Friday, July 31, 2009

Teaching a horse to trot with a rider on them... Help horse people!?

He has recently been broken in, and willl generally always respond to voice commands on the lunge for upward and donward transitions walk and trot. I just want to know anything to do to make it a smooth transition the first time I ride him in trot, so it is a good experience and I am sending a clear message. I will be doing it in a round pen. Any ideas?

Oh yeah I have ridden him in a walk obviously :)
It鈥檚 unfair to expect a smooth transaction from a just backed horse. For a smooth transaction the horse has to be relax and know what is expected of them. If the horse is still figuring out the new aids you can鈥檛 expect them to make it smooth.

Give the leg aid and get ready to start raising (don鈥檛 sit to trot on a green horse). After the leg aid give the voice aid. If the horse is very responsive to the voice that may be enough, if not, ask someone on the ground to help. The horse will eventually learn that the leg aid means that you are about to ask him to trot-on and will trot before you give the voice aid. When riding a green horse you must have excellent hands and balance. You should keep a light seat and hands at all times, even if the horse shoots forward when given an aid. Use a neck strap so if necessary you have something to grab other then the reins

For a smooth transaction the horse must be relaxed, responsive and able to carry you weight easily and conformable. They should be working probably in whatever pace they are in and be focused on the rider. This training is for later, not a just backed horse.
You need to make sure that you have your balance and don't pull on the reins when he makes the transition. You could even try it on a loose rein to make sure. Give the voice command at the same time as the leg aid. He will probably have trouble with his balance at first, so you will just have to go with him until he gets it. Good luck.
Walk him around quite a bit first so he gets nice and relaxed. When you ask for a trot, just put your leg on very gently and give the voice command. Hopefully if he hears the command and feels your legs at the same time, he'll learn to associate them together. I suggest you keep your reins fairly loose (unless he's has been lunged in side reins or something else that has contact). If he immediately bucks, stops, or otherwise flips from the leg pressure, just take it off and ask him to walk until he's quiet again.

Good luck!
I would have trotted him out the very first ride. If you're riding him at a walk, just go for it and ask him to trot. It isn't good to wait until later; you don't want the horse to be afraid to move out, or let him sense that you are afraid of trotting. And, once you trot successfully, go ahead and move up to a canter in that same session. It just rests better in the horse's mind that way, I think, that he was able to move out even though a rider was on his back.

As far as a smooth transition, just give gentle cues at first and see if he will obey the voice command and a slight squeeze in the legs. I usually sit up a little more forward and give a "ck-ck-ck" to get them to move into a trot. If he trots and then stops suddenly, don't be surprised. Pet him a little and then try it again. If he is smooth and unafraid to trot and canter with just a saddle on his back (with flopping stirrups, etc), then he should be pretty comfortable trotting with you on his back.

Good luck, and have fun!
The easiest way is to have someone lunge you. Have them on the ground saying trot and holding on to you in case the horse doesn't get it. That ground work in addition to the rider squeezing is usually a pretty clear cue.

Horses are pretty quick, if you keep squeezing his sides and calmly saying trot (make sure to give him his reins- he may be unbalanced at first). Only ask for 2-3 steps on a straightline at a time, then ask for a walk and praise him. If he starts trotting funny (hesistant, one stride at a time) just keep encouraging him.

It is pretty easy for horses to pick up the trot- the canter seems to be the hardest thing to get correctly when riding.
Give him rein of course! Be gentle, squeeze with your calves and tap gently with your heels. Use your seat, make sure that you're balanced in your seat as well, and sit back. Don't push him either, be gentle and relaxed. Have you ever tried lunging him through all gaits? That might help too
If you're gonna be in a round pen, go both ways so he knows how to trot different ways.
Don't always use voice commands, because in some shows you can't even talk in them, actually, most you even can't.
It's probally not going to be smooth at first he has to learn how fast to go and you need to be able to maybe post at first .As your horse gets more comfortable eith someone on his back he'll come down but it'll take some rides before that comes .Good luck

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