|California 5 year old RMHxPP, just started
saddle work, ridden in a PP Bozal - 2' wide round and a in a arena sized
corral, round pen coming... by a med. experienced rider, but new
Question: My mare was started (round pen trained & about 9
rides) at four and then left alone to have a foal. Since both joined
our life this summer, I have been doing basic
ground work. But she is bored with this alone, so we have started
under saddle again--4 rides so far in the arena sized corral.
She starts and stops better each time. And she is really flexible and
responsive. My problem is when I ask her to turn, she keeps on turning.
Or once she stops turning she
continues meanders on whatever path she likes. She just doesn't
understand to stop turning and then go straight until asked to do something
I am new at training and I don't want to confuse her by pulling one
side then the other to get her to go straight. Exactly what cues
can I use to show her what I mean? (So
far I have not been able to find a good natural trainer locally (Sacramento/Ione
area) to help train both of us.)
From Panelist Laura
Since you are both fairly new to this - you will have to work on giving
horse very clear messages. She doesn't know to straighten out
once you are
done turning. You will have to use your reins to straighten her
out and keep
her from meandering from side to side. You are probably over-turning
without realizing it. Use very light pulls with your fingertips
on the reins
and keep doing small, gentle pulls from side to side as she first goes
way and then the other. It is not some type of failure to have
correcting her. Much of training is constant, gentle correction
horse figures out what she is supposed to do (such as walking forward
straight line). When she is walking in a straight line, praise
her and be
sure you are not pulling on either rein (don't use your reins for balance).
Her reward is getting out of her mouth (not pulling on her) and the
for a job well done.
Keep a positive outlook - training is fun - and realize that you have
teach her to walk straight, she won't just do it on her own.
From Panelist Lee
It sounds as if you are using only your reins to turn her? Learning
left, go straight, stop are some of the more important lessons of a
life. To teach these things, you have to be very simple and direct
cues, and use both your legs and your reins (as well as your seat).
to turn right by pressing with your left leg against her side, just
hangs in the stirrup, and lightly "leading" her to the right by pulling
and to the side with your right rein, while very slightly weighting
right seatbone. Slack off the pull on the rein the instant she
turn. (don't keep telling her to turn with the rein unless you
circle), and stop using the weight and leg cues as you begin to ask
straighten out. If she wants to keep turning, press with
your right leg
against her side, again, just where it hangs in the stirrup, sit straight
the saddle (weight not to either side) and if necessary, take a little
contact with the left rein to ask her to go straight. Release
pressure as soon as she goes straight.
Most green horses take a while to learn to go in a straight line --
need help to "aim" them with reins, seat and legs. You won't
the horse if you tell her to stop turning by a light use of the opposite
rein to keep her from continuing on a curve. After a few more
will feel less like "pushing a cooked noodle" and will understand that
legs and hands (reins) are a guide for where she is to go.
Good luck with your horse. You may need to send her to a trainer
to get a
little more of the "green" worn off before you do much riding with
she is as unsure as she sounds.