Kyra

Getting A Young Horse To Trot/canter Willingly

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So my 3 year old, Luna, is going to be going into much more intensive training as soon as spring hits. She's decently broke, and I've walk/trot/cantered her out on trail rides and she does great.

Here's our issue. In the arena or just riding by the barn, she's very lazy and hard to get moving. Lunging or ground driving she's very responsive(although she does sometimes get hateful about it), but under saddle she pins her ears and does not want to move. She'll walk fine, but trotting or cantering can sometimes be hard. I've trained a lot of horses, but almost all have been faster more sensitive horses, because thats by far what I prefer. I'd rather have to slow one down than speed one up. I don't let her get away with it, and never end until she does trot. We haven't worked on it a whole lot, because our last barn didn't even have an arena and I wasn't pushing for speed at all until she was older.

We're both hot headed and stubborn, and we clash a lot. I guess what I'm asking is, what are some good ways to get her moving easily, without turning it into a fight? I want a willing horse, not one that hates its job. I've never trained a horse that's first instinct is to fight, although of course I've dealt with some. She's a fighter and so am i, and that doesn't always work out well.Oh and I wanted to add, pining her ears back and getting hateful when she doesn't want to do something is an issue I've dealt with from the start. It's not the saddle or that she's in pain. She does this with other things, although we've mostly worked through them.

Edited by Kyra

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Well, if You truly have ruled out any pain issues, you are left with the fact that maybe you are not asking her correctly, or you have a poor minded horse

You have to make sure that you are making the right thing easy, and the wrong thing hard, plus rewarding any try

Always 'ask',' ask louder', ask louder still, and then' demand'

Next time, go back to asking softly again,giving the horse a chance to do the right thing and thus you never needed to up the 'pitch'

You have to give a horse a reason to be light and responsive, and also reward when he is light and responsive, other wise the horse has no reason or incentive to be light

I would worry about the mind of a horse that resorts to pinning his ears , Unless there is a pain issue, when ever he is asked to do something

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I always ask verbally before I use any leg pressure. Ground driving or lunging, all I have to do is click to her and she'll trot or canter. As soon as she moves off, I back off. I really try not to nag her, but at the same time I refuse to let her push me around. She's very smart, but she doesn't have the best attitude. She gets pissed off very easily, although she's more bark than bite.

Like I said, this is only around the barn or in the arena. I took her out on a trail ride today, and she walk/trot/cantered very easily. She definitely seems much happier on trail rides, she's very inquisitive and loves to explore. She's the kind of horse that if she sees something spooky, she has to go up to it and smell it and walk on it. I'm guessing some of it is that she's very bored in the arena, but I'm not sure how to fix that. It's not like she's burnt out, we very rarely use the arena.

Hopefully when I'm able to be more consistent this spring that'll help. Thanks for the suggestions!

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Not sure I can be any help here, but my mare is the same with some things (with the PO'edness). When I was teaching her to sidepass she got a huge attitude and required more motivation than I wanted to have to use. She is very food oriented though so I incorporated that into training. There were large green clumps of grass on either side of the barn so I walked her straight into the barn and sidepassed her to the end, when we got there I let her put her had down and get a bite or two of grass. She was then extremely motivated to sidepass back and forth with a lot of energy after that lol. Needless to say, when I did that for about 20 minutes she would sidepass anywhere without having to have the snack afterwards. Just a thought, hope I helped :ph34r:

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She does it in response to my cues. We can trot/canter off without the other horses, or keep walking when the other horses take off. That's something she's very good about. She doesn't mind being alone at all.

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Really sounds like pain. If she's happy to trot/canter/go forward on the lunge without a rider and with a saddle & rider she's reluctant...that says loads to me.

In saying that at 3 maybe you should stick to trails where she's happier? I know that my massive cleveland bay filly really dislikes the arena & is very lazy (but not cranky) so I almost always ride her around the trotting track where she is perky & way more forward. We can still work on the same things out there :)

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I wouldn't say she's happy to go forward on the lunge(sometimes pins her ears back or threatens to buck) it's just that it's easy to push her past that and make her do it. And I think we already mostly resolved the hatefulness on the ground(before she was even broke), but haven't yet under saddle. Plus, why would it be pain when she's fine to do it out on trails?

Hopefully patience and consistency will work! Thanks for your suggestions:)

Edited by Kyra

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Sometimes out on the trails horses seem to 'forget' their pain, ie there's things to take their mind off it. Same way a lame horse will canter up for his food in the paddock. And us when we're in pain but our friends can make us laugh. Plus moving in a straight line is easier than circles.

Maybe she's just being a 'mare'?! Lot of fun ha ha.

Good luck!

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Lol that's why I've never liked mares!Not sure how I ended up with one... They're just not my cup of tea!

I really do think it's just attitude(she's full of that!), I just am trying to find a way to deal with it that doesn't make it worse. I don't like fighting with her, but my patience is not always the best. I'll just have to try harder!

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If there is no pain issue, which you feel is the case, then it comes down to level of respect and work ethics.

It is great to take horses out on trail rides, to keep them fresh and stop them from becoming sour, but at the same time,bored or not, a well trained horse does what the rider wants and obeys those cues both in and outside of the arena.

On the trail, she is motivated to go along with the other horses,while in her comfort zone,around home, she sees no purpose to work..

If you ask her to lope around home, trot, or whatever, then you also must make her do it, by upping the pressure as I posted before, until you get the desired response. This has nothing to do with stubborness or temper, as those things have no place in horse training. It has everything to do with timing and feel., pressure and release

In other words, you have to be as firm as needed, It is her choice as to how much pressure you have to apply to get that response.

Horses are only as good as we expect them to be

Don't blame it on her being a mare Once you have the mind of that mare, they will work for you beyond what most geldings will, but you have to work a little harder to get their respect.

Most of my peformance horses have been mares. I love them. I also have had some great geldings, ridden and shown several good stallions, but I get along very well with mares

Edited by Smilie

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I totally agree that she has to listen no matter where we are. I always make her do what I ask, that's not the issue. I just didn't know if there were any other exercises to help get her more forward. But it sounds like I've being doing things right, I just need to be persistent.

We've worked a lot on leg pressure and softening her up lately. She has a tendency to be a deadhead, so I've been doing some sensitizing.

I'm not really blaming it on her being a mare, I don't think they're worse than geldings, I just don't usually get along with them as well. Probably because I'm very opinionated and bossy too lol.

Thank you!

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Always start by asking "softly" then up the intensity until she does what you ask. Her reward is the release she gets when you take the cues (such as leg, spur, whip, etc) away. I use the "squeeze, cluck, spank" routine. First, ask the horse to speed up by squeezing with your legs. No response? Then, you'll cluck or "kiss" or whatever kind of verbal cue you use. Still no response? Then you'll use the end of your reins, crop, dressage whip. etc on the horse's hiney until she does what you want. Eventually, she will learn to respond to the "soft" cue (squeezing with your legs) to prevent you from having to spank her.

This is what I did when I first started training my very lazy gelding. It did *wonders* for him. Now I just have to squeeze very lightly and he moves forward willingly. Much better than having a horse you have to nag or kick repeatedly to get going.

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Always start by asking "softly" then up the intensity until she does what you ask. Her reward is the release she gets when you take the cues (such as leg, spur, whip, etc) away. I use the "squeeze, cluck, spank" routine. First, ask the horse to speed up by squeezing with your legs. No response? Then, you'll cluck or "kiss" or whatever kind of verbal cue you use. Still no response? Then you'll use the end of your reins, crop, dressage whip. etc on the horse's hiney until she does what you want. Eventually, she will learn to respond to the "soft" cue (squeezing with your legs) to prevent you from having to spank her.

This is what I did when I first started training my very lazy gelding. It did *wonders* for him. Now I just have to squeeze very lightly and he moves forward willingly. Much better than having a horse you have to nag or kick repeatedly to get going.

Perfect!!!

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yUp, , exactly as I posted in my first reply to this post.

A horse needs a reason to be light, and also given achance to respond to the lightest cue, but the rider also has to be able to demand, once slight asking cues are ignored. Of course, it is understood that all pain issues have been ruled out, and that the horse actaully understands what is being asked.

Being a mare or bored, is zero excuse in my mind

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Well, if You truly have ruled out any pain issues, you are left with the fact that maybe you are not asking her correctly, or you have a poor minded horse

You have to make sure that you are making the right thing easy, and the wrong thing hard, plus rewarding any try

Always 'ask',' ask louder', ask louder still, and then' demand'

Next time, go back to asking softly again,giving the horse a chance to do the right thing and thus you never needed to up the 'pitch'

You have to give a horse a reason to be light and responsive, and also reward when he is light and responsive, other wise the horse has no reason or incentive to be light

I would worry about the mind of a horse that resorts to pinning his ears , Unless there is a pain issue, when ever he is asked to do something

First of all, no horse is poor minded. It is all the rider and what happened to the horse in the past. Don't ever call a horse poor minded, they are each very intelligent creatures. Thats just as bad as calling someone "retarded" or "Un-intelligent" on here.

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First of all, no horse is poor minded. It is all the rider and what happened to the horse in the past. Don't ever call a horse poor minded, they are each very intelligent creatures. Thats just as bad as calling someone "retarded" or "Un-intelligent" on here.

I would beg to differ with you, and why minds are selected in performance horses as much as bloodlines

Not all horses that wind up in the kill pen get there because they were either neglected or abused-some actually seserve to be there

There are family of horses known for good minds, as well as family of horses that are poor minded-ones a pro can get shown, but that try to cheat a rider at every possible moment, and are considered tough horses to get shown

One of the negatives of riding halter horses is also basesd on the fact that many of those elite halter horses come from families that have never seen a saddle-thus often have not been selcted either for conformation that stands up to work, or a willing mind.

Talk to any trainer worth his salt, and he knows the breeding of horses in his discipline, not only noted for ability, but also great minds

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Horses deserve to be at the slaughter house? That shows how shallow you can be. No horse deserves that at all, and I hate that you feel that way. It is always the rider, never the horse: that has been my trainer's words of wisdom from the first day I met her. She has trained very well behaved, talented horses (One that she trained and sold to the Mexican Olympic team for heaven sakes) and I completely trust her and her advice. She does not treat horses cruelly, as a bonus, but rather with kindness.

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I think saying that it's always the rider's fault is just not true. I think it very,very often is. But with all animals, some are just easier to train and smarter and more willing than others. I have met some horses that are just a lost cause. Something is not quite right, and they're either dangerous or just only able to advance to a certain level. That's just how it works,it's not an insult or being mean. It's a fact.

If you take 20 three year olds, and train them the exact same way for 1 year, they're not all going to be at the same place. Some are going to give you much more trouble than others. I think riders should always look at themselves and physical issues first, but if all that can be ruled out, sometimes it's just the horse. JMO.

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Horses deserve to be at the slaughter house? That shows how shallow you can be. No horse deserves that at all, and I hate that you feel that way. It is always the rider, never the horse: that has been my trainer's words of wisdom from the first day I met her.

Unfortunately that is a naive point of view. It may be true of MOST horses but it cannot be true of EVERY horse. There are some out there who just plain have a screw loose.

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Did you see the movie Buck? There is a horse there that even Buck Branaman cannot work with. It's sad, but some horses are not manageable and suitable for working with people.

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