Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 5:17 am Post subject: Training uncontrolled horse
have seen lots of good advice on this website and was wondering if you could help me with a training question I've got. I've been half-leasing a horse for the past month. She's quite young and hasn't done much training, but for the past few months hasn't been ridden very much so she was pretty crazy when i first got on her.
We've mostly been doing flatwork and she's started going a lot better. She goes onto the bit really nicely and has good impulsion. The only problem is she just wants to go.
I've been training her slowly going through each gait and getting it right before moving onto the next one. She improves every time i ride her, but i kind of feel we should have had more progress over the month.
I had a lesson with my riding teacher the other day. She's got quite a tough style, so if my horse wasn't doing something properly she'd get me to force her to submit and do it.
I rode her the day afterwards and it it was a fight the whole way. She did start collecting up, but it was with lots of throwing her head in the air and performing. Should i keep going with the slow, calm training going from one gait to the next until she does it well? Or should i start upping the pace and force her into performing the training?
She's an absolutely fantasic horse, and a great jumper, but we really need to get a good, controlled pace going before we do any more jumping. Thanks!
A horse doesn't start out with the musculature necessary to work on the bit. This must be developed, just as your riding muscles started out weaker and you developed them over time.
When a horse works very hard one day, particularly in unaccustomed exercise, then the horse will feel sore the next day. You would! The horse is just the same. If you try to force a horse to work hard in unaccustomed exercise several days in a row, the horse's muscles will eventually become so sore that the horse *can not* perform the way you ask.
That's not a lack of control, that's a lack of fitness.
Be aware of the horse's fitness, and take it into account as you train. In any hard session, give the horse a break occasionally by letting her stretch down and relax. That way you can avoid making her muscles cramp up, allow her to recover and be less sore the next time.
Allow the horse days of lighter work between days of heavy work. Her muscles need time to recover from the exercise. Any time it takes a lot of work from you to help a horse understand what you want, it also takes a lot of effort from the horse, and a lot of unaccustomed use of muscles. The horse can't take a hot bath to soak those tired muscles, can't pop a couple of ibuprofin to lighten up the stiffness. She also can't tell you, "Hey, I worked REALLY hard yesterday, can we take it easy today?" So it's up to you to be aware of how hard you're making her work, and to lighten up or let her stretch out as she needs.