Monday, January 5, 2009

Horse Evaluation Before Training

Not All Horses Were Created Equal
Evaluating a horse's current training level and abilities allows me as the trainer to establish a 'base point' or starting point. I am then able to customize a step-by-step progressive training program that will really work for the horse based on the horse's temperament and learning ability. Makes sense...

Getting the Horse to Like Their Job
As a trainer, I really want the horse to 'get into' or like what we're doing. That's where Effective Horsemanship comes into my training methods. I want the horse to become a part of the team. A happy horse or student always learns better and it makes it more enjoyable for me too.
Personally, I would say that the horse learning to enjoy their job is as important to me (or more) as well as meeting the expectations of the owner. That way I accomplish more than what the owner expected.

Many horses without the benefit of a customized training program geared to the horse are deemed 'untrainable' when the horse doesn't fit the training program and not the other way around. Sad really....

Silk Purse Out of A Sow's Ear
The custom program works best as it also must meet the realistic expectations of the owner or rider. Horses today are specialized for certain events so some horses may not be able to meet owner's expectations. No amount of training can make up for an untrainable horse.

Trigger's Starting Point

Trigger had been used as a general riding horse and camp horse. Not much else of his background could be found as the previous owner had passed away.
After my evaluation ride, I was able to determine that Trigger was indeed trained or 'broke' to ride, had many miles on him, and was good on trails.
Not much of a foundation training however.

Tool Bag- Horse's Can't Unlearn What They Already Know
As a general riding horse, with many riders, horses tend to acquire a set of skills in their 'tool bag' ( as I like to call it) that allows them to get away with or resisting requests by the rider. The horse sees how much they can get away with not doing. It's one of their favorite pastimes.
I'm sure many reader's of this blog know what kind of horse I'm talking about.

Dull Mouth and Dull Sides
So Trigger is a typical riding horse that is heavy or dull in the mouth (I had to pull hard to get him to stop or turn etc) and very dull on the sides (he was totally unresponsive to my left leg). See photo above showing reistance and a dull mouth.

Previous Training or Quick Study
Trigger did show that he was a quick learner and did not get 'pissy' at all. He was not a bad minded horse. I really like that. Either he's had some training in his youth or he's shown an interest to want to learn. Which is great! Sometimes ole 'war horses' are too sour to train.

Owner's Goals
My student, the owner would like to be able to use this horse as a general riding horse to be used on trails. She would also like the horse responsive and safe for her husband to ride. What she refers to as a 'hubby' horse.

Goals of the Tune Up (Training)
Here are the goals:
1. For Trigger to get a better basic handle or foundation. This would include things like the Emergency 1 Rein stop, softer in the face, responsive in the sides. In other words... better body control... (more about this as we go along).
2. Minimize the undesirable skills that Trigger learned as a general riding horse. Speeding up to unbalance rider, pulling reins out of rider's hands, ignoring requests.... You get the idea....3. For Trigger to be safe and respectful to the rider so both the rider and horse enjoy their time together riding. To be safe enough for beginner riders to enjoy.

This all starts with GROUNDWORK......

If you want help with any type of problems or training, please feel free to contact me.
©Copyright KISS Reiners

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