Specialist topic - starting a young horse

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Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 35


The sun was shining this morning, a lovely day for a bush ride. The ranch is surrounded by state forest so there is no shortage of tracks to choose from. After a short stroll, Hamids first test was a nice hill. He was feeling good and started in an easy canter. He didn't quite make it the whole way, but he did his best. At the top of the hill is always a wet area. So his next test was getting wet feet. He didn't care about that. So far so good. To test him a bit more we decided to do a bit of bush bashing. There is a very overgrown path back to the ranch. Hamid stood his ground against all the branches in his face and around his feet. It didn't even bother him that they made scratching noises on the helmet and saddle. Way to go Hamid! After an hour we were back and very pleased. He didn't spook once an behaved as a real gentleman. Hamid would make a great trail riding or endurance horse.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 36


After a relaxed day yesterday, we started in the arena today to do some more serious work. As said before we are teaching Hamid lateral and vertical flextion. With new exercises we always start in a walk. When the exercise is understood we take it to a trot. Hamid did a good job working on the bit in the walk, but still needs some work in the trot. It was a fairly intense lesson so to wind down we took Hamid for a short bush ride afterwards. Nice and relaxed, on a long rein and easy terrain. We like to take the dogs out. They walk in front of the young horses to give them some direction. Plus the horse gets used to animals running in and out of the bush, it prepares them for roos or emu encounters.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 37


Sorry guys that we didn't post for a couple of days. Busy, busy with the horses. That's life! But here are some more updates about Hamid's last couple of days. Enjoy!

We always keep in mind what the owner wants to do with the horse when it gets back home. Does the owner want a horse for competition and do they want him very sensitive, so he will steer with the slightest move off your seat? Or do they want a horse that they can take into the bush and that won't respond to every slight move of the rider because they were just shifting their weight and enjoying the views? We don't know who the new owner and rider of Hamid will be, so this doesn't apply to him. We trained him fairly sensitive, but still very comfortable and relaxed. Hamid is sensitive enough by himself. In the first stages of his training we had to do a lot of desensitizing with him. Now we made him a bit more responsive again. Hamid is nicely balanced now.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 38


Hamid's training is almost done. He has a rest in the paddock at the moment, maybe thinking about all he learned the last couple of weeks;
* to accept the halter and be lead around
* how to float and have his feet done
* accepting saddle, bridle and rider
* a good knowledge of all 3 gaits, back up and stop
* responsive to voice commands, leg and rein aids
* to disengage his hind quarters and move his shoulder over
* a one rein stop
* familiar with poles, cones, obstacles and dogs
* bush rides
Not bad for a horse that hadn't been handled a lot before.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 39


We like to do some reining and cutting ourselves, so we teach the young horses some of the basics. We like a horse with a good easy stop. Hamid can make a stop from a walk and a trot, without touching the reins, just on the seat cue and a 'whoa'. To get a horse to stop underneat himself, we back them up after a stop. We don't teach the stop from a canter yet. It puts to much pressure on their legs. Hamid is also taught to do a roll back and he knows the basics for a spin (or turnaround on his hind legs). By practising these things we find that horses learn to use their hindquarters and get loose in their shoulders. We only do these exercises slow and with not to much pressure on the horse. We are not preparing them for a reining futurity.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 40


Hamid has had quite some training now and his condition and fitness improved a lot since we started. He can handle longer training sessions and a more cantering now. Because of all the exercises we did his hindquarters got strong and it is easier for him to carry himself. So today we did a lot of cantering and canter departures. We also worked on a lot of transitions from stop, walk, trot to canter and back. This will get him nice and responsive to the leg aids. In the different gaits we also ask for some speed control, so increase speed and come back in speed on the riders seat.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 41


We like to be open about our training. That's one of the reasons why we presented this day-to-day training. We also encourage people to come and have a look when we are working with their horse. And even have a ride when we think the horse is at a safe stage. The least we do is a hand over session at the end of the 6 weeks. Erwin will ride the horse and show the owner what the horse has been taught. Then we give the owner or the new rider a lesson on the horse. This way they get a feel and can ask questions about the training. It also makes it easier to ride the horse at home when they already ridden it before. We are always available for questions or lessons after the horse is back with it's owner. It is in our best interest to have a happy rider that enjoys riding his freshly started friend.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 42


This is Hamid's last day of training. He had a nice ride in the arena to confirm all the lessons he learned the past 6 weeks. We hope you enjoyed reading about Hamid's progress. We surely enjoyed working with him. Hamid is a smart young horse with a bright future in front of him.
Hamid is offered for sale by his owner. If you are interested in this now 'famous' horse please contact us. You can view and ride Hamid at our place. His price is negotionable as he must be placed in a good home.
 

Murray

Well-known Member
Staff member
Love the clip WR, well done and thank you for sharing it with us all. **)

cheers...admin
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
NEW Day to day training of Freckles

There has been a lot of interest in the day to day starting series of Hamid. Because of numerous requests we decided to do a new series for you.

We like to share with you how we work. But first we clearly state that this is NOT a guide on how to start a horse. Every horse is different and needs his own approach. To show you that we work with all kinds of horses we picked an older Clydesdale mare to share with you. Freckles is 8 years old and she had 2 lovely foals. Her owner wants to ride this very special girl so she came to us. This is Freckles's story...
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 1

Freckles arrived at the ranch today. She straight away makes a big impression on people. Not only because of her size (a good filled out 16 hh) but also because of her beauty.
All horses that get in for starting or training have the first day to settle in. The next day we start working with them. They get their own private paddocks, with automatic fresh water, safe electric fencing and other horses around to share experiences with. Our herd is pretty quiet and the surroundings here are very peacefull. Most horses settle in quick. Freckles loved her new extra big paddock.

 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 2

Today's the first day of work. As with all horses we do a join up and follow up. It was a bit of a challange for Freckles to do a canter in the round yard. After 2 steps she gave up. Which is fine. As long as they come in and want to be with us when we ask them to. Freckles hasn't been handled a whole lot. She was a bit wary at the beginning, but once we started brushing her she was fine. She has a problem with picking up her feet, so we didn't go there yet. We were able to touch her everywhere else. These first days are about getting to know each other.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 3

Freckles wants to be with us, so we don't do a join up any more. No use telling a horse we are boss if they already acknowledge that. First she gets a nice brush and then the work starts. Today we worked with ropes and a bag. The reason for this is that we want her comfortable around ropes and we can touch her legs and the rest of her body with the bag. This way we desensitize her. We also teach her to stand still if there is something she is scared off. So basically what you do is put pressure on her, by swinging the rope or touching her with the bag, and you keep this pressure up until she stands still. Then you take it away. This is the whole principle of training. You put 'pressure' somewhere, wait till the horse shows the behavior you want, then you take the pressure away.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 4

Yesterday we taught Freckles to accept the rope around her legs. We also were able to touch her feet. Today we want her to start picking them up. Freckles is 8 years old and never had her feet done yet. Nobody was able to pick them up. Being such a big girl she just puts all her weight on them and doesn't lift them. The first thing we do with that is loosen her legs, so keep her moving so she is shifting her weight. Then we ask her to lift her legs when we touch them. We don't hold on yet. As soon as she wants to plant them, we make her move again. Slowly we keep holding them longer, until she stands still and lifts them automatically for us. The whole process takes about 2-3 days. She has to learn to trust us, how to shift her weight and keep them up without leaning.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 5

Today Freckles has a day off. We work the horses in training 5 days per week. Most of the horses that come here are fairly young. They need a bit of a break and it also gives them time to let things sink in. Freckles had a big lesson yesterday with picking up her feet. We needed to make her work and keep her moving, otherwise she shuts down and plants her feet. What we see often after a day off is that they handle the exercises a lot better. See what Freckles thinks of picking up her feet tomorrow.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 6

As expected picking up feet went a lot better today. She easily gives them now. Front are a bit better then back. With the back feet she wants to walk off, but at least that is better then refusing to move. She will get there soon.
During the feet session on Day 4 we also put the bridle on (without reins). This way she could get used to the bridle without thinking to much about it. Freckles tends to play with the bit a lot, putting her tongue over and under the bit. We don't worry to much about this. She will find out that it is easier to keep her tongue under the bit. Fitting a saddle was a bit of a challenge, but our widest western saddle fits her well. She does needs a none slip pad under it. Because she is so round, although the saddle fits, it tends to slide. Once she is balanced this is not such a problem, but at the moment you do not want her to get afraid of a slipping saddle.
Lesson for today was getting used to the saddle and bridle and giving to the pressure of the rein. We need her to come of pressure and bend her head around. This way we can start teaching her the one rein stop and the beginning of steering.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 7

Today is the BIG day. Time for the first ride. During the past days we prepared Freckles for this moment. She is not afraid for things around her body, she is used to the saddle and bridle, she gives to pressure and she puts her trust in us. If we do our job right the first rides should go easy. As with Freckles today. We always use a mounting block in the beginning (even with small horses). Firstly because it puts a lot less pressure on the horse's back and second because lots of clients will use them later on. Also we always lead a horse around on the first sessions. The rider is purely to give the horse the feeling of the weight and the fact that a person is on her back. Slowly during the next days we will transfer the aids from the ground to the aids from the rider.
 

Western Ranch

Active Member
Day 8

Today should be a day off for Freckles. We work 3 days, one off, 2 days, one off. But because we just mounted her for the first time yesterday, we want to confirm that today. This time Erwin will make his presence more clear to her. He will wiggle in the sadde, pick up reins, pet her, slightly put his legs on. We also start the transfer of aids from the ground to the person in the saddle. I will turn right, Erwin will pick up the right rein and pressure with his left leg. I will say whoo and stop, Erwin will take the stop position. Freckles was a good girl about it all. If anything she wanted to stop if she was not sure of what was happening.
 
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