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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2007
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    Default Horse won't halt!

    Hi everyone, I am looking for some help. I am riding a really sweet horse for a friend but he barely knows anything and has several bad training issues. Literally, he knows how to go forward and that is about it. First, he has almost no halt. The only way he was trained is by pulling back very hard on his mouth. Needless to say he has a dead mouth. All his downward transitions were taught this way too. Just pulling on his mouth. He does know how to woah, but he dislikes standing still so he won't listen to verbal commands very well. It takes a good 7 strides for him to listen and you must pull back or it will never happen. I was not taught to ride this way. Like I said, he knows how to, because when he is tired or the ride is over he will listen to verbal commands but he really does not want to any other time. This is hard to work with because he doesn't listen to the seat either. Sitting trot means rush into canter. He does listen to my seat with canter to trot transitions because I taught him, but that is it. He is ridden by owner with counter flexing and has no concept of bending to the inside or moving away from leg pressure. Leg in any form means scoot forward. We have no half halt because we have no connection to the outside rein due to his history. I really like this horse and want to help but I don't know where to begin. This friend cannot afford a trainer. I am currently riding this horse with a trainer but infrequently, because I can't afford it along with my regular lessons. Please, no bashing. This is not my horse, so I can only do as much as I can and I am trying my best. The owner loves the horse and realizes he needs a training overhaul.



  2. #2
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    Oct. 13, 2006
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    Default

    Dont worry about the halt until you have supple and half halts first to balance before halt.

    Try to use figures to slow and aid in your ability to rely on your seat.

    GOod luck!
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  3. #3
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    Aug. 14, 2004
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    Personally I would go back to square one and "re start" this guy. That means lunging to instill basic obedience to voice commands etc.

    once he goes as you wish on the lunge then start incorporating ridden work.... you should have voice commands now and you will just have to re-wire him to do as you ask without pulling on the reins....

    One of the most critical aspects of this will be to get him supple so he isn’t bulging in his under neck... so I would not do much straight aways - do mostly bended lines and circles....

    Good luck.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    Mar. 3, 2010
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    What MBM said for sure. But if you wish to continue to ride at the same time change things up a bit.

    Add some work in hand with a whip aid and specific sound for a halt. Forward walk to halt, forward walk to halt. You can use an exhale for the halt too.

    Is he ridden in a bit? What kind? Snaffle? Change to a pelham for safety.

    OR add a noseband or neck rope on his chest. It puts a lot of reins in your hands and you may or may not be comfortable with that. Work only at the walk halt till he is reliable. Give a single rein aid so he cannot lean preferably on the outside rein.

    Knowing a little more about him would be helpful. Breed? Size? Temperment? Demeanor?
    “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
    ? Albert Einstein



  5. #5
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    Apr. 22, 2007
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    Thanks to all that have responded so far! I am leaning towards restarting totally, or at least splitting the sessions to half groundwork. The horse is a thoroughbred, around age 10, and he is around 16 h. Very lovable but has a propensity for acting silly and has lots of bad habits like bolting and other antics. Once he buckles down he has a great irk ethic and try. He likes to test. As for half halts, he doesn't know them and don't go through when I attempt. He isn't in the outside rein since he was always ridden counterbent and doesn't know to yield over from the leg. Doesn't know what the seat means. He doesn't have a bulging under neck muscle actually. One of things I have accomplished is getting him to stretch into contact though not evenly due to him not going into the outside rein. He will do so nicely and evenly on the straight side of the arena. What he does to avoid halting is he bears down on the reins. He is in a French link snaffle now.



  6. #6
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    Oct. 26, 2007
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    San Jose, Ca
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    Default

    yep, I would completely restart, first ground work, then lunging... I would then go to a side pull... Teach yield to pressure. A horse like this (and I have restarted a horse like this), I rode in a side pull, let him just carry the bit. Then moved to double reins (one on snaffle bit, one on side pull), then moved to just the snaffle when the horse learned to respond to SEAT.



  7. #7
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    Apr. 22, 2007
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    Sorry, autocorrect messed me up! So, one of my few accomplishments so far is his contact. It was atrocious before but now he stretches to contact and follow it down to the ground. Sometimes he still curls but less and less. He will also listen to my seat from the canter to the trot. Other than that, he is greenie with some very bad training habits and aversions. He really is a good guy but he has been allowed to do what he wishes for the most part, for most of his life. I know he can be great!



  8. #8
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    Jun. 12, 2007
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    Westchester County, NY
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    Completely re-start from the ground up. I'd caution against doing the 50/50 groundwork/riding thing. Getting back on him at all before he has the tools to do things right will just undermine the progress you make during the groundwork time.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2003
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    MA
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    Yes, the bearing down on the reins is a lack of longitudinal balance. He is going forward and downhill-- he braces to avoid the feeling of falling forward.

    Re-starting him is usually the best course. But there are things that you can do in the saddle to get him to rebalance and carry himself more behind.

    1. One thing to do is to not let him ever hang or balance himself on the reins. Pull back on the reins, then release totally. Drop him! He will be forced to balance himself so that he doesn't fall on his face.

    2. Work on a circle or figure 8. Letting this horse go large and straight just allows him to get more and more strung out and on the forehand.

    3. Work on speed control. Try to get three distinct speeds at the walk, trot and canter. Use all of your aids. Horse should slow down when you ask and stay there until you ask for him to go faster. If he hangs on the reins, bring him right back to the walk every single time.

    Good luck, and p.s. please don't fuss with him at the halt. You can ruin it forever. It is enough that he stops without pulling on the reins. Don't try to make him stand still or square or anything right now.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  10. #10
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    Oct. 16, 2008
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    Central Oklahoma
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    Default

    Like others have said, ride him like you were starting a young horse under saddle.

    Don't worry about the bends, or half halt - a horse this green will not understand them. He will learn them after he understand basic aids for changing gaits, but not before. Right now he is allowed to be crooked, or have his nose in the air, or whatever. The first thing you need to teach him is how to change gaits - put everything else in the back burner.

    Example: Trot-Walk transition: At trot, go through your normal aid to ask for walk. If he slows down a bit, or even just thinks about it, immediately release all your aids to allow him to go forward. If you feel comfortable, move your inside hand forward a few inches to pet him on the inside neck. Repeat, repeat, repeat. He will start to make the connection between your slowing down aids and the action of slowing down(not before), you are ready to demand him to "walk". If you have to pull him hard to walk the first few times, so be it. The main thing is to make sure you release your aids the moment he walks, and then pet him. Don't worry about his having a "hard" mouth now. You will sensitize his mouth with correct and patient training.

    This is the same for walk-halt, or any downward transition.



  11. #11
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    May. 28, 2006
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    Default

    Is he off the track?



  12. #12
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    If he is this uneducated why canter and trot?

    20m walk circle.
    Legyield out on circle.
    Change direction, legyield out on new curve.
    Build up to being able to do counter bent curves.

    Establish halt transitions from walk until they are easy and from the seat.



  13. #13
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    Feb. 6, 2003
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    Default

    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    If he is this uneducated why canter and trot?

    20m walk circle.
    Legyield out on circle.
    Change direction, legyield out on new curve.
    Build up to being able to do counter bent curves.

    Establish halt transitions from walk until they are easy and from the seat.
    Because transition of gaits is basic, far more basic than leg yield, or circle even at walk is. Most youngsters who have had three months of under saddle training can walk/trot/canter.



  15. #15
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    Jan. 23, 2012
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    Default

    I agree with the posters that said to restart him. Get him listening to the aids and voice commands on the ground. I would lunge him with either side reins or European (V) reins with the lunge line through the bit on the insde and attached to the saddle or lunge cavesson. After he is listening to the voice commands then you could get on him while someone is lunging him so the ground person can help you control him. This is basically how you start a young horse. I would still use the voice commands when you ride him for clarity and he will eventually link the command to the seat aid and then you can stop using the voice commands. The lunging also helps when you are trying to teach the inside and outside aids becuase the ground person can help bring the horse in the circle or help push him out.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
    Because transition of gaits is basic, far more basic than leg yield, or circle even at walk is. Most youngsters who have had three months of under saddle training can walk/trot/canter.
    With every single horse I sit on for the first time, whether the owner is telling me it is made or it is the horse's first time under saddle period, or anything in between, the VERY FIRST THING it learns/needs to check off before proceeding, is "Step away from my leg to the outside."

    Thing number one is do that.

    It doesn't necessarily take more than 20 minutes of doodling around at the walk to teach the basics of, but you won't get anywhere far if you don't check off that box first.


    I do this with every single horse I meet and every single new lesson student.

    If there is one piece of training advice I could give each and every horsebackrider in the universe, that would be it. Do not pass go, do not collect $100, until you can move the horse to the outside from your inside leg.



  17. #17
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    Apr. 10, 2006
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    Horsey needs to be re-started.

    Train a halt on the ground first. Stud chain, dressage whip, horse learns whoa and go. If the horse won't stand still after you ask for a whoa, you just practice whoa over and over. Calmly, and always releasing the pressure when the horse does stand.

    The voice commands act as a bridge once you are on them. They start to associate your seat and leg aids with the voice command. Whoa means STOP. Have yet to have this method fail-- I won't ever attempt anything else, ever again.

    Obviously it is kind of rudimentary for dressage and perhaps not "correct," but it is a building block. On a basic level, horse needs to know GO first and foremost, then Stop, and then you can build from there.

    It is amazing how quickly they pick up on subtle cues once they make the connection. My OTTB had NO brakes, as evidenced by the twisted wire she was being ridden in. Now all I have to do is shift my weight a little and I get a lovely halt. Thank you voice commands for providing the light bulb for her....
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  18. #18
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    Dec. 3, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by talkofthetown View Post
    Is he off the track?
    I was wondering about this too.

    It is my understanding that racehorses are taught the opposite when it came to what it means when the reins are pulled back. In other words, when re-training the ex-racehorse, don't pull back on the reins if you want them to stop but do the opposite and really give to the bit.

    This may not be true but it is something I've always believed. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bastet View Post
    I was wondering about this too.

    It is my understanding that racehorses are taught the opposite when it came to what it means when the reins are pulled back. In other words, when re-training the ex-racehorse, don't pull back on the reins if you want them to stop but do the opposite and really give to the bit.

    This may not be true but it is something I've always believed. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!
    OK, first up, have you ever watched a jockey slow a horse after a race? They are pulling on the bridle.

    Secondly, when you are retraining a horse, from whatever discipline, you are training it to do what YOU want. If YOU want pulling on the reins to mean "whoa," regardless of who or what came before, then tell the horse that pulling on the reins means "whoa." He will not pyschically learn it if you never pull on the reins.


    I retrain oodles of ottbs (and non-ottbs).
    EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. the first thing I do when I hop on is walk on a curve, apply inside leg, and ask the horse to step out. The horse must learn to step OVER from inside leg, and not run through the brilde.

    When we have a nice, long/low necked free walk, softly accepting a light but consistent rein, then we proceed.

    Do not pass go, do not collect $100, etc.



  20. #20
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    Dec. 3, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post

    Secondly, when you are retraining a horse, from whatever discipline, you are training it to do what YOU want. If YOU want pulling on the reins to mean "whoa," regardless of who or what came before, then tell the horse that pulling on the reins means "whoa." He will not pyschically learn it if you never pull on the reins.
    I understand that but I don't believe I said you should never pull back on the reins. I'm sorry if it sounded like I was suggesting that. I only meant that it would be helpful to know if the horse was off the track because if he was then the training tools may need to be thought of in a slightly different view rather than a horse that might just have holes in his training.



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