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30 days of training

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  • 30 days of training

    My 4 yr old Andalusian (Azteca A) gelding has just gone off for 30 days training with a local dressage trainer who I really admire. I know we should keep him there longer but we can't really afford more at the moment. What can I expect from this boy upon his return? He is pretty much unstarted, although he has had some good groundwork and has been backed. She will do him 3 X a week, roughly 12 rides. He's a very laid back guy so far. Opinions?

  • #2
    I think a lot may depend upon his temperament. When I took my unstarted 3 year old to a colt starter, he led, tied, lunged, stood for the farrier/vet and loaded into trailers. After 30 days, he "sorta" steered, he walked and trotted on a loose rein, was quiet for short walking rides outside the area, would walk over small obstacles/cavaletti, and had made a start on the occasional canter on a loose rein. I don't know that a dressage trainer would do much more than that in 30 days with a horse otherwise unridden, and certainly after 30 days my horse had no "dressage" training unless you want to use the literal meaning of the word. I left my guy with the colt starter for approx. 90 days, and took him back occasionally over the next few months for "refreshers." She was working him 5 days a week, not 3. I worked him lightly at home for several more months before I went back to my regular dressage trainer when he was 4.

    FWIW, colt starting and being a dressage trainer can be two entirely separate things. Does your youngster really need a "dressage" trainer at this point? A colt starter might be less expensive and you could get more time into a good foundation for him? ON the other hand, if your dressage trainer routinely starts greenies and you are more comfortable with him/her, then fine. WHile my colt starter was a "cowgirl," a lot of WB owners give her their colts to start rather than go to a dressage trainer for those basics of "yes, you let me ride you" and for basic manners.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by springer View Post
      My 4 yr old Andalusian (Azteca A) gelding has just gone off for 30 days training with a local dressage trainer who I really admire. I know we should keep him there longer but we can't really afford more at the moment. What can I expect from this boy upon his return? He is pretty much unstarted, although he has had some good groundwork and has been backed. She will do him 3 X a week, roughly 12 rides. He's a very laid back guy so far. Opinions?
      Twelve rides is not a lot. I sent a very challenging filly to a guy who specializes in putting the basics on horses who have never been ridden and who takes in dangerous horses as the last stop before the meat man. He's terrific, really awesome at reading the horse and putting on the pressure without being unfair. All snaffles, no whips, makes the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.

      He rode every single day for 30 days and at the end of it my mare could be mounted from either side, walked, trotted, cantered, basic steering, halt, rein back, turn on haunches and forehand, sidepass, leg yield at walk, knew her leads, could be taken on trail and ridden over ditches, through creeks, swum in the pond, crossed bridges, ridden down the side of the road, first, last, or in the middle of the group, over logs, slide down banks into the creek . . . you get the idea. She's still not an easy ride and probably never will be, but she certainly got her basics put on her. I left her there a month in the fall, brought her home to turn out and grow up over the summer, and then took her back for a month this spring and have had her under saddle since. I also went down and rode 1-2 times a week while she was in training, so I could feel her progress and learn what he was doing with her.

      On my home breds that I started myself, I typically have had them walking, trotting, steering nicely, and going on short, easy hacks by the time I had a dozen rides on them. Not as far along as my filly got (he had her cantering on the second ride and out on trail by the third) in the same time, but that's about what we were doing. She was way too much horse for me to start on my own, hence going to the cowboy. She did have a lot of ground work on her before she went, but he gets on all of them the first day and gets on every day for the month they are there.
      Eileen
      http://themaresnest.us

      Comment


      • #4
        I can only refer to our own experience starting youngsters (ours and others), but I don't really agree it's the same thing to use a cowboy/general purpose "breaker" trainer, rather than a dressage trainer that has experience with and enjoys starting young ones, even in the first month. As a point of reference, here's one of ours after two weeks under saddle (actually, 5 days, then 3 weeks off because we went on vacation, then 5 more days)--he's a 3yo Andalusian cross, who'd been driven and sat on but no more. This ride happened to be in the pouring rain, so it's a bit blurry (I ought to ride in the rain more, he seemed to enjoy it, weirdly) . . . and he still didn't have the canter depart down so seamlessly, unsurprisingly--

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ibG6ldWs8w

        Granted, I think he has a very good mind and is conformationally pretty well balanced--and we made sure he had good groundwork basics before I got on him--many youngsters (especially the baroque types ime) take quite a while longer to learn to balance themselves cantering under a rider. If you've done all the groundwork properly, though, you might as well start training the way you intend to go on, with at least the idea of contact and balance and rhythm. The one time we sent a horse out to a cowboy/natural horse type trainer, we regretted it.

        Anyway, if it's a good tactful trainer, with experience starting youngsters, I don't think you'd get more for your money with a cowboy with a cheaper rate, just my biased opinion . . . (Though the more trail experience the better, sure.)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by littlemanor View Post

          Anyway, if it's a good tactful trainer, with experience starting youngsters, I don't think you'd get more for your money with a cowboy with a cheaper rate, just my biased opinion . . . (Though the more trail experience the better, sure.)
          I think kindergarten is kindergarten, whether you are going to be an engineer or a social worker or part of the Walmart Army!

          The right match for the specific horse is the most important thing.
          Eileen
          http://themaresnest.us

          Comment


          • #6
            Anyway, if it's a good tactful trainer, with experience starting youngsters, I don't think you'd get more for your money with a cowboy with a cheaper rate, just my biased opinion . .
            .

            I think you will find that a dressage trainer (once the horse is backed, which it is) starts a horse differently than a cowboy. The cowboy teaches the horse to back off the bit, the dressage trainer asks the horse to reach for the bit.
            I agree with those who said it depends on the horse as to what you can expect.
            Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger

            Comment


            • #7
              The cowboy teaches the horse to back off the bit, the dressage trainer asks the horse to reach for the bit.
              Exactly--this is just one of the problems you can have with starting a horse with a cowboy, and with some horses it can be hard to fix. There are other differences (one of the strangest was a horse taught to slow down/stop with use of leg, pretty frustrating)--we've "dressage started" some hors!)es the owner had already "cowboy started" as kindergarten to save money, and we'd spend at least a week or two undoing the effects of the cowboy/"natural" trainer. It's a pity that there aren't more dressage trainers who want/like to start youngsters--several around here want a horse solid w/t/c before they'll work with it.

              Comment


              • #8
                A good rider/trainer is a good rider/trainer, no matter what their frame of reference is.
                My hat is off to those who can, in a short time, have that horse, comfortably, confidently and quietly going out over hill and dale, at all three gaits.
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bogey2 View Post
                  .

                  I think you will find that a dressage trainer (once the horse is backed, which it is) starts a horse differently than a cowboy. The cowboy teaches the horse to back off the bit, the dressage trainer asks the horse to reach for the bit.
                  I agree with those who said it depends on the horse as to what you can expect.
                  Depends - you can't lump all colt-starting cowboys into one mold

                  If it's a Western-only cowboy whose goal with every horse is to ride in a curb bit on no contact, no matter what the owner says, then sure.

                  But having read this board for long enough, there are cowboys who first put a very good direct-contact foundation on a horse, especially when they learn the horse is an English horse who has to be able to accept some light contact. There are quite a few folks on this board who use cowboys to start all their Dressage youngsters. And they get started in a Western saddle
                  ______________________________
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I very much enjoy breaking/starting horses.
                    I may be the exception to the rule, but they all get started the same, basics are basics.
                    My 14.2 hand Qh mare has won over $3400 in the Reining pen and just scored a 72% on a 2nd level 4 this past weekend and will be showing Novice eventing next week. Ridden correctly they can do it all.
                    Also, a best case senario is worked 20-30 minutes x2 daily.
                    The youngsters can't work as hard but do better with short consistant training days.
                    What to expect after 30 days, depends on what foundation they come with and how they train, every horse is different.
                    Try to find a trainer who turns out horses you like, who you like as a person and who's theorys seem to mesh with your own.
                    Do be upfront and tell them what you would like to see in that time period and have them give you the same curtisy. They will/should have a general idea of what progress you can expect.
                    Very important- Do NOT go to any trainer who does not have an open door policy.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      little manor... very impressed with your boy after 2 weeks! Lovely! And what you said pretty much sums up my reasons for choosing this young lady as a trainer. She has alot of experience starting as well as working with difficult horses (her father is also a trainer and has used her as a "jockey" for all of his- her whole life) I just feel more comfortable knowing he won't be roughed up. The cowboy mentality kind of scares me- and out here most of them only have experience with QHs.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks! I think most of the credit goes to this boy's wonderful mind, but over the years I have noticed they seem to get easier and easier, so I hope that means we're getting progressively better at it. (My husband does the ground work and longe training, I start them under saddle, and then he may take over the training and compete, which I hate doing, when they're stronger/further along.)

                        I completely agree about being leery of possible rough treatment--the one time we sent one out, the guy was praised to the skies for his starting by dressage professionals, and talked a really good line, but our boy had skin taken off his face while "learning to tie" (he cross-tied perfectly already), was never turned out, and when we brought him back (after an argument over whether we could) ducked way behind the bit, and slowed down whenever I used my leg. I know that's just one guy, but we went to him specifically because other dressage people recommended him (one of those later told us she had to take a horse away from him, after she'd told us to use him, for many of the same reasons).

                        Good luck with your guy, and have fun--I love the Andalusian crosses, we seem to have gotten quite a few of those to train for some reason--they can be very different from each other, but they all seem to be very smart!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I can think of trainers of every discipline that I will not send my horse to. I can think of trainers of every discipline I will send my horse to.

                          I happen to know somebody from the track, who is absolutely great in starting horses. When you see her start a baby, it looks like that horse has been ridden before... she has a great way of balancing herself on them, that the horse doesn't feel he needs to fight, the worst is they take a few quick steps... she also let the baby follow an older horse, then wean the baby away from the old horse, in a few rides. It really works... and amazingly quick, with no drama.

                          What it comes down to, you absolutely have to know this person, and trust this person. You cannot send just because you heard he is good or he is big name. Many "big names" use methods I do not like, even in the exact same discipline as me.

                          A "cowboy" does not teach a horse to "back off" from the bit in 30 days. The ones I know, babies wear a snaffle, all the aids the same. When the horses are older, of course they specialize.

                          It depends on the horse. 30 days, I expect the horse to allow rider to mount. Walk, trot, stop, steer. A little bit of canter. If you have done ground work teaching the horse to canter on a lunge line, after 30 days you should see more canter, no ground work, less expectation. Some horses do take longer no matter what.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bogey2 View Post
                            .

                            I think you will find that a dressage trainer (once the horse is backed, which it is) starts a horse differently than a cowboy. The cowboy teaches the horse to back off the bit, the dressage trainer asks the horse to reach for the bit.
                            I agree with those who said it depends on the horse as to what you can expect.
                            It depends upon the colt starter/cowboy. The gal who started my colt knew specfically that he was intended to be a dressage horse, and in no way did she back him off the bit. In fact, she goes and takes lessons with my dressage instructor periodically to improve her horses. For her own competitions - she does working ranch horse - so her horses must cut, rein, do trail obstacles and rope. She most definitely does NOT back them off the bit. I think that if you make it clear what you intend to do with your horse, they will start them correctly for you.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Here's another vote for the good basics kind of trainer --- who doesn't have to be a dressage trainer. Good cowboys are hard to beat. I sent my babies to a reputable guy just for further foundation work, and the opportunity to be ridden out waaay more than I could do this summer.
                              In the first 30 days I would only expect forward, basic steering and definately stopping! And standing quietly to be mounted/dismounted. I don't want my young horses in any kind of frame at this point, so just a long loose rein w/t/c inside and out. Forward and respectful are key words. Waaay cheaper then a dressage/event trainer and when they came home I could get them stretching to the bit softly after just a few rides. They went along quietly long and low with Russell while they were there. I just told him what I wanted and also that I wasn't expecting too much for 30 days, bec it's not much time, and he rode 5 days a week. One mare stayed another 30 days for more trail experience.

                              You might consider, if possible, having someone come your place to ride your horse and paying per ride. That would be cheaper.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by JB View Post
                                Depends - you can't lump all colt-starting cowboys into one mold

                                If it's a Western-only cowboy whose goal with every horse is to ride in a curb bit on no contact, no matter what the owner says, then sure.

                                But having read this board for long enough, there are cowboys who first put a very good direct-contact foundation on a horse, especially when they learn the horse is an English horse who has to be able to accept some light contact. There are quite a few folks on this board who use cowboys to start all their Dressage youngsters. And they get started in a Western saddle

                                Absolutely! The gal who started my horse had started many $$$$$ WB babies for their owners and knew that my colt was destined for dressage. She put the basics on him, rode him initially in a just a rope halter, then a d-ring snaffle. She had me come down and ride him under her supervision on the weekends. She also went to my dressage trainer for some work to improve her own horses. She was not a WP type, but started horses for all disciplines and her own field of competition is working ranch - her horses have to rein, cut, rope and do trail obstacles. In no way did she back him off the bit. WHile I am sure there are exceptions, most dressage trainers I know do NOT want to start unbacked babies, and price their services accordingly!! LOL The gal who started my youngster charged about $570 a mo (including board). When I went on vacation, I left him with her for 12 days with a request that he be mostly trail ridden to get that exposure, and she only charged me $210. I know most dressage trainers would have charged me much more for putting 12 rides on him.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Bogey2 View Post
                                  .

                                  I think you will find that a dressage trainer (once the horse is backed, which it is) starts a horse differently than a cowboy. The cowboy teaches the horse to back off the bit, the dressage trainer asks the horse to reach for the bit.
                                  I agree with those who said it depends on the horse as to what you can expect.

                                  I don't know of any dressage trainer who is any good at starting youngsters who would be teaching a just backed horse to reach for the bit. You don't work on any sort of contact at this stage really....it is the basics.


                                  A person good at starting baby horses....whether cowboy or dressage riders (or H/J or eventers) does not work on either reaching for a contact OR backing off the bit. You are just working on go forward...turning might be nice...and stop...and just getting a horse used to finding their balance with a rider on board....and NOT bucking that rider off when they put their leg on or ask them to do something. Good people at starting horses....do ask what the horse will be doing later in life but honestly....even ones who will be western horses are started with direct rein initially.

                                  In 12 rides....most of my horses w/t/c and will have started going out on short hacks. Steering will not be confirmed yet....and the canter will be very green....hell, everything will still be very green. Depending on the horse, they may have gone over a pole or small jump as well.

                                  But I think it is better to do more days in a row initially...and then back off (but the sessions should be short).
                                  ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    don't know of any dressage trainer who is any good at starting youngsters who would be teaching a just backed horse to reach for the bit. You don't work on any sort of contact at this stage really....it is the basics.
                                    are you kidding me? what do you consider "basics" then? running the horse in to a canter? pulling on the inside rein to turn them?
                                    My horse was ridden by a colt starter his first three days under saddle (and me all three days) He was/is a great guy but he wanted the horse to back of the rein right away.
                                    When he was picked back up by myself and my trainer we worked on turning with contact. If he would not turn, we stopped and moved the shoulders over then went forward again. That's basics for dressage!
                                    Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Bogey2 View Post
                                      If he would not turn, we stopped and moved the shoulders over then went forward again. That's basics for dressage!
                                      Bogey, I think you will find many people consider "that" to be basic "ground" training, which comes with any kind of "good basic" training. Not sure what your trainer did but I would no consider what your trainer did with your colt to be "basic training". That was getting more of specialty thing. JMO.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        well, it is for a dressage horse I guess...he is 4 and has not suffered because of it.
                                        Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger

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