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  1. #1
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    Aug. 10, 2010
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    Default Greenie moms (and dads) I need some encouragement

    I'm riding a greenie who belongs to a friend of mine. He was started pretty late (backed and doing groundwork since 4 but he's now 6 and just started "real" under saddle training). He has a lot of natural talent but he can be pretty pig-headed. He's been at the trainers for almost 4 months and I'm riding him 3 times a week in addition to full training so I can keep working him after he comes home. He's not dangerous or bad, it just seems like he takes forever to "get" stuff. How long did it take your greenie to start to be more consistent under saddle? This is the first time I've worked with a horse this green for this long, and I know it's going to be a process, and I have the help of several professionals..... I just really want him to start to put the pieces together and not feel like every time I ride it is going to be a remiedial session of "ok this means stop" "this means turn" Etc.
    Me: In a long-winded explanation of who GM is and why he is Important to the Sport
    Mr EmJ: So what you're saying is GM is so Important he could get Chik-Fil-A on Sunday?



  2. #2
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    Oct. 26, 2007
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    Default

    I find greenies tend to catch on very quickly! You need to take it ONE baby step at a time, and do not move on to more advance requests until the elementary ones are understood. Build the horse up for success, and IMMEDIATELY reward the right answer when the horse offers it. They don’t come out of the womb knowing “this mean stop, this means go”. We have to guide them.

    For me, I installed “this means stop” first from the ground, long lining. Once I am up on their back, they are not so confused because they already understand the command, which has been cemented with repetition and reward.

    For greenie:

    Break it down to the BASICIS. REWARD the moment the horse STARTS to give the correct answer… they need our guidance to know what is correct. Do not ask for two much, keep on asking the horse to do things it can perform, and reward as soon as he does so. Move onto more complex request only after the very basics are totally understood.

    In short, build the horse up for success and confidence – ride youngsters positively.



  3. #3
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    Aug. 10, 2010
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    Default

    Thanks Appsolute, I just needed to hear someone say "don't worry it's not that you can't ride, it will all start to come together!" A break in this god awful heat would probably also do wonders for my patience!
    Me: In a long-winded explanation of who GM is and why he is Important to the Sport
    Mr EmJ: So what you're saying is GM is so Important he could get Chik-Fil-A on Sunday?



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2001
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    down the road from bar.ka
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    Default

    Well, for whatever reason, he started a little late here...and it is a pretty good example of how ground work is no substitute for actually working under saddle in a regular program. Younger Greenies that have not been handled extensively are actually quicker learners.

    IME most horses like this got as far eventually as any started at 3 or 4 did but it took longer. After all, he is 6 and has basically been doing as he pleases. He has alot to learn, including listening for more then 10 minutes, working when tiring and learning your directions are not optional.

    How are his ground manners grooming, tacking up and leading? I found that, often, owners of these were trying to "go slow" but were lacking in skills, time and nerve to regularly work with them on a consistent basis and insist on disciplne, manners and their full attention while being worked. They inadvertently spoil them instead of installing a work ethic.

    Normally I'd say he is getting an awful lot of riding here if he is in full training and you are riding 3 days on top of that. But, at 6? He probably needs it. Try to stay short and be sure to quit while you are ahead to reward any progress. When he "gets it" get off and put him up as the best reward-he is getting plenty of riding so you can quit early.

    He will be OK. Eventually. Just hang in there. When he comes home will you be doing the riding? Everybody has to do the same thing in the same way all the time every ride or he will get "stupid" again pretty quick. It's hard when it's not your horse and/or you do not have control over all that goes on with it.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  5. #5
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    Default

    It will come with time.. but with young horses. I try to look at it this way… what is in it for the horse? Why would he want to allow me to ride him, and follow what I say? This is your time to build a work ethic.

    I try to motivate a greenie with LOTS of reward – “see buddy, you do this little thing – and you get told what a good boy you are, lots of pats scritches, and a stretchy walk to reward!” This is fun, you get to be successful and told you are good!

    Once they understand the particular command, you can tone down the rewarding, but at first, make a BIG DEAL out of the correct answer. Just like a correction, the reward should be immediate.

    And with a young horse, one can never have too much patients. If things are just not going well on a particular day, either my head isn’t in the right place, or dear pony is just having a crappy day, I will make sure to find something easy for the horse, reward, and end on a positive note.



  6. #6
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    Oct. 14, 2007
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    California
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    Default

    Each horse is different. But saying that, always stay relaxed and be consistent with your aids. They will catch on. And never get stressed. They feel it.

    Sometimes when I felt I was getting no where in the ring on a particular day, I would change it up and go for a trail walk or go over some ground poles.

    If it's not one thing I have learned about horses, and in life for that matter, things don't always work out on MY time frame.
    How people treat you is their KARMA.... how you REACT is yours!



  7. #7
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    Aug. 10, 2010
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    Default

    Thanks everyone! Findeight, he actually has very good ground manners, and they have improved since he's been in training (of course). But I totally agree with your observation that ground work is no subsitute for actual riding when riding is the goal. That was a problem we started out with, the skills he had down pat on the long lines or the lunge were just not translating to undersaddle. Thankfully (?) I will be doing the majority of the riding when he comes home. Trainer will be out to give lessons and "tune up" when necessary. Owner will only ride on occasion and only after he is much much further along in his training. I am really just thankful to have the opportunity to work with this horse and this is a new experience for me so I am trying to learn all I can from the professionals associated with him! I'm hoping it will be a good partnership for the long term.

    Thank you all for the suggestions and reminders. Doublesstable, you are SO right- horses do teach us that it's not all about our time frame. Thanks for all the good thoughts!
    Me: In a long-winded explanation of who GM is and why he is Important to the Sport
    Mr EmJ: So what you're saying is GM is so Important he could get Chik-Fil-A on Sunday?



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2009
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    Default

    You wrote that he has been at a trainer's for almost 4 months - and he doesn't get stop and turn yet???? I'm sensing more of a problem than just go slow and praise and alot, altho that is the standard program.

    The horse may need to be put into a situation where 'he needs to learn for himself' to start to make his own good choices. What the cowboy round penning can do for a hard headed mind set. (Gasp!)



  9. #9
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    Jun. 17, 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by babecakes View Post
    The horse may need to be put into a situation where 'he needs to learn for himself' to start to make his own good choices. What the cowboy round penning can do for a hard headed mind set. (Gasp!)
    Yeah but I bet this horse can do that like he can long line and stop on a dime too. From the ground. And sounds like he behaves well and is willing.

    He is having trouble translating the skills to having a rider aboard directing him. He just does not "get it". And after 2 years of shorter sessions of long lining and ground stuff and just 4 months riding? I don't think thats a problem if everything is as described.

    IME, in 4 months with an unstarted 3 year old, you are pretty far along. Older horses that have spent years doing something else and not working under saddle are alot different to start.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  10. #10
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    I'll disagree with findeight
    Groundwork should absolutely translate to under-saddle work, all the basics learned on the lunge & halter work should be translated to rider commands in a few sessions - if there is a disconnect between the 2 processes, that is the human element not the horse.

    Some horses will "understand" with 1 or 2 repetitions (but then often begin to anticipate), other horses need 10 - 20 repetitions - knowing which horse you have is key.


    I just really want him to start to put the pieces together and not feel like every time I ride it is going to be a remiedial session of "ok this means stop" "this means turn"
    This would concern me enough to look into what's going on in the training sessions -
    how many of them do you watch?
    when you ride, is it always under the trainer's direction?

    After 4 months, I'd certainly expect a very clear stop & basic turning - unplanned turns, no, but good consistent response when the rider is consistent & "riding ahead".

    Some horses are very happy to follow do this, do this, do this & comply, other horses go OK I get it, now what's in it for me, why should I do this? - so, again, know which horse you have.



  11. #11
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    Default

    findeight, again thank you! You've completely hit the nail on the head. I hear from friends starting young ones how much progress their younger horses have made in comparable time, and here I am feeling like i take 2 steps forward and three steps back some days. And to clarify, it's not as if he has no brakes or steering, it's just taking him longer than I thought to put all the peices together (slowdown, turn, oh but keep trotting!). I am so glad to hear that it may just take him longer to figure it out but he will eventually get to the same place his peers are at.

    Alto, I really appreciate your comments as well. I have watched the training sessions and I do always ride under the observation of the trainer. I think the big hole here is that under normal circumstances, I agree with you that ground work should be translated into undersaddle work, within a few sessions. What I am working with right now is a horse that had a lot of ground work done but practically no undersaddle work for a couple of years. So there was a pretty big disconnect there between his understanding of what we wanted from the ground and the idea that it could be the same thing we were expecting under saddle. We are getting there and actually last night's ride was a BIG improvement.
    Me: In a long-winded explanation of who GM is and why he is Important to the Sport
    Mr EmJ: So what you're saying is GM is so Important he could get Chik-Fil-A on Sunday?



  12. #12
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    Dec. 31, 2000
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EmJ628 View Post
    Thanks Appsolute, I just needed to hear someone say "don't worry it's not that you can't ride, it will all start to come together!" A break in this god awful heat would probably also do wonders for my patience!
    Riding a green horse will make you feel like you ride like crap, are ruining the horse, and will never get any better. It does get better. But it's usually 1 step forward, 2 steps back. They aren't usually consistant for a while. Then one day, you'll go "Hey...He is doing "x" all of the time now" or "he isn't doing "x" (bad) anymore".

    If you can, try to ride a made horse weekly, just so you feel better about your riding and don't get too crapped out, and you don't develop bad habits from riding a green horse.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmJ628 View Post
    ...I hear from friends starting young ones how much progress their younger horses have made in comparable time ...
    Aside from specific issues with a specific horse/trainer situation, in general, younger horses are quicker learners. It's part of what a young brain is best suited to do. A two, three and even four year old horse is made to adapt to new experiences and learn from them, otherwise they wouldn't ever be able to (evolutionarily speaking) leave their mother and learn what is safe and what is not. By the time they get older that ability is not quite as quick and easy. But that's true for us as well - watch a child pick up a second language, then watch an adult try to keep up.
    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.



  14. #14
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    By the time they get older that ability is not quite as quick and easy
    based on this, the 8yr old that was just backed & started u/s last month must've been a genius at 4, cause she's pretty damn brilliant (& compliant) at 8

    ie YMMV



  15. #15
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    you know you can caveat all day long that the individual will vary from the general population in the very first part of your sentence, and in general people will get it, but there's always the individual who doesn't!
    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.



  16. #16
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    should I be

    an' here I thought that A was an amusing anecdote
    - & possibly reassuring to OP & especially the owner of the horse ...



  17. #17
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    you can be whatever you want, but I'm just laughing

    That was so classic an internet exchange (make general statement, caveat that it is a general statement with all that implies and promptly get quoted in part, with response as to how it didn't reply in one situation) it makes me wonder if it shouldn't be memorialized alongside Godwin's Law? I wonder if it is?
    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.



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