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How do you decide to end for the day?

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  • How do you decide to end for the day?

    I would be interested in hearing from people who have youngsters (ie < 6yrs) and how they decide when to end their riding or workout session.

    I haven't had my horse for that long, but over the last few months I've been able to get a feel for where her limits are physically and mentally. Most of the time it is easy to accomplish something during the session and end on a good note and not push her outside either her mental or physical zones.

    However, I imagine for most of us there are times when maybe you ask a horse to do something at some point and it's not being compliant. How do you decide how long to work past it before ending for the day?

    I will be having a discussion with my trainer about this on monday to see what she thinks, but in the meantime I would be interested in hearing what others have done. I realize it was kind of a vague question, but was curious in general what other people do.

  • #2
    My trainer always tells me "After so many times you have to do something else because you are doing something wrong and we were smarter than the horse when we woke up so why go to sleep outsmarted?"

    I change my tactics if I cant win at something... Then I change what we are doing if that isnt working because youve seen people at the horse trailer right? Walk up, horse stops, walk up, horse stops, and again and again until frustration ensues....

    Not something I will do undersaddle more than twice... If I get a direct NO NO twice, I do something I can win at, or shrink the goal a bit to allow us both to find a happy medium. If its still a big NO, I then go back to winning something and approach this discussion another time or try tommorow.


    Patience is a virtue, and a good nights sleep never hurt anything when in negotiations

    Ive never had a horse who ended up saying no the next day unless they were hurting.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      I end the session when I feel my youngsters starting to have a harder time doing what I want - not being resistant per se, just needing more "help" and reminders in accomplishing the movement.
      If I have set up my horse for "x" movement the best I can figure out how, gave it a fair chance to figure out what I want and it is still not turning out how I want, I have learned to quit and think about it and try again later. I much prefer not to create a bad habit and giving my lesson some more thought and accomplishing it better at the next go. It takes longer to undo and redo, then teaching it right in the first place.

      A properly trained/started horse, even a young one should put up with FAIR pressure, mental and physical, in the learning experience, but the animal MUST know that it can expect to be fairly and promptly rewarded by release of pressure for work well done.
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        Totally depends on the horse, that day. If I am training a new movement or exercise and the horse gets it right I will ask for maybe one more correctly done (or a great "try") and then quit on that high note.

        If the horse is getting confused, tense and we've been at it a while, I'll go back to something he/she does well and then quit on that high note.

        If I'm trail riding or hacking out for fitness I'll ride until I feel the horse push the envelope and head back at the walk.

        If my arthritis is acting up I'll pretty much do as in paragraph two and quit. And head for the tub.

        Sometimes it's strickly time constraints and I'm a believer that a 15-20min ride is better than none. JMHO
        Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

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        • #5
          Great question and some great sayings about this:

          "From the moment I get on a horse, I'm looking for a reason to get off"-- some old western cowboy thing.

          Those guys want to find something or anything that the horse did right. Getting off punctuates the ride at that moment, you know? It says to the horse "Whatever you just did before I got off was the magic button to quittin' time." A horse who knows she has this power shows up and really tries.

          "Mañana"-- Tomorrow in Spanish and a way that the Vacqueros purportedly thought about training their horses. Don't think you have to fix today what you can get done tomorrow. This means that I need to have a series of plans: A 5 year plan, a 2 year plan, a 30 day plan, a this week plan, a 1 hour plan.

          But I'll "polish the edge of the diamond that the horse presents to me." That's especially true with a young one. Because I know how I'd like him to think and go eventually, I can just adjust or correct whatever he decides to offer me on that day. I can change that up as needed, too.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat

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          • #6
            I'm working with a challenging 4 yo. chestnut draft/TB mare so some days we are pretty good some days I get "attitude". On her grumpy days if asking in a softer way and making sure I'm not interfering with her by riding poorly. I switch to something she does well for 10 minutes or so then quit. I don't like to stop when she or I are frustrated. I'm not making as much progress as I would like but right now that is ok with me

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            • #7
              I haven't worked with a baby but I have worked with a relatively green horse. I learn to know their limits and once I know what that is I make sure I don't go past that. Within that time frame I wil work on one thing for a pretty short time with low expectations and when I feel like I got a real genuine effort from the horse then i reward them and move on to something else. We'll work on probably 2 things within that limited time frame and then they get to go out and graze. I've learned that ending on a good note no matter what is KEY. I have progressed SOOOOOOO much faster as both a rider and trainer to my horses by ending on a good note.

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              • #8
                There are days where I ride for 10 minutes or less. If he executes something I've been working on very well, I'll praise to high heaven and hop off right there. He's learned vein resistant earns him more and harder work and being soft and compliant can make for a very short lesson.

                My boy is 6 now (I've had him since he was 3 and did all his training myself) so we're past the point of frequently ending lessons that quickly. Still though, if he's trying and suddenly gets something, I'll praise and move on. I don't like to endlessly drill on things. I'll work on a movement or skill for 20min or less which seems to be about his limit for drilling on any one single thing.

                There certainly have been days where X is the plan and I get on and we are just NOT on the same page. I'm very much a pick your battles kinda girl. If something clearly isn't working, but he's trying, we'll move on and revisit another day. If he's being a jerk (he's very clear when he's being a brat and when he's tying but just can't deliver), we'll move on to something simple but physically demanding (say trotting or cantering figure eights) for a few minutes until the 'brat' switch turns off. Then we'll go back to the original lesson. He figured out very quickly that being a brat earns him a lot more work than if he just at least tries to do what I'm asking. I don't get mad or frustrated or anything, we simply go work really hard in another area then go back and attempt the lesson again.

                It was pretty funny the other day. I went for a ride out with one of my friends and her horse lost his marbles when we headed back home. Trying to bolt and act a fool. We ended up switching horses and my guy was just walking along behind us worriedly watching our little schooling session like, "Dude, this bolting is really bad idea. I tried before. You work really hard now and then still have to walk home. Conserve energy. These adventures sometimes last all day...."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mvp View Post
                  "From the moment I get on a horse, I'm looking for a reason to get off"-- some old western cowboy thing.

                  Those guys want to find something or anything that the horse did right. Getting off punctuates the ride at that moment, you know? It says to the horse "Whatever you just did before I got off was the magic button to quittin' time." A horse who knows she has this power shows up and really tries.

                  "Mañana"-- Tomorrow in Spanish and a way that the Vacqueros purportedly thought about training their horses. Don't think you have to fix today what you can get done tomorrow. This means that I need to have a series of plans: A 5 year plan, a 2 year plan, a 30 day plan, a this week plan, a 1 hour plan.

                  But I'll "polish the edge of the diamond that the horse presents to me." That's especially true with a young one. Because I know how I'd like him to think and go eventually, I can just adjust or correct whatever he decides to offer me on that day. I can change that up as needed, too.
                  I really like this, especially the first quote.

                  As it applies to babies...

                  I have a similar approach in that I will get on a youngster and "polish" what we started/worked on yesterday or introduce something new, obtain a 'try' and some progress, and move on. Rest breaks when the horse 'gets it', especially when ending on one task, before commencing the next. I might even work on quite a number of tasks with that horse, briefly polishing each task before moving on.

                  If I inadvertently push the horse to its limit for that day, I find a good note to end on (without pushing the issue but still obtaining a little of what I had wanted). If I get on and they've already got that 'tude (rare), I am especially careful in how and what I ask so as to still progress the horse as much as possible and leave them in a better frame of mind than we started. "If your horse says no you either asked the question wrong or asked the wrong question" - which means I might go back to the basic elements that make up the maneuver I am asking for or I might move on to something else completely for that session.

                  It's really a sense of feel, imo, and it really depends on the horse you've got under you that day.

                  Once they're past the 'baby stage' it's a little different of course; I can expect a lot more.

                  ETA: I might be on a baby only 10min, I might be up there 30min (in an arena). I find they progress very quickly and remain fresh when you briefly pick at a number of tasks each ride.
                  Last edited by naturalequus; Nov. 10, 2011, 08:08 PM. Reason: wording
                  ....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.

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                  • #10
                    Quit when your horse feels like a hero.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sometimes I struggle with "just one more time" and pushing it a little farther. I do think it is important to push it a bit - so you can develop a work ethic, increase strength, and have a breakthrough moment. The question is how do you know when pushing it will get you what you want vs. create more of a problem?

                      I pretty much have a time limit and try to stay within that - so the push may come with a more difficult set of movements in the same time period, or maybe I'll see if we can go just a bit longer.

                      I always always try to end on a good note, so if my horse does show a big effort, or produces a jump in progress, or has just a bit more endurance, then I take it and be happy with it. Tomorrow is another day . . .
                      My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

                      "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You know when to stop when you have achieved your goal for the day. Theo is 4 and my ride can be 15 minutes to 45 minutes depending on what I am working on.

                        I do my ride in 4 sets of work. First set is just to warm him up, See how he is feeling that day. second set is to either review something from the day before or correct something not right in the warm up. The third set of work could be taking something he nows to another level, show him something new or re-inforce something he already knows and test how well he knows it. The fourth set of work is the cool down and for his confidence, go back to something easy, also stretchy work.

                        I start with a plan but I may have to modify it after he tells me how he is feeling in the warm-up and as I move through the work. If he has trouble with something then I go back down the pyramid and start back up to see where the prblem starts.

                        I never go over 45 minutes as it just gets pointless after that. If he is having difficulties I know I have to go back and reorganize through something he can do well and then try again. If still not getting it then I just go back to what he can do well and call it a day.
                        *Every horse is a self-portrait of the rider....Autograph your work with excellence.*
                        Supporting Nokotas www.nokotahorse.org
                        Lipizzan's rock! http://rigitta.blogspot.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mzm farm View Post
                          I end the session when I feel my youngsters starting to have a harder time doing what I want - not being resistant per se, just needing more "help" and reminders in accomplishing the movement.
                          If I have set up my horse for "x" movement the best I can figure out how, gave it a fair chance to figure out what I want and it is still not turning out how I want, I have learned to quit and think about it and try again later. I much prefer not to create a bad habit and giving my lesson some more thought and accomplishing it better at the next go. It takes longer to undo and redo, then teaching it right in the first place.

                          A properly trained/started horse, even a young one should put up with FAIR pressure, mental and physical, in the learning experience, but the animal MUST know that it can expect to be fairly and promptly rewarded by release of pressure for work well done.
                          This 100%. Not that you should take my amateur opinion but I thought another vote for a particular way may help you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm no expert but heres whats been working for me.
                            I'm lazy, so I let them tell me what we are working on each day rather than having a real plan. Yesterday my new girl had some spare energy so we practiced getting a bigger trot. Today she was a little resistant in her shoulders so we rode some squares. Being lazy means I get off pretty soon after we get something good happening. I'll usually ask once more to confirm she gets the idea and then get off. I'm also big on stopping and taking a break during my rides after a good try and letting her think about how awesome she just did. I usually ride anywhere from 10 min to half an hour. I want it to stay fun and interesting for her.
                            This one is easy, my older horse was a bit more of a challenge and what I found worked when we were getting nowhere was to think outside the arena and show her a reason for what I'm asking Go for a nice trail ride, get that nice round canter using a hill, work on moving off my leg opening
                            gates, shorten/ lengthen strides uphill/ downhill. For her it seems like once you do something where she has a "real" job to do and has to balance herself because of terrain, or move over to open that gate so we can get home, the lightbulb goes on pretty quickly and the reward is sort of built in. Again when she was younger we're not talking marathon rides, just a short 15
                            min loop on the way home from the ring with the majority of it at a walk on the buckle. I don't get anywhere super quickly but I feel like they stay interested and enjoy working and I like
                            that. I know there are lots of times I could push them much harder but I don't trust myself to know where the real fine line is so I stop well short
                            I'm loving reading others responses to this- there's always so much to learn and coth is such a great resource.

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