Of Horse

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Making Progress
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Making Progress

Sometimes making progress takes a short time, sometimes it takes a long time. There isn't a "set" time frame for teaching a horse something new or retraining it. It really depends on the horse. 

I mentioned before how every horse is different. They each have their own limits, & learning abilities. They each learn differently & will excel in certain areas, where others might not. Some horses are smart, quick learners, some are slow & it takes quite some time for them to catch on. Sometimes... it's the teacher. 

If you're teaching your horse something specific & after 2 weeks he just isn't getting it, then perhaps you should ask someone for help or advice. Normally it takes something new to become a habit in about 2 weeks. You might have to change your antics to get the lesson learned. You have to be flexible in your teaching methods because what works for one, may not work for another. Learning all you can from different trainers will aid you in teaching your horse what it is you want from him. Ask, insist, persist. Sometimes we get in a hurry, ask the wrong way, don't give the horse the chance to make the right choice or don't release pressure soon enough. 

If you ever wonder why your horse has aquired bad habits & you've had him/her for a while, chances are you're allowing a behavior & it becomes a habit for the horse. Some things we think are "cute or funny" could instead be leading up to a bad habit. Pay attention to your actions, what you ask & how your horse responds. That's the kicker right there.... how does your horse respond? 

Cookie is coming along very well. She is a slow learner in some areas & quick as lightning in others. 

She has learned that burning off some of that excess energy can be quite fun & is still learning that pinning her ears, shaking her head & tucking her butt in attempt to kick is NOT going to happen. She challenges me often & I must remain alert & firm in my actions. Testing is fine. She is wanting to make sure I still hold up as the Alpha. When she does what I ask & we come to a hault, Petting & love is her reward. She relaxes, begins to chew & even perks her ears forward. She doesn't "fear" me, she respects me & I her. 

Today we cantered some in both directions. She didn't do well, but she did it. That was all I was asking for today to get rid of that built up, pent up energy. Even as warm as it was here ( 65* ) she broke into a slight sweat but is getting in amazing shape. It didn't take long for her respiration & heart rate to come to normal which means less walking it off to cool down. We still walk for a good long time so our muscles don't cramp or "tie up" on us. I do say WE. When she's working, so am I. Sometimes I'll jog next to her which is something new for her. Even if I'm not jogging, I'm moving in a large circle with her. I respect her space, she respects mine, it's not in an antagonizing manner & we both get our exercise in. I take advantage of every good day I can because I never know when Winter will raise its head again & Cookie has been gaining some good fat weight, but I want to keep her in shape & prevent founder. When we're not working because of the weather, but it's not raining, I'll place several small piles of hay all around so she grazes from one to the next. Doing this is benefical in many ways, like improving circulation to her feet, it helps to keep her warm, it is more like her natural state of grazing from one area to the next & it helps her to relax because she can move all around & not constantly be on full alert. Even if she does go on full alert, she can move all around her paddock & still grab a bite to eat. I can achieve almost the same thing with hay nets, but they don't give her the "grazing" factor. ( Sorry, side tracked for a moment)

Whenever you're working with your horse whether it's something new or something old, never be in a rush to get it done. Let your horse "THINK" his way through things & he'll best figure out how to do it. They are in our world, not the other way around. Be sure when you ask, you pause, insist, pause, persist, pause. Things can get out of hand in a hurry & when they do you won't be getting what you asked for, but a horse that is out of control.  

If your horse gets out of control you have 2 options. Either Whoa or Go. When you whoa, you're starting over. Let your horse stand there for a few moments so you & your horse can regroup. When you go it doesn't give your horse the time to "learn" something that may have been bad. If you're working on standing still, make him move his feet so that standing still is much easier than moving his feet. When he stands still, praise him, pet him. *NOTE* Don't "pat" your horse, rub him instead. They relax & respond much better because they don't get "patted" in the wild. I've done it both ways & rubbing works so much better. Maybe as a praise you could rub him in a feel good spot for a few moments as a reward. 

Just be patient, give your horse time to think & respond, & always end on a positive note. When your horse does the right thing 3 times. Stop the work, praise him, let him stand there a few moments to absorb it & give him a good brush down complete with hoof cleaning & mane & tail combing. You'll have a happier healthier more responsive horse in the long run. 

Then the next time you work him, review the last learned item to make sure he's got it, then move on to the next. 

Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.

More about Progress, Training, Walk, Trot, Lunging

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  1. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    Voted. Great blog. I believe your teaching methods should be used for people too!
    1. Rene Wright
      Rene Wright
      Thanks! I do hope those who need the help.... heed the help ;)

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