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Need training advice please :)

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  • Need training advice please :)

    I posted a question on here the other day about this cow-hocked 2 year old I'm considering and, frankly, I will probably be on here quite often asking for advice being as this is the first baby I'm working with. Please bare with me!!

    I've got him for trial for the entire summer free of charge which is a really sweet deal and I intend on bringing him home to a barn where I can get some help if/when I really need it. Of course, I've been doing a lot of research on training but I've come across two ideas that have me kind of confused:

    1. Don't overload the youngster with too much in one session. Take the training slow and work on one or two lessons at a time.

    2. Don't ever let the youngster get away with any bad behavior and be consistent: if something he's doing is wrong one day then it has to be wrong EVERY other time he does it too.

    Now, both of these rules make complete sense to me. But, in actually working with him, I found the rules crossing paths. He's young so he was obviously all over the place: being mouthy, not standing still on the crossties, pawing, etc. This is to be expected, but I wasn't sure which rule to go with: don't let him get away with any of it OR don't overload him with so many lessons in one sitting?

    Also, can anyone recommend a good book for training? Preferably one that also deals with the inevitable bumps in the road? Thanks.

    p.s. In that instance I went with rule #2 and didn't let him get away with any of the unwanted behavior.
    Be wise enough not to be reckless, but brave enough to take great risks.
    -Post Secret

  • #2
    Originally posted by Tstarke22 View Post
    I posted a question on here the other day about this cow-hocked 2 year old I'm considering and, frankly, I will probably be on here quite often asking for advice being as this is the first baby I'm working with. Please bare with me!!

    I've got him for trial for the entire summer free of charge which is a really sweet deal and I intend on bringing him home to a barn where I can get some help if/when I really need it. Of course, I've been doing a lot of research on training but I've come across two ideas that have me kind of confused:

    1. Don't overload the youngster with too much in one session. Take the training slow and work on one or two lessons at a time.

    2. Don't ever let the youngster get away with any bad behavior and be consistent: if something he's doing is wrong one day then it has to be wrong EVERY other time he does it too.

    Now, both of these rules make complete sense to me. But, in actually working with him, I found the rules crossing paths. He's young so he was obviously all over the place: being mouthy, not standing still on the crossties, pawing, etc. This is to be expected, but I wasn't sure which rule to go with: don't let him get away with any of it OR don't overload him with so many lessons in one sitting?

    Also, can anyone recommend a good book for training? Preferably one that also deals with the inevitable bumps in the road? Thanks.

    p.s. In that instance I went with rule #2 and didn't let him get away with any of the unwanted behavior.
    I don't think those are necessarily conflicting, you just need to prioritize. He cannot be allowed to push you around or nip. That needs to be reprimanded quickly. I think you can work on cross tying him and grooming him, picking his feet, handling him, etc and correct anything that goes wrong in that area. Only once he is trained to basic ground manners would I then move on to other things.

    Comment


    • #3
      It's true that they don't necessarily conflict. The idea of not overloading them is more like, "let's learn to walk on the lunge line today," instead of "let's learn to lunge, accept a saddle, be clipped and bathed in the next two hours." After working with a lot of babies, I found it is important to approach your training with direction - know what you want him to do, and make it easy (e.g. walk beside me without running me over.) Work on that for maybe 30 minutes, then let his brain rest. During those 30 minutes (as well as any other time you're with him), pay attention to any behaviors that might turn into bad habits and correct them right away. If he nips at you while leading, don't let him get away with it, but deal with it and then move on with the lesson. Depending on how much he's been handled, it's possible that your early lessons will be mostly correcting him on the basics, but most likely you'll just have to correct him here and there as you go about training. I also found that correcting a bad behavior can be easier when they have something else to think about, like if you're focusing on something besides the fact that he always wants to nibble on you while leading.

      As far as books go, I found "Thinking with Horses" to be pretty interesting, but I can't remember who wrote it and I think they've had a few updated editions. Not really a "how to," but interesting nonetheless.

      Have fun with your baby! I love teaching a young horse and seeing them learn and grow up.

      Comment


      • #4
        I now have a 4 year old, that has been handled very well by others. I guess when I'm with my young horse I focus on the behavior I like. My boy gets a lot of positive good boys, pets and smiles from me when he behaves (no treats). When he nips, tries to overrun me or throws a baby tantrum he gets a sturn voice and is redirected to do what I want and then when compliant, he receives good boys, pets and smiles once again. It is quick and the message has to be clear, crystal clear when you are happy and not happy. So far things are going well, and my 13 year old daughter can work with this horse.
        I expect that we will have our ups and downs but on the whole my 4 year old is doing very well and reacts to my dissappointment very quickly. I want a happy horse, and focusing on the positive is easier for me-just like my kids when they were little.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Tstarke22 View Post
          I posted a question on here the other day about this cow-hocked 2 year old I'm considering and, frankly, I will probably be on here quite often asking for advice being as this is the first baby I'm working with. Please bare with me!!

          I've got him for trial for the entire summer free of charge which is a really sweet deal and I intend on bringing him home to a barn where I can get some help if/when I really need it. Of course, I've been doing a lot of research on training but I've come across two ideas that have me kind of confused:

          1. Don't overload the youngster with too much in one session. Take the training slow and work on one or two lessons at a time.

          2. Don't ever let the youngster get away with any bad behavior and be consistent: if something he's doing is wrong one day then it has to be wrong EVERY other time he does it too.

          Now, both of these rules make complete sense to me. But, in actually working with him, I found the rules crossing paths. He's young so he was obviously all over the place: being mouthy, not standing still on the crossties, pawing, etc. This is to be expected, but I wasn't sure which rule to go with: don't let him get away with any of it OR don't overload him with so many lessons in one sitting?

          Also, can anyone recommend a good book for training? Preferably one that also deals with the inevitable bumps in the road? Thanks.

          p.s. In that instance I went with rule #2 and didn't let him get away with any of the unwanted behavior.
          Mouthiness is what youngsters do - their mouths are their hands. If you don't want him mouthing *you*, just ask him to stay out of your space, unless invited. If he comes in for a nibble, he's entering your space and your raised elbow *might* be in the way Doing as such is not going to cause overload. Not standing still in the crossties and pawing are the result of a (young!) impatient horse who wants to move his feet. That's okay!

          The way I personally approach the above is to address the root issue: teach the horse to be calmer, braver, smarter. I do this via a lot of ground exercises and patterns that challenge the horse and teach him to have confidence and to be relaxed. Also, tie baby as much as you can on days you are not working with him or after you have finished working with him (after he is a bit tired), provided he is *okay* with it. If he has the tendency to become *too* distressed (ie, lathered, increasingly upset the longer he is tied), don't tie him as much at first, solve the root issue, *then* go back to tying. Examples of exercises I personally use:
          1. desensitization - to everything I can get my hands on
          2. teaching the horse to move off of pressure and to be increasingly light and responsive
          3. teaching the horse to move out of my space - sideways, back, turns on the fore, turns on the hind
          4. longeing - around objects, over objects, through gates etc, spiraling circles, transitions, etc. All the basics +++ The longeing does not have to be actual "longeing" work, it can just be on-line work.

          And of course undemanding time creating "draw" in the horse - just spending time together where the horse wants to be with me (no work).

          If you think about it, young horses out in the herd learn all day without the fear of "overload". You can actually do a lot of work with a youngster without overloading them (though of course we're teaching them a lot, so a few days off here and there for relaxation and processing is beneficial), even within one session. You can teach him in such a way that he learns and is not flustered (ie, slow progressive steps that he can understand) and keep his attention.

          Consistency and assertiveness is of course key. At the time of the pawing and not standing still, honestly, I usually do not do anything. Reason being, this is a young horse still developing emotionally and mentally. It takes a lot of restraint to stand still and not paw when you really want to (and feel you need to) move your feet!! Horses are prey animals so any time they are anxious or excited, they are going to want to move their feet (flee). Demanding they be still can be asking a bit too much of a young horse and imo is not really fair to ask of them if you have not yet taught them how to be quiet and relaxed in general (ie, to have mental and emotional collection). Instead, when you actually plan to work with him that day, keep him tied the least amount possible (ie, below his threshold) and gradually increase the amount he is tied, meanwhile working on on-line exercises that will create relaxation and develop confidence, which will naturally create a quieter horse who stands tied and does not paw (over time!). Periodically, you can leave him tied while you go about your business elsewhere (ie, cleaning tack etc), wait until he is relaxed, and untie him and say hand graze him or such, as a reward.

          I would highly suggest taking him to a groundwork clinic for young colts if you have any nearby! There are a lot of NH trainers and clinicians out there who could help you lay a solid foundation and teach you how to manage your new guy
          ....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


          • #6
            I am not trying to be a wet blanket here, but have you planned to regularly involve a trainer (as in, on a weekly or several-times-per-week basis) with this horse as part of your program with this young horse?

            You say this is your first baby horse and are asking very legitimate but also very basic questions about horse training. The title of the thread is "Need training advice."
            I am not saying you can't train this horse, as I certainly believe it is possible for inexperienced people to train their horse and do a good job -but that's if they involve a trainer, regularly and from the beginning.

            In my experience, the training of a young horse by a person doing it for the first time goes far, far better when that person recognizes they will need help and factors in training as part of the budget before they get the horse. There should be a correlation: "Oh, this horse is 2, let me factor in a weekly lesson with a horse-starter," or "Oh, this is an ottb, my expenses will include a weekly lesson and, in the first month, some pro rides as well." Even experienced amateurs often find themselves up a tree when they bring an ottb home for the first time without factoring in weekly lessons and then 6 months later they have spent a whole lot of money on board and gotten pretty much nowhere with their horse. It generally does not work to think, "Oh, I've never done this before but I guess I'll just figure it out."

            Especially since you have this horse on free trial and it is not even yours yet, I would make absolutely certain that a qualified professional is helping you give this young horse the best possible start he can have, and involve a trainer from the get-go, not when you have created a bigger problem that then you decide you "really" need help.

            The internet is a great resource but it can not train this horse.
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            Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
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            Comment


            • #7
              If you are a mom,to a human kid, treat him like you do your own children. That's my best advice. It seems to have worked with my horses.
              If not, go with your gut, in most situations you will know what to do.
              Have fun, make your time with him fun.
              Be cautious, young ones can hurt you.
              treats really work. if used properly.
              http://community.webshots.com/user/summitspringsfarm

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                I am not trying to be a wet blanket here, but have you planned to regularly involve a trainer (as in, on a weekly or several-times-per-week basis) with this horse as part of your program with this young horse?

                You say this is your first baby horse and are asking very legitimate but also very basic questions about horse training. The title of the thread is "Need training advice."
                I am not saying you can't train this horse, as I certainly believe it is possible for inexperienced people to train their horse and do a good job -but that's if they involve a trainer, regularly and from the beginning.

                In my experience, the training of a young horse by a person doing it for the first time goes far, far better when that person recognizes they will need help and factors in training as part of the budget before they get the horse. There should be a correlation: "Oh, this horse is 2, let me factor in a weekly lesson with a horse-starter," or "Oh, this is an ottb, my expenses will include a weekly lesson and, in the first month, some pro rides as well." Even experienced amateurs often find themselves up a tree when they bring an ottb home for the first time without factoring in weekly lessons and then 6 months later they have spent a whole lot of money on board and gotten pretty much nowhere with their horse. It generally does not work to think, "Oh, I've never done this before but I guess I'll just figure it out."

                Especially since you have this horse on free trial and it is not even yours yet, I would make absolutely certain that a qualified professional is helping you give this young horse the best possible start he can have, and involve a trainer from the get-go, not when you have created a bigger problem that then you decide you "really" need help.

                The internet is a great resource but it can not train this horse.

                You aren't being a wet blanket at all, this is a very fair and reasonable comment. Yes, I intend on having trainers overseeing my work and stepping in to help on a DAILY basis as I, by no means, want to just "figure it out" and potentially cause more issues for my youngster. I certainly do not claim to have all of the know-how to be able to do it on my own.

                I'm aware that the internet won't be able to guide me step by step, but I'm honestly just excited for what the summer will bring and wanted to get a head start on my own learning process. I'm taking the horse for trial in the middle of May but in the meantime I'm not doing anything heavy with him beyond grooming and hand walking.

                Someone else actually commented and suggest I bring him to a clinic in order to give him a solid foundation and I think it's a great idea that I should move on! Thanks for the comment
                Be wise enough not to be reckless, but brave enough to take great risks.
                -Post Secret

                Comment


                • #9
                  If he's a baby and you take him to a clinic, be ready to not actually clinic much unless it's a clinic meant for very green babies! I have an older OTTB who's very calm and relatively nonreactive (though even he has his squirrley days) and I'm thinking of finding a small show this summer to take him to--with the understanding I might get there and he might be too mentally overloaded to do anything other than walk around and MAYBE get on briefly and walk around in the schooling ring. And he's older and fairly blase. The first year we have my much younger old OTTB (he was four when we got him) he simply went to pieces at his first away-from-home trip. It was a 4-H clinic at the fairgrounds, meant to get kids and horses used to the space, and we basically had fifteen minutes of riding at the very end of the day because the judge for my group was nice enough stay, after my parents and trainer spent most of the day longing him and walking him around until he was finally calm enough I could get back on. (Then of course at the county fair three months later, with hundreds of people and a midway and noise and lights, he was like "Oh. Whatevs." and was fine the whole week. Sometimes I think he was just trying to yank my chain.) Green and young often means the best experience is just a calm walk. And that's fine.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by danceronice View Post
                    If he's a baby and you take him to a clinic, be ready to not actually clinic much unless it's a clinic meant for very green babies! I have an older OTTB who's very calm and relatively nonreactive (though even he has his squirrley days) and I'm thinking of finding a small show this summer to take him to--with the understanding I might get there and he might be too mentally overloaded to do anything other than walk around and MAYBE get on briefly and walk around in the schooling ring. And he's older and fairly blase. The first year we have my much younger old OTTB (he was four when we got him) he simply went to pieces at his first away-from-home trip. It was a 4-H clinic at the fairgrounds, meant to get kids and horses used to the space, and we basically had fifteen minutes of riding at the very end of the day because the judge for my group was nice enough stay, after my parents and trainer spent most of the day longing him and walking him around until he was finally calm enough I could get back on. (Then of course at the county fair three months later, with hundreds of people and a midway and noise and lights, he was like "Oh. Whatevs." and was fine the whole week. Sometimes I think he was just trying to yank my chain.) Green and young often means the best experience is just a calm walk. And that's fine.
                    I think the OP was referring to a clinic specifically geared towards breaking young horses.

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