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Western Training methods

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  • Originally posted by friesiandriver
    as horsepeople we should be able to correctly identify the differences in training methods and the differences that they produce.
    I agree

    Comment


    • Originally posted by greysandbays
      If you actually knew anything about cattle herding, you'd realize that the poor sucker charged with "riding drag" would appreciate the hell out of his slow, shuffling, non-brilliant, un-forward mount. Your high falutin' dressage notions about brilliance and athleticism back there would end up causing a stampede.

      Of course, there wouldn't be much call for a bunch of four-beating behind a bunch of cows and, yes, I can tell the difference between a slow lope and a horse that is trotting behind.

      I haven't done much cattle herding, but I'm under the impression that a herd is moved slowly to avoid losing weight. Most cowboys I've met want a horse that moves out as a horse that can't move out makes moving a herd 100 miles to market a very long trip.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Weebonilass
        Of course, there wouldn't be much call for a bunch of four-beating behind a bunch of cows and, yes, I can tell the difference between a slow lope and a horse that is trotting behind.

        I haven't done much cattle herding, but I'm under the impression that a herd is moved slowly to avoid losing weight. Most cowboys I've met want a horse that moves out as a horse that can't move out makes moving a herd 100 miles to market a very long trip.
        We need to confirm the that a person "riding drag" behind a herd of cattle needs a horse that can "at times" move in a manner that is not likely to incite the cattle to stampede, and would the person "riding drag" ever ask the horse to lope or jog?

        I would guess that a very calm horse would be the ideal choice, but I don't herd cattle, so I don't know for sure.

        Anyone?

        Comment


        • "The horses are trained first to go as slow as possible, forward is punished, and then they are taught to keep their head in that position for fear of the bit contact."
          No. That is not true. REAL QH TRAINERS start young horses out moving FORWARD. As in posting or sitting a long trot and moving along at an energetic canter. If one slows down or starts dragging it's hind legs out behind it pulling along, they drive it forward. They do this for as long as it takes for that colt to find it's own balance and learns how to use it's legs and body. Go to a well known AQHA trainer's barn and watch and learn before misinforming. (I can't speak for "open" shows and Wannabe trainers, because that probably IS what you will see). Forward is not punished. One reason a GOOD young pleasure horse eventually travels slow is because it is so far back on it's hocks with it's shoulders elevated. It is not started out cranked down on it's front end. If it is, you are witnessing a yee-haw trainer at work. Or, there is the possibility that you have no idea what you are looking at because of lack of experience in the event. The combination of the elevated shoulders and conformation allow the neck to hang out from the body and the softness and flexion in the poll is why the face stays near vertical or slightly in front of.

          I KNOW YELLING IS RUDE, SORRY. THE DESCRIPTION ABOVE IS THE IDEAL. OBVIOUSLY NOT ALL "WESTERN PLEASURE" HORSES WILL LOOK THIS WAY BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT ALL THE REAL DEAL. ANYONE CAN TELL YOU THEY TRAINED A WESTERN PLEASURE HORSE OR THEIR HORSE IS A WESTERN PLEASURE HORSE...DOESN'T MEAN IT IS. PLEASE EVERYONE KEEP THAT IN MIND WHEN YOU SHARE WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT "WESTERN".

          "I've trained a western pleasure horse before..back in my teen days, the horse was a successful show horse. It isnt that hard...same thing..teach avoidence of bit, keep head in, keep them slow by punishing forward movement and teach a good leg yield, and hey, flufie, I did it with an arab .."

          Do you see what i mean?? First off, the training and showing of pleasure horses has changed and become much more specialized. It is alot tougher. A successful show horse in the pleasure would mean one that has say maybe 300 AQHA western pleasure points, has placed at the Congress or qualified for the AQHA World show. We're not talking about the local saddle club show or even arab shows. "Keep head in" cracks me up. It's not like that anymore. There's way more to it & obviously beyond some of you all's grasp. Which is ok, because there are disciplines and events that I don't know all about or understand. That's why I keep my mouth shut and try to learn.

          Comment


          • Want to know the irony of this whole mess? I never liked AQHA stuff, never gave it any respect, etc. until I started boarding with a very, very, very good QH trainer. Now I'm defending it all on a BB. Such is life.

            At the barn, all the QH's, regardless of type, warm up with a "long trot" (working/posting trot). This is to get their engines in gear. If forward were really that evil, long trotting would be rather counterproductive. After a bit, they are asked to "gather up" (for those of you who object to the use of "collected" when not applied to dressage) by going back on their HOCKS, not by falling on their noses. Throughout, the QH trainer yells "leglegleg" more than the dressage trainer does, and she's no slouch either. These horses are stopped and backed at times, NOT flying backwards at warp ten, to remind them to get off their front ends.

            As far as Arabs being more difficult to train for WP--just think about it. If a horse is built like a dauchund, would it be easier, harder, or the same to train as a horse built uphill with legs? Now, I'm not saying Arabs look like wiener dogs, but that they are physically assembled for a different purpose. The QH peeps buy baby horses and as they grow, they are divided by conformation--the ones that are sleek, tall, and leggy will become HUS, and the bulldog-types will become WP/showmanship horses because that is the job they are built for. These horse also *naturally* tend towards more powerful, slower gaits with lower heads.

            In addition, the WP horses I've sat on (both trained and bought by this trainer) crippled me for a bit afterwards. Why? They were all leg controlled--"don't touch his face"--they gather up via leg, they turn via leg, and they stop via leg. In addition, they were certainly "up" through the shoulders--my butt was solidly back against the cantle (yes, I know that's how the saddle itself was designed, but on other horses I could always creep back up to the pommel--not on these guys). Finally, when loping, you do NOT feel shuffleshuffleshuffle; it feels more like trying to pull up an overly-enthusiastic sport horse in slow motion.

            So, those were my journies through AQHA land: A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. I loff my hunters.
            "And now . . .off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums."

            Comment


            • cookie monster..look you really have no idea how well the horse I trained did, so why make the assumption. I am not claiming to be an expert, nor a pro trainer but I did well enough to be competative at the highest level of the arabian circuit throughout my teen years. It really has nothing to do with wether or not it was an arab show or qh show. The goals of the training are the same..western pleasure is western pleasure. An arab looks different than a qh , but they are both trained the same way, its not like all wp quarter horse trainers use a totally dif method than all western p. arab trainers. Please, spare me. And to top it off, the arab circuit is a fairly competative one, we arent talking about a local show down the road. I have seen in and ridden in many an arab nationals and I have seen many winning western pleasure horses. I'm sorry if it offends you but its the same deal different breed of horse. My best friend took lessons for years on a quarter horse that had won the superhorse award more than once..YEEHAA trainer..mmm maybe but she sure beat the hell out of everyone else everytime she went in the ring. I know what a good wp quarter horse looks like..she trained that thing the SAME way I described as above. The only way you teach a horse to go that slow is to reward non forward movement, or to teach true collection which involves contact and throughness. I never saw much of it at any show I have ever witnessed. And if I need to go to the worlds to see it, then its possible I've missed it, but at the national level, there should be some as you called them "real" western pleasure horses.I real fail to see how breed has much to do with it. If we were talking about dressage for example, we dont train differently based on breed. Sure there may be slightly different ways of teaching tempi changes but , but the fundamental teaching principles of dressage are the same..its called the training scale. There are some training methods that are frowned apon, but they are FAR from the norm, and in general, the same methods are used through and through. If I apply it to a paint, well hes probably not gonna look as good doing a canter pirouette as a warmblood bred for it, but it doesn't mean I used a different method to teach him the pirouette, nor would it mean that his canter pirouette is incorrect.
              Flufie..how do the horses know to "gather up". How were they taught this originally??

              Comment


              • How to gather up? Well, the young 'uns are longed at "normal speed" in side reins (gasp) to learn to give to the bit. Then when ridden, a lot (and I mean a lot--nearly died myself ) of leg is used to push them up into the bridle (some sort of snaffle and a running martingale or draw reins generally--NO cathedrial bits). Whenever the horse gives "his face" by going down and on the vertical, all contact is dropped. If the horse's head comes up, contact is reestablised. They ride in numerous circles all over the place, and stop and back if the horse falls on its forehand. Once the horse learns that contact means head down, leg and half-haults (bumps) are used to make them "slow-legged". As I said, this trainer works the ones who show a natural inclination towards this way of going in this manner; those who can't won't, and they go on to other things/other homes (usually to lower-level WP shows with other riders/trainers).

                Yes, there is no steady bit contact except in the early training stages. But remember, the end goal is to have none. Who wants to rustle cows for milesmilesmiles and have to hold on to the horse's face all that time?

                Oh, and yes there ARE different training techniques/end-goals for AQHA WP and Arab (big-time) WP--we have both, and they are easy to tell apart!
                "And now . . .off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums."

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Percheron X
                  We need to confirm the that a person "riding drag" behind a herd of cattle needs a horse that can "at times" move in a manner that is not likely to incite the cattle to stampede, and would the person "riding drag" ever ask the horse to lope or jog?

                  I would guess that a very calm horse would be the ideal choice, but I don't herd cattle, so I don't know for sure.

                  Anyone?
                  Dead on correct. Last week, 3 cows, 4 calves and one steer got out of the pens at the vet clinic where I work. It was my day off so they called me to bring a horse over to help collect them and I did selecting my small 14.1 mare that is not concerned by cattle though I took a fair amount of grief for being in a hunt seat saddle. I told them this was just going to be like foxhunting for oversized fox so hush up.

                  The cattle were under a tree close to the pens but the area was 10 acres. 4 people were on foot with cattle sticks and I was mounted and riding "point", behind the line of people on foot. My job was to head them off if they spooked or started running. The last thing you want in a situation like that is a high headed, snorty, jiggy horse.

                  Two cows decided to head for the open 10 acres and I am sorry to report that they got past me too. I went from standing stock still to a dead gallop. At that point we allowed the cattle to regroup and then began herding them back towards the pens. The more they run (it was sunny, humid and 92 degrees) the more stressed they become.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Fluffie
                    As far as Arabs being more difficult to train for WP--just think about it. If a horse is built like a dauchund, would it be easier, harder, or the same to train as a horse built uphill with legs? Now, I'm not saying Arabs look like wiener dogs, but that they are physically assembled for a different purpose. The QH peeps buy baby horses and as they grow, they are divided by conformation--the ones that are sleek, tall, and leggy will become HUS, and the bulldog-types will become WP/showmanship horses because that is the job they are built for. These horse also *naturally* tend towards more powerful, slower gaits with lower heads.
                    Considering that most western saddles designed for QHs won't fit an Arabian in length, I would say dauchund is definitely the wrong choice of dog to compare the two.

                    I've yet to see a horse go around and a slow jog with his nose to the ground unless he was looking for a place to roll. Most of my knowledge of QH showing is based on what my friends who show on the AQHA (not local) complain about and what I see in magazines.

                    I would say that you may be an an exception barn and not the norm, at least from my experience.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Weebonilass
                      Of course, there wouldn't be much call for a bunch of four-beating behind a bunch of cows and, yes, I can tell the difference between a slow lope and a horse that is trotting behind.

                      I haven't done much cattle herding, but I'm under the impression that a herd is moved slowly to avoid losing weight. Most cowboys I've met want a horse that moves out as a horse that can't move out makes moving a herd 100 miles to market a very long trip.
                      A hundred-mile drive would be nothing! Think 300. 500. Think from South Texas to mid-Kansas. It IS a long trip. Takes most of the summer. If the goal was to get a breeding herd from Texas up to Montana, they'd be lucky to get there before snow, even if they left with the first hint of spring. The herds moved excruciatingly slow. Fifteen miles was a hell of a good day. On a bad day, they were lucky to make eight or ten. In extreme circumstances, for very pressing reasons, twenty miles MIGHT be done. Maybe. If luck was on their side.

                      That doesn't sound like much, but the horses travel much, much, much further each day. "Riding drag" was a lot of back-and-forth around a back corner of the herd, pushing laggards along, and keeping them from straggling all over the place. It is a concrete law of cattledom that the idjit that starts trouble is NOT going to be the critter right next to you. It will be just far enough away that a bit of a jog or lope would come in handy now and then. "Riding drag" it is slow, dirty, disgusting, miserable work. You did NOT want your liveliest, most "brilliant" horse to do it with!

                      It did not come to my mind earlier, but another time in herding cattle when you'd want a really slow, quiet horse would be for a "night horse" when circling the herd during night duty. The cows were bedded down, but half-wild cattle are unpredictable, and any little thing -- a funny sound, a sudden movement, the "aura" of "forward" given off by a "brilliant" horse, a figment of an ornery critters imagination -- could have the whole herd leaping their feet and running like a bat out of hell. That's why a lot of old "western" music is so slow in tempo and beat. These songs originated from cowboys singing as they circled the herd at night, so the cattle would not be so likely to get spooked by horse and rider popping up out of "nowhere" (not a 100% guarantee, but better than the other choice!).

                      Comment


                      • Some of you guys need to listen to Fluffie-very knowlegdable explanations & a sense of humor! Thank you!!

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by cookie-monster
                          Some of you guys need to listen to Fluffie-very knowlegdable explanations & a sense of humor! Thank you!!
                          You're welcome.

                          I sent you a bill.
                          "And now . . .off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums."

                          Comment


                          • eeeeek

                            Comment


                            • I have no use for this method (of tying the head around and leaving it). It doesn't teach the horse a thing. You can do the same thing in the saddle with a direct rein and actually be able to reward the horse by releasing when it "gives". I've known of several horses (none of them TBs by the way) that fell and suffered irrepairable neck damage including one very dead horse.
                              Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                              Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

                              Comment


                              • i have broken in and trainer many a horse/pony different breeds myself and duaghter still do -- but to the op question its nnot something that i would do as i would calss it as abuse-- period

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