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4yr old WB- How to go FORWARD???

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  • 4yr old WB- How to go FORWARD???

    Hi everyone! I'm an event rider and have always worked 100% with TBs. I am now working with a WB (Rhinelander) for the first time and I need some serious help! He's 4, was broken by someone else last fall. I have been working with him on basic W,T,C.

    So, here's the question- how the heck do I get him to go forward! He would rather stand in the middle of the ring all day long than do anything else. I am so used to the hot TBs that just want to GO that I am having a hard time with this boy.

    I know he's young and I really don't want to rush or hurry him, but I've never seen anything like it! He will stop dead in his tracks if I am not squeeeeeeeeeezing every step of the way. He doesn't care at all if I use the dressage whip on him to reinforce the leg- totally ignores it! He is SO much different than any 4yr old I've ever ridden. He's perfectly cheerful and not at all naughty, he's just plain lazy!

    Is this normal for a young WB? Should I just keep at it and he will eventually get it? Help!!
    There's a rainbow in the sky all the time, don't be blind." -Ziggy Marley

    www.equinepartnershots.com

  • #2
    We've had a couple like this and we free-lunge them in the covered arena. Takes 2 people - 3 is better if it's a big arena. Tack on - including side reins. Lunge him first then position the people so they are on the center line and send him around the outside walk and trot - change direction across the diagonal - but keep him moving FORWARD. When he balks - get after him. When he goes both directions and is moving forward - stop him -get on and repeat the exact pattern both ways and get off.

    Do this a few days in a row and he will start to get the concept that he needs to keep going forward.

    We actually use the free-lunging for all of our horses and ponies when we start them.
    Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
    "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"

    Comment


    • #3
      .....you are probably desensitizing him with every step. Riding hot TB's are very different from cool WB's. You should NOT squeeeeeezzzzzzeeee every step, but stretch your leg down, ride with NO leg, then push one sitting bone forward, small touch with your calves and then MAKE him go go go, even gallop with a touch of your spur or whip....repeat. The hardest part of this exercise is to keep your legs off.
      I also went from Hot tb's to my first cool WB showed Tr & 1st level, got good scores as he was a big mover, but I could feel it wasn't right, I was just working too hard, harder than it felt like he was working! So.... i switched instructors and I started riding with Jeff Moore. He gave me the "use a sitting bone, and then run like the wind" lessons....took me about a year of lessons with him then I could make any horse that was "lazy" go off of light aids...The stronger you are squeezing, the more "shut down" he will be come...
      Riding is not a gentle hobby to be picked up and laid down. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        WindsongEq- I agree 100%, but how do I do it? He is completely unresponsive to whip/spur and if I don't add leg every stride he literally will not move! The second I take my leg off even a fraction, he slams on the brakes (think whiplash!!)- whip/+ spur= NO response! It's like riding a sofa! And just like you say, I am working WAY harder than he is!! haha

        ise- I think that seems like it may help him. I have free lunged him and he moves forward quite nicely, but it's the transition from the free lunge to going forward from the rider, so this may be very good for him!

        Thank you!
        There's a rainbow in the sky all the time, don't be blind." -Ziggy Marley

        www.equinepartnershots.com

        Comment


        • #5
          He is a baby so still learning, quite possible he just does not understand leg aids.

          Any chance you can get him out of the arena to work on some of this stuff?

          Hacking him out would be really beneficial, they are all inclined to be more forward outside. Good for their brain and their body and I bet when you go back to the arena he will be a bit sharper.

          You can also work on this on the ground, using a dressage whip, and praising him every time he goes forward. Then do the same under saddle. Doesn't matter how he goes forward, or at what gait, just that he GOES FORWARD.

          Honestly if you get really assertive, allow him to go forward even if he jumps or scoots or whatever, then praise.... the problem usually resolves pretty quick and they actually become really nice and sharp to the aids.

          The trick is letting them go forward, and not blocking them....
          We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

          Comment


          • #6
            I would suggest you do a combo of lungeing, then once he goes well on the lunge line (Get one of the telewhips from Dressage extensions) put a rider on him. They need to keep their legs off and you can get him to go with the lungeing techniques you have developed over the course of a week or two...plus they can carry a dressage whip(No side reins with a human on his back...too dangerous this early on for the rider/horse)
            have the rider keep their legs off, use a sitting bone and calves to ask him to trot (even if he stops only use the small aid) and then touch with spur or whip til he "bustles" forward. (The person with the telewhip can assist until he "learns" to go freely forward)
            Do not ever fall into the over use of the leg trap. Start at halt, legs off, use a seat bone, calves and then make him bustle. If you are already nagging him with your leg, then you take it off, he will of course stop....you are on the wrong path with no light at the end of the tunnel...
            Come off that path, start at halt with your legs off, use a sitting bone.....etc.
            Riding is not a gentle hobby to be picked up and laid down. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.

            Comment


            • #7
              When you are free lungeing or working in hand teach him some specific cues ( words or 'clucking') . Be very disciplined about it. You 'cluck' he must GO! IMMEDIATELY or his pants are on fire. Train him to be hot off this verbal aid. No nag nag nag, maybe I'll go, maybe I won't.

              When this is established after a few sessions you get on and pair the light aid with the verbal cue. Again, you must be very disciplined and never accept a poor response. You praise a good response and don't over do it to the point where he is tired. Get your crisp responses and keep it short and sweet, initially. If you need someone on the ground with a lunge whip for a few rides, that's OK, too. Anything's better than trying to squeesze it out of him.

              On the ground it is easier to train this in because you don't worry about getting too big a response and there are no conflicting aids stopping him.

              As you know already, pushing and squeezing does nothing except shut the horse down. They aren't born knowing your leg means go. I find teaching a solid verbal aid first helps to bridge that gap and teach the meaning of the leg aid.

              Getting outside the ring is good and riding with others can help as well, initially, to give the horse the idea of marching forward with a rider on..

              Comment


              • #8
                Been there!

                It took my mare at least 6 months to find that forward button. For her it was just the young, green "what the hell do you want" thing. Teach him forward by doing it three ways: Ask, Tell, Make. Throw out that flimsy dressage whip and get yourself a jocky whip (the heavy kind that bends) with a big ass popper on it. I fell into the same trap as you by thinking I had to have my leg working at all times. Do not ever work more than your horse! You'll just exhaust yourself and end up frustrated.

                I spent weeks just working on the walk. Her idea was to just lolly gag around at a snails pace. So, it was leg on and if no response then I popped her hard just behind my leg. Loose rein and let her spurt forward saying "good girl." Repeat about one thousand times. I also inserted lateral work into the mix so her brain was engaged on moving and listening. Then weeks of trot work with transitions to the point of tears (of joy mostly). I now have a forward horse going nicely off my slightest leg aid. I do still need the whip sometimes, and that is just the nature of my big, big, big horse.

                I also highly recommend getting out of the ring and hacking out either alone or in company. Riding in circles can really dull a young horse. Go for some gallops, do trot sets and let him know moving forward is fun.

                Good luck. I feel your pain. It is doable though believe me. If I can survive and fix a 1300# Belgian/QH anything is possible!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I know, broken record -- make sure he's not hurting anywhere. Quick and easy way to tell is have someone knowledgable check accupuncture points. It doesn't tell you everything but it'll let you know if the horse is hurting. And check saddle fit.

                  Do you ride in company? That can be very very beneficial for a young horse, just to follow along with other horses without the rider having to nag.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by egontoast View Post
                    When you are free lungeing or working in hand teach him some specific cues ( words or 'clucking') . Be very disciplined about it. You 'cluck' he must GO! IMMEDIATELY or his pants are on fire. Train him to be hot off this verbal aid. No nag nag nag, maybe I'll go, maybe I won't.

                    When this is established after a few sessions you get on and pair the light aid with the verbal cue. Again, you must be very disciplined and never accept a poor response. You praise a good response and don't over do it to the point where he is tired. Get your crisp responses and keep it short and sweet, initially. If you need someone on the ground with a lunge whip for a few rides, that's OK, too. Anything's better than trying to squeesze it out of him.

                    On the ground it is easier to train this in because you don't worry about getting too big a response and there are no conflicting aids stopping him.

                    As you know already, pushing and squeezing does nothing except shut the horse down. They aren't born knowing your leg means go. I find teaching a solid verbal aid first helps to bridge that gap and teach the meaning of the leg aid.

                    Yep. This is what I do too. It is pretty much the only thing that really works with this type of horse. Using a voice aid to bridge the gap prevents the common problem (which not all horses will do, but it is certainly worth preventing the young horse from learning a new bad habit) of the horse acting out with bucking or rearing when the whip is used under saddle to make the horse go forward. They learn on the ground what is the correct response to the voice aid and to the whip. Then those two aids can be used to help the horse understand what the leg aids mean.

                    Then, and from then on, the rider on this type of horse has to be very careful not to use the leg indiscriminantly.
                    http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's a big adjustment from Thoroughbreds that my old trainer used to say, 'Drag you around all the time', so you get in the habit of sitting there not using your leg. With warmbloods, you have to use your leg, and get obedience to it, with more of them.

                      Take riding lessons from someone familiar with warmbloods. They don't have to be 'dull' or need constant squeezing. Get some lessons and have the instructor show you how to make your horse go. It's not hard. You just have to change how you use your reins and legs. Don't get into that habit of squeezing every stride, or in a couple years, you will need an Oxygen tank after every ride.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Emstah View Post
                        Hi everyone! I'm an event rider and have always worked 100% with TBs. I am now working with a WB (Rhinelander) for the first time and I need some serious help! He's 4, was broken by someone else last fall. I have been working with him on basic W,T,C.

                        So, here's the question- how the heck do I get him to go forward! He would rather stand in the middle of the ring all day long than do anything else. I am so used to the hot TBs that just want to GO that I am having a hard time with this boy.

                        I know he's young and I really don't want to rush or hurry him, but I've never seen anything like it! He will stop dead in his tracks if I am not squeeeeeeeeeezing every step of the way. He doesn't care at all if I use the dressage whip on him to reinforce the leg- totally ignores it! He is SO much different than any 4yr old I've ever ridden. He's perfectly cheerful and not at all naughty, he's just plain lazy!

                        Is this normal for a young WB? Should I just keep at it and he will eventually get it? Help!!
                        ok, with hot or lazy neds as i call them, ie inn his case lazy as not going forwards
                        you need to be sharper with your aids in both cases of either the hot horse or the lazy one

                        so what to do, kick and click at the same time- and send him into gallop
                        once he goes pat him, repeat until he gets it into his brians that its a good idea
                        once he has, then he should go of the tweak of your heal, chnage the dressage whip to crop if nessacary so it enforces your kick with a tap on the bum-- as dresage whips dont have the leather tab it, ok

                        then once hes got it change back to dressage whip, and work the horse in the areana
                        on shortening and lengtening his strides with half halt stride -- to learn the half halt do it walk and down gears 1st easier for the horse to learn as nowhere to go but stop
                        then do it up gears and into all combinations of walk and trot etc

                        dot let him anstipate your moves antispate his, and get him going
                        if nesscary - you can if able to, do what i do use 2 schooling whips if you dont know how to then tell me ok dokey

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What Egon said is correct - forward starts on the lunge. I agree that he must GO!. Set that parameter first. And don't accept less than full effort to your aids every single time.

                          BTW - if he is registered Rheinland Pfalz Saar (RPSI) he is not a "rhinelander" he is a Zweibrucker!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you have access to a gallop track or decent footing outside of the ring somewhere, work on galloping him, make it fun! Once he gets the hang of it (and it may take riding with someone else whose horse has a "go" button), he'll enjoy it...
                            www.MysticOakRanch.com Friesian/Warmblood Crosses, the Ultimate Sporthorse
                            Director, WTF Registry

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would definately start him on the longe line first. Teach the voice commands for walk, trot, canter and of course halt. If you will crack your whip (in the air), he'll get used to the sound meaning go, if he doesn't go you can snap it (make it sting a bit) it on his side where your leg will be when you are riding. If he's really a slug you can snap it on his behind. Make sure you use your voice command in unison with the whip.

                              When you start riding him carry a bat with a wide popper, something that makes a loud smacking sound when you use it. Ask with your leg and voice command first. If he doesn't get it, ask with voice command, leg and popper right behind leg at the same time. You may need to add spurs to the mix.

                              Going out on trails with someone else leading part of the time can help a lot. Carry your bat. You may need to wear spurs.

                              Keeping your legs on his side should not make him deadened to the leg unless your legs aren't quiet and steady. The whole purpose of having a "good leg" is to school the horse in such a way that your leg is always in a position to use it (a nudge, a light quick squeeze, a bump) with every stride if you need it.

                              Your horse only gets dead to the leg when you aren't making it very clear what you are asking with the leg. When you ad a nudge with each stride he should be bringing his hind leg up and actively. That is something you need to teach him. The nudge means NOW, not tommorrow.

                              Seat bones should be used in part for something else ... you can actually "suck up" a horse's back with your buns (or do a half halt which is the opposite of sucking up the horse's back) while you are activating the hind legs with your legs.

                              Although seat and legs can work in unison, they should also be in a position to work independently so that you can control the back of the horse and activate the hind legs at the same time.

                              Example: if you want a perfectly square engaged halt where you horse is in a "ready" postion to "explode" (transition) into the canter as the next movement, you must be able to brace your back (half halt) at the same time you are asking your horse's hind legs to keep moving up under himself by using your leg aids. That is an example of the seat bones working independently of the leg aids.

                              If you teach your horse to just go forward off of your seat bones, you have thrown away a very important set of aids. Then you have circus riding.

                              Edited to ad: a good leg position is one where when wearing spurs, the spurs do not touch the horse's sides even though the leg is in light contact and "wrapped" around the side of the horse. The toes should be turned in a little and the ankles out slightly and always supple. The spur should not touch the horse unless you want it too.
                              Last edited by BaroquePony; Jul. 18, 2008, 08:57 AM.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I teach the words walk, trot, canter, halt words on the lunge. They learn this, or at least walk, trot and halt, before backing. I also teach the 'cluck' sound which basically means 'more'.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  It IS very important to get a forward warmup on a longe line with these horses.

                                  But what I very often see is that the forward aids on the longe line are very clear and effective and the horse is very cooperative when that big long whip is in hand and tickling him - the problem starts immediately after - under saddle, where the rider has to learn to change how he uses his reins and leg aids for these horses. And I don't feel that galloping in a field teaches obedience to the leg. All it teaches the horse is that he doesn't have to go forward unless he wants to, which is the whole problem. In a field, he wants to go.

                                  Most riders who ride any length of time have faced this with the less nervous horse who doesn't just 'drag you around'. this sort of horse makes one a much better rider and really teaches you how to coordinate your aids.

                                  Make sure there is a clear even if very, very slight release on the reins, use your leg, immediately back it up with the whip and demand a huge reaction every time you use your leg. Ask once and demand an absolutely immediate reaction without any delay - no squeeze squeeze squeeze. it can take 30 seconds or less to fix the whole thing.

                                  Usually the problem is the delay, and the multiple leg aids and THEN reinforce it, which only teaches the horse that after multiple leg aids, wait for the whip. that probably isn't what one wants to teach at all. But without that immediate reaction being demanded most horses just don't really learn to be obedient to the leg. You have to just move very, very quickly. Leg - whip! instant. i think in trying to be kind and gentle and cutting the horse a break, many people get into trouble that way.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I think the difference here is that Emstah's TBs do not "drag her around". Rather, they are so eager to please that the second she asks for something with her leg, even as babies, not knowing anything, they will try to find what she's looking for, instantly. She is so used to the instant response that this youngster is a bit of a puzzle! The horse she's asking about doesn't give a fig about leg OR whip. He has a zone-out place that he goes. She COULD beat him till tomorrow and he wouldn't change a thing! It is pretty wierd, actually. He's cheerful and pain free, he just either doesn't get it AT ALL or he just plain doesn't care. Thanks for all of your great suggestions. She's heading out to ride him now. We'll see!.......
                                    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      but that's the whole problem in a nutshell. and no, thb are not 'eagerer to please' than warmbloods, they are just different in how they react to training.

                                      the idea is NOT to 'beat the horse til tomorrow', it takes a couple seconds to fix this and change how you use your leg and rein. the best thing is to have someone get on the horse and show her, and then her get on, and feel the difference, and have that same person come back from time to time and keep reinforcing her for using the new method. it's just a different way of riding the horse.

                                      I'm not saying they literally 'drag you around', it's just a semi joking phrase one commonly hears, that came from the hunter scene originally, i think, it means you don't really have to figure out how to use your leg.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        See BaroquePony.

                                        That is the best answer. Yes you want him forward on the longe too. A telescoping whip works wonders. Good for your upper arms too.
                                        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.

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