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Training the Show Horse


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#11 SunlitFarmTraining

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 04:56 PM

QUOTE (Jrchloe @ Aug 21 2008, 05:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you. You are the first person to actually give a straight answer about when to use a side check or overcheck. Not disagreeing with you just I have heard that you want to work on the canter after the trot is good but I woundn't show a horse until he could canter nicely. I am very glad to have found this forum.


Actually you're right ~ depending on where you are in the horse's training process. I should have prefaced by saying in my prior post that I was referring to a *trained* or *finished* horse as opposed to a young greenie. smile.gif When starting a horse under saddle, it's pretty much "walk before you can run": I'm going to be sure the horse has a wonderful walk, then a wonderful jog or trot, then a wonderful lope or canter and last a terrific hand gallop.

Glad you found this forum too, this really is a great bunch of folks! biggrin.gif

#12 Jrchloe

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 05:05 PM

Say you have a finished horse that can collect but he doesn't lift his backend very high. Are calvetties the only way to get him to step up higher? Im not saying hackney high but just higher than 6 inches off the ground? Is it a strength issue even though when you put something on his back feet like bell boots he lifts up and under very nicely?

#13 SunlitFarmTraining

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 05:27 PM

QUOTE (Jrchloe @ Aug 21 2008, 06:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Say you have a finished horse that can collect but he doesn't lift his backend very high. Are calvetties the only way to get him to step up higher? Im not saying hackney high but just higher than 6 inches off the ground? Is it a strength issue even though when you put something on his back feet like bell boots he lifts up and under very nicely?


My preferred way of teaching a horse to begin to use the hindquarters more are rollbacks in the round pen while longlining. This is also an excellent means of teaching front end elevation, impulsion and getting the horse square. I try to refrain from utilizing my [longe] whip too much, but I want the horse to reach up and under, with some horses that's got to be accomplished by making them *think* they're going to get brushed with the whip. What I want is a conditioned response that I can then translate to under saddle work, so I also add a verbal cue to the horse. Naturally, I'll be using leg and seat while riding, as opposed to the whip, but I want the horse thinking about what I'm asking, so the verbal cue relates what we've done in lines to our under saddle work. Cavaletti's (I actually like using railroad ties smile.gif) or more accurately, ground poles, can work ~ but remember as well, the horse *knows* the difference between going down the rail and stepping over those poles. They're usually smarter than that. wink.gif

#14 Jrchloe

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 05:36 PM

I'm sorry but could you please describe the whole rollback thing.

#15 SunlitFarmTraining

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:12 PM

QUOTE (Jrchloe @ Aug 21 2008, 06:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm sorry but could you please describe the whole rollback thing.


Rollbacks are actually a maneuver used in Reining horse patterns but are a wonderful tool for getting the horse to use his hocks. A rollback combines a stop, a reversal of direction, and loping/cantering off on the correct (opposite from the original direction) lead. Under saddle, to teach the rollback, I start with a series of small steps, building up to a true rollback. Here is a synopsis from my book (remember this pertains to training the reiner, but the process under saddle is essentially the same for any discipline:

>>> "At the outset, once Iím ready to familiarize a horse with the concept of stopping and turning (the precursor to spinning), Iíll practice teaching him to set himself on his haunches and do what we call ďrollbacksĒ against the fence. Initially, he must understand what legs and seat mean, much moreso than hands on the reins. Thatís accomplished by lots of circling and serpentines, instilling in him a good understanding of moving off my legs and turning when I shift my hips and my weight in the saddle. I should also be able to freely move him off the rail and back onto the rail while going straight, just by shifting my weight slightly and using my legs. Only then can he progress another step.

He has to understand what Iím asking him to do, so Iíll start by walking him down the rail first, moving him ever so slightly off the rail (about 5-8 feet out toward the center of the arena) and then, not too abruptly, turning him back into the rail using precious little rein and relying almost entirely on the shifting of my weight on the stirrups and in the saddle. As described above, he should already know what that means and he ought to respond properly.

Once heís comfortable with ďrolling backĒ at the walk, you can start to put him into a gentle jog down the rail and ask for another rollback. I donít like to work too long in each session on rollbacks, but would rather spread it out over a number of days and/or weeks until Iíve got utter confidence from the horse in what heís being asked to do.

The idea is that he will be learning how to rotate his weight back onto his hindquarters and begin to almost ďsitĒ, digging deeper with his haunches with the practice of each turn -- and by listening to your body language alone. Should he begin to lean on your hands and rely too much on the reins to guide him, youíre pulling on his mouth and you have to go back a step or two until you can achieve the desired result without so much contact on the reins.

Pretty soon he should be capable of jogging off down the rail and, with the slight shifting of weight, sit his haunches down and turn, moving off your legs with ease. Then you can begin to ask for rollbacks at the lope and, eventually, the gallop. Remember the old adage, you have to walk before you can run! Itís even more true when training horses than just about anything else. A good, well performed rollback will look effortless and give the appearance of the horse and rider working entirely as one. Once the horse (and his rider) have mastered the rollback, you can begin to work on the other aspects of a beginning reiner or working western horse, but thatís the foundation.
" <<<

Okay, how do we translate that maneuver to working in longlines? Since we don't have legs on the horse and we're not able to use our seat on him, either, we have to substitute the lines and our longe whip, as well as our body language. As long as the horse is confidently trotting (my preferred gait for beginning longline rollbacks) around the pen, and we want to be sure he knows how to stop and reverse into the rail, too, the idea is to encourage the horse to cease forward motion and reverse direction. That's accomplished by using the outside line with a slight bump and stepping in front of the horse's shoulder in order to request that change of direction. Only if the horse tries to run through my cues will I show him the whip. With each turn, the horse should be working harder and digging deeper with his haunches, which will translate into a more folded hock and thus more impulsion. I don't work on rollbacks for very long periods at a time, and not every day or in every session. Generally I can see a marked difference in the horse within just a few sessions.

Hopefully this was easily understandable. biggrin.gif

#16 Jrchloe

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:36 PM

Its a little fuzzy. Is it just like a quick reverse and trot on?

Do arabian trainers use action devices like stretchies, chains and straps to help with motion in SS training?

#17 SunlitFarmTraining

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:43 PM

QUOTE (Jrchloe @ Aug 21 2008, 07:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Its a little fuzzy. Is it just like a quick reverse and trot on?

Do arabian trainers use action devices like stretchies, chains and straps to help with motion in SS training?


Simply put, essentially yes ~ however with emphasis on tucking and utilizing the hindquarters more effectively.

Yes, some Arabian trainers use action devices (and honestly, I believe they're overrated, though I will use them with some horses for specific reasons) at home, however, they are not allowed on a showgrounds during "A" rated Arabian shows.

#18 Jrchloe

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 06:54 PM

I'll do some research on rollbacks. I hope you don't mind me asking because you seem to know what you are talking about and are very nice about sharing information without preaching which I appricate but since I haven't touched a show horse in 2 years I'm a little rusty and I'm doing research I have a question - what is the theory behind using different weight chains and leather straps (aka dog collars)? When would you use what? When is it helpful and when can it be harmful for use? Other than chains and leather straps what else is considered an action device and what is the theory behind that as well?

#19 SunlitFarmTraining

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:06 PM

QUOTE (Jrchloe @ Aug 21 2008, 07:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'll do some research on rollbacks. I hope you don't mind me asking because you seem to know what you are talking about and are very nice about sharing information without preaching which I appricate but since I haven't touched a show horse in 2 years I'm a little rusty and I'm doing research I have a question - what is the theory behind using different weight chains and leather straps (aka dog collars)? When would you use what? When is it helpful and when can it be harmful for use? Other than chains and leather straps what else is considered an action device and what is the theory behind that as well?


Action devices can include stretchies, chains (which can be either metal or wooden beads, too), dog collars, shackles ~ there are quite a few varieties. More than anything else I use stretchies, and I use them sparingly for the purpose of developing muscles and strengthening tendons and ligaments. I do believe overuse can lead to uneven gaits/stride. Akin to weighted shoes, the theory behind chains and other action devices not attached to each other is to enhance the horse's breakover and length of stride (not so much height of stride).

Thank you for the kind words. I try to be as helpful as I can. smile.gif

#20 Jrchloe

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 08:08 PM

What about the use of over and side check (I understand how to adjust it). How would you hook up the lines while long lining and how would you get the horse to use it (respect it, etc)?