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When you ride...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by rodriguezpoultry, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    Do you have a specific train of thought in mind? Do you know what you want to accomplish? Do you ride to just ride?


    Do you base your riding off what your horse is doing that day...say he won't stand still. Do you put up the fight to make him stand still or do you get to moving as much as possible?

    Just wondering...

    I had specific plans in mind when I rode Max, but after his actions, we up and changed what we were going to work on. I think I realized that I do like to outsmart him...once in awhile we ride and have a nice smooth ride...but for some reason, both he and I think it can be boring if there's no power struggle...I know one day, I will win, but in the meantime... [​IMG]

    Do ya'll like to outsmart your horses or do you just "get the job done" and ride without any issues? Which do you prefer?

  2. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    I never try to make a horse stand still if he's fresh and having a real problem standing still, but I don't do Western riding and the philosophies are very, very different in the type of riding I do. I want my horses super forward, and if they dash off, we usually say, 'nice and forward, good boy'. Any going forward is rewarded.

    I expect him to stand at the mounting block for a sec while I get on, but I also get on as quick as I can and get the horse moving right away. His warmup involves a lap or two at a walk on a long rein and if he clearly can't walk that day, I trot and canter to warm up - very forward.

    If my horse got warmed up and was acting really restless, I would work the halts a little different. I'd halt for one second in a place where it's easy to get him to halt (say, not facing the gate, and going away from the gate) and then ask him forward right away, without making him stand still. I'd work on 'what he needs', not that he got to just do whatever he wanted, but 'if it's forward you want, then forward you get'. Come on son, that ain't forward enough yet.

    Normally my horses are in a five or six day a week program, and there are specific things that I will be planning to work on each day, doing each thing a specific number of times in each direction, which I'll count. That would usually be 1/3 of the ride warming up (not just at a walk, lots of trotting and cantering), 1/3 on schooling on something, 1/3 on cool down and loosening up at the end of the ride. So say if the horse was green and not ecxperienced, probably come out, walk a few laps of the ring on a long rein with contact, then posting trot, circles, leg yields and bending, then canter, circles and transistions back and forth trot to canter. Then loosening up and stretching down, and then go for a ride around the farm if weather allows.

    I would not derail the program totally if the horse was having a problem doing something. Every day he has to do a certain number of each thing to get fit, and I don't want to throw off his program of getting fitter as time goes on. I would try to correct the problem in a couple of repetitions. If it wasn't working tomorrow is another day.

    But I don't know if that would really be how a western rider would school their horse. Our emphasis is so different.
  3. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    I have a specific goal when I ride. It's getting the cattle to the working pen. [​IMG] I'm a ranch hand & take care of 600 plus head of cattle. The horse is a must!
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I'd encourage you to try to shift away from this "fight" "power struggle" "win" "outsmart" imagery. At best, it makes training a lot harder and riding a lot less relaxing than it should be... and more-usually it also creates pervasive difficulties.

    If a horse won't stand still for mounting, there are ONLY three possibilities (mind you it can be more than one at a time): a) he has never been taught, in a way that he understands, that he is expected to stand for mounting; or b) there is something wrong with him physically or mentally on that day; or c) there is something wrong with what you are doing. Period, end of story. So troubleshooting "won't stand for mounting today" does not need to have ANYthing to do with winning or power or anything like that... it is a matter of diagnosing the problem and then fixing it. Both of which are educational, and enhance COOPERATION etween you and your horse (the opposite of power-struggle).

    Note that both A and B are in my experience far FAR more common than most recreational riders imagine. It is real easy to figure your horse "should have" learned it "by now", or figure that you went thru some motions intended to teach the skill so he "should" understand it, both of which are very different than whether he necessarily DOES understand it. Also it is real, real common for saddle-fit problems, a sore back, or ungainly rider mounting skills to make it physically difficult for the horse to stand still.

    To answer your original question, I adapt what I do to the horse I am riding that day. I usually start with a plan of what I'll do -- be it a jumping or dressage school with specific technical or fitness goals, or "just" a long hack on the trail -- but it is not uncommon for the plans to change depending on how things go. You gotta work with the horse that's actually under you, not some imaginary version or what he was like yesterday or what you wish he were like today.

    That has nothing whatsoever at all to do with struggling or outwitting, though. Quite the opposite. It has to do with teaching and helping and partnering. That, in my experience, is how you progress towards HAVING to do less and less TO fix problems, and just be able to have a peaceful brainless hack thru the woods when you want to do so [​IMG]


  5. IcarusSomnio

    IcarusSomnio Songster

    Apr 27, 2010
    Vernon County, MO
    Sometimes I just go out and ride for the enjoyment of it, other times I go out with a goal in mind that I intend to get done no matter what.

    If I'm riding my QH Baby, we just ride, have fun, mess around with walk, trot, and canter. Occasionally I'll train her in neck reining, or encourage her to slow down and drop her head (she's WP bred, and so drops naturally) just for the heck of it.

    If I'm riding my Foxtrotter Loki, completely different story. We usually work hard, turning, lead changes, fighting for control over one another. He's my special boy and I love him dearly, but he can also be a real pain in the rump to ride sometimes [​IMG] You gotta establish that your gunna go where you wanna go, regardless what he thinks about it. Usually after doing so, he's a blast to ride. Probably never going to change though, he's been like that since he was a foal and decided to to be a stud like his daddy [​IMG]
  6. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    I ride endurance so I usually have more of a destination goal rather than a training goal. For example, I may want to ride 6 miles in 80 minutes or just ride out 2 hours and then ride back. Also will use certain days to work on different types of terrain. Rolling hills, steep hills, sandy areas, water crossings, etc ...
  7. Haviris

    Haviris Songster

    Sep 4, 2007
    I usually start out w/ a plan, it may or may not go accordingly. Sometimes I'm just out to ride, and in that case I usually have a destination, or rough idea of one. Other days are 'training days'. I will adjust accordingly depending on my horse that day, some non training days become training days if needed.

    Thankfully me and Gypsy work pretty well together and rarely fight, occationally, but rarely. Lately my rides have revolved more around me and my sister training on her horse and my dad's (more my dad's lately). My dad's horse is destined to be a trail horse, and we're just making sure he is 100% safe for my dad.

  8. denim deb

    denim deb Chirping

    Sep 15, 2010
    It depends. If I'm taking a lesson, then yes, I have (or my instructor has) a plan on what we're going to accomplish. If I'm out for a trail ride, my main aim is to just enjoy myself. But, if while out, I realize there's something we need to work on (like not following another horse too closely), we'll spend some time on that.
  9. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    When I said "outsmart" I meant...work him into it. As in, if he decides he doesn't want to stand still, then I will do circles to make him think "Oh...standing still lets me not have to work."

    Once we worked on that...it was a breeze.

    I suppose what I'm really working on is trying to make him a "sound" mount for DBF who is just beginning to ride. Max is a good first horse for me and has a gentle nature and ALOT of patience with new riders. He just takes advantage instead of listen because the rider is not confident yet. We'll call him a step or two above confidence builder. I completely trust him to babysit...he just likes to set the minimum wage.

    He's excellent on trails, as long as you want to trot the whole way. If you ask for something different, he "acts" like he's stumbling. Usually it's at a walk because you've slowed him down.

    It's interesting to read all of your schedules and plans! I'd never thought of not making him do something. He has times where he simply won't turn left or right. I start working on that until he does it, then I release pressure and tell him he's a good boy. Just never occurred to me to let him not turn.
  10. The Yakima Kid

    The Yakima Kid Cirque des Poulets

    Quote:Loki? Sounds like his name really fits.

    It can be interesting to teach something new to an animal; but I'm not one of those folks who wants a "fiery" horse and if I am going to ride an animal where there is an ongoing power struggle, I expect to be paid for doing so, with the objective of ending the behavior.

    My grandfather was an old rancher and his idea of a spirited horse was one that was willing but cooperative. This didn't mean that there might not be a crow hop on a cold morning after an idle period - but foolishness in horses was not something he taught me to value - although he did joke that Quarter Horses ruined the stock because the hands kept getting off to see if the horses were sick - but funny how he and his brother really took to Quarter Horses and retiring Standard Breds, Morgans, and broomtails were replaced with Quarter Horses of what are now called the Foundation type. I'm pretty sure if he were still alive and saw the modern Quarter Horses, he'd wonder why their owners didn't just go out and buy a TB instead of ruining a good breed.

    If you ever check out a working ranch you'll find geldings and very, very rarely a working mare and she'll have old copper pennies or another source of copper in her water bucket to keep her from developing romantic interests. Working hands don't have time to deal with the foolishness of mares or stallions.

    I actually prefer a mule; they can be ornery from time to time but they are very steady and sure footed and once you and they have reached an understanding they can get almost as attached to you as a Quarter Horse will. I will admit one reason I prefer mules now is that I have a bad tendency to judge every horse by my long ago, long dead favorite mare, Lady Bird, who had muley ears, a big white blaze down her face, and white socks. She was really calm, which made it really easy to teach her just about anything; and when you came out in the morning, she would focus in on you and point those big ears in your direction and you just knew she was asking you what we were going to do that day. She was foaled in either 1963 or 1964 (I think 1964) so she's been gone for years. I hadn't seen her since the 1970s when the grandparents moved into town and the horses were all sold.

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