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  1. #1
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    Default Greenbean Support Group~ have a question! (or post a question here!)

    It's been 10+ years since I've broken a youngster to ride, and my filly will be 3 at the end of April. I've had her since May of last year, and we spent the summer learning basic longeing, ground manners, etc. I started her under saddle lightly in the fall, very basic walk and trot, before giving her the winter off. (I had surgery the week of Christmas & was out of commission until February.) I would say before then she had been ridden 10-12 times.

    I have now started back with her, and she's doing pretty good, with the exception of one instance where we parted company (my fault & I got back on, ending on a good note)

    We're now at about the 20 ride mark, and today was a good ride. She is finally catching on to "leg means forward", though she is still lazy (she does have her silly moments, so I don't let my guard down). She knows whoa, her steering is getting better, and we worked today on big circles at the sitting trot (good for both of us). I'm trying to work with her 3 times a week ideally (not always a ride, sometimes only time for longe). She is cantering fairly well on the longe, her right lead is still sticky but improving.

    My dumb question is: When should I introduce cantering under saddle? I am in no hurry and have no deadline, and certainly don't want to overface her. Should I give it another couple of months and just keep concentrating on what we've been doing? Am I on the right track? Anyone have ideas, suggestions, or tips they could offer?

    Like I said, it's been a long time since I've broken one from scratch, and I'm wanting to take things slow and do it right. So far, so good. Guess I just need reassurance more than anything that I'm doing right by her.
    Last edited by HuntJumpSC; Apr. 9, 2010 at 11:32 AM.
    Crayola posse~ orange yellow, official pilot
    Proud owner of "High Flight" & "Shorty"



  2. #2
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    Dec. 4, 2002
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    Alpharetta, GA
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    Default

    We introduce cantering as soon as the horse steers well and stops well. So I would say now would be a good time. BTW, I think it's way too early to be sitting the trot. A baby isn't going to have the strength to carry the rider like that. Esp if she's lazy, you need to be going forward, in front of the leg- not poking along with a rider sitting on the back.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 22, 2005
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    Default

    I agree about the sitting trot at this age. My three year olds are antering under tack, both ways of the ring. Haven't cantered circles yet but that will be next.



  4. #4
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    Sep. 8, 2005
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    Georgia
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    Default others might disagree, but.....

    I take it really slow with the babies, and don't move up a gait until I've really mastered the former.

    So I do a good amount of walk work until it's really stabilized and strong before asking for the trot. That way I know I'll get a pretty decent trot to make better, rather than a disconnected, all over the place trot that I have to fix and THEN improve. After the trot is stabilized and balanced, I then work the canter. The benefit is that I'll have a rather strong back to help me get a great canter, and it's rather easy transition.

    But I brake a lot of ponies; with a horse, I can see the concern of have a too strong horse to unseat you in a canter should they play it up or voice any opposition. Therefore, I can understand why many would say introduce it earlier than I do so as to establish the "quiet canter" before they are too strong enough to do otherwise.
    www.englishivyfarms.com
    Hunters, Jumpers, & Welsh Ponies
    All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown



  5. #5
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    Jan. 22, 2000
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    Default

    Hmm, so I need to nix sitting the trot at this point? I'm thinking maybe after a few more consistent rides, then I'll try asking for a canter. Her brakes are good and her steering is much improved. Keep the suggestions and ideas coming...
    Crayola posse~ orange yellow, official pilot
    Proud owner of "High Flight" & "Shorty"



  6. #6
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    Apr. 3, 2003
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    Up the creek from bar.ka
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    Default

    I agree too that sitting the trot is best left for much later.

    As for cantering, I start them at it right away, 6th, 7th ride. They know the word canter from work on the lunge line so that makes it easy. Cantering on a big circle will be difficult to maintain, so I just do 2 point around the ring a couple times each direction not worrying about which lead in the beginning. I just want them to GO.

    My coming 4 y.o. is just starting back into work and he's now strong enough to canter well on a circle, and not break to a trot after 2 times around. Big difference from last year.

    Just keep in mind they just aren't strong enough to do what you're asking most of the time. Keep it short and fun for them, and build a little bit more each week.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2008
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    Default

    I ask for the canter after I have a good quality gait on the lounge, and my horse feels "happy" under saddle at the walk and trot-balanced, brave and focused on me.

    I use lots of voice with my horses, too. It helps the horse make the connection with the other aids.

    With the last 3 I've started, I've used a round pen in addition to the lounge line. I think they understand "go forward" sooner at liberty in the pen than on the lounge. I've had less resistance to upward transitions after using the round pen.

    Good luck-green horses can be an addiction.



  8. #8
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    Feb. 4, 2001
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    Member of both the Southern California and Michigan clique - currently residing in Grand Rapids, MI
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    You are more than ready. Sometimes the easiest way to get your canter the first few times is to hop over a "pile of poles" or a flower box and just let them canter off. For some reason they just naturally pad the ground softer and don't get all discombobulated. Personally, I am against discombobulation (is that a word?) for the young horse! Never be afraid to toss on a western saddle for the first few canters. A wise, wise woman taught me that...

    Leave the sitting trot for now, as others have mentioned. I try to think of putting together a show hunter in stages. You start long and low, and then later you teach collection and work them deeper, and then you stretch them back out in stages when they are ready for self carriage. So much fun ahead! I feel you sister, my filly says hello to the saddle in May.



  9. #9
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    Mar. 9, 2006
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    Lucama, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justice View Post
    You are more than ready. Sometimes the easiest way to get your canter the first few times is to hop over a "pile of poles" or a flower box and just let them canter off. For some reason they just naturally pad the ground softer and don't get all discombobulated. Personally, I am against discombobulation (is that a word?) for the young horse! Never be afraid to toss on a western saddle for the first few canters. A wise, wise woman taught me that...

    Leave the sitting trot for now, as others have mentioned. I try to think of putting together a show hunter in stages. You start long and low, and then later you teach collection and work them deeper, and then you stretch them back out in stages when they are ready for self carriage. So much fun ahead! I feel you sister, my filly says hello to the saddle in May.
    I agree with this post, this is how we often ask them to canter, and yes we often use the western saddle to start cantering! I also agree do not sit the trot yet, that is too much for a youngsters back.



  10. #10
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    Sep. 8, 2005
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    Georgia
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lesson junkie View Post
    Good luck-green horses can be an addiction.
    Completely agree.
    www.englishivyfarms.com
    Hunters, Jumpers, & Welsh Ponies
    All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown



  11. #11
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    May. 17, 2000
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    I do tend to wait until they have some good balance at the trot, but I've also done ground driving and lunging where I know they have that balance without me. I shy away from that discombobulation thing as well.

    I just got back on my three year old a few days ago. I planned on putting 90 days on him last August, but decided to try and cut my thumb off (opposable digits, who needs 'em?) in July so I opted for major surgery and 7 months of rehab instead. Fun times. But by late October I was freed from Barney the Brace (he was Very Purple) so I started him then. I got about 5-6 weeks under tack before winter finished us off. I got a solid W-T going and the last ride I asked for a canter and got about 10 strides without him being skeered about it so I called it quits, figuring the weather was going to interfere too much for consistency (boy, was I right).

    Anyway, he's back under tack and generally being a rock star and so far he feels like he could start cantering tomorrow, but there are a few rules I think must be in place before I canter:

    1. Can the horse go in a straight line with little assistance from me at a trot? (because all steering gets drunken as soon as you increase speed)

    2. Can the horse sort of move off my leg with overt signals. I'm not talking refined finished signals, but if I put my inside leg on him and overt weight in the outside stirrup and use some serious rein guidance, does he fall in on my leg or start to think about moving away?

    3. Can he do serpentines and figure eights and other unexpected changes of direction at a trot?

    4. Does he understand the basic idea between a slow trot and a fast trot, can he change speeds within a gait without stress?

    5. Does he feel balanced at that first trot at least 95% of the time? Any youngster has moments of discombobulation, but when they first start a gait most feel unbalanced until the get used to it all over. If they are finishing good but still doing the drunken sailor routine at first, I'm not sure I'm ready.

    That said, I'm not in a hurry and I want to make sure all of the above are reliably in place. I'm not one of these start 'em no younger than 5 people (obviously) and take 3 years to proceed to a canter types. But on the other hand, my pressures are not related to resale or clients, so I have the luxury of working on the schedule that makes me happy, and I realize that. However I firmly believe that if you get that correct foundation on the walk and trot you spend less time training them to get a balanced rhythmical canter, and that is the gait I plan to spend a lot of time with in the future. In the words of Quality College, it's a DIRTFooT gait (Do It Right The First Time). I also think everything I described above can be done inside of 60 days if you laid the proper groundwork and you know when to push forward and when to take it easy (and you mostly get it right). If you don't know these things, then you should take longer because nothing is more wonderful than the blank slate that is a baby. Rework sucks, why make it for yourself?
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.



  12. #12
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    Oct. 18, 2008
    Location
    Missouri
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    Default

    Awesome thread.

    Drunken sailor routine ?? rotfl Never thought of calling it that.

    Adding my own..Bought my pony the summer of 08, but I had worked with him previous to that. The first time I met him, he was uncatchable and I spent hours day after day just catching him (this is in a dry lot too, not even in a big pasture). He was sold and then a year later his owners contacted me asking me if I wanted to buy him. By that time he was catchable and friendly but dragged on the lead line, took fright at the slightest thing (not even spooking more a willful disobediance from fear rather than beligerance), didn't know how to lunge or tie or stand quietly for the farrier. Now after a few months of ground-manners, ground-driving and finally riding he's w/t/c quietly under saddle with circles, serpentines, and figure 8's at all gaits, has adjustablity of stride, and was just started o/f. He's turned into a calm, sweet, friendly pony and every ride is seriously just plain fun.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2010
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    Oklahoma
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    Default Greenbean Support Group question

    Quote Originally Posted by englishivy View Post
    I take it really slow with the babies, and don't move up a gait until I've really mastered the former.

    So I do a good amount of walk work until it's really stabilized and strong before asking for the trot. That way I know I'll get a pretty decent trot to make better, rather than a disconnected, all over the place trot that I have to fix and THEN improve. After the trot is stabilized and balanced, I then work the canter. The benefit is that I'll have a rather strong back to help me get a great canter, and it's rather easy transition.

    But I brake a lot of ponies; with a horse, I can see the concern of have a too strong horse to unseat you in a canter should they play it up or voice any opposition. Therefore, I can understand why many would say introduce it earlier than I do so as to establish the "quiet canter" before they are too strong enough to do otherwise.
    I have an easier time starting horses than ponies. I have picked up my pride more often on a naughty pony, than a horse. There just is no neck between you and the ground! Of course this happens more while jumping a naughty pony. Where would the world be without a few naughty ponies to keep us humble!



  14. #14
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    Jan. 22, 2000
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    Thanks guys! Great responses & even better advice~ that's what I love about COTH: I can come here, ask my question, and be well-assured that I'm going to get sound advice, as well as other's experiences.
    Just in case anyone is wondering, let me clarify~ I only worked her at the sitting trot that one time the other day, and not for a long period of time. That being said, I'll be taking heed and holding off on that for awhile now.
    The idea of the ground poles is a good one, and it actually crossed my mind. I'll be working her again Saturday, so I may set up a few & see how we do. I'll keep ya'll posted on how things progress.
    Crayola posse~ orange yellow, official pilot
    Proud owner of "High Flight" & "Shorty"



  15. #15
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    May. 30, 2009
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    If they canter on the line and you can steer and stop and have a contained area just in case...canter...and enjoy!



  16. #16
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    Sep. 8, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoExcuses View Post
    I have an easier time starting horses than ponies. I have picked up my pride more often on a naughty pony, than a horse. There just is no neck between you and the ground! Of course this happens more while jumping a naughty pony. Where would the world be without a few naughty ponies to keep us humble!
    quite true!

    I always tell the kids I'm more than likely going to bite it on the small, and probably get hurt worse, than off a WB. Any pony jock has been there at least once... you're riding around, having a grand old time when, BAM! next thing you know, you are on the ground. How the heck did I end up down here? You don't even have time to tuck and roll.

    But what is nice with the ponies is that if you need to jump ship (I once had a medium start crow hopping and spinning on me, which was fine, until the saddle starting to slip.....) you can usually do a emergency dismount and land easily on your feet. The girls say I always look like a gymnist, hand up in the air in everything.
    www.englishivyfarms.com
    Hunters, Jumpers, & Welsh Ponies
    All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown



  17. #17
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    Jun. 15, 2002
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    If they are balanced enough then I like to canter after the first couple rides. It may just be a few steps down the straight line. My theory here is that way they do not have a big drama fit when you ask for something new. Its rather something they have been doing since pretty much day 1 under saddle. Yes, I did have a very hard mare to break and it was easier to just do everything at once. I also cantered her on the lunge line first before doing so around the arena. Granted the arena I broke her in had no fencing. Umm yea that can be interesting for some. I had a gelding that for some reason could for to the left like a pro, but switch to the right and I let my guard done for 2 sec and we were out of the ring! Needless to say I had to use some creative way to get him going right and keep him in the ring, but we got it done within a few rides. That horse was not easy to break as you couldn't lunge him without him rearing and flipping himself (long story), but I learned a lot breaking that one. I had another one that every time I asked for the canter on the lunge he threw a huge twisting buck. Needless to say my first time cantering him I held my breath and went ahead and asked him the 2nd ride just because I needed to see if he was gonna buck me off and that was an issue I needed to handle. Thankfully he never did buck under saddle! (Well after I sold him, he may of bucked his new owner off after a winter break...whoops)

    I also agree sitting trot is too much for this stage. I would introduce the canter if I were you.
    I love cats, I love every single cat....
    So anyway I am a cat lover
    And I love to run.



  18. #18
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    Jan. 22, 2000
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    Well, I didn't get to ride today. My 16 month old little boy was sick all last nite with his first stomach bug, ugh! Poor little guy, wish it had been me instead. He's much better tonite & sleeping, hopefully tomorrow I can get out there and get in a ride.

    I did get to longe her yesterday afternoon and she was perfect. Nice and quiet, and cantered nicely every time I asked, no silliness at all and listened very well. She picked up her right lead several times, which is her weaker side, and is improving by leaps & bounds with it.

    Maybe the weather will cooperate (calling for severe storms) and I'll be able to give that canter a try tomorrow. Keep ya posted.
    Crayola posse~ orange yellow, official pilot
    Proud owner of "High Flight" & "Shorty"



  19. #19
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    Feb. 4, 2001
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    Hugs for the baby boy! Keep us posted. She will have a great canter. I saw the link of her brother (or maybe just by the same stallion?) and he is so cute too- you can definitely tell they share blood. You picked such a nice one.



  20. #20
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    Thanks, Justice.

    Unfortunately, still no ride yet. Hubby was sick all last nite with the same nasty bug, and I stayed home with my little guy today. He was doing better till late this afternoon and he's relapsed. Staying home again tomorrow~ if he's not better by noon, it's time for the doc. (We've been in close contact with them all weekend)

    It also poured rain last nite, so gonna take a day or two to dry out. Maybe, just maybe, later this week, things will be back to normal!!!
    Crayola posse~ orange yellow, official pilot
    Proud owner of "High Flight" & "Shorty"



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