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  1. #1
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    Default What do you suggest lesson-wise for myself on young horse?

    Oh wise COTHers, what do you suggest?

    Rory (3.5 yo WB) is back from the trainer and is w/t/c, whoa, gets his leads and sidepasses... but isn't always aware of the fact that he has FOUR (yes FOUR) legs. He still needs to be lunged for about 15-20 minutes before I get on or he is a dingbat. Trainer said he takes about 15 minutes for his brain to warm up, I tried to wean him off the lungeing and I paid for it with two increasingly bad rides and some impressive spooks. The last straw was the 40'-sideways-and-over-the-mounting-block spook. I stayed on (yay me!) and he stopped with very little effort on my part (yay him!). Last two rides we lunged 15ish minutes and he was a super star. Bless him but he's also lazy and if you stop riding, he stops going.

    And me? I need lessons. I am a nervous nelly; I'm technically a good rider, but I've had some really, really bad falls and a string of really untrustworthy horses. But I can suck it up.

    My lesson options nearby are limited. A couple eventing trainers and a dressage barn. What do you suggest for a young horse and a clutchy rider? One or another or both?

    This was our last ride, towards the end, so he was tiiiired. I told my friend to break the video up in two min segments, but she just kept going and she was doing me a favor...so, sorry it's so long, nothing interesting happens at the end, you don't have to watch the whole thing. He actually does trot about a minute into it, I didn't know until I saw the video that he was jogging along. It felt like a trot at the time, but like I said, he's lazy and I'm nervous, so the jog was mutually comfortable . I know we have a LOT to work on, so please be kind.
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

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  2. #2
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    Honestly, while I'm sure lessons would help, if it was me I'd find some friends and go hacking and trail riding. With calm buddies, he'll be more confident and less spooky. Outside the ring, he'll learn to pay attention to his feet on uneven ground. He'll have more to look at, perhaps keeping him interested and more forward.

    On the other hand, if this is going to make you nervous (and clutchy) that will transmit to him, which could make him uptight. But once mine have reliable brakes and steering, I like to get them going outside to see the world.
    “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
    ? Albert Einstein

    ~AJ~


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  3. #3
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    Relax, he's not even 4 yet! If he still needs to be lunged to "find his legs", that is no.big.deal.

    If you want lessons for your own confidence, audit a lesson or two at all the barns; perhaps find someone willing to come to you.

    In her (wonderful) talks at the USEA meeting, Mary King stressed the point that her 3yr olds are backed and turned out, and at 4 they learn w/t/c and are turned back out.

    If Rory were mine, I would be working on non-stressing-to-his-still-growing-body - taking him to local schooling shows and leading him around, not even riding - to get him used to trailering/stalling/standing while others gallop by.

    Good luck, he is adorable!



  4. #4
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    Oh, one more thing - Mary King also starts her young horses on the trail/hills being ponied off of her bomb proof horses - no rider on the young horse!



  5. #5
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    What AJ said. Take lessons on a grown up horse so you can work on YOU. This baby's needs are different and a lesson format may not fit him at all at this point. Go out trail riding with him. Walk over and through things and let him see the world. If you must longe him (which I think is no big deal) make that an opportunity to make him a STELLAR longe horse: voice commands, whoa means whoa RIGHT NOW, etc.
    Click here before you buy.



  6. #6
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    I don't like trail riding, even on steady Eddies.

    And I wouldn't expect him to lesson for an hour, I should have put that out there at the beginning. I know his brain can't take that; I'd probably use my "hour" to lunge AND ride. But a lesson format for ME on HIM would get me to do more with him than I will on my own, because I'm braver in a lesson environment, plus these would all be hauling out somewhere, so he'd be getting out and about to new places. We've already hauled around and seen new stuff before he went to the trainer's, he's pretty mellow about new places.

    Thanks Flightcheck, he's pretty danged cute and seems to have a good mind.
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

    COTH's official mini-donk enabler.
    Odie, aka the Evil Burrito, is on Facebook.



  7. #7
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    He's not even 4! Relax. What exactly are you rushing to achieve. If he were mine, he'd be hanging out in the field right now, looking cute and fluffy.

    And, this may seem like a silly question, but, do you event? How do you manage to do that if you don't like to trail ride? Really, that is the very best thing for him at the moment. Any "lesson" on a horse this young and green would probably be about 20 minutes, especially if he's getting lunged that long, too.



  8. #8
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    To be honest I don't much like trail riding, either, as an end in itself. But as a MEANS of putting fitness on a horse, exposing them to the notion of GOING FORWARD out in the big, wide, world, and to prevent them from becoming bored automatons going 'round and 'round in an arena, out we go whenever the opportunity arises. Even if it's limited, I like to at least warm up or cool down by hacking around the property or down the road a little. And intervals/trot sets are always done out in the world if footing allows.

    What a baby like this "needs" is not terribly fun if it's your only ride, but that doesn't change the fact that a rising 4yo is still a work in progress, and the work required rarely resembles what we dream of when we buy or breed the critter!
    Click here before you buy.



  9. #9
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    I'd second the going for easy trail rides and whatnot with friends. It did a world of good for my Arab in giving him body awareness to use his limbs in a coordinated effort rather than just a flailing mess.

    If you want to do lessons with him I'd do dressage lessons.

    I'd also do a lot of taking him all over creation and letting him see the world. Take him to schooling shows with a calm buddy and let him see all the things. Take the time now to get him used to all the mundane things you want him to cooperate with later on. I spend my Arab's 3yo year just doing minimal walking under saddle and a LOT of ground work. He learned to wear a harness and a saddle and carry a rider. He learned to be clipped. He learned to let every part of him be handled. He learned things like if he acts like a fool about walking past the hose in the barn aisle, he might just have to wear said hose on his back for a little while until he gets over himself.

    Above all, he learned to trust what I ask of him. That it really is easier to just let me do whatever it is, even if it is initially scary and there are probably cookies involved if he just cooperates.

    FWIW, my Arab didn't figure out how to really actually use his legs until he was nearly 5.



  10. #10
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    Thanks again everyone. I've actually already done just about everything listed except trail riding, which I don't see myself doing for many months yet, when the weather is better and him stumbling on a trail doesn't mean we start mudslide off a cliff.

    We've hauled out with his crazy buddy, we've hauled out alone, he lunges w/t/c/whoa on voice, he was line-driven and did NOT like it, he is sacked out, I can hose him while holding the leadrope, he's been body clipped, he's been hand walked and lunged over scary ground poles.

    I think I may try both a dressage lesson and a lesson with an eventing trainer, and see how we mesh and how he does with what's asked. I think dressage might help him better as this point, and lord knows something less forgiving of position would be up my alley.

    Thanks again .
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

    COTH's official mini-donk enabler.
    Odie, aka the Evil Burrito, is on Facebook.



  11. #11
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    Hello from 2h south of you. =) Haven't been to Whidbey yet, but then again, I've only been to Seattle once since moving here, so that's not saying a lot.

    Why not try some desensitization stuff?.... like walking over a plastic tarp, walking by flapping things, scary flowers, plastic inflatable pool toys, walking by cows/pigs/tractors/xmas lights/weedeaters, walking through big big puddles/beach, etc. Stuff that you can be on the ground or in the tack for.

    His brain might melt, but it'll grow back.
    And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."



  12. #12
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    Not a bad idea, he's pretty good with everything but can always be better.

    Whidbey Island is great. We're selling and moving off the island hopefully soon, so it'll open some new doors as far as training, but this place is just really special. Super pretty. Two hours south of me pretty much IS Seattle?
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

    COTH's official mini-donk enabler.
    Odie, aka the Evil Burrito, is on Facebook.



  13. #13
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    Has he had a winter break yet? His age....I'd give him one and let his mind hopefully mature some.

    GET OFF THE CIRCLE. Sorry but I watched the first part of the video and had to get that off my chest. USE your whole ring....or better....get out of the ring. You do not have him going remotely forward enough, and you are on a tiny little circle. Not ideal for a young horse, especially one you already have to lunge.

    I would start long lining him to get off the circle before I got on if I still had to do ground work. When you are on him....do different things. You are just doing the same thing circle after circle after circle.....for a youngster, I would be doing transitions, using the whole ring (getting FORWARD--and larger spaces help), going around jumps and lots of changes of directions. Scatter some ground poles around so he has to think about his feet a bit...and keep his mind occupied. He can spook because you are not doing enough to occupy his mind.....and at this age, they have the attention span of a knat. So you have to do things to keep their focus on you!


    Getting him out of the ring is huge for his mental development. If you don't like to do it....get someone on him who does.....even if it is just ponying him off another horse. This is important whether or not you will be an event rider....it helps with everything.

    Good luck...he looks like a good egg. If he was mine, he would be out in the field for a little while now.


    ETA: If you are going to do lessons, instead of giving him a vacations, while trying both is good, I'd lean toward the event trainer. At this age....it is good for them to do more than just dressage. Little jumps would not be any harder on him (if anything less) than doing circles. I'd be doing lessons more to just get off the farm, go somewhere new and do some different things. Group lessons may be even better. And generally speaking, you may find more different things and groups at an event barn rather than a dressage barn but really....it does just depend on the trainer.
    Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Dec. 13, 2012 at 11:34 AM. Reason: typo
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **


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  14. #14
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    We've hauled out with his crazy buddy, we've hauled out alone, he lunges w/t/c/whoa on voice, he was line-driven and did NOT like it, he is sacked out, I can hose him while holding the leadrope, he's been body clipped, he's been hand walked and lunged over scary ground poles.
    Sounds like he's far ahead of where most young horses are at that age. Maybe just chuck him out for the winter on the side of a hill with a couple of other youngsters if you can. He'll find his feet that way.

    Most of what 3yos/early 4yos need is to go places and do things.
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  15. #15
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    Transitions, changes of speed on those circles (on fast one, one slow one, etc), more forward and responsive would be my goals at this point.
    Of course, I take mine hacking as much as I can to get them exposed to new environments and terrain...
    I think trying a lesson with each trainer to see which is a better fit is a good idea.
    A friend told me I was delusional. I almost fell off my unicorn.



  16. #16
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    Thanks!
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

    COTH's official mini-donk enabler.
    Odie, aka the Evil Burrito, is on Facebook.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BEARCAT View Post
    Transitions, changes of speed on those circles (on fast one, one slow one, etc), more forward and responsive would be my goals at this point.
    Of course, I take mine hacking as much as I can to get them exposed to new environments and terrain...
    I think trying a lesson with each trainer to see which is a better fit is a good idea.
    I agree with this! I took lessons on my horse when he was 3. All winter long. I only rode him 3 days a week though. We did lots of transitions, lateral, pole work(he really enjoyed this). Have fun with him and also progress him along.I would advise you not to do a ton of small circles on a lunge line. Its not good for them when their that young and it can be really boring for them. Try to make the circles bigger if you have to do it every time you ride. Someone else I think suggested long lining.



  18. #18
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    What BFNE and AJ said. Get him off the circle, get him out in the world, let him be his age. He's young, he's probably growing, and he's spending a lot of time on a circle either on the lunge or under tack which isn't my usual preference on a young horse's legs. Much better for his baby experiences to be about going to new places and hanging out, hacking down the road (if you don't like trail) or around the pastures, or growing up out the in field. With my young horses, once they have the basic w/t/c installed, they go back out in the field until spring of their 4 year old year. Even then, we don't regularly "lesson" on them per se - more just basic flat work to get them going forward and balanced. So as far as a lesson program goes, I think your best money would be spent on someone who can help the two of you get comfortable going forward and having fun together.

    When I look at your guy, I agree with BFNE that he needs to go more forward generally. Suspect that may get out some of the spook: once he is on your aids, he's paying more attention to you than that scary thing over there. An eventing trainer might have better experience with that, but the most important thing is that you're getting comfortable and having a good time with him. He's very cute.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheJenners View Post
    Thanks again everyone. I've actually already done just about everything listed except trail riding, which I don't see myself doing for many months yet, when the weather is better and him stumbling on a trail doesn't mean we start mudslide off a cliff.
    If you want to go trailriding I have just the place to take you and no cliffs involved. It's perfect for a young horse and you can go as long or as short as you want. There's bridges and water crossings, places to let him out and technical areas where they really have to watch their feet. Yes, it is muddy now so spring would be the best time. I'd love to take you and your boy.

    Seriously, I start all of my youngsters on the trail and they do learn surefootedness in a hurry. After a few rides, I turn them out until they're well into their 3 year old year.
    Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by GotSpots View Post
    So as far as a lesson program goes, I think your best money would be spent on someone who can help the two of you get comfortable going forward and having fun together.

    An eventing trainer might have better experience with that, but the most important thing is that you're getting comfortable and having a good time with him. He's very cute.
    Thank you That's exactly what my goal is; us to get comfortable with each other and trust each other. He was more forward with the trainer who had been riding him six days a week for two months, definitely more hesitant with me. And FWIW, the trainer said that Rory needed "lots of trot circles." His words. I'm sure he meant forward circles, but hey...baby steps. My first "ride" on Rory after he got home was get on, walk forward, check brakes, walk a circle in one direction, check brakes and back up, and walk two in the other direction. *I* like baby steps.

    And Mtn trails, if you want to PM me, I'll probably take you up on this. DH and I are putting our house on the market in Jan and moving off the island as soon as it sells.
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

    COTH's official mini-donk enabler.
    Odie, aka the Evil Burrito, is on Facebook.



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