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Are training rides right for every horse?

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    Are training rides right for every horse?

    Kind of an odd question but are training rides good for all horses (assuming you have a good trainer)?
    I have been contemplating getting a few training rides on my mare. I know I am not the greatest rider in the world but she is a sensitive soul and I have done a lot of work on relaxation with her and I have a sort of delicate understanding of when I can push for more and when she is getting too worked up.
    My worry is that the "pressure" of a training ride would just bottle up her anxiety and while a pro might be able to ride her though it I don't want to get back a loaded cannon.
    On the flip side maybe a more confident ride would ease her anxiety...?
    Anyone else been in a similar situation? Thanks!

    #2
    Assuming you have a competent trainer, I think training rides can really help with a horse like this, but only if you have clear lines of communication and alignment with the trainer regarding the purpose of the rides and your goals. If your trainer is amenable to your goal (and sensitive to your concerns) then you may well find that the training rides really help move your partnership forward.

    That said, you have to know your trainer and their style. Last spring I parted ways with a trainer who couldn't/wouldn't get on the same page with me about this same issue; he really wanted the horses to be jumping out of their skins and got them super hot. I couldn't ride one side of them and it became very unpleasant to even try to ride them after he had gotten them so wired. It took a couple months of slow, very methodical work with another trainer to dial them back down to a normal level of responsiveness... now they are pleasantly forward but not frantic and riding has become fun again. So I guess my advice is, proceed with caution.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina

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      #3
      I think training rides are beneficial if the problems you are experiencing are due to needs in the horse’s training. If your problems are coming from pilot error and skill gaps on your part training rides will not help much. You should talk to your trainer about your concerns to determine if the problems are caused by the horses lack of education, your lack of a skill/fluency in a skill, or both.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by ClassyJumper View Post
        Kind of an odd question but are training rides good for all horses (assuming you have a good trainer)?
        I have been contemplating getting a few training rides on my mare. I know I am not the greatest rider in the world but she is a sensitive soul and I have done a lot of work on relaxation with her and I have a sort of delicate understanding of when I can push for more and when she is getting too worked up.
        My worry is that the "pressure" of a training ride would just bottle up her anxiety and while a pro might be able to ride her though it I don't want to get back a loaded cannon.
        On the flip side maybe a more confident ride would ease her anxiety...?
        Anyone else been in a similar situation? Thanks!
        I agree with the post above that says you need to sort out what's a training problem and what's your riding problem, and address both as needed. Usually when there are problems, both issues are present. If you are a novice rider and tiptoeing around your horse, it could be good to break that cycle.

        When I've had training rides put on my horse, I've always tried to watch. You learn so much from seeing how the horse goes for the trainer and how they problem solve.

        That said, you need the right trainer. If you can get training rides from your riding coach, that is ideal (assuming they are a good trainer and a good coach!) because they know more about both sides of the equation.

        Comment


          #5
          Maybe talk to the trainer's other clients who may have similar horses to yours and ask how they feel the trainer does with the horses. Or even just watch the trainer riding one of these horses and see how he/she deals with issues if and when they come up. You can tell a lot just by observing. Good luck in your decision.
          My hopeful road to the 2021 RRP TB Makeover: https://paradoxfarm.blog/

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            #6
            I think training rides serve 2 major purposes.

            identify and improve gaps in the horses training
            give insight and knowledge to better direct the rider in their training and riding skill set
            _\\]
            -- * > hoopoe
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            Introverted Since 1957

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              #7
              Agree with all the posts. I think it's particularly good for a green horse to have training rides and then lessons w/ owner. I also find it valuable to be able to watch some of the training rides just to make sure all is going how you want it. I've had friends with horses in "training" and find out the inexperienced WS were using their horses for lessons. Not what I'm paying for.

              What I did for my last green horse and current one is either trainer or I rider first then we swap off. Like if trainer is going to be jumping that day, I'll start the horse. I don't feel the need to be there for every training ride as I've ridden with this trainer for several years now. There are some great trainers out there but some of them might not be a good fit for any number of reasons. We had one at our barn - really good rider but had kind of an attitude on the ground which was a turn off for several clients, needless to say it got to the point where no one wanted to pay for her training rides due to attitude, not talent.

              Comment


                #8
                I think it's going to depend a lot on the trainer. It sounds like you probably want someone confident, but tactful, and with experience working with anxious horses. It's quite possible that a more confident ride will help relax your horse, but the wrong rider may cause her more anxiety.

                It's not clear if you have a trainer in mind or are searching for one, but I agree with the idea of watching them work with some similar horses, if at all possible. And definitely being there for the first training ride on your horse.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by ClassyJumper View Post
                  Kind of an odd question but are training rides good for all horses (assuming you have a good trainer)?
                  I have been contemplating getting a few training rides on my mare. I know I am not the greatest rider in the world but she is a sensitive soul and I have done a lot of work on relaxation with her and I have a sort of delicate understanding of when I can push for more and when she is getting too worked up.
                  My worry is that the "pressure" of a training ride would just bottle up her anxiety and while a pro might be able to ride her though it I don't want to get back a loaded cannon.
                  On the flip side maybe a more confident ride would ease her anxiety...?
                  Anyone else been in a similar situation? Thanks!
                  Every time you ride your horse, you are training it. You mentioned that you think perhaps a more confident ride would ease her anxiety - do you consider yourself to be a rider who lacks confidence? So many times the horse's behavior and reactions mirror our own.

                  I do believe training rides can be EXTREMELY helpful, especially in situations like this. I had a TB x OLD cross - some days he rode like a WB and was a push ride, and some days he was an anxious and spooky boy who was a pull ride. Some days I reacted correctly, and some days I did not. Over time, my improper reactions from time to time caused him to further anticipate what I would do next, and he grew more and more challenging. At the time I was in a program where training rides were not offered. I moved my horse to a different program and after three weeks he was a different horse. The trainer was able to give him great rides which helped to restore his confidence. Sure, I still screwed up here and there, but he no longer worried about it as there was always that sensible ride from an expert letting him know that he was (likely) right and to reinforce the good behavior.

                  I highly recommend leveraging the talent of an expert while you continue to grow and learn. If it was that easy to bring a horse along, there would be no professional trainers.

                  Best of luck!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    My trainer like to hop on for 10ish minutes before a lesson on these types. Kind of like a mini training session

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Training rides are beneficial only if the trainer is good at their job and has an understanding of where you want to go with the horse. After I bought him as a five year old I brought my horse along with me doing 95% of the riding, but having a trainer hop on and either install a new button or show me how to work through a trouble spot has been incredibly useful. Most of that has been dressage, which is something I'm relatively new to, and even just a tune up ride to shake off some of my ammy mistakes is well worth it.

                      Training rides also help the trainer feel what is going on with my horse and almost always give both of us a better sense of how to proceed. For example, sometimes my main trainer hops on for a bit at the beginning of the lesson for a warm up (my guy is built like a tank, a lazy one, and can be physically difficult to supple), which is great because I can watch her, ask questions, and see how to be more effective with this part in my daily rides. His warm up is actually one of the most important parts of the ride which was something we figured out when she first started riding him more regularly and she understood that the process of getting him to work over his back has to be longer and more intensive than I had thought.

                      Nothing substitutes for getting enough time in the saddle oneself, but having the feel of the horse as he should be, properly warmed up and ready to work into the bridle, has been revelatory for me. It gives me a baseline for how this particular horse should feel before we progress, and I don't move forward in my ride until I've gotten him to that point.
                      You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil

                      Comment


                        #12
                        It depends on the horse. I'd say 95% of them, with a competent trainer - absolutely. If for no other reason than finding any holes you may be creating by being a "one person" horse.

                        However, if a horse is older and set in their ways and they have a quirk that the trainer will not like; I'd skip it. I have a mare that, when she was 14, I tried to let my trainer ride because I had a season where I was just slammed with work and couldn't get out. In hindsight, I'd have rather had my horse sit because my trainer - while great - simply did. not. get along with my mare and every ride turned into this huge battle.. mostly driven by my red headed mare. After three rides, we said no more. The true right answer would've been to have other people riding my horse most of her life - but I've had her since she was 3; she's 22 now; still a one person horse based on those formative years where I rode her exclusively for over a decade.

                        I think, in general, it's easier to have a coach who does ride your horse at least every once in a while and to have a coach who has done what you're aspiring to do. One of those "don't take criticism from someone you wouldn't take advice from" kind of deals. In general, it's infinitely harder for someone who doesn't ride and has never been on your horse to tell you how to fix specific problems, and it's insane to be coached in the big jumpers by someone who hasn't won a tri-color at the 2'6''. I see both of these scenarios where I am and they never end up going well for the horse or the rider in the long term.
                        Veni vidi vici. With a paint pony, nonetheless.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I think as long as the trainer is competent, training rides are important. Not absolutely necessary in every case maybe, but beneficial. Sometimes as owners we look at our horses and behaviors with rose colored glasses and a training ride can help identify gaps or areas for improvement.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            With sensitive types, generally if I am happy with my horse's way of going and it is a personal horse that is not for sale or intended for other riders, I prefer not to have other people ride, including trainers. My current horse is very sensitive and can be dangerous if you pick the wrong fight.

                            Personally, I enjoy a very sensitive ride. Not a hot "jumping out of their skin" like another poster described, but I like the flicker of a finger or the shift of a seat bone to mean something. I wouldn't want someone to try to dull that reactivity in my horse or punish him for being "tuned" to the degree that I have asked him to be. Full disclosure, I have been riding for a very long time, have worked under some truly gifted trainers and probably have better "feel" than most average trainers.

                            In your situation, I think lessons might be a good start and if you like the way the trainer asks you to make your horse go in lessons, then progress to training rides. If you can feel your horse becoming anxious in a lesson, you have the opportunity to shut it down before any real damage is done to your training

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I think a good training program is essential, especially for owners who have a 9 to 5 job. Consistency is crucial to horse training, especially those horses with "special needs." However, I will admit that good trainers are few and far between, and be prepared to pay when you find one. I've been on horseback in one form or another for over 60 years. I can count on one hand the times I've trained on my own. I just don't have the talent nor the time to do a good job. Most amateurs don't. That's why we're call "amateurs."

                              Comment


                                #16
                                I think if you’re at the point where you feel you don’t think a trainer would add anything of benefit with training rides, then it’s time for a new trainer.

                                It’s one thing if you just don’t really need training rides but if we’re talking about needing training rides and not being confident in your trainers abilities to help your horse and not make them anxious, then you shouldn’t be paying that person. I’ve definitely outgrown some trainers that I rode fine with but I’d never want them on my horse. If you’re paying someone for their training advice it better be advice you value.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  I think it would be beneficial for you and for the horse. A trainer is not as emotional as we are about our own horses. They don’t worry as much about “the feelings” as much and I think that horses appreciate the straight forward ask. I myself put training rides on other peoples horses but find it is helpful to have someone give a training ride to my own (other than me) every now and then. Sometimes we have bad habits that are so minuscule that the horse feels them but its not visible to the eye. I have a slightly off balance seat and my horse goes so much better after he gets a training ride from someone that can straighten him out.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    I had a trainer once that I did not trust to ride my young horse tactfully.

                                    So I fired him.
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                                      #19
                                      Yes, I am a little head-scratchy about all of these comments which indicate a lack of trust in their trainer's abilities. If I don't think my trainer can handle problems that I am having, whether they are with my horse or with me, I want a different trainer. They should be better than me at riding my horse, or why am I paying them?

                                      One of my trainers had gotten very out of shape after he broke some bones in a fall and didn't ride for several years. He got on my jumper during a lesson when I was struggling and even after years of not being in the saddle he was amazing to watch, and had my horse going better than I'd ever seen him within a few minutes. That is what I am paying for, and if I had any worries that he would make my horse upset or derail his training in any way, I wouldn't have been with that person.
                                      You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by foursocks View Post
                                        Yes, I am a little head-scratchy about all of these comments which indicate a lack of trust in their trainer's abilities. If I don't think my trainer can handle problems that I am having, whether they are with my horse or with me, I want a different trainer. They should be better than me at riding my horse, or why am I paying them?
                                        In a perfect world, yes you would move on to a different trainer. But usually changing trainers involves changing barns. There's a thousand different logistical reasons why changing barns just isn't practical for some people so sometimes you find yourself having to work with a less than ideal trainer match because things like care or turnout or location are a higher priority.

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