts to understand what's expected. Best of luck!

paulaedwina
Jul. 26, 2011, 07:44 PM
I agree that with Fella it's an excellent opportunity to teach from the seat - whoa and go. And he has excellent front brakes (has no idea how to stop from the back) so he will also cure me of my penchant for leaning forward. I am working on getting him to stop on his butt instead of his front by really prolonging the downward transition - post, slow post, sit, whoa. 1 time out of 2 he doesn't just come to a screeching halt.

I tried lunging and that was a hot mess. He kept trying to come in and join up. He's a bit of an in your lap (well in my lap) horse.

I'm going to go slow. That was my plan for my horse anyway. I'm in a position of not being horse poor - I have access to many mounts to ride, school, show.

BTW "whopper stopper bit" is my equitation instructor's creation.

Paula

alto
Jul. 27, 2011, 12:52 AM
He kept trying to come in and join up

This is not "join up" this is I invade your space & we have a nice rest :lol:

"Join up" means that the horse is focused & responding to the trainer's energy - horse does not turn into trainer unless asked, does NOT come in until invited etc: as the trainer/horse progress the ask becomes very subtle :)

paulaedwina
Jul. 27, 2011, 07:00 AM
Oh he's joining up! He follows me around like a dog. I have a lead on his halter because it's the safe thing to use that, but when we are working on the ground he follows me on my right shoulder. I walk he walks, I back up along his flank he circles to look at me. I can make serpentines and circles on the off side with him. The other day on a lark we walked around the arena "off leash" and once I stepped into his path and he backed up. And this with chewing (bridle and bit or halter) and lowered head. I'll try to remember to get some video.

I went on Youtube and searched around. It looks like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKiDrALfzSM

I know what you're describing - an evasion. There may be some of that in the lunge, but I can't get him to go out. He'll turn on the forehand to look at me. The only way I got him to go out was to have a second person on the inside of the lunge line. Then he was out but it was hard to keep him going on the lunge. My trainer stepped in and got him to to go out but he was CORNfused. I don't know if he's never been lunged or was just giving the horsey finger - you know the, "I'm sorry, what? I can't hear you.":lol:

Paula

GreyStreet
Jul. 27, 2011, 07:10 AM
When lunging, I would keep the circle small at first to start addressing this issue. It is *still* an evasion (IF he knows how to lunge already). Again, he should move out when you say so, and come in when you say so. The key is you really need to *stay* behind his rump with that whip. The minute you square your shoulders toward him or lose that "driving" (I put it in quotes because I don't mean you're going to be whipping him around the circle, just using the whip as an extension of your arm and positioning yourself such that you're properly directing him) you're going to lose that momentum, and your body language is going to tell him he can come in. With horses that prefer this kind of evasion, you REALLY have to stay behind them and keep the circle a bit smaller at first. I would practice this for only a few minutes at a time, and always end on a good note when you say so. I'm not a big proponent of too much lunging, but it's a valuable skill and one the horse needs to accept.

paulaedwina
Jul. 27, 2011, 07:14 AM
Explain more please. Do you mean that I should stand behind and to the side his rump? Shoulders should be actually perpendicular to the rump - sort of like I was driving with one rein (the lunge rein)?

Paula

Lost_at_C
Jul. 27, 2011, 07:15 AM
I agree with Alto... that's not join up. While it may result from confusion on his part you MUST get on top of that instantly and not allow it to occur. Learn how to position your body correctly when lunging and use a lunge whip. This horse needs to learn respect, learn driving aids, and learn that he is not a pet. Also, don't assume that the BTV results from a harsh bit. It's more likely simple lack of schooling, or a different kind of schooling. Many horses naturally go there and some will come UP sooner if you introduce real contact and insist on it, while going forward and working on transitions, bend, etc. But do get the forward first, and if that requires a long rein then so be it. I worked with a very similar STB a few years back and there are some similarities here. It's good that you've got a knowledgeable support team, and enthusiasm. Good luck. :yes:

paulaedwina
Jul. 27, 2011, 07:18 AM
Please do tell me about the STB -did he have that BTV problem with contact too? Were you ultimately able to get him to accept contact? I do indeed count myself lucky that he neck reins and is reliable without contact. It would have been a huge complication to have a horse with this issue with no brakes.

Paula

GreyStreet
Jul. 27, 2011, 07:18 AM
Yes - I don't mean stand literally behind him, but position yourself so that when he is making a circle around you, you are always, always by his rump using that whip as an extension of your arm. The second you get yourself out of position, he's likely going to take advantage of you and turn in. You must always be using your driving aids, at least until he understands that you mean business and begins to wait for your cue.

paulaedwina
Jul. 27, 2011, 07:24 AM
Oh I see. I'll try it in our play sessions. I wonder if it be more effective to just have a lunge session with Wendy with me riding him. Lunge sessions make me dizzy because I have that bad "look at the ground" habit, but I'll take a few if it would help him figure out where he should be.

Paula

alicen
Jul. 27, 2011, 07:49 AM
Oh he's joining up! He follows me around like a dog. I have a lead on his halter because it's the safe thing to use that, but when we are working on the ground he follows me on my right shoulder. I walk he walks, I back up along his flank he circles to look at me. I can make serpentines and circles on the off side with him. The other day on a lark we walked around the arena "off leash" and once I stepped into his path and he backed up. And this with chewing (bridle and bit or halter) and lowered head.

Ah! Sounds like he's a Parelli trained horse: they're not meant to be ridden.

paulaedwina
Jul. 27, 2011, 08:03 AM
LOL! He's just a really tall, hard-toed dog :lol: Well, we'll complete that other dimension of his horse training - the riding part!

Paula

paulaedwina
Jul. 31, 2011, 05:26 PM
We had a very successful lesson today. I used Fella in my equitation lesson instead of Cody, my trainer's QH. We are getting nice forward trot - posting. The balking is significantly reduced. I imagine this is not going to be a problem for long. Today it started cropping up later in the lesson. The BTV was also much better today. Someone somewhere suggested that forward will help it alot and it did. I also picked up light contact. I did keep my hands higher than I typically ride - not very high, mind, but higher than I typically do.

We started working on his downward transition today. Fella has two speeds; go and stop. Therefore a trot/walk transition is actually a trot/stop-on-a-dime transition. This means my halt at X will be superb :lol: but I worked on convincing him that there are other speeds. First we tried stopping the ride - post then sit and stop riding. This resulted in a halt. We added to that a driving seat and he is such a smart fellow, he's starting to pick it up. I also have to stay a little behind the vertical on the down transitions (at least in my head) because any forward leaning results in a halt.

Also rode my Wintec 500 "for now" dressage saddle for the first time. I call it my "for now" because I needed a saddle for now and will aim towards a brilliant used leather saddle for later. I'm going to have the fitter out to help me narrow down what to aim for. The Wintec fit him very well - no dry spots or rubs (except of course along his spine). It fits me okay. I wish the flaps were a bit longer, and it is not a very deep saddle, but it will do. It has good support.

Paula

alto
Aug. 1, 2011, 10:10 AM
Nice update :)
try & use the Wintec for the next year - as his muscling changes, he 'll likely need a new saddle by then anyway so the Wintec was an excellent starter saddle.

paulaedwina
Aug. 1, 2011, 10:46 AM
Thank you for the suggestion. I will do so. It's really interesting given my bias to synthetic saddles, it actually fits him better than my instructor's Kieffer. How long do those cair panels hold up?

Paula

ideayoda
Aug. 1, 2011, 05:22 PM
Wide hands easily create a closed horse, keep them closer. You might want to lift only the inside rein ever so slightly to sustain inside flexion, hence bending. For sure, only ride posting for now.

paulaedwina
Aug. 1, 2011, 06:24 PM
My equitation trainer is big on lifting the inside rein to assist in bend so you're right there with her! We worked on down transitions today - from trot to walk and those a much improved. That horse is a thinker!

Paula

alto
Aug. 1, 2011, 07:36 PM
Thank you for the suggestion. I will do so. It's really interesting given my bias to synthetic saddles, it actually fits him better than my instructor's Kieffer. How long do those cair panels hold up?

Paula


For any warranty issues with Wintec etc saddles, you must go through the tack shop that sells you the saddle so keep those receipts in order -

The trees in all WINTEC English, COLLEGIATE CONVERTIBLE and BATES saddles are guaranteed for the lifetime of the saddle. The air panels are guaranteed for 5 years. The rest of the saddle is guaranteed for one year.

These saddles can be shimmed to adjust fit, the air "bags" come in a set size; as with any saddle, fit needs to be assessed with the rider.
There are alot of local tack shops that sell the Bates, Wintec, Collegiates but no one that is trained to adjust or repair the CAIR system so I didn't look at them any further.

The air bags should be fine for years but there are reports of single bags leaking etc so do be conscious of how your saddle feels; most horses do fine with the CAIR panels, some hate them (there is no "give" like with a wool or foam panel & they remain cold longer in the winter) & a few end up with very sore backs.
Bates/Wintec is now offering most saddle models in either (synthetic) wool or CAIR.

Kieffer offers several saddles & trees so I'd not be too concerned about your instructor's saddle being a poor fit (just look for a Kieffer with a different tree if you like Kieffer otherwise).

katarine
Aug. 1, 2011, 10:57 PM
I think his BTV is just him worrying and thinking too much...baby steps, posting trot, I'd get out of the arena and GO somewhere and ask for his face a bit here and there....he's trying for you, it'll be fine.

mbm
Aug. 2, 2011, 12:23 AM
i haven't read all the replies. but after watching the videos, i just want to say that if this were my horse i would just think of him as a horse with no education and treat him like an unbacked youngster.

he doesn't understand what you are asking so you need to go all the way back to square one. for me that would be lunging and teaching him how to be forward without the weight of a rider. step by step you teach him what you want.

if he wants to join up when you try to lunge then you need to undo that training as you teach him to lunge.

the help of an educated trainer will be of immense help.

there are also lots of good books but a trainer is going to be most beneficial.

Mozart
Aug. 2, 2011, 01:05 AM
Cute horse, I think you two will make a great pair. You have gotten some good advice here and I agree with most of it.

No need to sit the trot at this point, you want to get the engine in gear and develop impulsion. I agree that you should basically treat him as a green young horse, don't worry too much at this point about bending or even too much about transitions. Just get the engine in gear, develop some impulsion and focus on the rhythm and relaxation part of your training pyramid. I would not 20 metre circle him to death at this point, you can do some big swoopy changes of diagonal, that will gently introduce some suppling in a relaxing way.

I also think he is more confused than a confirmed BTV horse (by the way, side reins are not evil and don't create BTV horse, I also doubt very much that he has had side reins on). As in_the_zone said, think of riding out to the contact. I know it is tempting with a BTV horse to throw away the contact but don't. Maintain a light contact and push him out to it. Think of your reins as sticks.

Don't get too worried about his head at this point, just think about getting the the hind end moving when you ask. You don't need to lay into him if he doesn't move off the leg but short sharp "I said now, Bucko" at this point in his education is important. Especially if you say he is a bit balky, that tells me he is going to be a "push me" kind of horse and you will save yourself a lot of sweat and frustration if you instill the "forward, now" lesson at this point in your partnership.

Good luck and don't worry too much, it will come together.

paulaedwina
Aug. 2, 2011, 06:59 AM
This all jibes with what I've been seeing. I've been posting to get more forward and to help him relax. I've also decided that BTV, should it not resolve itself, will get dealt with later. He's becoming much more relaxed with me. We're getting good trot and much less balking now. I've even picked up light contact with the reins.

The small comin' to Jesus significantly improved his balkiness. He's not a packer -or at least, he has the potential not to be a packer. When his quarantine was up we turned him out into a small group of 3 other geldings and he chased them around at a nice extended trot. So I think the more I get out of his way and the more he realizes I'm not the super cautious (perhaps) previous rider the more he'll stretch out. I'm getting good energy now.

Oh, and we've switched out of the 20 meter circles at this stage. We're going across the diagonals, making big Ws to change lead, etc. When we have a nice reliable, forward trot I'll throw some ground poles and then cavaletti into the mix. As tempted as I am to throw canter in now (have you ever ridden a horse that just feels like we need a canter now?) but I'll resist and work on balance a bit more. He tends to go crooked sometimes and he does not always take corners with bend.

I do need to take him out on trails, but I don't have a trailer yet and where he's boarded is now surrounded by McMansions and "private property" signs on the acreage of said McMansions. I've put a message in the trailerpooling thread. For the time being I can take him around the small farm.

Thanks, guys.

Paula

katarine
Aug. 2, 2011, 10:08 AM
If you want to canter, do it. Horses are forgiving as can be- canter down the long side, transition to posting trot on the short side for 4-5 strides then back up- heck that might encourage better FORWARD- right now it'll just mean faster not bigger but hey- you need to file down that hesitation and shape it into Go Go Go Somewhere.

Side reins or Vienna sliding reins on the longe are an idea. My TWH has a ton of issues from his past and will happy hide behind the bit with his neck in your lap. When I started doing dressage lessons on him, my trainer put him in SR with them attached to the surcingle's girth buckles, so pretty low. I'll be damned if he didn't happily reach down and out to them, exploring all the places he could hold and use his neck, and in no time he learned he could trust the 'hands' wouldnt move and jack or jab on him. Made a great difference in his believing contact was ok. We still go back to them routinely...if it's been a while since we've schooled, that's where we start.

paulaedwina
Aug. 2, 2011, 10:18 AM
I think then I'll let him canter the long side if he feels like he wants to. It might be a good opportunity to associate the canter cue with canter. Here is my concern. Right now he has two speeds: go and stop. This means that a down transition from trot is halt. We've been working on introducing walk in between - we've been getting good results. Should we be working on that more? He has excellent brakes - almost too much in a way. If I allow him to canter should I be concerned his down transition will be to halt?

I haven't used side reins, but you give me a great idea. He is sensitive to contact and I've only taken up very light contact. Maybe what I should do is attach that bucking strap to the front of the saddle and hook my thumbs through it so as to interfere less? I don't have hard hands, but that might work like side reins in that I could set and forget the contact - making it steady.

What do you think about that?

Paula

LarkspurCO
Aug. 2, 2011, 10:32 AM
If I allow him to canter should I be concerned his down transition will be to halt?


No. Be prepared for an awful trot.

paulaedwina
Aug. 2, 2011, 10:34 AM
I can deal with an awful trot :lol:

Paula

quietann
Aug. 2, 2011, 10:53 AM
If you want to canter, do it. Horses are forgiving as can be- canter down the long side, transition to posting trot on the short side for 4-5 strides then back up- heck that might encourage better FORWARD- right now it'll just mean faster not bigger but hey- you need to file down that hesitation and shape it into Go Go Go Somewhere.


I agree with the idea of cantering now. It might not be pretty, but for a lot of lazy horses a good canter early in the ride gets them thinking forward. One old guy I rode for a while was hopeless without a hand gallop in each direction, and if there happened to be a crossrail or two set up, I'd pop him over them. (Please note: this might not work if Fella hasn't jumped before! He might just crash through the jumps :eek:) The old horse wasn't lazy per se, just a bit older and needed to stretch before he could work.

paulaedwina
Aug. 2, 2011, 11:06 AM
LOL Fella would crash through the jumps! I walked him over a crossrail that was set up from the previous class and that's exactly what he did. I popped over, he popped through and looked at me all startled and I nodded at him and he continued through :lol: Nice thing was he didn't startle or anything. He walked over ground poles no problem - the last one that was a pile of 3 he knocked down with his hind feet (they were teaching bumps in the last class).

I'll be introducing ground poles and cavaletti properly in the future.

Paula

netg
Aug. 2, 2011, 11:14 AM
LOL Fella would crash through the jumps! I walked him over a crossrail that was set up from the previous class and that's exactly what he did. I popped over, he popped through and looked at me all startled and I nodded at him and he continued through :lol: Nice thing was he didn't startle or anything. He walked over ground poles no problem - the last one that was a pile of 3 he knocked down with his hind feet (they were teaching bumps in the last class).

I'll be introducing ground poles and cavaletti properly in the future.

Paula

Then again, it may be only when walked over. My mom's horse crashes through anything at a walk. And has a cute little jump when approaching crossrails at a decent trot or a canter. Sometimes they surprise you! She's a "lazy" friesian cross who recently discovered suspension from her improved carriage/looseness in her back.

Heinz 57
Aug. 2, 2011, 11:23 AM
LOTS of great advice on this thread! Everyone is being so helpful! :cool:

One thing I thought I'd mention about the cantering - I'd not wait too terribly long into the session to try it. I had a draft cross that was at about the same point as it sounds like this guy is, and if I waited very long after warming up to canter, there wasn't much gas left in the tank.

paulaedwina
Aug. 2, 2011, 11:32 AM
:lol::lol: You aren't kidding about poor gas mileage. Poor Fella has no condition yet so 45 minutes to an hour of walk/trot or so and he's doooooone. He starts balking again and getting BTV. So he'll have to be built up. We'll get there a bit at a time.

He's going from doh-di-doh trail riding to work, poor thing. He'll get there though.

Paula

witherbee
Aug. 2, 2011, 04:30 PM
He's a cutie! I'd agree from seeing the video and from what you are describing with the stop and start and balkiness that he may have had some form of Parelli training or NH. THat can make things difficult when trying to transition them to "normal" cues and schooling. Be patient and persistant as you have been - poor guy seems confused. At his age, I wouldn't doubt that some of it is evasion, but he may legitimatly be trying to do what he thinks you are asking him to do, which is kind of sad.

Good luck and just keep your sense of humor and never lose an opportunity to say "good boy" (when it is deserved).

alto
Aug. 2, 2011, 04:54 PM
from seeing the video and from what you are describing with the stop and start and balkiness that he may have had some form of Parelli training or NH.

:lol:
What kind of NH would that be?


It's certainly not the sort of Natural Horsemanship or Horsemanship training I'm used to seeing :confused:

paulaedwina
Aug. 2, 2011, 06:05 PM
There's no smiley for dramatic wistful sighs, but OMG I love my horsie!:yes:

We worked today. He's much more forward. He still has spookiness to things like the horse-eating big doors at the end of the indoor, but he's trusting me more to save us both. My equitation trainer has been introducing other classes to obstacles like the bridge, the raincoat on the post, etc. She had the bridge out and the bright yellow raincoat on the post. I led him over the bridge and up to the raincoat no problem. In the saddle we went up to the post and wiggled the raincoat.

I put the bucking strap on and found it useful when I was trying to encourage bend and straight. I have quiet hands, but even a little bit of movement at this stage I think is counter productive. He's starting to feel for contact though - pulling the reins down - so we're making excellent progress.

At the end of our exercise session I took him outside to walk the farm. It's a small farm, but it's better than nothing right. There's a small cross country circuit set up and a pond, some uphill and downhill, tall grass, birds, etc. He took to it like a champion. I took the opportunity to trot up the up-slope just as a great way to build strength and help him discover his butt. Wouldn't you know he let me do this in two point! This is the same horse who would come to a screeching halt if I lean forward. It was sublime.

As for whether this is an indication of NH or Parelli training, I can't say. I bought him from the broker, and the broker bought him from his owner. I do know that I can lead Fella without a line. He will follow me even into patterns like circles on the offside. If I back down his flank he'll circle to follow me. So somewhere he learned this trick. I don't mind it at all - I'll use it to my advantage when introducing new things like fences, ground poles, cavaletti, etc.

Paula

paulaedwina
Aug. 2, 2011, 06:19 PM
Just got this idea from another internet buddy. I know who Tellington is, but I'd never heard of a balance rein http://www.enlightenedhorsemanship.net/tag/tellington-ttouch-balance-rein/

I'm completely intrigued. She writes;

The Balance Rein

rebalances a horse. It is used with a bridle for horses who have a tendency to come above the bit or behind the vertical, in combination with a snaffle or the TTEAM Training bit. The Balance Rein collects the horse and keeps him in a state of balance. The Balance Rein also invites horses to bring their backs up, to lengthen and to round the neck. Read about using the Balance Rein in The Joy of Riding with TTEAM Equipment here.


Has anyone had any experience with this?

Paula

arabiansrock
Aug. 2, 2011, 06:31 PM
I don't see how this could help balance the horse, but I can see how it would help a rider keep from yanking on hte mouth of a horse who does not keep a steady contact. this then would help the horse learn it is ok to reach to the bit. You could probably experiment with a half rein looped around his neck and to your hand as shown, no need to buy expensive ttouch equipment.

DutchDressageQueen
Aug. 2, 2011, 09:50 PM
I don't see how this could help balance the horse, but I can see how it would help a rider keep from yanking on hte mouth of a horse who does not keep a steady contact. this then would help the horse learn it is ok to reach to the bit. You could probably experiment with a half rein looped around his neck and to your hand as shown, no need to buy expensive ttouch equipment.

:yes:

mbm
Aug. 4, 2011, 08:57 PM
re: the TTouch ropes , the reason it works is because it keeps the rider from pulling and or having inconsistent hands - so the horse feels more confidant in going to the bit.

While starting my 3 yo i am using an old stirrup leather around his neck - altho i do put it thru my oh-sh1t strap so it cant go anywhere. it is just a good idea for when you are riding a green horse.

also, i just want to say in general - many of the ideas here are great - except that they are too advanced for where this horse is. he needs to be started as if he had never been ridden:

taught to go forward without the weight and unbalancing affect of the rider (aka lunge) taught basic voice commands, is giving enough time on the lunge to be able to understand and balance in the new work, then and only then the rider gets on and hopefully has a trainer there to then guide the next work which will involve teaching the horse to balance under the rider, to bend, etc.

each time i start a horse it is brought home to me again how much they need to learn to be a solid citizen.

he is a super cutey and my suggestion remain to get a GOOD trainer to help you. it might cost $$ but the time/effort that will be saved makes it worth it.

paulaedwina
Aug. 4, 2011, 09:40 PM
Yes we did try to lunge him - that seemed the most direct way to get him to understand forward, but he would not lunge. He would not stay out and he balked balked balked and seemed sour to the lunge whip (we did not whip him, but he was unmoved by its presence). This is why we went back to riding him. All we are working on now is forward and that is coming along very well. He was even more forward in the field so I think I might move some of his lessons to out there.

I have been riding him in my equitation lessons. This means for the moment I'm not working on showing at 1st level, but instead am learning a great deal about bringing a horse along. In many ways he is a green horse, but in many ways he is not. For example, he has been ridden before so he learns new cues very quickly. He's also not a spaz because he is mature. So it is more that he has learning holes than he is green.

Paula

alicen
Aug. 5, 2011, 08:12 AM
I have been riding him in my equitation lessons.

I don't know what this means. What kind of equitation lessons are you taking?

paulaedwina
Aug. 5, 2011, 08:28 AM
I take equitation at an eventing barn (I don't jump). All the horses have basic dressage, but are not dressage horses. All her students are eventers but have enough dressage not to ride around half cocked forward in chair seat with a hollow back. So here I learn my art of riding I suppose. This is where I'll train Fella for competitive trail riding and working equitation.

I make the distinction because I also ride at a dressage barn - strictly, seriously, intensely dressage. There I ride a PSG schoolmaster (ergo the whole 1st level test).

When Fella is strong enough and balanced enough my dressage trainer will travel to this barn to teach us (they are not far from each other).



Paula

quietann
Aug. 5, 2011, 08:48 AM
I was a little confused, too, but that makes sense. I work with two trainers, one dressage and one a jumper trainer. May seem odd, but the latter is huge on flatwork (when he first came to the barn, he made everyone stop jumping until their flat skills were acceptable.) His sister, who he's worked with extensively, is an FEI-level dressage trainer (and former rider). So as with PE's eventer trainer, what he does is "informed by" dressage. I am actually the only student he has who does not/will not jump, because both me and my horse have medical restrictions.

It turns out that while their language is a bit different, he and the dressage trainer are on the same page when it comes to me and my horse, what our issues are, etc. They've never spoken to each other other than simple greetings AFAIK. If I was getting wildly different opinions from them, that would be an issue.

I suspect Paula will think the same about her two trainers, when the time comes.

As for lunging, purely my LL smurf opinion here, but not all horses benefit from being lunged. For now it sounds like PE's is one of them.

paulaedwina
Aug. 5, 2011, 08:59 AM
You hit the nail on the head, Quietann! Their styles overlap like they conspired! The only time they met was when Wendy (equitation) came to see Christine's dressage lesson. I'm sure they talked while I wasn't present. But they have similar roots. I don't jump often at all. I've outgrown the desire. I will take horse over crossrails to break up a tough work session (if that's how they're motivated), and Fella will learn to jump as it will help him find is butt, use his legs, and prepare him for the field (competitive trail for example), but I'm not an eventer or hunter.

My trainers make for pure synergy. My riding improved by leaps and bounds as a result.

ETA lunging - what I might do is take a lunge session on him and see if he would benefit from that. Goodness knows the rider does.

Paula

paulaedwina
Aug. 12, 2011, 05:23 PM
I'm happy to report that Fella is improving by leaps and bounds. The balking is 99% cured at this stage. It is now reduced to him thinking, "well done" after accomplishing something (like trotting over a ground pole) means work's done. We're getting more forward and am working on straight. My instructor has introduced some bending exercises and we do very well on figure 8 trotting patterns. We are trotting over one ground pole but walking over cavalletti (3) and a pair of ground poles.

I have video, but holy crap I look terrible in them. Somewhere along the line the new saddle and constant leg on Fella has resulted in me kicking my feet out sideways when I'm posting :shock: what! So those will not see the light of day. I used to have horrible ballet feet when I rode (turned out) and it was slowly getting better, but apparently I've fallen right back into it - with a kick to top it all off! It's a new saddle so my position may be different, and the stirrups may be too short. I'm dropping them a hole tomorrow, and maybe put the blocks back in and see if I can remember what to do with my legs.

Sheesh. When I get more video I'll post that. Especially of the figure 8.

Paula