Training suggestions plllease

Discussion in 'Driving Miniature Horses' started by Jules, Nov 24, 2012.

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  1. Nov 24, 2012 #1

    Jules

    Jules

    Jules

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    My pony is a lovey forward mover on trails, roadwork etc. Put him in a show ring though and he is a SLUG. Seriously. It is all I can do to get him not to stop still and stand at where the line-up will be everytime the circle passes by that point. Keeping him trotting is exhausting!!

    It was only his second outing today and he was even more of a slug than his first outing and it was actually a tad embarassing as what he was doing made it look like pulling a vehicle was all too much for him. I know this isn't the case as he scoots up hills and zooms about the place normally and as I left the grass arena today he then gave me a super enthusiastic forward ground-covering trot.

    He was unsettled in the first class by a noisy vehicle with bells pulled by a clydesdale so that was the best work I got out of him :p

    I think in the absence of any physical issue, that he is totally putting it over on me. I have reached for the whip to give him a smarten up but seriously, there was a whole lot of beligerent ignoring going on. I felt it looked bad too, especially to 'big horse' people and in particular the judge from today who had made it very clear that mini's (and unrelated- arabs) should not be put to cart. I barely ever actually need to use my whip as he is so responsive to my voice so that in normal circumstances when I go for the whip, he reacts very smartly to it. Today my pony made it look like I was asking more than he had to give....

    Ideas? Anyone?
     
  2. Nov 25, 2012 #2

    happy appy

    happy appy

    happy appy

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    Maybe he just doesn't enjoy the show ring. . . . .
     
  3. Nov 25, 2012 #3

    rbrown

    rbrown

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    We have this problem with Skippy. She hated working in the indoor at the barn I had her at last winter. Wouldn't move out, ignored the whip, tired easily, etc. I moved her to a different place with nice big fields and a big, open ring for the spring/summer, and she was a different horse- forward, moved off cues, etc. I am now leasing her to a nice lady for driving lessons, and Skip has been a total pain to get moving- but she's lovely in the fields and on the trails. She just seems to be happier to work outside of the ring. For now, we are changing up her working environment as much as we can, and giving her a lot of praise for moving forward when asked.

    Our trainer did suggest buying a wiffle bat for her, since she's so good at ignoring the whip! [​IMG] (We haven't tried it...)
     
  4. Nov 26, 2012 #4

    Jules

    Jules

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    Ahh how you describe Skip is what I am experiencing totally...yes yes yes!! Hmm wiffle bat, I don't think an electric cattle prod whip would have made a difference to him, he just wasn't going to bother himself with going round in circles. [​IMG]

    Happy Appy I reckon you are on to it, he hates it, but he is just going to have to suck it up occasionally and do it for me, his life is one of luxury so he cam blooming well feign some enthusiasm occasionally for me. [​IMG] Sounds like I am cajoling a teenager into going to a family gathering or something!

    In other news, he will be joining Skippy in the HB club. I spoke to Bob this morning (well, it was evening for him) and plans are underway now, yipppeeee. Although I imagine then being asked to pull a wooden vehicle in the show ring may be even more of a challenge for his Royal Highness Hercules [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2012
  5. Nov 26, 2012 #5

    rbrown

    rbrown

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    LOL, I think Skippy would totally ignore a cattle prod too! You guys are going to have so much fun with your new Hyperbike [​IMG]
     
  6. Nov 26, 2012 #6

    Kendra

    Kendra

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    If he's only sluggish at a show, it might not hurt to rule out ulcers as well.

    I suspect though, he thinks it's a waste of effort to drive round and round - perhaps some over the top praise for any sign of impulsion? Try to convince him it is FUN and he wrong about the boring bit. ;-)
     
  7. Nov 27, 2012 #7

    Reignmaker Miniatures

    Reignmaker Miniatures

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    Something else to consider is your body language. I have seen a lot of drivers that aren't alert and focused in the arena like they are on the trials. Perhaps they find it rather boring so their horse does too. There is nothing to see so they let themselves relax and all the impulsion drains out of their horses. Try consciously sitting tall and picking spots ahead of you to drive to, once you reach that spot choose another trying to stay focused and alert. Pay attention to what you do differently on the trail than in the arena, are you somehow sending him the message that you think arena driving is dull and so get a lack luster response from him? You might also try working in an arena more often and vary the things you do there, instead of just going around and around, get a dressage test to practice, set up a cones pattern etc. give it some variety so he doesn't know what to expect and go onto auto pilot.
     
  8. Nov 28, 2012 #8

    Jules

    Jules

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    Great pointers! Yes, I do find it boorrring- perhaps 'unexciting is a more accurate term- but like the social aspect of a being at a show.

    I will try and be a bit more enthusiastic and see if it infects him also.
     
  9. Nov 28, 2012 #9

    Reignmaker Miniatures

    Reignmaker Miniatures

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    I find it really helped me (and my horse) to use arena time to practice driven dressage. It gave me a focus instead of just walk, trot, extend around and around. The bonus is I have a better driving horse who is more capable of using her body well to do her job and is more responsive to my rein cues. When I do breed show classes now she has 3 very distinct gates and looks better doing them and since she expects to be asked to go deep in the corners and hold herself together she doesn't get as slow and lazy either. (except when my husband drives her and then she falls apart from lack of contact and direction ...but that's a different thread lol)
     
  10. Nov 29, 2012 #10

    Jetiki

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    Make arena work fun and not boring. Bring in some cones and play with "barrel racing" the cones meaning doing the pattern but not at full speed, but you can do slow trot, fast trot, etc and change it up and make it fun, keep him guessing as to what you are going to do that day. I was starting to have that problem with my mare when working on dressage, but I started doing some fast turns and letting her canter etc in the same area I do dressage in keeps her guessing and helps with the lack of interest.
     
  11. Nov 30, 2012 #11

    Katiean

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    I had a QH that would run like the wind on trails. Put her in an arena and run barrels, you needed to break out the calender to time her. She just didn't like it. Some horses are made to show and some are not. My stallion (mini) hates pleasure driving. You have to continually get after him to get anything out of him. I got him a work harness and have him pull hay. He loves it. I do not think I would push showing on my horse if they really didn't seem to like it.
     
  12. Dec 1, 2012 #12

    Jules

    Jules

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    Yes, it seems horses for courses doesnt it? Some will enjoy it more than others.

    Even though he has made his distate known, I stil intend to show him from time to time. He lives a pretty good life so I think it is reasonable that he should be able to go 'round in a few circles looking pretty from time to time. I would ask my kids to give everything their best try, even if they don't find something fun, so I wil expect the same from my fur-kid too [​IMG] I will just work on finding a way to spark his interest a bit, some great suggestions here- thank you! Now to get me some cones...
     
  13. Dec 1, 2012 #13

    hobbyhorse23

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    Ugh, isn't it embarrassing when they do that to you? Most of the things I would advise have already been suggested so I will just say that it's important to get them into an arena BEFORE the show and then make it clear that arena work can be much more mentally stimulating than they think it can. When my colt became a slug upon entering our arena for his first few ground-driving lessons I really had to work at getting him to even take a few steps. It was like trying to push a cooked noodle uphill! He'd come to a dead halt and I'd ask him to step left or right (which he was willing to do because he thought we were turning around to leave) and I'd click and reward him. Then I'd have him step the other way and held off the click a little longer each time so he'd keep moving his feet, waiting for that click and treat. Didn't take more than a few repetitions before he was so focused on what we were doing he forgot to worry about the arena and walked right ahead. Then I praised the living daylights out of him and QUIT after one single lap! LOL. The next time he only paused for a few moments then walked nicely, and by the third time he was very forward and eager to enter the ring and play our easy game. It's just a matter of getting them focused on you and not the environment, keeping their minds busy, and rewarding them in the beginning with what they want most- to leave or quit working! [​IMG] And I do mean IMMEDIATELY. The first time Turbo responded brightly to a "walk on" cue, I clicked, stopped, and pulled the tack while he was chewing so he could go roll. The look of astonishment he gave me was priceless, quickly followed by glee, and funny thing...the next time he was much more motivated to try and please me. [​IMG] It's all about breaking up their expectations.

    The other aspect of this, of course, is you. In 2008 I was suddenly having trouble in the dressage ring at CDE's; Kody would warm up brilliantly then the minute we passed the entry gate he'd lose all impulsion and practically refuse to move. He'd never had a problem with that before, and he'd trot out of the arena like a warmblood so I knew it wasn't a physical issue. I took him back in one afternoon after everyone had been judged and he was fine when we weren't being tested. That told me the problem was likely with the driver and not the horse. [​IMG] A couple of CDE's later I had an epiphany while listening to a trainer give a lecture- when I enter a big indoor arena for a breed show, I go up that ramp and have the sensation that I'm exploding onto a huge stage and trying to take it by storm. When I entered the 20x40 meter dressage arena I felt like I was shrugging on a tight, constricted garment and had to be careful to stay within the lines. I sucked all my energy inward and so did Kody! As usual, the horse was only reflecting what his driver's energy was doing. The next event we went to I purposely brought up the same feeling I have when entering a large indoor and changed my perception from "going into a little box" to "exploding onto a big stage" and lo and behold, Kody trotted in brilliantly and gave me a very forward, happy test. It's amazing and a bit humbling how much direction they take from their handlers, so be sure you're driving forward and enthusiastically and feel like you're going somewhere. If you don't, he won't.

    Leia
     
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  14. Dec 2, 2012 #14

    MiLo Minis

    MiLo Minis

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    I agree with this 99%! I would agree with it 100% except that occasionally you meet a horse like Peek who has his own agenda no matter how enthusiastic you are ROFL My point is there are always exceptions to every rule but very good advice - you must think forward when you want forward.
     
  15. Dec 2, 2012 #15

    Jules

    Jules

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    I attended on day 2 of the show as I had been working the day before and was tired- that morning would have been the first day I was able to stay in bed past 4.30am all week...but I said I would go to the show so up I got....I think my apathy rubbed off!

    Here is a pic from only some of the line up for lady driver class- there were over two entrants! I am in the centre of the pic. Not loving my hat, it is a bit out there. It does tie in with my shirt but all you can see from the distance is a flipping beacon of a hat. lol

    Gresford.jpg
     

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