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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 21, 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Questions on training a green horse

    I'm working with a 4 year old thoroughbred mare that has much less than a year of training under saddle. She has a pleasant personality and is interested in what's presented to her but she gets bored easily and does not have a great attention span.

    I have a couple questions regarding her training:

    1) Because she is a young horse, I would like her to learn how to keep her head relaxed without the use of a martingale. Her training has been done in a martingale since she likes to carry her head high but I want to use as little equipment as possible. Is it best to take the martingale away during a green, unbalanced horse's training? (It's just a standing martingale)

    2) How do I make sessions fun for her? She has such an eager personality during our groundwork sessions but as soon as I get on her, her expression becomes dull. I can tell she won't like the lifestyle of going around in an enclosed ring no matter how many loops and circles we do. There really aren't any trails on the property to get her out of the arena, either. I would like for her to look forward to being ridden!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2006
    Posts
    8,125

    Default

    Teach her how to carry herself by riding her from your inside leg. A little shoulder fore feeling works a miracle. Personally, I think until she you can ride her head where you want it without help from a martingale, she's not on the contact, so you may as well just toss the martingale and wait until it's right.

    You can also get plenty done limiting your rides to 20 minutes so she doesn't get bored.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2010
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    776

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hues View Post
    1) Because she is a young horse, I would like her to learn how to keep her head relaxed without the use of a martingale. Her training has been done in a martingale since she likes to carry her head high but I want to use as little equipment as possible. Is it best to take the martingale away during a green, unbalanced horse's training? (It's just a standing martingale)

    2) How do I make sessions fun for her? She has such an eager personality during our groundwork sessions but as soon as I get on her, her expression becomes dull. I can tell she won't like the lifestyle of going around in an enclosed ring no matter how many loops and circles we do. There really aren't any trails on the property to get her out of the arena, either. I would like for her to look forward to being ridden!
    1) Don't worry about her carrying her head high. Take the martingale away. I used to try every manner of getting my horse to carry her head lower under the supervision and suggestion of trainers. Standing martingales, running martingales, draw reins, etc etc... All she did was brace against them. Once the training devices were taken away back up it went. I read something somewhere about stop worrying about it so much. If she wants to carry her head high just let her. So I stopped worrying about it. Guess what? I worry about other things like moving forward, being relaxed myself, slowing my posting, keeping a straight line between my arms and her bit, keeping my legs underneath me, keeping myself from tipping forward, sitting up nice and tall, breathing, and she just relaxes and puts her head down. I don't know about your horse, but mine is very forward at times. I just post faster instead of trying to bring her down with my reins. I know I have brakes if I really need them so I let her go. Once she realizes I'm not going to fight with her she settles herself down and down her head goes. Once thing that I think that also helped a lot is I now have her going in a french link snaffle or a jointed mullen mouth snaffle (I don't think the regular snaffle action helped the high headedness much, she really didn't seem to like them). I'm finally getting some solid contact with her mouth and I feel like she's staying between my legs and hands. It's so nice.

    2) Do things in different orders all the time. Set up some barrels and poles and do patterns. Teach her voice commands. Switch things up. When she's being good call it a day. Sessions don't have to be very long for a young horse.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2009
    Posts
    455

    Default

    Focus less on "keeping the head down" then on teaching her to accept contact. Once she learns to accept contact she should reach into the contact naturally. That will give her adjustability and give you the ability to ask her to carry her head where you want it - whether it is long and low or up in a training level frame (or higher once she builds the muscles, of course)



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