Jump to content


Photo

Starting youngsters to saddle work


3 replies to this topic

#1 Century Oak

Century Oak

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 508 posts
  • Location:Alabama

Posted 29 June 2010 - 12:40 PM

I'm curious to hear what others methods are for starting 4 year olds to saddle. I have steps I go through faster or slower depending on the individual, but am always interested in hearing other viewpoints :bigemo_harabe_net-03:

I have 2 four year old geldings that I'm getting ready to start, one a steady Eddie, and one a bit more reactive and opinionated and then a mare when the weather cools a bit.
Mental Meanderings Of A Barn Goddess

Guardian still to: Zandai Jasoor (Zandai Ibn Omar x Glorieta Saqlima) & Impress Rissala (Imtaarif x Zandai Om Roda)

Donna Sabatine
Kryo Kinetics USA Licensed Technician

Now serving Southeastern USA as well as South Central USA

#2 VanAlma

VanAlma

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,602 posts

Posted 29 June 2010 - 02:14 PM

I'm in the process of starting a few myself. I tend to do some desensitization, although more and more experience down the road is telling me I don't do enough. I just spent yesterday literally throwing a saddle pad at my 2 mares; on their back, head, neck, legs, from behind, from the front - just letting them know it was OK. I would not have done that had they not accepted the saddle pad being rubbed all over them first. Both stood there and looked at me like I was crazy. Better than me looking up at them like they are crazy.
Of course, lunge / round pen work is a must for responsiveness and basic commands. I have never really been a fad natural horsemanship person, but did like how Clinton Anderson teaches his horses to yield to halter pressure from the ground: basically making them become light to pressure and giving their head all the way to the left and right to get them to be more supple and responsive. I also pull their heads down as I have 1 that gets nervous and can pull back so she's learning the head goes down, not up and back.
I'm also starting to do turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches with pressure either at the girth or at the back of the rib cage. Again, this helps them become more supple and will help them be used to pressure on their sides once I'm in the saddle.
Another thing I learned to do the hard way, is to get up and stand higher than your horse. This startles them at first as a dominant horse can rear up and come down on another horse as a punnishment. So, I get up on a ladder or a turned over bucket or on a bunch of tires my husband needs to get rid of (cough cough) and stand way above their head. I pet them and talk to them and rub them all over from above. I have them go around me and turn to face me and come around the other way so they see me from all angles above them. This was learned from watching an old trainer who did a ton of desensitizing and rehabbed horses. I did it to my gelding right before I moved (he was not with me for about a year). He accepted a saddle, lunged etc but I also stood above him, layed on him, yanked on the stirrups, hit the saddle while it was on him, pet him etc quite bit from above. Last winter, my mom sent him to be broke for a month and the trainer and owner of the barn were astounded and how good he was. He just stood there while Jerome got up on him and walked off. No fuss. No nothing. I broke my ER mare the same way and when I got up she just stood there like "oh, you're there now? What else." Never a buck or anything.
It's always a challenge. I'd love to hear everyone's stories. So much learning can take place and sometimes the easiest thing can make the experience that much more positive and less dangerous. Let us know what you do :bigemo_harabe_net-03:

Van Alma Arabians
Find us on Facebook!


#3 Century Oak

Century Oak

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 508 posts
  • Location:Alabama

Posted 29 June 2010 - 02:42 PM

Very good points :bigemo_harabe_net-03: I've only had trouble with a horse being scared of anything over his head once, and that was a stallion years ago. We tried everything to desensitize him with no success until I finaly put a lunge line on him, tacked him up and stuck my 14 year old brother on him who could stick to anything like a monkey. No buck, but alot of skittering around and trying to bolt but between the round pen and the lunge line I was able to keep him under control until he settled then it was an non-issue.

Typically I start out lunging them with voice commands, once they have walk, trot and canter and most importantly WHOA down fine on a lunge we introduce the saddle and continue this routine until they will transition from voice alone. I know alot of people don't worry about voice cues but I find it makes the first few rides easier when they understand what "walk" means as opposed to trying to push them forward with the legs alone. From the saddle we go to some side reins and eventually long lining both on the lunge circle and around the yard practicing turns and stops. Once they are ground driving and turning / stopping well then they are usually ready for a rider. I have seen this take 3 months with one horse - took her a long time to learn self control - and I've seen it take 2 weeks with another so it just depends on the individual.

With the voice commands and ground driving it makes the first ride very easy as they understand turn and stop and go forward. From there it's just training as usual teaching them to move off of leg pressure and rate by using my seat. They have learned at this point to carry a bit with the long lining we do and there is no squabble about the bit or contact. I do like to do the flexing exercises and as soon as they are ready for it they all learn a one-rein stop. Usually mine are so desensitized to stuff flapping and flying around them at that point just from day to day stuff we do and the saddle blanket is not an issue but I have had a couple of rehabs that needed some pretty serious sacking out until they settled and even with sacking out some horses are just more reactive to unexpected stuff for a lifetime.

I don't use what I would call natural horsemanship stuff as it is marketed now, just plain common horse sense. If one is silly they work harder until they are listening.. WHOA is a que to stop and come for a pat and a rest, lots of "good boys" or girls and praise, short work sessions for short attention spans and once they are walking and trotting with control in the round pen or arena we hit the trails and that is what really makes them grow up. I'm lucky that I have friends with seasoned calm trail horses so we stick the babies behind them or between them and off we go!

I really enjoy starting them, but prefer to do my own as I already know what kind of personality I am working with going into it... getting too old to ride out the sillies and don't have enough time in a day to work through alot of the stuff like is needed with the babies. Glad I've found a great trainer that I feel comfortable leaving them with and once I get the ground work and first backing done on these guys I think they are going up north for a month or two to get a good handle on them and have them ready for a new owner. Just always enjoy hearing others viewpoints on how to get a horse going for you and what the steps are :)
Mental Meanderings Of A Barn Goddess

Guardian still to: Zandai Jasoor (Zandai Ibn Omar x Glorieta Saqlima) & Impress Rissala (Imtaarif x Zandai Om Roda)

Donna Sabatine
Kryo Kinetics USA Licensed Technician

Now serving Southeastern USA as well as South Central USA

#4 Shanaz

Shanaz

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 104 posts
  • Location:Ardmore, AB - CAN

Posted 30 June 2010 - 04:07 AM

:bigemo_harabe_net-123:

Agree to what was said already, but just wanted to add that I always lunge my youngster with the tack on every time before riding.
Only a few rounds in each gait, especially canter. If they will buck or act up they most likely do it in the canter.
My stallion just showed me that yesterday!

What I learned from my trainer and think is very good is trying their head around.
Once they are used to the bit she ties a rope from the bit to the saddle and they walk in circles until they realize they can give their head without that they have to walk around.
It's a good way for them to figure that out all by themselves.
My stud only walked a few steps and stood right away. Our Quarter/Percheron Gelding walked through the whole arena before he did get the point!
A really important thing that they know to give their head, as it's the emergency break if they take off!

Have a great evening!
Silke

Visit us on Facebook

SE's:
Al Shahab www.allbreedpedigree.com/al+shahab
Kiaara www.allbreedpedigree.com/kiaara
Sher' Russia aka Shanaz www.allbreedpedigree.com/sher+russia
Partbred:
Sylvermoon www.allbreedpedigree.com/sylvermoon



Reply to this topic



  


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users