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Hi Cherry,

i just got a 4 year old gelding and he’s very skittish – fast movements scare him. He’s out in a good sized area with a female who is 15. besides the fact that he is skittish, every time he starts to be ok with me and fast movements she bites him. it’s like she is trying to make him bad so she gets all of the attention but i do my best to love on them both. He is my first horse and i don’t know alot about them but i love them and it’s to the point that i want to slug her for biting him but she isn’t mine. also is there a way to get him to be ok with the halter? I really think he’ll be a great horse i just need help training him so he can be. What books of yours would be the best for me to buy?

Shannon

Hi Shannon,

I have hundreds of articles on horse care and training on my website. Be sure to search there for your topic of interest.

Also I just posted a reply to another reader yesterday about her spooky horse so that will be helpful for you to read. (It is the article just before this one.)

As far as the mare biting your gelding, that is part of the pecking order with horses. You can read about pecking order in this article – Pecking Order at Feeding Time.

You ask if there is a way for your horse to be OK with the halter…..I’m not sure what you mean – do you mean haltering and unhaltering or leading or just general respect? Again, visit my main article archive and search some of your key words – there are a lot of articles there including a series on ground training a young horse, called the Sherlock series.

Finally, as far as book recommendations, you should probably read How to Think Like a Horse and What Every Horse Should Know and then branch out into the How-To books that are listed on my website.

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Hello Cherry,
I have a 3 yr old Trakehner X TB Gelding He just came home from 60 days of saddle training with an Event, TB trainer. I rode him 2 times during his training and was sent video’s of his progress. He is a lazy horse but was moving forward in the walk and trot when I rode him. Since coming home he is refusing to go forward under saddle. He will walk off for about 7-10 min and then he shuts down. I am using little to no contact on the reins. Riding in a Waterford D bit. He moves great off your leg, When he is going forward. When he stops and I apply leg he rises up as if ready to buck. When I use my long dressage whip on his rump he will kick out but still does not go forward. He will paw and sometimes try to bite me. I found that pushing him with my leg, “fighting” him to go forward is useless. He shuts down. If I sit there, let him relax, he will take a deep breath, then I can apply leg and say Walk On and usually he will go forward but sometimes it is just a step or two. He did well with a lead pony the other day but again after 10 min shut down. The trainer keeps telling me to stay after him but I refuse to fight him every time I ride. He is a very big horse, 16’3h I will never be able to push him when he is in shut down mode. I have started 2 young horses before him being the first rider on their backs. I ride english and have 30+ years experience. He is the first one that will not go forward. He is kind horse and thankfully has not reared up but I am afraid that will be next. I am riding in the same saddle, brand, model and tree size that the trainer used. I would appreciate any suggestions. I plan on having this horse for life. A partnership is a must. Thank you in advance,
C M B

Dear CMB,

I know this doesn’t help you solve your horse’s problems but it must be said. It is hard for me to imagine a horse coming from 60 days of saddle training and having this behavior. One of the most important goals of any training is to develop and preserve forward movement.


Check my website article page for many articles and Q&As related to this topic such as

Horse Won’t Move Forward

From what you describe, my inclination would be to go back to ground training to establish forward movement in a variety of situations. By ground training, I mean:

1. In-hand work including walk, trot, figures, obstacles.

Refer to my In Hand Checklist posted previously.

2. Longeing with or without tack, with focus on forward movement.

Benefits and Uses of Longeing

3. Long lining (ground driving) to establish moving forward with tack.

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In-Hand Checklist

©  2010 Cherry Hill © Copyright Information

In-hand work is often thought of as the basic operating procedure to get a horse from point A to point B. There is much more to it than that.

Whether you are working with an untrained horse or trying to improve the manners of an older horse, start from square one and spend plenty of time on these lessons. They will help you immeasureably in the next stages of training, longeing, long lining, and riding. Throughout in-hand lessons, give special attention to tack selection and fit, consistency of a horse’s performance, the horse’s position in relation to you, and, at the top of the list, safety.

  • Can be caught easily
  • Can be haltered smoothly
  • Can be turned loose safely
  • Will walk on a lead alongside handler, handler on near side
  • Will walk on a lead alongside handler, handler on off side
  • Will perform the following maneuvers with handler on either side:
    • Walk
    • Trot
    • Stop
    • Turn left
    • Turn right
    • Back
    • Turn on the forehand
    • Turn on the hindquarters
    • Halt on the long line
  • Can be easily led with the bridle
  • Can be led with halter or bridle away from other horses
  • Can be led over obstacles such as
    • Ground poles
    • Plywood or platform
    • Concrete
    • Plastic or tarp
  • Can be led by obstacles such as
    • Flag
    • Tractor
    • Plastic on fence
  • Is easy to lead through a gate
  • Is easy to load into a trailer
  • Stands still when tied to post (no pawing, chewing, swinging hindquarters)
  • Stands still when cross-tied
  • Picks up and holds up each foot for hoof care and shoeing
  • Moves over while tied when asked
  • Stands quietly for clipping, reasonable sacking, saddling, bridling
Horse Handling and Grooming by Cherry Hill

Horse Handling and Grooming by Cherry Hill

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