Training to use the rear end?

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k_kreutz

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Hello All,

I am new to the driving world, and I would like some advice on how to get your horse to really pull the cart with their hind end.

What exercises do you perform in order to help make this a habit to the horse?

What do you do in the cart vs. out of the cart?

Any advice helps.
 

Marsha Cassada

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Ground work over poles is good.

I like to use some fairly steep inclines to get my horse to push with his hind. He figures out pretty quickly that he would rather push up a hill than pull up a hill.

Hope to hear about your driving adventures!
 

paintponylvr

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Backing exercises - including backing up hill. Not in the cart, but before you hook, while on the ground. Back out of the stall and to your grooming area. Back up to your cart. After unhooking, step forward out of the shafts, then turn him around and back him to the washrack or grooming area to unharness him. When putting him away, back him to the pasture or stall. This isn't going to make him "pull from behind" but will strengthen the right muscling to allow him to track up properly under himself to drive with that rear end.

Lounging (and later ground driving) in side reins, sliding side reins or a "chambon". Starting very loose and taking up more to allow them to start accepting pressure and giving to it while working. If encouraging them to engage while working, they will start striding deeper under themselves.

The images on google that I'm finding of "today's" chambons are all run from between the front legs (girth) up to a browband attachment and then to the bit. BUT we used one that only sat over the browband/ear area (no bit hook up) so that there was no pressure on the bit. If the horse raised his head too high, it pulled on his poll and reminded him to drop his head. Then they usually started working longer/lower and that in itself often got them tracking up under them selves. When we were working saddle horses, we often used the chambon on the poll and draped a lead line from one side of the rear of the saddle to the other around their haunches - like breeching. It really made them "think" about their "butts" and you could see the instant change where they'd lengthen their stride from behind. I haven't seen the same connection with breeching on a harness pony, though... I can't explain why!

This is not a one time usage or an overnight training. This is building up to the work and working regularly. It's not meant for babies, either.
 

paintponylvr

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Another leg/bum strengthener that will start making them reach under themselves better is - while hitched to the cart - have them WALK uphill and downhill. NO trotting. This is a tuff one, I myself LOVE trotting (or cantering or galloping) to the top of a hill. As long as your breeching is set right and you/your cart aren't too heavy for him, stopping him and waiting for a few seconds up to a few minutes while going downhill will also strengthen them (as well as teach your horse to wait and not rush downhill).

As they come into better condition, you will naturally see them start to reach under themselves more and drive from the rear.
 

Strangeaddiction

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I AM Ranch is a great driving source!

I do a lot of lateral work with cones. I will set cones up in a zig zag pattern and weave the cones. Make sure in the turns your horse is moving laterally and moving off of your outside rein and not just turning and laying against the shaft. If the horse is just turning their body and laying against the shaft I just tap the shaft with my whip and that usually gets them off of it. There are tons of different cone exercise's to use to get horses on their hind end.

I love watching Beth's videos, but we drive our horses more off of lateral movement and straightness so when I tried to do a lot of bending in the cart my horse gets confused. It takes time and consistency but you will get it!! Pick a method that works for you and your horse.
 

k_kreutz

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Love all of the feedback!

I have been watching IAMranch videos on youtube. Love them! I wish there were more! It's hard to find anyone that post training videos for minis. I have a lot of work to do


Hopefully this winter won't be too long!
 

paintponylvr

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trotting in snow, as long as not too slick/slippery, works wonders!

Just remember it's hard work.
 
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Strangeaddiction

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I wish she had more too!! She was posting regularly on her blog page but I know that Beth hurt her back. Hopefully she will get back to posting regularly soon!
 
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