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 Moderated by: DrDeb  

Joined: Fri Apr 20th, 2007
Posts: 19
Status:  Offline
Hello everyone,

A while back I wrote about whether or not to send one of my mares for training. She is a 5 year old arabian.  I had done alot of ground work with her but I was hesitant about getting on.  I just didn't have enough confidence and I though my mare was too spooky.  I decided to send her to a trainer for 1 month. I worked with the trainer for the 1 month that she was there and realized because I was nervous, I was also making the horse nervous. 

To make a long story short, my horse and I did a 15 mile mileage competitive ride last weekend and she did just great....and, we rode alone! At first she thought she ought to keep up with the horses ahead of her, and, we did have a few issues.  But, I got off, waited till the tantrum subsided and got back on.  Eventually, we met horses, and horses passed us without a problem.   I am so proud of her and of me too!!  There were times when she was worried about crossing creeks, but again, I'd get off, send her over a time or two, get back on and away we'd go!! She has now had the experience of electrolytes, having her P&Rs taken, being vetted and trotted out!

She is young and right now I am just concentrating on getting her on the trails and being relaxed however, I would very much like to take some lessons with her.....I think we need to slow down just a little!! (but we're on a roll!!)   Last night, we headed for the trails again; the bugs were very bad so walking was not high on her list of intentions but, she tried very hard! 

It was very hard for me to send this mare for training...away from home.  I think I found the courage to do that from the messages on this board. To all of you, thanks!

Annie F

Joined: Wed May 2nd, 2007
Location: Princeton, New Jersey USA
Posts: 62
Status:  Offline
Hi Joann,

Congratulations on sending your mare to a trainer and getting such a happy result!  When you say you need to slow down, and that walking is not her favorite thing, it made me think of my own mare, who is just 4 now, and had the same approach--she thought trotting was always preferrable, or worse, jigging...before I bought her, I took her to a clinic where the clinician commented on how "hot" she was and who had me trotting around and around in circles trying to settle her down, and with all the pulling I was doing, she and I were both getting more tense.  I was very discouraged, and I thought "well, this mare is not for me," and "wow, I must be a very  bad rider!"

I had worked with Mike Schaffer a little bit, months before that (when I owned a different horse), and I thought about his advice to not let the horse go badly, and I remembered that in his clinics, every time the horse or rider got unbalanced or began pulling or really did anything wrong, he told them to stop and start over again--even if it was every few steps.   He said the more transitions you do, the more you will learn.

So I took my mare home and began working with her in the arena, asking her to walk calmly, and every time she began to trot or jig I just stopped her.  I didn't  get frantic about it or reprimand her or get impatient, I just stopped, and then gave her the verbal command "walk" again, and we would walk until she decided again it was time to jig off, and then we would stop again.  I just decided we would not trot until I was ready to ask her.

We worked on this for 2-3 weeks--we hardly ever did anything but walk.  We walked all kind of patterns, but each time she got tense or tried to trot off, we stopped.  Within a few days she began to settle, and after awhile, when she realized she was not the one in charge, she began focusing more on her walk.  The amazing thing was that, as she settled into a walk, she began really striding out, and I discovered she had a wonderful, ground-covering walk.  I started to realize that I wasn't a bad rider, just one who needed a better technique, and that she was not a hot horse, just one that liked to move but needed to know that she would just have to move on my schedule.

We also worked on this out on the trail. 

A few years ago I found an article on line (I don't remember where) called "The Patience Game."  It talked about how you just have to be more persistent than your horse.  Even if I don't have tons of experience, I decided I have plenty of time, so I just work on things patiently and consistently. 

I'm sure there are people on this forum with other good ideas and way more experience than I have, but for me, this really helped, so I thought I would mention it to you.  A lot of these things have come slowly, but when I see my horse change and improve, it is so rewarding!   

Annie F



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