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Steering the green horse

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  • Steering the green horse

    So, dumb question... How long does it normally take for them to learn?

    My green mare (first week riding under saddle off the lunge line) seems very content doing tiny circles and it is hard to push/steer her out of it. Totally ignored the guide horse we had in there today, and actually played bumper cars a few times with him and the fence as we continued to do tiny circles.

    I did some ground driving work over the winter, but either none of it apparently stuck or she's basically ignoring me. I have a feeling it's the latter. I do have a trainer helping me, she said it would take a while, but was curious to know other people's experiences. Many of the green horses I've ridden before were content to follow the rail somewhat, but not this one.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Mmm, as fast as you learn to reward them. I've watched a couple newly backed horses "get it" in one session, because the trainer was careful to reward any response that seemed even vaguely to be going in the right direction. If your mare has tuned you out as you say, it may be because what you're "saying" makes no sense to her.
    Originally posted by HuntrJumpr
    No matter what level of showing you're doing, you are required to have pants on.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Hmm, probably is my muddy aids, I know I'm not always quick enough to catch things either when they start to go south. She did get it more towards the end, but was pretty pissed about the whole experience. Probably upset that everyone else was inside eating dinner.

      Thanks for the info, will keep trying at it tomorrow.

      Comment


      • #4
        I find they direct steer - meaning I turn the head, horse body follows head- by the end of the first ride. Moving off the inside leg takes a little longer so you don't end up stuck on a donut (very small) circle LOL in the center of the ring.

        I teach "move over" in hand, with a voice command and a tap with the whip where your leg would be. When they get that, I put my inside leg on and say "move over". I would do the first few rides without another horse in the ring personally. Last horse I did took about a week, maybe a little less, to get out of the donut stage. He was really funny. We would end up on the donut, and he'd just stop, turn his head and look at me like "Is THIS what you wanted Pinky?"
        Unrepentant carb eater

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        • #5
          My gelding is the same way. Like Judysmom, I'm using a lot of rein while applying leg aids so that he'll eventually understand that leg means over, but at this point I have little control over his lateral & hind end movements. Sometimes the only way to get him to walk on is to turn him in a circle. I also use a lot of voice commands as he is well trained to longe. He seems to respond well to that.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by glitterless View Post
            My gelding is the same way. Like Judysmom, I'm using a lot of rein while applying leg aids so that he'll eventually understand that leg means over, but at this point I have little control over his lateral & hind end movements. Sometimes the only way to get him to walk on is to turn him in a circle. I also use a lot of voice commands as he is well trained to longe. He seems to respond well to that.
            Oh ok, I might not have been using enough rein aids, I know the trainer said I'll need to exaggerate my aids until she gets it, but I wasn't sure how much. I've been mostly riding my gelding lately, he turns with seat aids, so might just be a little spoiled from that.

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            • #7
              I was tought to teach babies to follow the rider's weight for steering, right from the beginning. They naturally want to stay under you.
              I start in a smallish arena, and first don't steer at all, just staying in balance with wherever they want to go....usually they follow the wall once trotting. Then I start witt very shallow loop serpentines a few feet off the wall, then back to the wall, exagerating my seat/weight aid and using a very light opening rein. It has always worked for me.
              If things go awry, I don't fight the head...I change my mind and go with them until we are both together again. Then I re-try a small turn.
              At first it's pretty exaggerated, but then it smooths out so well that you hardly need any rein at all. This year's three year old was steering reliably at walk and trot in 4 rides. Canter took longer, but now at 15 rides we can steer big circles at canter in an outdoor arena with no rail and almost no rein.
              The biggest advantage, I find, is that there is no bracing against the bit, since it's not the primary aid.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Judysmom View Post
                I find they direct steer - meaning I turn the head, horse body follows head- by the end of the first ride. Moving off the inside leg takes a little longer so you don't end up stuck on a donut (very small) circle LOL in the center of the ring.

                I teach "move over" in hand, with a voice command and a tap with the whip where your leg would be. When they get that, I put my inside leg on and say "move over". I would do the first few rides without another horse in the ring personally. Last horse I did took about a week, maybe a little less, to get out of the donut stage. He was really funny. We would end up on the donut, and he'd just stop, turn his head and look at me like "Is THIS what you wanted Pinky?"
                yup, this. Make sure first unmounted they know that pressure on their barrel with whip or a poke with your fingers means "move over". Then, lots of steering with your hands. Open your hand OUT away from you in the direction you want to go, don't just pull back. I've heard it called a "leading" rein. You will feel like a drunk sailor at first.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have found that the best aid for green horses is your weight. They have to come under it. Save his mouth and barrel for more subtle maneuvers. I really hate to get on a young horse that has been yeehawed around by the mouth and banged upside the barrel.
                  ... _. ._ .._. .._

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by glitterless View Post
                    My gelding is the same way. Like Judysmom, I'm using a lot of rein while applying leg aids so that he'll eventually understand that leg means over, but at this point I have little control over his lateral & hind end movements. Sometimes the only way to get him to walk on is to turn him in a circle. I also use a lot of voice commands as he is well trained to longe. He seems to respond well to that.
                    Hi I just wanted to clarify my post if you got this impression from it- I don't do "move over" with any rein aid at this point - its too confusing for babies. Every thing has to be really clear and simple for them. In hand work helps a lot.

                    Good luck with your young horses!!!
                    Unrepentant carb eater

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks all, tried again last night with more weight aids and kind of trying to make the steering her idea (i.e. she turns right, I ask at the same to turn right.) Still persistent with the tiny circles and smashing into the fence here and there. Will occasionally get stuck at the fence or in the corner and takes a bit of coaxing to move on forward, did bolt a few times as well as the pasture board horses were having a frolic next door.
                      Definitely more confident when I'm on the ground, not sure if it freaks her out not to see me on the ground with her. All the ground work seems to kind of go out the window once I mount. I'm sure the more she gets used to it, the better it will be, we're only on ride 2 off the line, and she is a bit hotter than I expected under saddle. Certainly forward is not an issue!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I try to do to things with babies:

                        1. Let them follow a steady eddy. This way, you can ask with soft aides, while they learn what is is that you are trying to ask.

                        2. Set them up for success. If I am walking towards teh rail, and it feels like teh horse is going to turn right, then I will ask him to turn right. If I am trotting a youngster, and I have a feeling that he is going to break, I will ask for teh walk, before that happens. The key with babies is being good at anticipating their every move. That way you can have a positive ride, and stop the freak outs before they even happen.

                        Of course, each ride, I ask more of them every time - going just beyond their comfort zone, but not too far as to frustrate us both. SOme horses are steering off my leg in one ride, while others take weeks - and that's OK. Just go at their pace, and you will do fine.
                        The Equine Wellness and Nutrition FB Group - Come join us!!
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                        • #13
                          Go back to long lining and in hand. I won't sit on a greenie wil they can gerivolta and do shoulder in at the walk on the ground. It's just not fair to them otherwise.
                          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                          chaque pas est fait ensemble

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                          • #14
                            maybe try actually going somewhere? short trail rides with a steady-eddy leader horse. Walking down a trail and turning right or left onto a side trail makes a lot of sense to horses vs. wandering around in an arena.
                            and Don't try to steer with the reins- use your legs and body weight properly from day one.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Teaching a youngster to turn correctly uses ground work but is really something that has to be done from the saddle.

                              All of the following presume the rider is using the fingers, vice the hand or, God forbid, the shoulder in directing the nose. Light, pulsed fingers can be very effective. They also prevent the rider from getting into a “pulling contest” with the horse.

                              Using an opening rein or direct rein can be effective in teaching the turn. If you influence the direction of the nose then the rest of the horse must follow. But it needn’t follow correctly and resistances can develop.

                              The most effective method I’ve found with my four year old is a combination of the direct rein and the indirect rein applied in front of the withers. This method was taught to riders at the Cavalry School at Ft. Riley and was used in the Remount Centers when putting the initial training on horses.

                              To turn right, the rider looks right (giving a slight weight shift cue). The right direct rein loads the right shoulder and causes the haunches to move left. Keeping the right leg active aids the movement of the haunches. The application of the left indirect rein in front of the withers balances the loading of the right shoulder and reduces the tendency to “turn into” the center of a circle. An active left leg prevents excessive displacement of the haunches. In other words, the direct rein displaces the head slightly to the right, while the left rein prevents this from becoming exaggerated, ties the shoulders to the neck and causes them to take the same direction.

                              The legs must remain active to maintain forward movement. If the action of the reins tends to slow up the horse, the change of direction is either executed poorly or not at all. The legs should therefore be ready to act, when needed, either to cause the horse to obey the rein aids, or to maintain the gait if it should tend to decrease as a result of the action of the hand. This necessity of advancing, moreover, makes it obligatory that the haunches deviate neither to the right nor left, or the propulsion of the hind legs will lose their effect. Thus the legs must maintain the hindquarters in their proper place and enclose them in order to prevent, when necessary, their lateral displacement.

                              To come out of the right turn the rider should return their head to the front and distribute the weight of the forehand equally on the two shoulders by the equal and direct action of the two reins. Throughout this action the legs act with equal force, if necessary, to straighten the horse and to push him forward in his new equilibrium.

                              This has worked very well with my gelding. It also lays the foundation for riding with one hand (required for military competitions). It sounds quite complex but is, in reality, very easy to do and I’ve not had a horse I’ve used this method on become “confused.” They pick it up pretty quickly.

                              G.
                              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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                              • #16
                                Oh, I will say that I ground drive my babies, before I ever get on them, so that when I do go to ride them for the first time, they already know how to stear fairly well.
                                The Equine Wellness and Nutrition FB Group - Come join us!!
                                https://www.facebook.com/groups/equinewellness/

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Well I ground drove to rehash things, and she did great, very calm and listening. I can start introducing some lateral work if that will help. I wonder if it's an anxiety issue without me on the ground? Maybe I should try another rider on her and stand in the middle. Doesn't seem to care about other horses or people in the arena, she won't follow them or do anything about them, just does the tiny circles and goes for the gate when I'm mounted.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Absolutely. That is the bridging step. some have to have that bridge piece where there's a rider and a ground driver for it to "click" mentally.
                                    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                                    chaque pas est fait ensemble

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      In this case, I usually have some one I TRUST stand in the middle of the ring with a lunge whip to GENTLY encourage forward motion....and it will seem more like lunging, which she understands.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        When starting a greenie, I rely on the voice commands I used when longeing, to support the use of my seat and leg, which I try to use as if riding a schooled horse. I say "try to use" because some horses take longer to understand. Turns after reasonably straight lines have bee en achieved are accomplished with an opening rein, which gradually diminishes.
                                        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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