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Ground Driving...home training

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MiniHoofBeats

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I recently started to teach my gelding a little bit about ground driving...I took him out the other day with his halter and a lead rope attached on either side, he actually took it very well and immediately knew that a left tug meant left, a right tug meant right, and both tugged with a "whoa" means stop! (of course he immediately turned around looking for a treat!) He still has his wolf fangs so I cannot train him with a bit yet...but does anyone have any good ideas for what to use as a permenant Left signal and Right...like should I use sounds or clicks or will he just know by the tugs? We walked around for 10 minutes yesterday, he was so perfect about it you would think he was trained already, but he isn't yet! He even reverses and whoa's and he trots, walks, and whoa's with ease...has anyone ever heard of just training a mini with a halter without a bit??
 

rabbitsfizz

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I've never done it any other way!! Both with driving and riding the bit is the last thing I ever put in. The mare I've just finished went right through to driving without a bit- so long as all the disciplines are in place there is no problem. The bit does not necessarily give you any more control so go ahead, you can do no harm, just go slowly and do not put yourself in a position where you go too fast and get dragged which could happen with or without a bit!!
 

willowoodstables

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Gee and Haw are way wonderful verbal aids to teach especially if driving a multi hitch! You will have to ask the "teamsters" here, because of my severe dyslexia (honest left and right are a complete mess..have to write L and R on my hands when driving a car)..so I never taught to my hitch horses ..was terribly afraid that Haw was NOT left as I was teaching them. I have been told a GAZZILLION times which is which and it cannot sink in (I can't set a table right either)...soooo they just get direct rein directions

Kim
 

justaboutgeese

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Gee and Haw have been around since teamsters were driving oxen instead of horses. If you can manage to carry a whip along also just touching the hip of the animal can provide direction regarding what is expected. Notice I did say touch not hit.
 

justaboutgeese

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Gee to turn right, haw to turn left. There is one positive aspect about being dyslexic, You can read in the rear view mirror when an ambulance comes up behind you.
 

disneyhorse

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When I teach my new trainees the difference between Gee and Haw, they always say they will never remember which is which. Through the years the only thing I have come up with (since I have a billion hints and tricks for them) is:

The word "RIGHT" has a "G" in it.

Lame, but that's all i have for now.


Andrea
 

MiniHoofBeats

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Hey thanks you guys, and I truly thought i was the only one around here with dyslexia! I can never remember left or right either so now I just point and say "that way" (in a car). I am very glad to hear you all start out ground driving the same way, I wanted to make sure I was starting the right way! My gelding did so great at it, we're going to do another 10 minutes of practice today too...I want to get some practice in before winter so maybe they'll remember by next spring! I also took out my filly...any help on this would be great! She isn't used to having me behind her so she is constantly trying to turn around to face me or stand next to me. The only thing I could think of to get her to stand straight ahead of me, to understand that is what I want her to do, is to keep hold of the lead ropes down lower and if she tries turning around, one of the ropes would wrap around her butt, pulling on that side of her nose so she'll straighten back out...did I explain that right? She seems to be figuring out what that means but is there a different way to teach her that or am I doing that right?

Also, we do good walking in straight lines but when I tug left or right to cue a turn, she'll either keep walking straight resisting my tugs, or she'll turn her head in the direction of the tug but keep walking straight...it's like she is completely resisting listening to me! I will try the tap on the hindquarter with my short whip as soon as I find it (my landlords cow broke into my feed room and ripped my hay all over the floor...buried my crop whip in there somewhere!) but I have actually been able to tap their hindquarters with the ends of the lead ropes, think that should work in the meantime?
 

disneyhorse

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Just remember with a green horse, PATIENCE will help you in the long run if you don't get frustrated... just let your horse figure out what the HECK this new game you want to play is. There is no reason to hurry to get her to understand... you will just make her upset/anxious/confused and you will not end up with a happy, relaxed horse.

For instance, you say she doesn't turn when you pull on your rein, she just goes forward... remember that green horses have a VERY slow reaction time (from your hand, to rein, to mouth, to head, to brain, to feet which turn the horse...!) so just give a gentle consistent pull and wait until she gives in to you even a little and then tell her she's a good horse! Eventually she will figure it out. I wouldn't introduce the whip/crop until she clearly understands what is being asked of her. My general belief is that if the horse doesn't understand, don't scare them by carrying the whip... it takes their mind off their lesson a little bit. A whip (even just used sparingly as a cue) should be used on a horse that already KNOWS BETTER.

Andrea
 

MiniHoofBeats

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I know what you mean, I don't like whips...ever since I saw a lady beating her horse with a crop whip at a show when I was little, all I could think of was how that poor horse just made a simple mistake and that stupid b**** of a lady could only think of beating her horse? A simple pat and an, ok so you screwed up, everyone has their screw ups! Ever since then i've hated whips and only use them as a tough if ever necessary, never a smack! Geez, all I could hear was that poor horses screams...yeah, she was eliminated from the rest of the classes because one of the judges found her beating her horse =)
 

disneyhorse

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I'm not saying that I don't like whips... I use them (mostly sparingly but sometimes a horse is a DEVIL!) and almost always carry one when I'm in a cart... but for a green horse that doesn't know how to ground drive is not neccessary. That's all I'm saying.

Andrea
 

MiniHoofBeats

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Oh sorry i know what you meant, i got carried away with that horrible memory! I would use one when in a cart too i'm sure! I know what you mean with a green horse, i wouldn't want to freak them out right off the bat and then have a bad experience...sorry if I implied anything bad toward you!
 

justaboutgeese

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Just because you have a whip does not mean its used to flogg the horse. Carry the whip and just TOUCH the horse on the hip or flank to indicate a cue will follow. The horse will soon respond to just the GENTLE touch of the tip of the whip.
 

liltnt

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I was talking to my farrier and he told me to work him with all the harness pieces for a while, I to only use the halter although during grooming I have introduced the bit, no tugging on that yet.

this is my plan if you dont think its a good one please say so, As I know I have alot to learn

Followed by attaching something for him to drag around for a bit, His thoughts were like two pvc pipes attached to his harness, still only the halter for this work, Once I get a cart, I will drive him with me behind the cart for a while, I will add weight to the cart before I ever get in, I figure two bags of pellets added one at a time should weigh just about as much as I do. And give him a chance to get used to the cart and weight. As I have no one to be a helper, this would be the safest for me.

As I have at least 6 months until darb is 3, I will not have him pulling any weight until after his birthday.
 

bfogg

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The way I told my students to remember Gee and Haw was to say Gee your right!

I like the one that said Right has a G in it also!!! That is so clever.

When I am ready to put pressure on their sides I use the tubes from the wrapping paper rolls from Christmas paper.It is stiff but not so stiff it can gouge them, but it does have a little bend to it.

I have never had one freak out.

Then after they get really comfortable with those I use old barn broom handles.

They can be cut to length and may save a cart if the horse happens to get upset. I knew I could never afford to lose my cart so I got inventive. But I also ground drive them until they are so bored they get down on their knees and beg "please just hook me for Gods sakes".

Ground driving IMHO is the key to a nice quiet driving horse in my opinion,granted I am not an expert but every blow up I have seen was because they got anxious and hooked the horse before it was really ready.

Bonnie
 

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