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Approaches to Training Different Breeds/Types

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  • Approaches to Training Different Breeds/Types

    A trainer friend told me that you just can't ride a QH like you do a WB - you need to loosen their hips b/c that's where they lock, and make sure you get them to submit early b/c they're so independent. A post here says that training Friesians are different than WBs, but details weren't given. These are just two examples.

    So, for trainers who have worked with horses of a variety of breeds (really types, not specific breeds), do you have to approach training them differently. Both mentally and physically? Stock type vs. European WB vs. draft cross vs. TB vs. Morgan/Saddlebred vs. Baroque etc? Or do you use the same training system and just tweak it for the individual horse like you would for a hot WB vs. a more lazy WB?

  • #2
    Each horse, whatever the breed, is an individual. Yes there are breed standards, and sometimes conformation standards that make some movements easier or more difficult. So the rider/trainer has to adjust their expectations to what is possible under the circumstances.

    Regarding QH today,many have so much TB in their bloodlines that there is little difference between them and a TB. Of course some are carefully bred for proficiency at one aspect of the QH industry or another. Back to adjusting expectations.
    Last edited by merrygoround; Feb. 13, 2011, 11:36 AM.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


    • #3
      With Friesians I've noticed you can't take shortcuts with their training. I have seen excellent Warmblood riders that just could not put together a Friesian, and I think it's because with Warmbloods--you can certainly "cheat" on some things (like skipping a step on the pyramid scale). Friesians need the foundation every ride, you must follow the pyramid. They are like tattle-tales, they point out where the "holes" in your training are.

      That was the only major "difference" I ever noticed regarding breeds and their training. Any other difference just came down to individual tweaks.
      Last edited by Megaladon; Feb. 13, 2011, 10:10 AM.
      I LOVE my Chickens!


      • #4
        I am not a trainer, but having some unorthodox dressage horses leaves me feeling qualified to post. I have used (mainly) 3 different trainers with 3 different horses of completely different type. Its not just that some trainers have no experience with a certain type, but also, some don't like a certain type. So, say a trainer has only had experience with well bred, meant to be dressage types and you show up on a draft x with a short, thick neck. That trainer may have no 'tools' to get through that neck-its something that has never come up before. Also, if the trainer doesn't really like your horse, you don't get very far (IMHO). But, riding with different trainers only ads to the 'tools' in your bag of tricks, so that now I can effectively deal with the specific issues I'm coming across with my equine body types.
        There is a trainer in my town who has a 'my way or the highway' approach to every horse (and rider). She's not terribly successful and puts out alot of fried horses.
        Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!


        • #5
          I would agree that every horse is an individual and that you have to be willing to look at the breed when you consider the training that will work best. Conformation of the horse will also play a very large factor and rather or not they had a previous career or were started a certain way than what they are trying to do now.
          I have QH and appaloosa and Arab/ Crosses who I train in dressage when normally I have primarily WB and WB/Crosses. I do feel personally that you have to consider what the horse was breed for from the start and take that into consideration. In many cases I find it is the conformation and the personality that play the largest factor. In my experiences many of the QH I have worked with are a little more on the lazy side and want to carry all the weight on the forehand like many of the drafts. I find that in both cases I really have to work on getting them to want to sit on the hind end and work from back to front. My Arabs, Apps and TB are normally trying to be quick and run through the hands more than the other breeds...........but logically this makes sense to me when you consider the breeding and what they normally do. My warmbloods can vary greatly I find many of the ones I see are what I call "stuck in the center" they do not use their core at all it is either all hind or on the forehand and forget to bend in the body. I know some reading this might think I am generalizing but I do consider the breed when I train but also many other factors. I think if you are so stuck in one training method that is very bad ........I think you should stick to the basics as standards but not be afraid to think a little outside the box to fix a problem with a horse. The same solution does not work for all you have to be willing to try different ways to get the same result and maybe the problem is due to the horse’s personality or conformation or approach to work and understanding.

          From the physical stand point I would say some horses will take much more out of you as a rider because you may have to ride every stride making adjustments while others might only need small reminders. I always say riding is 50% physical and 50% mental. Anyone who is relatively fit can do the motion but it is connecting the motion to why and that is the mental part which I think takes years to develop.
          "Ask often, demand little, reward generously"
          " Every horse has a chocolate side"


          • #6
            Some breeds are predisposed to certain reaction types as well as well as having diffferent conformational issues. Hot bred horses tend to run/get nervous when pressured. Colder breds tend to shut down when pressured until they get to the point where they just want to bolt. there is evolutionary reason for this (type of predator they evolved to evade), and it makes sense to take this into consideration when training certain types of horses.

            I agree though, that horses don't always fit into the breed expecation and that all horses should be treated as individuals, but if you have an "off" breed, it helps to have a trainer that has worked with a variety of breeds and that has an open mind so as to be able to address them as individuals rather than use a one size fits all approach to training.
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


            • #7
              We are experiencing this first hand right now.
              My friend and I often ride together, lessons back-to-back, and help each other out as ground persons.
              Our current trainer is really handling us differently.
              Her Dutch/TB wants to get heavy and fast and my Saddlebred is extremely sensitive. We work on relaxation and desensitization and she works on sensitizing.

              When all is going well, we end up at the same place.


              • #8
                The goal is the same, the approach might be different depending on how each individual horse's reaction/conformation/age/breed.

                Some horse are more 'choppy' in their gaits, some are more quick and tense, some are sloppy and slow, some are prone to go easily behind the vertical, some have long long backs, some have nice uphill movements, some can extend pretty easily while others can sit and collect in a sec!

                Usually I try to focus on the horse's weakness and start from there. I try to find a way the horse will get relax and go thru its back at a nice balanced pace. I've find that warmbloods need to be pushed a little bit more in their gaits and baroque type horses to stretch and go a bit slower to achieve the same goal. They are usually built and move differently.
                Last edited by alibi_18; Feb. 10, 2011, 11:15 AM. Reason: @Paddys Mom: How is your friend's horse hooves doing?
                ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                Originally posted by LauraKY
                I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                HORSING mobile training app


                • #9
                  Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                  Each horse, whatever the breed, is an individual.
                  This sums it up! Look at each individual horse's conformation, and help them "capitalize" on their strong points, and strengthen their weak points.

                  As ThatsNotMe points out, you need multiple tools in the tool bag - riding horses is not a "one size fits all", and when you run into a trainer who rides that way, there will be problems. Even if you ride ONLY Warmbloods - they are such a diverse group of horses with diverse conformation and personalities, there must be some flexibility in how you work with the individual!

                  I have ridden Morgans, Warmbloods, a Friesian, and Friesian crosses in dressage. All had their own unique training challenges, and my two trainers helped me with different ideas and tools. In general - and this is a very generic statement - I've found you have to get the horse out of its "comfort zone" to really athleticize it. So, with a horse that is naturally high and round in its neck (aka Friesian), they must become comfortable going long and low in the neck. In a horse that is comfortable going long and out (some Warmbloods, not all), they need to develop comfort also going up and round. In a horse that is comfortable going quick and long, they need to learn to go slower and rounder too, in a horse that wants to go slow and round, they need to learn to go longer and quicker. That is a very generic generalization, but it tends to hold true. And for the trainer who has only "one road to Rome", it is difficult to try other paths...


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by xQHDQ View Post
                    Or do you use the same training system and just tweak it for the individual horse like you would for a hot WB vs. a more lazy WB?

                    I first establish a strong foundation and partnership both on the ground and u/s then use progressive schooling exercises/patterns to teach the horse to progressively work beneath themselves and climb the Training Scale. Tailor the foundation and partnership aspect to the horse as an individual (ie, longer lines versus shorter lines in the arena to add or channel impulsion, basing exercises on say earning further respect versus earning further trust or vice versa depending on the horse, etc etc). Tweak HOW we do said progressive schooling exercises according to that individual horse and tailor conditioning to that horse's conformation...but the exercises are the same - ones that naturally encourage and progress collection. ETA: to re-phrase a little, I work on progressing a horse up the Training Scale the same way, irregardless, in general. That said, we might focus on certain aspects more than others, depending on the horse, filling in any present gaps. For example, with one horse I might focus more on impulsion, on another I might focus more at loosening and relaxing the horse in body and mind. I guess an analogy I might use: I will still use the same type of sand to fill each different type, shape, and style of vase, but each vase (which might have different holes or needs in different areas) might require different amounts of sand and in different areas. If I fill it up thoroughly, I balance out each vase to the point where its flaws, shapes, holes, styles (etc) might appear similar to the other vases (while it still being an individual vase). If that makes sense

                    If you work with a horse the right way, they won't be more or less inclined to lock up in their hind or to be less submissive than another horse - if you tailor your program to that specific horse. Certain breeds have certain tendencies (related to temperament and conformation) for sure, but it is about the individual. If you establish a thorough foundation, you will balance out any differences in that horse (as compared to another horse) and develop them fully to the point where they are less "extreme" in areas.

                    ETA: I honestly do not feel one can leave gaps in any horse's training, breed aside.
                    Last edited by naturalequus; Feb. 11, 2011, 01:32 PM.
                    ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                    ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.


                    • #11
                      You cannot take short cuts on any horse, without it showing up later down the road, however some horses, and some breeds, take a lot less work in some areas.

                      For example: certain breeds are much more inclined to be high necked, and active legs, but not work through their torso well at all. With these horses you have to be prepared to teach them to stretch forward to the bridle and work as a whole all the time. Every step you take forward, you have to re establish that permeability.

                      Then you have the opposite, a horse whose conformation tends to put them slightly downhill, heavily muscled, stiff. With these horses staying connected is not difficult, but suppleness is, so you have to help them with suppleness and rhythm, you have to teach them to bend the hocks and lighten up the front end, and every time you make any progress up the training scale, you have to check back and make sure they are still working with with supple relaxation.

                      Then you get the speed horses, their first reaction is always to hurry up. You have to replace their anxiety with focus on you , the rider, before you can really work on anything of value at all, and any time they begin to react with tension to a new or progressive training technique, you have to reestablish focus and confidence in the rider.

                      It boils down to respecting the horse as an individual, and developing riding techniques that enable you to really communicate effectively with the horse, regardless of who it is.


                      • #12
                        I agree with those who said each horse is an individual, but you can make some generalizations by breed. After all, that's kind of the point of purebred horses, they were bred for a specific purpose and you can make a reasonable guess as to what they will be like.

                        Good training is good training though, and it's all the same tools, just different approaches for different horses.
                        exploring the relationship between horse and human


                        • #13
                          After having worked with many different types and breeds over the years the one thing I have learned is that as soon as you think you have it figured out, along comes a horse that is sure to make a liar out of you.
                          Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CFFarm View Post
                            After having worked with many different types and breeds over the years the one thing I have learned is that as soon as you think you have it figured out, along comes a horse that is sure to make a liar out of you.
                            Yep! Actually, I've decided dressage actually means "learning" (instead of training), and it applies to the human as well as (even more than) the horse. You never "achieve" the top because there is no such thing as "the top", you have to keep learning. Once you think you are "there" you aren't doing dressage anymore (aka, you aren't learning).

                            I guess, if you go to a broad generalization (such as the training pyramid), yes, they are all under the same formula - forward and relaxed and supple at the base. But it is in the details that we see much variation depending on the individual horse. For example, some horses need to slow down to be forward and relaxed, others need to speed up. So back to the specific example of the QH - if you have a QH who is locked up in the hips, then you would customize your riding and training (and related care, including perhaps chiro or massage) to unlock the horse inthe hips.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by xQHDQ View Post
                              A trainer friend told me that you just can't ride a QH like you do a WB - you need to loosen their hips b/c that's where they lock, and make sure you get them to submit early b/c they're so independent. A post here says that training Friesians are different than WBs, but details weren't given. These are just two examples.

                              So, for trainers who have worked with horses of a variety of breeds (really types, not specific breeds), do you have to approach training them differently. Both mentally and physically? Stock type vs. European WB vs. draft cross vs. TB vs. Morgan/Saddlebred vs. Baroque etc? Or do you use the same training system and just tweak it for the individual horse like you would for a hot WB vs. a more lazy WB?
                              the triaing no different to any breed the principals and effects of the trianing is the same unless its a different dispiline like racing as they are not trianed in the same manner a dressage horse would be as they are tuaght to run so are not schooled in the same manner

                              obviously horses/ponies a re indidvuals and how one approaches there needs some learn quick some dont, somw are lazy some are sharp etc so you take each horse for what he is regardless of his breed

                              some breeds are known to have traits, ike welshes smart and versitle dont suffer fools lightly etc but you take all into account when dealing with horse
                              as anindivial he might not show the same tendancies as his breed states or via word of mouth or by another human who has it on hearsay etc
                              you treat every horse as a horse and work with him as - one unit ie one horse with four feet as his feet are just as indivual as he is so wont be the same

                              and it doesnt stop there as the horse depending on what hes going to be used for then starts of with the basics and then to advance work in his/ chosen dispiline
                              as each dispiline is slightly different from work/exercise to feed to how the horse kept