Friday, August 28, 2009

Answer TIME!!!!!!!!!!!

Texasnascarcowgirl, and Others wondering about Herdbound issues.~ This is probably one of the tougher of the horse problems that we all have to deal with from time to time. So here we go. A horse is naturally a herd bound animal so you are technically fighting against nature when training a horse to be OK, with going away from the herd. It is also a LONG training process so be prepared. First off, your horse needs to be able to look at you as a herd leader so when you separate him from his actual horse buddy he is OK with it. This can be established by groundwork. Lots of lunging for respect and leading practice, backing and stopping when you stop etc... Practice this in his PASTURE with the other horse there. Make him focus on you with both eyes and ears, don't let his head wander or bend away from you. Make him work so darn hard in his pasture that leaving it and his buddy will actually be a release... Take him out and then give him a bit of grain or some carrots, then walk him around away from the pasture. Every time he diverts his attention AWAY from you and back to home, make him WORK... Herdbound issues require a lot of patience and leadership on your behalf. Also if it's possible try to switch your horses around every couple days so they don't get attached to one single buddy. You can also use a string of hotline to divide the pasture so they can see each other, but not be in together. And Yes Tash, I'll be more than happy to come out and work your herdbound pony :)

Smazourek~ First off, a rubber bit or gentle snaffle. Bit the horse up and the ground drive them, gently pulling them to the right or left. For example if you're teaching your horse to go right then pull on the right "rein" and do not release the pressure until the horse gives to the bit and turns to the right. Asking for the stop s the same thing say WHOA and apply equal pressure to both reins, don't release until the horse has come to a complete stop. You can also use split reins and stand beside your horse and practice the same idea. Stand beside him by the wither area say on his left and have your right hand over his back or saddle holding the right rein and your left hand holding the left. Basically "ride" him from the ground. Walk along side of him and work the reins. Control your hands softly and quietly and release when your horse gives to the commands.

Cierarosaline~ These are 2 relatively easy fixes :) For the drifter set up a vertical at a comfortable height and then take 2 more ground poles and set the ends on the vertical and set the other ends on the ground, have it come together in an almost pseudo "V" shape, this will make a visual for your horse to follow. He MUST go straight to the jump this way. Also practice lots of flatwork and teach him to listen to your legs. Do a lot of haunches in, out, Shoulder in, out, side passing etc... That when we he starts to drift to the left you should be able to use your left leg to push him back over. I even made a nifty (horrible) Drawing of how to set up the jump.

For the squirmy one, take him back down to a comfortable height and and practice trotting over it then halting afterwards. Keep the trot slow and controlled and relaxed. If he gets anxious then halt him and make him wait. Then walk him up to the fence, turn around and repeat. Halting is good because it teaches the horse not to ASSUME, To relax and to LISTEN carefully to you. Do this a lot at the trot, than the canter. For your flatwork, practice a lot of half halting. Your horse needs to be calm and quiet when approaching fences, if he is squirmy and drifts from side to side, set up the same grid ad work him through it. Also lots of body control exercises :) AS far as liniment I LOVE Absorbine GEL. I think it sticks to them better. I apply it to the legs, shoulders, neck, back and rump muscles.

Paigely~ First off Ground work Respect :) Lunging, making her switch directions, stopping, backing all that fun jazz. NOW, here is a NEAT trick I learned from my horse as on trail rides he likes to slam my knee into stuff. Pull their nose around. So if your horse is trying to rub you off on the left then pull her head to the left. She won't smack her own head and she'll bulge her body to the right a bit thus protecting your legs. Also for arena work keep her in the middle of the arena off the rail. If she tries to drift to the rail push her back over towards the middle or on the ground work her right next to the rail so close that she may rub into it. Make the rail a "Holy Crap I have to work too hard when 'm on the rail." Place. :) And yes, I'm going to make another awesome picture!! HOLY CRAP I Suck at drawing with paint LOL....

Tash~ Get a saddle pad with some grippy rubber material on the bottom. Also I use girths with the same type of grippy neoprene material. So I'm gripping in both places top and bottom. A breast collar may also help a little, but the sticky pads are the BEST!! I use one and I love it! My Arab is SUPER round and slippery and when I use this pad my saddle does not MOVE and it's a treeless!!! :) They sell them at Del's for about $45

Spotmesomecolor~ I actually have an Appy in training right now that had similiar issues. He's 6 now and has finally bulked up to his normal adult size. If your horse a high in the wither area than try to find a saddle that is a bit higher in the Gullet area. Horse go through different growth spurts in different areas until they finally level off at around 6 (depending on the breed). Keep using the gel pads to keep her comfortable and also if you have a tack shop that allows you to actually haul your horse there, then get a pro saddle fit. Doesn't mean that you have to BUY, just try on some saddles to see what will work best for your mare. Then it's on to craigslist!! Also bring your own saddle and have them look at how that fits her as well... Get a couple of opinions too. If you can't haul her anywhere then use the coat hanger trick. Take a coat hanger and bend it to the shape of your horses wither and shoulder area. Then trace the shape onto a piece of cardboard, cut it out and take it to some tack shops... She has probably gotten a bit more narrow due to the fact that your exercising all the baby fat away now, she will build back muscle and fill out so don't worry. Right now, just keep her comfy and try to find a saddle that provides a good fit... :):):)

If some of my answers aren't clear enough feel free to email me... Sometimes I think way faster than I type LOL! And Good Luck to all of you! Tash Let me know when you want me to come out! :) Again I apologize for my horrible drawings that were done on Paint LMAO!! I'm not an artist hahahaha!!!!!


Golden Girl said...

Smazourek, I have seen a young horses mouth get tough from inexperienced people hauling away in there mouths when first bitted up. Here are the steps that will save you from hurting you horses mouth.

To save a young horses mouth when training to the bit, I start training with clip on reins or side pulls, on the halter. Once the horse can flex left, right, down & back, then I introduce a rubber snaffle. I let the horse just hold the snaffle at first to get used to it, you can tie the bit to the halter or use a separate head stall with no cavason. Still practice the flexing exercises using the side pull.
I also lounge the horse letting him stretch down to find the bit and then put on loose side reins to teach him to find the end on the reins, slowly tightening the side reins over several lessons. Never tighten too much, just enough so the horse isn't frightened by the restriction in his mouth!
Then when the horse is okay with all that, I start to flex with the bit connected to the halter, and then graduate to the bit it self! I also always use verbal the commands, walk/trot/whoa.

If you take the time, your horse will have a soft responsive mouth, and will be a pleasure to ride.

Paigeley said...

i really like the whole turn your horses head to the toward the object, just in case i need to. thanks so much!! :)

SpotMeSomeColor said...

Thanks for the ideas for my mare. I think I can get my wintec to fit her by buying her a different gullet. That way we'll have at least one saddle that doesn't have to be padded.

Do you show your training horses? I'm thinking about sending my girl to you for showing if you do that type. She is ACAAP enrolled and I want her to get her Western COA, English Pleasure COA, Jumping COA, Trail Class COA and Dressage COA. She has 4.5 pts. in Dressage so far and needs 20 in each thing. Do you do that type of training/showing?

Anonymous said...

Awesome, thanks for the advice! And thanks for comment, Golden Girl. I actually have a side pull that I've been using on my gelding, but thanks for the added pointers- I will need to upgrade to a bit someday.