New horse home from the trainer, What's next?

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New horse home from the trainer, What's next?

Post by Sunny Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:51 pm

Dear Panel,
I have a wonderful new gaited horse that has had 60 days of training with professional. Now that I have her home, can you give me advice on what to do from here? I plan to use her as a trail horse, and I want to be sure to practice exercises that will help her develop her gait. What should I do?
~Shannon


Last edited by Sunny Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:37 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: New horse home from the trainer, What's next?

Post by Susan Brown on Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:24 pm

SUSAN: Shannon, congratulations on the purchase of your new mare! The preparation you do with your horse should be similar to any other type of horse. Practice control with all parts of her body, from the ground up. You must establish yourself as a confident, strong and fair leader, from the moment you bring her in from the pasture or stall. Once established, work on control of individual body parts, the hip, the nose, the shoulder, back, lunging, etc from the ground first. Once that is well executed consistently, use the same cues you used on the ground to get her to move those body parts with your legs, reins, seat and voice. First at a standing position, then at a walk. One great exercise to do is a serpentine down the length of an arena, then a flat walk back. Repeat several times. This will help keep her supple and balanced well, as well as discouraging the pace.

If you don't have any gaited horse trainersin your area for lessons, you might try some dressage lessons. If they are good trainers, they will teach you many of the same foundation principles that will help any horse develop willingness, understanding, strength and balance. If the horse is ridden to be athletic, collected and balance, the gait will come on its own. The trainer will likely be more comfortable giving the lessons on their horses, and you can learn on theirs just the same. If you don't feel you're learning a whole lot in three lessons, it's probably not the best program for you.

As you ride your gaited horse, be sure to keep your weight deep into your seat shoulders back, without leaning forward. And keep contact on the mouth with straight reins. You also don't want her nose sticking out there. Keep it in, but not all the way to the vertical. Keep feeling the reins as you ride, tweaking and trying new things to see how it effects her gait.

I hope this helps!

Happy Gaited Trails, Shannon!
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