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  1. #1
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    Default open vs closed bridle in training

    I'm fairly new to driving (only a year) but working with a wonderful local trainer. Our goal is CDE's with my VSE.

    My mini recently spent 6wks with a trainer out of state. When I picked him up and reviewed his training progress, the trainer there was using an open bridle even after he had been hooked to the cart. At what point in training do you introduce the blinkers or do some of you do that prior to hooking to the cart. I thought the whole point behind blinkers was so they don't see the cart?

    also, she used the commands "get" and "come", and now I can't remember which was for left and which for right (too much info at once)- anyone know?

    My trainer is away so I'm looking for your experienced advice.

    thanks, I learn so much from following this board



  2. #2
    Rainman Guest

    Default open bridle training

    My trainer uses an open bridle to start. The reasoning being that the pony knows there is something behind it from the get go and would not be surprised at being chased around if there ever was a tack failure later.
    Now that she is a big girl and goes out, the pony does have blinkers.
    Not quite sure how the blinker would get removed from the bridle other than something way more likely to cause a wreck than the cart behind the horse, but I also like my horses well sacked out in general.



  3. #3
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    Feb. 16, 2003
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    MI USA
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    We tend to put the blinkers on after the first hitch to cart. Horse KNOWS things are going on around him, stuff is following. He has seen it all in his training, is not frightened. Blinkers focus his attention forward and he listens for commands. Less likely to get distracted with less vision area to view. This doesn't mean blinkers are tight to the head, with only a tiny slice to view straight ahead. Blinker are so that he doesn't have as much vision as he would in an open bridle. Styles of blinkers can change the viewing area he gets as well.

    Horses "read" body language from you, notice things going on all around them, close and far away. Horse then reacts to these messages according to his training and previous experiences. If he doesn't see this other information, he is less likely to try to HELP in making choices while driven. His choices are not usually the best ones, will often creat a problem situation.

    Most driving horses are trained in regular riding bridles, Open, meaning no blinkers. This is fine as a training aid, no vehicles attached to the horse. Once the vehicle is part of the training, WE feel the horse needs blinkers so he is not reading and reacting to US and the body language we use while training. He can't anticipate, move early, if he doesn't see the whip move accidently or the reins being changed in your hands, has to wait for the voice directions.

    Sorry, we use right and left to tell which way to turn. Have ENOUGH trouble keeping that straight in competitons!! I have never figured out why folks use substitute words for giving horse simple directions. I can't keep Gee and Haw correct ALL the time either, which is why we don't use them. Substituting words just is too complicated for us, when we need to be quick and accurate at speed. Could be we are speech dyslexic, I know I use the wrong words enough just talking on some days!

    At our farm we use Come to mean bend harder, for tightening a turn. Come Right, or Come Left, means turn in that direction. Come, Come, Come, spoken sharply means they better be bending hard, driving, almost pivoting in place to get bent back around the way they came from. It compresses the energy to be released when driver is ready. These are more advanced horses, you have to teach this move over time. Kind of a whiplash effect on the Navigator at the back of vehicle, but that is what gloves and grippy wrapped handles on carriage are for!!



  4. #4
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    Sep. 25, 2006
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    Default

    thanks for the info. I'll pick up with my local trainer when she returns and follow her direction so his training is consistant, just wondered what others do.

    I agree, I've always just used left and right, keeping it simple. I had volunteered at a hazard and groomed for a pro at a CDE to learn more and most folks going thru my hazard (and the pro) also only used left, right, or just turn.

    It's interesting how many different ways people do things.



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BackyardDressageMom View Post
    also, she used the commands "get" and "come", and now I can't remember which was for left and which for right (too much info at once)- anyone know?

    My trainer is away so I'm looking for your experienced advice.

    thanks, I learn so much from following this board
    Get is right as in get over when you are standing on the near side, come is the opposite. I taiught my retirees get and come in conjunct with other commands. Can tell either of them get over or come over from 20 feet away and they move the proper direction. You can also fine tuen it to parts of the horse - get around combined with stepping to the rear of the horse should produce a trun of the forehan, etc. I have also seen, years ago, someone hook a team and to show how the commands worked, he purposly put the near horse on the wrong side of the pole. He told the horses come over, then step, step pole step step whoa and this caused both horses to sidepass to the left, one slow step at a time, and when he called pole, the near horse deftly stepped over the pole and stopped when told. There is also get up a step and back up a step, with step repeated until the horse is where you want him whereas get up means move forward and keep going, and back is the same; I am somewhat disabled and sometimes need a cane, and have taught the horses step step to modify behaviour according to how fast I can walk with or without my stick. Now to say they know the words, well that is a stretch, but they sure know the voice inflection: my call of come boys produces the desired response of come here, now but if I say come over, the horse will step to the left, I used to drive a team that could be voice driven.....handy when they were pulling the dray as you could move them up a couple of stalls while you were cleaning. There is a problem though, some voices will send them off on a wrong tangent as will some inflections - had a runaway.....er...um well walkaway to the closed doors at the end of the barn when someone else thought she could voice drive them. They stopped because the door was shut. The perpetrator if the walkaway was forbidden to ever try that again- high pitched, overecited type voice just wound them up.

    I know too much information but trying to give an idea of what can be done with come and get.
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

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  6. #6
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    Sep. 25, 2006
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    Wow! That is alot of info! I don't think I could even remember all of those commands, but it sounds really cool to have so many intricate commands. I'm sure they could come in handy, especially since the long term goal for my mini is to be well trained for my best friend who was paralyzed in a jumping accident, so much safer if she had all those intricate voice commands to fall back on.

    thanks so much



  7. #7
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    May. 3, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by BackyardDressageMom View Post
    At what point in training do you introduce the blinkers or do some of you do that prior to hooking to the cart. I thought the whole point behind blinkers was so they don't see the cart?
    I put blinkers on when I first put harness on. All long reining in driving harness is done in a driving bridle. All the driving trainers I know do that as well. (albeit I'm in the UK)

    also, she used the commands "get" and "come", and now I can't remember which was for left and which for right (too much info at once)- anyone know?
    That's agricultural terminology and get is right and come is left. If I were you, I'd change it and quickly if you're wanting your horse for HDT



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas_1 View Post
    I put blinkers on when I first put harness on. All long reining in driving harness is done in a driving bridle. All the driving trainers I know do that as well. (albeit I'm in the UK)

    That's agricultural terminology and get is right and come is left. If I were you, I'd change it and quickly if you're wanting your horse for HDT
    Why is that, Thomas? (just wondering at the reason behind it.)
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  9. #9
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    Not sure which one you asked about but.....

    If you're going to drive and use a closed bridle then there's no reason at all not to introduce one and get the horse familiar with it from the go.

    If the horse is to be a marketable HDT horse then its best voice trained in the manner it should be. Also the OP is struggling to remember which is which and so right and left is a heck of a lot simpler



  10. #10
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    Sorry, I should've been clearer. I was asking about the voice commands. I thought that it would be something like that. Thanks for answering.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BackyardDressageMom View Post

    also, she used the commands "get" and "come", and now I can't remember which was for left and which for right (too much info at once)- anyone know?

    My trainer is away so I'm looking for your experienced advice.

    thanks, I learn so much from following this board
    Probably best to ask your trainer when he/she returns, as everybody seems to develop their own system, but this is how mine were trained: sitting on the seat behind the horse, 'get' means a left turn and 'come' means a right turn. I've further taught them that 'come gee' means a pivot to the right and 'come haw' means a pivot to the left. And while going down the road basically straight, if I need them to edge over a bit in either direction, I tell them 'step gee' or 'step haw'. Clear as mud, huh?



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RidesAHaflinger View Post
    Probably best to ask your trainer when he/she returns, as everybody seems to develop their own system, but this is how mine were trained: sitting on the seat behind the horse, 'get' means a left turn and 'come' means a right turn. I've further taught them that 'come gee' means a pivot to the right and 'come haw' means a pivot to the left. And while going down the road basically straight, if I need them to edge over a bit in either direction, I tell them 'step gee' or 'step haw'. Clear as mud, huh?
    Ain't it fun trying to describe get and come? And the myriad variations to the command, and differences from ground to seat? I am of the opinion that if it aint broke, dont fix it unless you have to conform to some silly rules/
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

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  13. #13
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    ok, I finally spoke with my trainer and kinda similiar to what Thomas mentioned, she stated universal terms like left/right, somthing simple should be used if the horse may make the horse more marketable down the road, so when I worked him tonight I went back to left/right like I had been in my ground driving work previously with him and he responded wonderfully. I do like the idea tho (especially for my handicapped friends driving needs, that I will teach him some very detailed voice commands that were suggested here).

    She also agreed that she uses blinkers as soon as the horse is hooked, so I ground drove him in a closed bridle tonight then hooked him to the cart and he seemed very comfortable. My husband was even mowing the lawn around the ring and he stayed nice and relaxed. It was a blast.

    So after our monsoons rains due for the next several days, I'll be ready to start working him with my local trainer.

    Thanks so much for everyone's input.

    Note to Santa: now I'll be looking for a VSE pairs harness and cart for Xmas
    (I already own another wonderfully trained/experienced driving mini)



  14. #14
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    Apr. 6, 2006
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    FYI- just because an equine is wonderfully trained to drive single does not mean it will automatically make a good pairs animal!



  15. #15
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    Apr. 13, 2006
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    I agree, there's nothing wrong with including open bridle work in a driving horse's training. I personally am more comfortable when I know the horse is well aware of what's behind him and isn't going to panic if the blinkers gape or otherwise allow the horse to see the cart. I also agree that blinkers focus the horse and most horses are better off driving in them, especially if they're going to be competing in events that require them. There are always exceptions though! It sounds like your little guy is doing just fine either way.

    Hey, if you're looking for a good mini pairs harness talk to Janie at Chimacum Tack. She sells a wonderful betathane sports harness including Freedom Collars for pairs. It's a nice turnout!

    By the way, where are you located?

    Leia
    Hey look, I joined ANOTHER forum! And you thought horses were addictive.



  16. #16
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    Sep. 25, 2006
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    Southeastern CT
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    Hobbyhorse23,

    I'm in Southeastern CT. I belong to the CT Valley Driving Club.

    I've ridden for about 30yrs, but never even thought about driving until my best friend was paralyzed in a jumping accident, but we found she could transfer herself to the perfect height of a mini cart (being a former eventer, she wants to do CDE's). So I learned to drive, so that I could help her and to my shock, from my very first lesson, I was "hooked" big time. I had a mini which has now been started driving. The goal for him is to be her long term driving horse. In the mean time I rescued another mini who turned out to be a wonderfully trained/experienced driving horse, that I enjoy, take lessons with and drive with my club. I'm definately going to compete him next year in our local CDE
    Are you the same person from the CDE4VSE and yahoo/mini group? I love lurking on both those sites.

    and yes, I drool over the harness's at Chimacum Tack. I need to find out if they'll be compatible as a team before I take the big $$$ plunge. What kind of cart do you recommend for a mini pair (for CDE) economical??? I use an Easy Entry for single.



  17. #17
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    Aug. 27, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by sk_pacer View Post
    Ain't it fun trying to describe get and come? And the myriad variations to the command, and differences from ground to seat? I am of the opinion that if it aint broke, dont fix it unless you have to conform to some silly rules/
    Agree completely. I think all drivers develop their own ''language' with their horses and truly there is no right or wrong way, as long as it works for you. The horses certainly don't care.



  18. #18
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    Nov. 11, 2007
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    Wedge seat, Windsor SC
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    You have to be very careful of using & relying on too many voice commands when training driving horses. Especially when working one with regards to handicapped driving programs. IMHO, words are not what a horse understands “tone” & “length” of a vocal sound, is what most horses are responding to.
    If you use “walk on” to move your horse forward try saying “bacon” the next time you drive and you will see what I mean. To me it is the tone of the word and the tone in which you “present” the word to the horse that renders a response.

    No with horses being trained for handicapped programs the less words uses the better! That reduced the confusion factor. All horses for HDP’s should be trained with a double response, you ask once, and then you ask again and then the horse reacts. Even a general lesson horse should have that in its basic training.
    You have to remember that handicapped children and adults do often get loud and very excited vocally; this being so often requires a horse to be less inclined to move in any given direction with a voice command.

    Voice commands are not a “bad” thing over all. All my lesson horses have a slow down, speed up and a stop & stand command we can use from the ground. Using a command for left & right, to me is pointless, if you pull the rein to the left, the horse should turn in the direction and the same with the right rein! Once you start using a command for left & right the horse “will” respond once he understands that’s what you’re asking. But you will often cause yourself a problem when the horse starts under cutting the turns and falling over his shoulder in those turns. Your horse has no idea how sharp a turn your asking for! Why just not use rein contact and bi-pass any possible problems down the road.

    If you ask me, bending a horse around a turn is the biggest problem that” pops up” in driving horses! Most folks out there driving, let there horses fall in and fall over there shoulders, some without knowing how to correct this problem, some without even seeing the problem at hand. It really is important to learn how to bend your horses with rein contact rather than with the aid of voice commands.

    Robert
    Tandem Hill Farm
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    Tandem Hill Farm
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  19. #19
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    I think the whole thing with voice commands for ANYTHING is consistancy. other than farm teams, I never drove by voice except for whoa, easy, and occasionally questiioning of the horse's parents were married and if his mother really was a dog and sometimes questioned sexual abberations and state of freshness (use your immaginations to sort this out); you can't do that on a race track, the noise level is too high but there is more than one old timer in the barns that teaches get over and come over for horses that fidgit in the crossties, and this has passed on to some of the younger set. Teaching them come and get for ground work can certainly benefit someone with impaired locomotor skills, like me: both horses know that HERE means bring your head around to me, now regardless what side I am on. They also know down to drop their heads for bridling.

    As said, the words are irrelevant, it is consistancy of word with action as well as tone, inflection etc. But voice driving was a good thing to know when horses were used for everything and you had to make one do something slightly different and the horse was well away from you.

    If it works for you and your situation, why change it just for conventions' sake if you are not going to be doing the stuff in public so to speak; just because someone says it is the wrong words isn't a reason. I do know shows frown upon ridden or driven horses being spoken to, save for whoa, back and assorted clicks clucks and chirps provided all of the above are not too loud
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

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  20. #20
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    I don't use words to tell my ponies which way to turn, that is why I have the reins. I do tell them "turn" with varying degrees of emphasis when I ask for a quick or sharp turn. I have trouble keeping left and right straight - really I have to think about it sometimes , so my system works for me and prevents confusion for all involved .

    As for singles working as pairs - We had a ony that was great single, but could not be driven in a pair - she would seriously try to bite her partner.

    Open vs. Closed Bridles - I like all my drivng critters to be comfortable in an open bridle because I think they are safer if they have seen everything that is going on. When I am doing the intial groundwork I start in an open bridle and then introduce the blinkers. When they are comfortable in either bridle I feel they are ready to move on in thier training. I did have a TB mare I drove that was definately more comfortable in a open bridle, but the ponies we have had all have gone well either way.


    Christa



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