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How Far in 30 Days?

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  • How Far in 30 Days?

    How far can a trainer can bring a horse in 30 days? Yes, I know, it depends on precisely one million variables. Assuming a horse is sound, fully developed, comfortably going W/T/C without any major issues, what can be accomplished? I'm thinking along the lines of the TB or mustang makeover. Once they've got a horse calmly going at all three gaits, what are they able to accomplish in the next 30 or 60 days? What's the most you've ever seen in terms of new knowledge or skill acquisition?

  • #2
    Have you watched Road to the Horse?

    Horses without any handling are started and in some hours are performing a little display of how they have learned to follow directions.

    We call that steal a ride, getting a horse to do your bidding that doesn't yet know how to do anything.
    You can do all you want if you know how and work a horse in a way it catches on what you are asking.

    What you can teach in 30 days depends on what you know to teach.

    That question, as you say, as asked, it is impossible to answer in any meaningful way.
    So much depends on what you have in that horse, how fit, what tasks you are asking, if they can be learned and they can do them, if it takes months of building up to them.

    Just way too general question, I think.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think that this depends on SO many factors. The same horse may progress at a very different rate under two pros. Everyone has slightly (or not so slightly) different methods of training which can absolutely change the rate at which the horse learns.

      It also depends hugely on the horse's personality. Some horses have a huge work ethic- they will try try try all day long, and as soon as they get the right answer you can see it all over their face that they really GET it. My gelding is like that. He loves to learn. Other horses are the opposite. You ask, it's all drama, all worry, all "I don't get it!" and not "do you want me to do this? that? is this it?". I've worked with those. They require a LOT of patience and repetition. And of course, most are intermediates of this, but it's all on a spectrum and in my opinion there's a huge correlation between the way the specific horse deals with stress, training and new situations and the rate of progression in training. Some horses may need several training sessions to grasp what a trainer may view as a simple concept, another may master several of these "simple" concepts in a session.

      Another aspect- what do you define as progression? What is "finished" to you? For example, you could have a horse that you can get on, walk, trot, canter, pop over jumps BUT the ground manners are terrible, the horse is an anxious mess in new situations, rude, terrified of the hose, won't stand to blanket/fly spray... you get the idea. I'm working with a horse that was educated in this manner. He does the things under saddle (not spectacularly, but he understands the basic concepts of being a riding horse), but working practically around him isn't a fun experience. I think he experienced the "get it done quick" approach instead of the "get it done well- but efficiently" approach. He's a nervous wreck (I think personality, but not helped by training methods and rapidity)

      In summary, I think some horses could enter into a 30 day program and w/t/c, basic lateral work, will pop over a small course of jumps, do all the things on the ground and be fabulous. Others could do a 30 day program and still be learning how to be sensible on the ground (due to anxiety, past experience, etc.)

      IF like you said we assume we have a horse that is w/t/c, sound, FIT, etc.... what discipline are we talking about? Are you looking to develop a hunter? Jumper? Dressage horse? If the horse does w/t/c and is fit to do so (and I'm assuming not too fit much further than that as it is going into a program for further specialized training OR if the horse is an OTTB unfit due to time off or race fit) it is important to remember that an equine athlete uses their body much differently in more advanced stages of training in a specific discipline than they do to simply w/t/c and do the basics. For example, a hunter that is going truly correctly is going to use their body much differently on the flat than a green horse or a horse without much specific training will. Jumping uses different muscles and requires a different level of fitness. A good, well-trained dressage horse takes "different way of using themselves" to the extreme imo. And all of these levels of fitness are much different than a race fit OTTB who is very cardiovascularly fit but certainly does not have the ability to truly collect itself and use its abs, lift its back etc. yet. Personally, these differences in fitness matter a lot to me, and I would not be comfortable having a horse with a basic w/t/c level of fitness enter a 30 day program and expect too much of a high level of performance in any one discipline.

      But that's all just my opinion! Hope you can find some of it helpful when considering this topic!

      Comment


      • #4
        Once you have them going w/t/c you keep them going w/t/c until you are ready to start adding new things. Those mustang makeover things and the like do nothing but put bucketloads of spackle over the holes. What discipline is the horse headed towards?
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home

        Comment


        • #5
          I’ve always said from way back is there is no such thing as a 30 day wonder horse. They are an animal who does not exist. Some horses break easier than others, but good solid training takes time, and time takes days.
          "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White

          Comment


          • #6
            To add on- I'm of a very specific mindset when it comes to training. I believe in slow and steady progression and thoroughness in all aspects. I like to break every little thing into easy to follow steps because I believe it results in a more well-rounded horse that really understands what it's doing.

            For example, I know a woman who has a 3yo WB. I'm not sure how she went about initial training on the ground. I do know that on her first ride on this horse, she had it w/t/c and jump small jumps. (it had never even been sat on before!). If this method works for someone, great, and I don't mean to offend, only to state my opinions and what I observed.
            In this ride, the horse was alternating between RUNNING forward on its forehand and being extremely behind the leg. It ran at the jump and just sort of hurled its body over it. At the end of this ride, she had a horse that could kinda w/t/c and went over jumps. I didn't particularly see anything good about that. The horse didn't really understand leg or rein aids, it certainly had no concept of how to use its body correctly, and it ended the ride sweaty, nervous and trotting around in place instead of standing calmly for the dismount.

            I go a bit on the other side of things- people would probably say I do things too slowly, but that's okay, it works for me. I'm a firm believer in groundwork, and I like the horse to understand pressure/release, move every part of its body calmly and willingly, go over poles and whatnot, tolerate basic handling things (fly spray, bath, blankets, etc), lunge w/t/c with a transitions and changing directions based on voice commands OR body language, stand calmly to be tacked up and lunge calmly with tack, THEN accept a rider. THEN by the time I get on, the horse has a really good idea about voice commands and pressure/release, it understands expectations and it's comfortable with all of the above. At this point it's REALLY easy to add cues like leg, rein etc. and the horse isn't too worried about the idea. I like to get a solid walk w/ steering, halting and backing up, before I add a trot. And, you guessed it, I like to have a good trot w/ steering, sensitivity to leg and rein etc before I canter. And you get the idea for jumping, etc. Could I get on a horse and get it to w/t/c in the first ride or two? Probably. Would I like the result? Nope.

            Again, just my opinion! Hopefully that adds a bit more context to my post.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I should have known better lol. This is not a veiled "how much can I expect my trainer to do" type of thread or "what's normal".

              The thought came to mind remembering a mare that I saw arrive at a barn who was technically going undersaddle but didn't load, tie, stand, etc. She was essentially feral on the ground. Two weeks or so of focused work, her trainer had her self-loading in the trailer, ground tying, standing to be mounted, etc. That was a definite "wow" for me because she was so seemingly dangerous on the ground and he really got in her head to make a massive and sustained change in her whole demeanor. I've seen good groundwork but never seen a horse go from climbing round pen walls to calmly lunging off of typical aids without resistance in such a short period of time in person.

              I'm genuinely curious what you've seen accomplished on a greener horse in 30 days (or any relatively short period of time), regardless of discipline. With a great trainer and a bright horse, how much progress have you seen in a horse? That could be mentally or physically. Just curious to hear about times when you saw a horse sometime later and thought "WOW!" and what was behind the wow. Did you see the person behind the transformation do this on multiple horses or was it a specific horse they really seemed to get?

              Perhaps a weird thought limited to my head but was curious to hear any stories.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                Once you have them going w/t/c you keep them going w/t/c until you are ready to start adding new things. Those mustang makeover things and the like do nothing but put bucketloads of spackle over the holes. What discipline is the horse headed towards?
                I don’t know much about some of the other colt starting training challenges, but I DO know about the Extreme Mustang Makeovers and Mustang Magic. For one thing, they have about 100 days before the competition, not 30. While I’m sure there are some trainers, particularly the people who have never worked with a Mustang before and sign up because it’s on their bucket list or something, who “put bucketloads of spackle over the holes,” the ones who are serious, experienced competitors know what they are doing and do a tremendous job with their horses. They also know if they get a draw that’s “not a 100 day horse” and will drop out and “TIP” the horse (rare exceptions being horses that they feel are genuinely dangerous, that get returned to long-term holding). I can’t say enough about the fabulous start the trainer put on my boy, no holes or spackle here!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
                  I should have known better lol. This is not a veiled "how much can I expect my trainer to do" type of thread or "what's normal".

                  The thought came to mind remembering a mare that I saw arrive at a barn who was technically going undersaddle but didn't load, tie, stand, etc. She was essentially feral on the ground. Two weeks or so of focused work, her trainer had her self-loading in the trailer, ground tying, standing to be mounted, etc. That was a definite "wow" for me because she was so seemingly dangerous on the ground and he really got in her head to make a massive and sustained change in her whole demeanor. I've seen good groundwork but never seen a horse go from climbing round pen walls to calmly lunging off of typical aids without resistance in such a short period of time in person.

                  I'm genuinely curious what you've seen accomplished on a greener horse in 30 days (or any relatively short period of time), regardless of discipline. With a great trainer and a bright horse, how much progress have you seen in a horse? That could be mentally or physically. Just curious to hear about times when you saw a horse sometime later and thought "WOW!" and what was behind the wow. Did you see the person behind the transformation do this on multiple horses or was it a specific horse they really seemed to get?

                  Perhaps a weird thought limited to my head but was curious to hear any stories.
                  I broke two legit feral, herd bound fillies to be haltered,lead, saddled, bridled and bellied in 30 days. Even I was astonished by how quickly they went once I got them separated but basically it just entailed getting them separated and calmed down. Things progressed quickly after that. I think they shipped to the track in 90 days give or take.
                  McDowell Racing Stables

                  Home Away From Home

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here's old video of my former competition horse (also my profile pic) in his first 60 days under saddle. His life at the time was to do 15 or 20 minutes in the arena 3 or 4 days a week and then put a cooler on and go out for an hour walk outside through the fields at 20 degrees and watch the sun come up.

                    Horse got me my bronze in dressage, did not wear shoes until he turned 8, got sold to a top program in hunterland and is now living the life of luxury touring the circuit with his ammy lady and about 17 grooms.

                    https://youtu.be/L5cWzgef8l8

                    https://youtu.be/6kL31V0QbXs
                    The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                    Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                    Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                    The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kiwihill3000 View Post
                      I like to get a solid walk w/ steering, halting and backing up, before I add a trot.

                      Again, just my opinion! Hopefully that adds a bit more context to my post.
                      That is interesting. I would never teach a greenie to "back up" before I had them well established in front of the leg and forward at WTC. Too much risk that backing up becomes an evasion when the horse is confused.

                      I'm not a pro however. Many roads to Rome and all that.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                        Here's old video of my former competition horse (also my profile pic) in his first 60 days under saddle. His life at the time was to do 15 or 20 minutes in the arena 3 or 4 days a week and then put a cooler on and go out for an hour walk outside through the fields at 20 degrees and watch the sun come up.

                        Horse got me my bronze in dressage, did not wear shoes until he turned 8, got sold to a top program in hunterland and is now living the life of luxury touring the circuit with his ammy lady and about 17 grooms.

                        https://youtu.be/L5cWzgef8l8

                        https://youtu.be/6kL31V0QbXs
                        Watch the sun come up?! Those must have been some early early rides.

                        What things or actions do you think attributed towards his success and learning at such an early stage under saddle?

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Laurierace View Post

                          I broke two legit feral, herd bound fillies to be haltered,lead, saddled, bridled and bellied in 30 days. Even I was astonished by how quickly they went once I got them separated but basically it just entailed getting them separated and calmed down. Things progressed quickly after that. I think they shipped to the track in 90 days give or take.
                          Now that's a huge Wow to me! Did you do anything different with them than you would have with another horse who had more handling? I'm not familiar with the term bellied?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Our riding center provided other riding schools and trail riding outfits with suitably trained horses.

                            One way we did that was by getting two truckloads of feral horses off the mountains every June, that was about 15 head.
                            Those were from 4 to around our best guess 8-9 years old, males still stallions, of course.
                            We had a system where we were handling and longing and most getting a saddle and even rider on them, on the longe line, the first day.
                            By the second day we repeated all that.
                            It took half the time then and after they were settled well many were riding loose that second day, in our indoor.

                            By September, those horses were giving lessons and you could not tell they had been feral not quite 90 days before.
                            Those horses were wonderful to start and train, they learned extremely fast, you had to stop and confirm what you were teaching, because they tended to get ahead of you.
                            At times we wondered if they were just that much more aware of all around them, including learning from other horses directly, than domestic and consistently handled by humans colts we received from breeders.
                            A sort of horsey street smarts at play?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post

                              Watch the sun come up?! Those must have been some early early rides.

                              What things or actions do you think attributed towards his success and learning at such an early stage under saddle?
                              He was purchased as a weanling by my best friend. She puts an excellent foundation on a youngster - he was handled daily, learned how to stand for grooming early on, got led around as a matter of course, etc. She also puts an excellent groundwork foundation on before the first ride - longing, long lining, etc. Everyone in his life from day one was calm, kind, unflustered, and (kindly) expected him to be the same. I don’t think in the 6 years I rode that horse I ever had to “speak sharply” to him. If he made a mistake or gave the wrong answer everyone just ignored it and asked again.

                              It was also deliberate to hop over all the stuff in the ring and go on trail rides early on. I didn’t want “and now we jump the funny looking things” or “and now we go outside” to be a special event. Just in general, “this riding thing we’re doing now involves all the things.” His frame of reference was never that the indoor was what he was used to and then all of a sudden several months later we start going outside. It was always, someone hops on, we go over these poles a bit, we take a lap around the back pasture, all of it.

                              (After his first month or two under saddle we put the jumps away for a year and half, and he only jumped a couple times a month max after that. Once it was clear he’d go over everything he was pointed at it was not a point that needed to be made any more.)
                              The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                              Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                              Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                              The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Bellied literally means lay across their back on your belly so if things go south you can slide down onto your feet.
                                McDowell Racing Stables

                                Home Away From Home

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