Sign in to follow this  
Palimino56

Young horse training ?

Recommended Posts

Yesterday I was riding Dakota (she turned 3 in Novemeber, I think). She has a tendancy to carry her head straight up in the air (when being ridden). She has a pretty big under muscle lol. I have not done side reins or anything of the like, and I wont be anytime soon (my own reasons.. lets not get into it lol).

So yesterday I was riding and it started out the same. We did a lot of figure eights just getting her light off of my leg. We would halt, walk, halt a lot. When she was doing good at that I began to do some trotting. She was great, just with her head in the air (same w/at the walk). So then I practiced some trot to halt, man she is great. Then I decided to trot her over 2 trot poles. When I finally got her to go straight over them, the strangest thing happened. Her head went down when I half halted and asked her to come down to a walk. This continued happening. Is this her just learning to 'accept' the bit? She wasn't on the vertical, nor was she behind it (aka, she was above the vertical lol) but she wasn't way in the air like usual. I have never trained a horse by myself so somethings take me by surprise. Does this mean I'm doing the right thing? Is this how it normally goes? Thanks! I can answer any other training questions about her (like background or w/e) if you ask [smile][smiley Wavey]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If this is your first young horse, the best thing that you can do is find a great trainer to work with both of you, especially if you want to do it right. Unfortunately, you cannot learn feel and those kinds of things from a board, great as it is. I'm not trying to be mean--it is just the best way to go about it. I have a wonderful young horse and I've been riding forever--have worked with some big name people, done some fantastic things, but I am just a really experienced Adult Amateur. There is no way I would ever, ever, in any way, shape or form think I have the ability or talent to train a young horse by myself (or would want to). I have an incredible coach who I work with twice a week and I also work with her coach when he comes from Vermont/Ocala, when he comes for clinics. I am very, very lucky I know, but to be honest, I just cannot imagine training a young horse by myself.

Secondly, I am going to have to disagree with starting a horse that has just turned 3 and doing real work--again just personal. We generally don't start our young horses until they are 3.5 and they go to a professional to learn the basics. They already know how to carry a saddle, longe, and do go on side reins simply because that is part of how to introduce connection if it is done correctly (not to be done by the inexperienced). From the time they come home--and they generally stay a month or two--they are just lightly worked. Light contact but like a dressage horse. So far, we have not had the problems like head tossing, etc. Our guy gets them going well forward thinking, walking, trotting, cantering, taking their leads; however, they are still babies and at this point they do minimal things.

A good book if you are going to do this, is the Klimke's Young Horse Book. There is a new edition, but it is great. I won't get into the side-rein debate with you, but will say it is very difficult to establish contact and get a young horse to understand contact without side reins. If you read a great deal of dressage training, even the German Dressage manuals, etc. you will find that. It helps give the horse a better understanding of the bit and acceptance. I personally feel that this is one reason why I don't have the problems with head tossing that you describe. The horses understand their relationship with the bit from their early education on the longe and are not afraid or misunderstand the hand.

Their jobs at this stage (first 6 months under saddle) is to go on straight lines, stay between hand and leg, do big, big circles/ovals (maybe) and that is it. They don't get worked every day but maybe 3-4 times a week and get taken out on hacks. It is all play and positive. Work for them does not begin until they are 4 and even then it is still just fun and only get up to 30 minutes for the first 4-6 months. I don't think I would really introduce poles, or have at this age again because of the balance issues.

This program works--over and over again--my guy is now getting ready to "officially" turn 5, although he is a late baby and we are still being very careful with him. His first level work is very strong and correct. His first scores from his first shows were 73%, 71% and 69%. It is all pretty easy for him right now and that is the whole point. We are adding some 2nd level movements such as counter canter to the mix, but it is just baby stuff at this point--not anything serious and we will get no place close. I know we will probably look at the 5 year old tests at sometime in April more than likely.

Trot to halt is WAY too much for a baby of your horse's age. It is not expected from a horse until 1st level, so why would you be expecting this from a PRE-Training level horse? When I last worked with Gunnar this past summer, he had us introduce this briefly as looking toward the 4 year old test, but not to do too much with it until my horse was more confirmed at first level. It is just too hard and asking too much for where he was in his training at the time--and he had been going for a couple of months in serious works; however, he was only a Training Level horse. The whole point was to test his reaction and then leave it to later.

Same thing with figure eights--too much for a green baby. Straight lines will help you the best and if you must, big--bigger than 20 meter--circles. Babies DO NOT have the balance to carry both themselves and their riders and come into balance.

It is very hard to train a young horse correctly. The best investment EVER is in a good instructor who can help you. Your body position does funky things when you ride babies--they so get you in the wrong place despite your best intent. I do know that a lot of people here either can find or work with trainers for one reason or another, but feel is very hard to judge--when to keep the contact and be soft is so difficult with a baby. I know how tough it is.

Just this week, my Walter got silly and did his baby silly thing where he will duck out to the right. I was able to work through it at home; however, it was not fun. I was very glad to be able to take him to my coach the next day and get the reassurance that YES, this is just a baby thing. YES, it was just a reaction to the wild neighbors. YES, it is just one of those things. And then we went on, business as usual and had a great ride; however, because of ride before, I was a little tight in my left wrist and shoulder. If I worked on my own, that could have become a problem and I could have held and overbent him creating more of a problem when I needed to use more outside aids to bend him. Easy enough to fix, but since I was a little tense I didn't notice it until she pointed it out. I started using less inside aid, more outside, a little counterbend and it was fine.

It is so fun to have a young horse, but it is so hard. It can also be dangerous--in some cases-- and more than a little frustrating--at times. Not a road I would ever reccommend someone walking without a real trainer. If you can't do that, I am sure you will have some great advice from this board and UDBB has a young horse forum that is fantastic. Rio has great advice and Lightness I think has training experience.

Good Luck. It is a great journey and a whole lot of fun.

[ 12-30-2006, 04:56 PM: Message edited by: PMJ ]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, thanks PMJ! Loads of advice in there lol. First off, I can't afford a trainer, so just trying it out. Kota was started at 2 1/2 by other people. She is a QH and her knees are almost closed (vet said so), he said basic work should be no problem. Our max rides are 30 minutes. She gives what she can, and I don't push it. And the trot halt, she offered it to me, so I went ahead with it. I don't ask any more from her than I know is capable from her. And I don't think I'm going to touch it again for a while. Hopefully I didn't come off rude, I really wasn't trying to. Once again, thanks for the adivce [big Grin][smiley Wavey]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had my youngster since he was two days old...actually with me after he was weaned at 5 months...so we have had a lot of time to play. I have done everything myself with the help of my trainers. We have gone very slow because I have no need to rush him and I really enjoy teaching him. I did ride him at a walk a few times when he was two...the vet said this was fine. (He actually laughed because he was harder on himself in the field.) He then had 7 months off until he was 3...we have done a lot of ground driving too. Again, back to light work that is only here and there; no rush.

HOWEVER, I did want to bring this up, NOT to start an argument, but through the course of this I learned the right reason and the proper use of side reins. I never believed in them, but I guess I don't know why. But boy, what a difference. One of my trainers introduced my boy and I to them with a lecture about how NOT to use them and who SHOULDN'T. In this case, we were teaching a young horse to go forward into light contact without the weight of a rider. You don't crank them tight, put them on for hours at a time...I was so impressed. My boy never cared about them and hi balance completely changed. (Oh, no tight circles and no cantering at this time either.) Plus, his rides only lasted about 20 minutes. WOW, he learned to go on the bit and lifted his shoulders and was a different horse. Once he got all of this (she told me probably only a few weeks of this and he would have it) I haven't used them in months. He learned to care himself correctly and even with very light riding got very strong!! So, my point being, a lot of tools are only cruel in the hands of the wrong people...my horse seemed to thank me for teaching him this from the ground instead of confusing him on his back.

I am only an AA, however, I have loved every minute of bringing up a youngster. Because I have been with him everyday and gone so slow, he has NEVER bucked or acted out in any way. He is slow pleasent and eager to learn that I always say he is easier to ride then my trained horses!

Enjoy your young horse, learn as you go (you have a great chance to create a bond), and don't rush. [big Grin][big Grin][big Grin]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ditto Beckham. Side reins, draw reins, even a bit can have the wrong results in the wrong hands.

I use side reins to longe my horse and teach him balance, particularly in his transitions. They are never to tight and never on him for more than 10 to 15 min.

I agree with Beckham that you can train a horse if you have a good trainer. That is what I have done with my horse. I had a trainer ride him the first 60 days and then I have been doing the rest through lessons. However, I had him 3 years by the time I got to that point. I bought him fresh off the track and re-trained him then to barrel race. Course he wasn't the first horse I ever broke and trained either. We did take it very slow and I got a lot of his ex-race horse issues solved. We developed a real bond and he truly trusts me. People that have never met either one of us before, pick up on it right away. They will say, that horse really trusts you!!

Best of luck with your horse and remember to take it slow and easy. If you are struggling with something at a particular moment, stop and go back to something you know the horse can do, so you end on a positive note.

Also, a horse's knees may be closed but his skeletal structure is still growing and developing, till they are 4 or 5 years old. Longer if they are a WB. So remember to take it real easy with him. I never rode my QH's for the first time till they were 3.5 years old.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys! To give a reason why I don't really want to use them it's because of a trainer I had in the past who 'taught' me how to use them... She would crank the horses heads in right off the bat (same with drawreins). She told me all the reasons why it was correct to do this (i.e build the correct muscles). I kept asking her if she was sure and she would just get mad at me for asking. I am terrified of touching the sidereins/drawreins. I do not want to 'wreck' Dakota. If I was much more experienced with them, I would. If anyone wants to give me some tips though, I may look into it. I just don't want to create trouble with them instead of a good outcome.

I don't understand why we want to hold the horses head in place? Is this a good thing? I know some will have different opinions, but please, let's keep it nice guys! When I see it, I see a horse that is forced into the correct position (I do know some people don't do this, but this is all I see here in Utah) and they look unhappy and cranky about it. So, pictures, tips, anything would help me understand them a lot more!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What we used the side reins for was not to hold his head in place, but the bit...for example, since he was taught so well on the ground it was easier to teach him that he could go forward with light contact in his mouth. The reins were not cranked or used to hold his head anywhere...he then picked up his own shoulders and his head is well, where it is when he goes forward, but it won't be up in the air so to speak if they are on the contact.

As Boocoo mentioned, also great for teaching balance in transitions...but I guess I have been fortunate and I don't know anyone who talks about "headsets" or using side reins to create one.

I would get a professionals help (not the one you mentioned before) if you would like to explore that option with your horse:-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always been taught that sidereins should reach about an inch away from the bit. Enough to give a constant feel on the rein when the head is not carried 'correct', but enough to then release the pressure when the horse softens to the bit and starts to work in an outline - just like how it works with a rider on in a way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WB, you were correct to quesstion that trainer. Side reins are not to be used to "force" a horse's head into position or "crank" his head down. Beckham explained them very well. When I first put them on my horse, they were so loose they didn't do anything. I let him trot around like that at first. Then I went up one hole, then another, until they were where they should be. They should never be so tight that the horse can't get any release if he panics. When he does come on the bit, he will actually have some slack in them. That's when he is coming through from behind and rounding up real nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are people out there that do it wrong and you are correct to question it. I can't imagine trying to get Walter, my boy, to accept rein contact if my trainer and I had not been able to use side reins!

The book by Ingrid and Renier Klimke (it was re-done and she revised it recently) is super like I mentioned as is another book I am thinking about that escapes me. There is also a really super book called Longing and Long Reining I think. All three discuss side reins. I completely agree that they must be used right. They are such a danger in the wrong hands.

It is such a fun thing to do--bringing your own young horse along. What an adventure. My friend Dru and I keep reminding ourselves that they will grow up though!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love teaching babies!! More power to you for wanting to do it yourself, but take it slow.

Here's my general starting horses plan. Please notice there is no timeline because not all horses progress at the same pace.

1.) Introduction to grooming and being handled and tacking up. When the horse stands quietly for all of this, you are ready to move to step 2.

2.) Walking in hand with a bridle and saddle on. Walk and halt and eventually trot in hand. When the horse calmly follows your lead through this, progress to step 3.

3.) Lunging. You DO need a whip to lunge. You use the whip to push the horse away from you, out onto the circle. It is neccessary for safety with a young horse. To start, I lunge my babies without sidereins. They learn to walk, trot, and eventually canter calmly upon verbal request before they move to step 4.

4.) Backing. Everyone has their own system for approaching backing a horse, but I prefer to start in the ring after lunging. First, I introduce a mounting block next to the horse. When the horse accepts this, I stand on the mounting block and pet the horse and scratch him, making it a pleasant experience. When the horse accepts all of this, I lay over saddle and continue talking and petting the horse. Eventually, the horse will accept your moving and wiggling around while laying on his back. Finally, you are ready to mount your horse. Mount the horse with an assistand nearby to grab the horse should he startle. (usually, if you've done your prep work, he won't, but safe is always better than sorry). Just sit on the horse at first and pet and talk to him. When this is accepted, you can have your handler lead the horse on at a walk and walk and halt as you did with him in hand earlier on. At this point you're just along for the ride, you do not cue the horse to walk on or halt until he is totally confident with the leader and you on his back. Now the leader becomes passive and you begin softly signalling for the walk and halt. Eventually, the leader becomes merely an observer as you walk, halt, and eventually trot and canter your horse. When the horse calmly accepts walk, trot, and canter as cued from you and is fairly balanced (does not need to fling his head for balance, but is not neccessarily on the bit), you are ready to introduce sidereins.

5.) Sidereins should first be attached on the longest hole with no contact. The point is just to allow the horse to adjust to the flapping sidreins and the slight pull this creates on their mouth. Slowly shorten the sidereins (no more than 1 hole/day) until they are adjusted so that the hits the sidereins when swinging his head up or down, but the sidereins hang when he hold his head steady. Now ask the horse to stretch slightly into the bit, so that he finds contact with the sidereins such as that you would want under saddle.

Now, training can commence in whatever discipline you desire.

To answer your question about the ground poles and why those cause your horse to reach for the bit. A lot of horses will look at the ground poles as they approach and go over them. This creates that stretching of the back and reaching of the neck that you are associating with being on the bit. It's a good thing!! This is why cavalletti are such a good exercise to teach horses to stretch through their back and lift.

I believe it is a common misconception amound dressage and hunter people that only professional trainers can start horses. Any balanced rider with enough experience to know what the goal is, and with the patience to take the time the horse needs can start a baby. Good luck to you! It's a fun journey and so rewarding!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is not a "misconception" among dressage (or hunter, but this is a dressage board) people that only a professional can or should start young horses. I don't "misunderstand" the fact that it is better for both me and my horse and IN GENERAL for most young horses for people who know WHAT they are doing and do it for a living to start and train young horses. Trainers who KNOW what they are doing and have done it over and over make it easier for the horse to learn.

I also notice that your breeds are draft crosses which are cold breeds and they can be quite different from both hotter breeds like Warmbloods and TB type breeds. IN GENERAL, they tend to be quieter. I am NOT starting a breed war; however, I would HESITATE to just lump this type of advise to any type of hotter breed. Temperment, breeding and bloodlines as well as breed plays a HUGE role in the type horse you have and the type training experience that you have. What may be simple for you because you have a quiet QH or Draft Cross may be completely different if you have a hot TB or Trakehner.

Depending on the temperment, and experience of the rider, etc., certainly an average rider CAN start a young horse. The question is if it is a GOOD IDEA or THE BEST IDEA for horse and/or rider? In many, if not MOST, cases, that would be generally no--simply because young horses do things that are unpredictable. In many cases, it is better for the horse to be started by a professional because a professional can do a BETTER JOB than an Amateur. Not to say Amateurs cannot ride. Heck, I ride quite well, but I don't have the vast experience of doing and riding numbers of young horses. It is not my JOB. Further, often, if not always, the horse comes out knowing more in a shorter period of time.

For example, when my young horse went to the man who "started" him, Walter knew how to walk, trot, and canter in side reins with plenty of contact on the longe. I had backed him; however, I did not ride him around anyplace much as I did not feel comfortable with his size in open areas. Within one week of working with him, David had Walter walking, trotting, and cantering under saddle and taking his leads with no problem. I could have brought him home within a month; however, because I wanted his work solid, I chose to leave him the full 60 days. He was ready to do what I wanted when I picked him up simply because David has done this for years. It was all easy for Walter to learn--the best choice for my horse. Could I have taught him all these things? Sure, but would it have been in the BEST interest of my horse and the LEAST frustrating for him and the MOST POSITIVE EXPERIENCE--NO, it would not have been.

Nothing, nothing at all, takes the place of EXPERIENCE. Personally, I'm more than willing to pay for that because my young horse is worth it. I'm not arrogant enough to think that I am the most capable person to start my young horse; however, I can find the best person to do it and I have. I know better than to just encourage anyone to "do it themselves" since not every horse is either A)simple or B)laid back and easy and C) I realize that people working with young horses can get BADLY hurt.

On point C, not every young horse is going to be simple to start, and to be blunt, youngsters do unpredictable things happen, which is why you need to have a reliable person to work with in case there is a problem. Things happen, even to professional. It is irresponsible to think that they don't. Long thread on COTH on the Young Horse trainer who recently was injured by a Yearling, and you cannot tell me she did not know what she was doing. Things happen and it isn't always rosy and simple as your post makes it out to be.

If you choose to back your own horse, you really do need to have at least one assistant--at all stages, not just to 'grab' (and by the way, grabbing can lead to being startled, which is never a good idea). Even when you lean on them, you want someone at their heads. As an example many years ago, my mother who started quite a number of young horses until after the following incident, was leaning on her young colt and for whatever reason, he startled and spun although she had someone at his head, kicking her in chest so hard that it bruised her heart and lungs. This is a colt that was raised from a foal. He was just startled. It was not even the first time he had been leaned upon. Things just happen sometimes. She was ultimately fine and he went on to become a nice riding horse. She did not, however, due to her injury train him. But, my point is, accidents happen and all horses are not as easy as you are making them out to be. Many young horses are unpredictable at this stage. They can buck, kick out, do all sorts of silly young horse things, or they can do nothing. You NEVER, EVER know. It does not matter how much you prep, YOU NEVER KNOW. They are big babies that basically know nothing.

For dressage and doing the work correctly, until your horse gets better balance one does not generally use cavaletti or ground poles. The balance of a young horse learning to carry a rider is too compromised at the early stages to ask them to engage correctly over cavaletti.

BTW, over the years, I have started 6 young horses some eventers later dressage. Sometimes they do exactly as you have said and did nothing other times, they did the last thing you expect.

[ 01-03-2007, 07:13 PM: Message edited by: PMJ ]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PMJ-

Our disagreement comes when you talk about speed and efficiency in starting young horse. You'll notice my post specifically stated that there is no timeline includeded because each horse progresses at a different rate. We could add riders to this as well, but I assumed that goes without saying. I am not arguing that someone who has started 100s of horses could do it faster than me, obviously with experience comes efficiency. My argument is that they don't necessarily do a "better" job. I believe that a balanced, capable rider with a clear understanding of the goal you are working toward and patience to go at a pace that is suitable for both rider and horse, can start their own horse. Faster does not neccessarily mean better. (I'm not saying the professional does a worse job, equal is what I'm saying)

I'm just saying that "send him to the trainer" is not always the answer. For some people, this is not financially possible or there may not be good trainers in the area. A skilled rider CAN start a horse themselves if that rider has the patience neccessary. After all, those professionals had first horses that they broke. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Lastly, in regards to your pointing out the breeding of my current horses, I will assume you have had little or no experience with baby draft crosses. If you had, you would understand that they are quite sensitive with the power of a draft should they choose to use it. A great combination if put to proper use, but dangerous if you don't have a clear goal and plan in mind.

Also, FYI, I was a working student at a dressage farm where part of my responsibilities included starting young warmbloods (3 trekheners, 1 holsteiner/saddlebred cross, and 3 arabians). I purchased my first horse (a rather hot TB) at the age of 19 after having ridden for 8 years (I was a working student for 2 of those years). I started that horse myself and within 2 years, I had shown him through 2nd level at rated shows with scores in the mid 60s. No "professional" had ever been on him. He was, by nature, a hot horse and required a skilled rider with patience and a clear vision to succeed. I sold him when I got an offer I just couldn't turn down to the perfect home. He is now teaching a young, but confident rider the ropes at 2nd level after competing through 4th.

"Just this week, my Walter got silly and did his baby silly thing where he will duck out to the right. I was able to work through it at home; however, it was not fun. I was very glad to be able to take him to my coach the next day and get the reassurance that YES, this is just a baby thing. YES, it was just a reaction to the wild neighbors. YES, it is just one of those things."

This statement of yours tells me that you probably would have trouble starting a young horse. You probably have not ridden many young horses because you still need reassurance that small mishaps are just baby moments. So, perhaps I should add to my original post that to be successful in starting young horses, you should already have a great deal of experience in riding green horses and be able to sort out training issues with minimal dependence on a trainer. This kind of experience is what gives you the not only the view of the goal, but the ability to see the path to that goal that I discussed.

Please note that I did not say EVERYONE could or should start their own horses, but I do feel a large percentage of experienced riders are perfectly capable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"This statement of yours tells me that you probably would have trouble starting a young horse. You probably have not ridden many young horses because you still need reassurance that small mishaps are just baby moments. So, perhaps I should add to my original post that to be successful in starting young horses, you should already have a great deal of experience in riding green horses and be able to sort out training issues with minimal dependence on a trainer. This kind of experience is what gives you the not only the view of the goal, but the ability to see the path to that goal that I discussed."

You have not been posting on this board very long--or I've not seen your posts, however, I will request that you not make blanket statement about things that you know nothing especially when in the prior post I do state my experience. It is called "reading."

"BTW, over the years, I have started 6 young horses some eventers later dressage" It should further state that these were basically on my own. Two, my mom did help me as I was around 16 and of course, always had an assistant, generally mom. I have since learned that other people with more experience who do this for a living can do it better than I can, and that is not to say that I am not capable, but it is not my chosen profession. Both in time, and quality (for myself and my horse, it is better for a pro to do it and in my area, I have that.) I did not include Walter's ground work and backing since I technically did not "start" him although that work made it much easier for David.

Oh let's see--I believe you stated that I did not "probably" have experience starting young horses. Well, Harvey and Fille went on to become Training level event horses and I started them from scratch and had each one from 6 months of age when I was in Pony Club. Fiona became a Second Level horse who I recently retired when it was evident that she couldn't handle the work. Bronte was injured in a non-training incident; however, she was working first level and again had her from a yearling. Mae is currently being evented but was started in dressage got her at age 2. I also got to help out with youngsters when I would go and do stints as a working student in Southern Pines, so when you assume or do not read, you often make mistakes, as I have also been guilty of doing. And no, I have not had the privlege of working with draft crosses. They are not my cup of tea such as it is. I can only go on what my breeder friend has told me and from what another draft breeder I met at a show was also telling me on their maturing very slowing. Both had stated they were quite willing and different than young warmbloods. How interesting that you bring up the danger factor but do not expound on it further. Doesn't include my Prelim horse since he was a re-train.

As to it being a "small mishap" gee, you weren't there, now were you? Overall, yes, a small bump in the road but for a FEI prospect, we don't want bad habits to form, and it is not a matter of just 'cowboy up girl.' And, since Walter has never been anything but foot perfect all the way, I was attempting to illustrate to other posters how it is really nice to work toward having a relationship with a trainer where you can go forward and have these reassurances since that is part and parcel of working with a trainer, and a young horse for that matter. As to being successful, I would think in taking this young gelding from being backed to working first level and scoring in the mid 70's that is pretty successful. And other than his 60 days with David, I've been his only rider and trainer with guidance from my trainer on the ground. He's only been in "work" since May/June. I think that would qualify as "successful" for me.

What you so snidely suggest in your post is that I need babying and hand holding when you don't know a blessed thing about me, and you base that on the fact that I work with a trainer--get real! I seriously doubt that any other poster here would agree with you, and to be blunt, I resent the implication. It is completely, absolutely rude and uncalled for. Perhaps you have a problem with the fact that people work with trainers--get over it. There is nothing wrong with it, and to insinuate that it actually makes a rider weaker is just plain ignorant. It makes my horse better and makes his life better. I don't have to go back and fix mistakes that I may make because of things I may or may not know. To rely on someone else's experience and wisdom is smart to me, and makes my life better. I don't know it all and at this stage of the game am well aware of it. Again, I'm not arrogant enough to think I know it all. It is a blessing that I am very thankful for and work very hard to be able to afford; however, I am not ignorant of the fact that everyone cannot. I am at a point in my life that I can, albeit through some very hard work and a very generous husband. Having a working relationship with a trainer, especially one like the one I have is very special. I wouldn't trade it for anything. The support and friendship makes a wonderful journey even more special. The guidance of someone who is also a USEF judge gives me special insight.

I don't disagree that some people cannot afford to send their horse away; however, you refuse to address the safety issues as well as making it seem so relately easy and simple that anyone can do it--exactly how experienced is experienced? That is the problem with online anyone can define their experience and take that as encouragement and if you do not state the dangers people get hurt. It is irresponsible.

It doesn't so much matter about the time--sure it is going to take an inexperienced person longer. Except that if you have an FEI prospect or a really, really nice horse, you don't have forever and a day to get them going. There is a time plan for bringing a horse to FEI and GP. That is the plan my trainer and I are following for it is our goal to get Walter to FEI/GP. It is never a certainty that a horse will get to GP, of course, but as much as it is our hope as it is for her horse. We follow the same plan. She has now brought several riders to that end goal and I trust in her program. It could be that you and I are coming to this discussion from two entirely different places with differing goals. For example, I know that we--my trainer and I--are possibly looking at the FEI 5 Year Old Classes this year as we want the option of being able to do them, so I don't have all the time in the world. Like it or not, in dressage, there are time restraints in what you do if you want to be competitive for certain things. In that regard, time is an issue.

If you do not want those type goals that is also fine. Further if you have no time restrains, then I will absolutely agree that taking your time and doing it yourself if you have the proper experience and know how is fine. I will absolutely agree with that. My issue with the whole thing is the la la la, it is so simple, anyone with experience but not defining what type of experince (riding at such and such a level, x number of years, etc) can do this, when in truth, there are so many factors in dealing with young horses that your post does in fact not deal with. I attempted in a civilized post point those out and you instead, turned it around and made it an issue about my working with a trainer and how that must make me inexperienced with young horses in order to undermine my credibility.

I don't so much see that our disagreement is in the timing but in the quality and your issue with the trainer. I don't see how someone who knows what they are doing can't do it better and that makes it easier for the horse and less frustrating for the horse also. Just like teaching changes, to give an example using dressage. Someone who knows how to teach a horse changes is going to make it easier for the horse to learn changes (correctly)than for someone who does not know the aids. How isn't that going to be better? SURE, someone can read the book, or heck, even learn by reading a post on how to do it on-line, but until they know how to do it, it will be much EASIER on the horse (and for me better and worth it, gee, again the quality issue just won't go away) if someone who knows what they are doing actually does it. I am completely talking about feel. That isn't to say it CANNOT BE DONE. It is about the QUALITY. It goes without saying that it will take much longer, or as you said, no timeline. Another example, what about when a horse starts being silly in side reins? It happens and when you work with young horses, you know it does. It is a matter of both perspective and know how to know what is right when you start to gradually take up, even if you have taken up just a hole a day. Sometimes, they are still silly, if you have never seen it, what are you going to do if you don't have that bank of reference or a trainer to ask, because you will get a million replies, including the "side reins are evil [Wink] "!

I also think that not everyone should start young horses and what needs to be looked at is the horse's temperment, the breed, the bloodlines (some bloodlines are more unpredictable than others, and if you know this it can help but sometimes you don't know), the rider/trainer's ability and experience. You also have to look at the rider's temperment. Some people aren't cut out for it--they can be anxious, nervous, or stress easily. Only you can tell that about yourself. The fact that danger is involved at every stage because even the calmest, nicest most reliabe young horse is going to do stupid things. People get hurt because young horses do unpredictable things. It is just them being young horses.

Sure, and many young people, you and me included, get their start in starting young horses through a working student position or from a more experienced person working with them--not from an online BB. Everyone comes from thier own personal experience.

[ 01-04-2007, 12:51 PM: Message edited by: PMJ ]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:

Originally posted by Me 'n my Boys:

Please note that I did not say EVERYONE could or should start their own horses, but I do feel a large percentage of experienced riders are perfectly capable.

Actually, that is pretty much what you were saying when you said this:

quote:

Originally posted by Me 'n my Boys:

Any balanced rider with enough experience to know what the goal is, and with the patience to take the time the horse needs can start a baby.

Now that you have been called out on it, you are trying to qualify it by saying that the rider must have "a great deal" of experience riding green horses in order to be successful starting young horses. That is the problem with these bulletin boards. You can't possibly describe all of the variables that go into the equation. You tossed out a couple of instructions and casually said that any balanced rider could do this. When PMJ started pointing out the dangers, you had to go back and start qualifying that it had to be a balanced rider with a "great deal" of experience riding green horses. You have to be very careful when giving out advice over a bulletin board because you don't know who you are giving advice to, or how that advice will be used. If you just toss out instructions and say things like anyone can do this, someone with not enough experience may take you at your word, try it and get hurt.

That said, I have to agree with PMJ on this, NOT JUST ANY RIDER can start a baby. I have been riding for 30+ years. I have ridden loads of green horses. I've brought horses up through the levels. I've evented and done dressage. I've been there and done that, BUT I would NOT consider myself qualified to take on the challenge of starting a baby. Could I do it?? Sure, maybe, with the right baby, but soooo much can go wrong. The risks are so high. It just isn't worth it. And honestly, it doesn't matter how slowly you go, accidents still happen whether you go slow or go fast. They are just more likely to happen when you go fast. There are professionals out there who have done this sort of stuff for years. I'm not saying that the youngster needs to be shipped off to a professional for the first 3 years of its life (and neither is PMJ), but 30 or 60 days with a professional trainer to get the right start is well worth it in my opinion. Then working with a trainer - just lessons, not training sessions - to stay on track, and yes, an experienced rider can handle the rest of the training of a youngster. And to criticize a person for seeking the advice and/or reassurance of a trainer is just absurdly rude and arrogant. Even professional trainers regularly consult with other professional trainers on training issues.

~Shelly~

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's just agree to disagree. I did not go back and change my statement, what you quoted from my original post says it all "Any balanced rider with enough experience........" I just clarified why the rider needs to be balanced and what kind of experience is needed.

I also never said there was anything wrong with sending your horse to a trainer....Just that that is not the only "good" way to start a horse.

Let's just agree that we both wish the OP well in her journey (since she said sending her horse to a trainer is not an option) and move on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I almost hate to butt in, because this is what I like about the dressage board ... people can disagree and yet remain civil, discussing various points and avoiding (for the most part) any name calling.

I just wanted to agree, disagree, or clarify a few statements. Hopefully I'm not opening any new can of worms.

Me'n'my boys ... PMJ & smithereen made some excellent points about being cautious. Please try to remember that on bulletin boards, you have no idea of the REAL ability of people writing in. "Any balanced rider" can be interpreted in many, many ways. Tons of people think they are balanced, when they are not, and tons of people think they are experienced, when they are not, and tons of people think they are skilled, when they are not. It DOES help to have a trainer who can actually see you to advise you on what you are or are not capable of doing safely and reasonably well.

As an example, I have a rather hot TB mare in my barn. She's a good girl; never does anything truly bad, like bucking or rearing, but IF the rider gets a little off balance and leans forward and/or jabs her in the mouth, she WILL get very hollow and high headed, and/or run like the devil. She ONLY does these things if she is handled roughly ... either through her back or through her mouth.

The other day an "experienced" rider who "knew how to finish a horse" came to see her as a show hunter prospect. The mare gave her a beautiful demonstration of calm walk/trot/canter and jumping, all on a very light rein, just they way show hunters like 'em. The rider then got on, started to trot, got out of balanced, jabbed the mare in the mouth, and did manage to stop her before "the race was on." Luckily, the rider knew she was out-horsed, jumped off and said "pass."

This horse is NOT a horse "any experienced" person who assumes they are in balance can ride, let alone back and begin training on. She is much too sensative.

So, remember, plenty of people reading advice will assume that THEY are the person who CAN do it, even if they definitely are not.

Secondly, PMJ, just for your info, I've had ten draft crosses through my barn in the last two years, and of the ten, one was hot, sensative, and difficult, one was hot, but not overly difficult, one wasn't hot but was extremely sensative and therefore complicated, and one was stubborn as all get-out. The rest are fine. So, just under half did not have the nice, calm, draft-a-tude. They had variations on the TB-a-tude. Gotta expect some of them to come out that way when one parent is a TB!

About the assistant on the ground "grabbing" the horse. The assistant on the ground needs to also be very experienced working with young horses. Assistants cover the whole range ... helpful, useless, or the direct cause of an accident. Assistants "holding" a horse you are backing for the first several times, need to understand that "hold" is relative, and for the most part, they (the assistant) are there to give the horse moral support and a calm, understanding friend right there for the horse to see and touch. Tightly holding, or grabbing a young horse while introducing backing is a big no-no in my book. Assistants help "hold" the horse by offering the horse a person to depend on, and the assistant is also there to give the rider feedback on anything the rider doesn't see ... as in "ears back, looking worried," etc.

My sum up is as follows: if you can find someone better than yourself, and if you can afford to pay them, have the better person train your horse, or at the very least, guide you step-by-step through the process.

One more note: the post really took a major turn towards backing and breaking. The OP is already riding her horse. The horse is backed. Training, whether it be on the ground, under saddle, and/or with a pro, should now commence. Backing is complete.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I readily admit to knowing nothing about draft horse crosses. And actually would imagine that they are like any other cross or like most breeds of horses--they are all pretty different and much of it depends on both the individual horse and the breeding of the parents, epecially what you are saying RTA makes sense about the TB crosses. The different bloodlines within the TB dynasties would make that interesting temperment wise I imagine. When I rode with Denny Emerson he was interesting to talk to about TB bloodlines and things like that. The man was and I imagine still is a font of knowledge especially with TB breeding! Again, though, know nothing about the crosses other than what was told to me. It is always intereting to get other perspectives. That is very interesting.

I imagine it is similar to the differences I've seen in all the warmbloods as none personalities are the same, even with full and half siblings; horses are as unique and individual as we as riders are which is why there is a breed type for all of us I guess!

Absolutely and without a doubt, the on ground handler needs to be calm and as experienced with a young horse as the person who is doing the actual "getting on." They can often make or break the situation and knowing how to read a young horse is key. Things happen or can happen quickly. It really is a partnership or a team. And it can look deceptively easy when it is done correctly.

No question at all the OP is past backing and that she did not bring up the topic of backing her horse or starting it under saddle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:

Your body position does funky things when you ride babies--they so get you in the wrong place despite your best intent.

umm sorry but i disagree my 4 year old (we sent her to be broken by a trainer btw) who has only been ridden for 3 months puts me in a better position than my 12 yr old arab i dont know if its the saddle but on her i get my position right effortlessly 97.9% of the time and she makes tight turns when i dont ask her to so its not like every "baby" is the same

[ 01-04-2007, 04:52 PM: Message edited by: Blitz_Keesha ]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, I was avoiding it, but I feel like putting in my two cents since I broke my own horse and am still on that journey, and he is a draft cross...

When I bought the little begger, I had EVERY intention on NOT being the one to get on first. When he arrived at to me at 5 months old and barely halter broke I found that I truly loved working with a young horse. I have shown my whole life and have never (until I bought one myself) had a "really trained" horse, so I guess I under estimated the patience and experience I had picked up. We continued on, ground driving in a halter at 7 months old, etc etc and I found that we really clicked so I would continue on until I felt I couldn't.

AND YES, I have been knocked around...he has some delightful draft qualities, but in addition to that he is BIG, STRONG, AGILE, and oh so full of energy. I have been drug, yes on the ground while he continued to go where he wanted, stepped on, wacked in the head, and watched him jump out of some pastures. Although I consider him to be pretty mild, I don't allow parents, husbands, novices, etc to handle him. He is just SOOOOO STRONG.

So, he is now almost 4 and I am the only one who has been on him. I have trained him everything he knows. The first time he cantered right off I felt like I had won an olympic gold! I have taken him to his first shows, done all of his first ridings away from home. I work with 2 trainers who help when I need it. (I juggle all three in lessons...) and I am actually quite amazed at my own patience and pulling out what I know.

Not that any three of my monsters, regardless of age, couldn't knock me down at any time...at this point I feel he isn't much more dangerous...I have been hurt by all of them at some point or another. (My schoolmaster is a bit loopy in his own right...and is NOT to be handled by anyone other then myself.)

So, maybe some people have more skill, patience, natural reflexes and are better at it. Maybe some can't afford a trainer, maybe some just want to try it out, these differences make the world go round. However, I have loved *almost* every minute of this experience.

Don't know how the whole draft cross thing came into play...but if you think that makes them something anyone can ride...this is not the case. Although I will say he is certainly not nutty, or a head case, that boy can take anyone down:-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beckham - I have SEEN you ride with my own eyes, not just had you DESCRIBE your skills to me over the net, so I can attest personally to your apptitude in the saddle. You are a very accomplished rider above and beyond the majority of AA riders out there. You have worked very, very hard to get where you are, and it shows. I am not surprised in the least that you tackled and had few issues breaking your own youngster; however not everyone is as skilled in the saddle or as confident a rider as you are. You also have a support system of trainers in place that is ROCK SOLID. You never hesitate to turn to them to ask advice the second an issue crops up. You are in a great situation to start a youngster on your own, and have done an excellent job with your youngster. He looks fantastic, and I have no doubt that you will go far with him.

That said, my concern is that someone reading advice on a board such as this is going to think that if Beckham can do it "why can't I", and that rider may not have the wealth of experience or support system in place that you have. Additionally that person may not have done the YEARS worth of ground work leading up to the saddle training that you did with your baby. Advice needs to be given VERY carefully or someone of minimal experience is liable to think that they have what it takes to break and train a baby, make an attempt and get seriously hurt. I can't, in good conscience, advise someone (especially over the internet) to go ahead and attempt to break their own youngster. I will ALWAYS advise them to send the horse out to a trainer. When they say they lack the money, I say FIND IT. It isn't worth risking your neck over. Call around to as many trainers as it takes until you find one you can afford, or one that will allow you to come work it off, or a payment plan, or save for it. Something. When you buy the baby, you should be figuring in the cost of the trainer for the 30-60 day training period into the purchase price. Is saving a couple hundred dollars really worth risking serious injury or worse???

~Shelly~

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the compliment Shelly:-)

I also wanted to add, that just as you said not all people are qualified, even if they think they are, please please check out a trainer before you send your horse to them!

I have seen many people in this state that are advertised as trainers, have customers, and they are just horrible! Don't be afraid to ask for references and ask around. People like to share stories, so also be able to sift through the "white noise". Take your time to find someone with experience and who you feel comfortable with. AND, just because someone is a trainer, doesn't mean they have experience breaking or training young horses. I certainly wouldn't want to pay for my horse to be their first!

We all work hard for our money and to supply the best for our horses and when we come up with all of that money for training, I am sure we all want to be getting the most out of it! For instance, my trainer's fee includes 3 lessons a week so you can work along with the program and if you are bringing your horse home, you will have a bit of a head start! [big Grin]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:

Originally posted by Beckham03:

I also wanted to add, that just as you said not all people are qualified, even if they think they are, please please check out a trainer before you send your horse to them!

Most definitely!!! Get references and then go check them out for yourself first.

~Shelly~

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:


Originally posted by Me 'n my Boys:

Let's just agree to disagree.

-------

Let's just agree that we both wish the OP well in her journey (since she said sending her horse to a trainer is not an option) and move on.


For the most part I have thoroughly enjoyed the give and take on this thread and I applaud each of you for your individual experience and desire to help the OP.

All of you sound like incredibly talented, experienced riders. Thanks for working past your differences and getting back to the OP's concerns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, lots of advice with lots of different ideas [Razz] .

But I did just have to say, Dakota is a very quiet, Appy (race bred, but quite). She is amazing in learning. I'm not rushing, we haven't even moved into canter. But, I just wanted to say that she offered it to me once again.

Second, a own 2 warmbloods. One, is dead quite (Ocean). Tori on the other hand, comes from the hotter Selle Francais line. She is hot and it's known from her sire, it's passed down. I've also been thrown off of a Percheron when she decided to have a 'play day'..

Third off, I have trained horses before, but never alone and w/o a trainer. I have a working student job, but I cannot trailer my horse and I refuse to let them come to my place (*cough* no arena). I've done great jobs with horses with good trainers.

Just wanted to make sure I wasn't going into it blindly lol. Just the side reins part [Razz] . But I also did like learning a lot of new things on here, that I've never even known before. So thanks guys. But puhlease lets not argue about breeds and stuff lol. Each horse is different. [big Grin][smiley Wavey]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:

Originally posted by smithereens_86:

quote:

Originally posted by Beckham03:

I also wanted to add, that just as you said not all people are qualified, even if they think they are, please please check out a trainer before you send your horse to them!

Most definitely!!! Get references and then go check them out for yourself first.

~Shelly~

[Not Worthy] My problem was on this particular trainers website, she lied about everything. My mom and I (not very experienced at the time) went right along with it. Now I know and do check. Like my dressage trainer, shows all over the west and trains horses. You always need to check.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hate to jump in this well not hate but still just going to say i started my qh when she was 4 months old well that is when i got her didnt start her on anything but halter and grooming things like that but i did train her and she is a very well mannered 3 year old now. I put her first saddle on her and continued from there however i sent her to one of my good friends who is a trainer to get her first rides and i am glad i did she had a few problems with it like laying down but it was just her way of expressing her learning anyways good luck on your horse and if you get stuck on something then read a book or a thread on the subject you may learn something someone else may not be able to tell you. [Jump]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good rider does not necessarily make a good trainer and of course, the opposite is also true.

Let me add that in the OP the writer stated that the horse had a tendency to travel with her head straight up in the air and had developed a large under muscle (ewe neck). This means she has already developed resistances that need to be addressed and is not a "clean slate" that an "experienced rider" can develope even though she is only 3. She needs a trainer who can recognize why and how to correct this before any true progress can be made. JMHO

[ 01-07-2007, 08:22 AM: Message edited by: lightness ]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this