Saturday, May 24, 2008

Horse Training 101

Big Cowpoke is trying his hardest to ride his new horse, Pretty Girl. This new horse has some issues. Pretty Girl is about 21 plus years old. She is old and set in her ways, but that doesn't stop one cowpoke. Pretty Girl is extremely herd sour. She doesn't run back to the other horses but she likes to be able to see them and she will do a pivot turn to look at them, which scares my timid rider. Then when he rides her he will try to turn to the right and she will want to go to the left and it starts a small battle. If Big Cowpoke is feeling brave he will take his reins in two hands and use his opposite leg and move her shoulder back to where they were going. But most often he starts to cry and says, "Why is she doing that?" I have ridden Pretty Girl and she tries it once with me and then gives up. I am a bit quicker to solve the problem then my little cowpoke is. So, I know it can be over come. But until Big Cowpoke is comfortable "fixing" the problem we shall make his arena a bit smaller. We now ride in the round pen.

First Big Cowpoke tries to get Pretty Girl to walk off. I use a lunge whip. I like the lunge whip, it's easy and it works, so we use it. But as you see here Pretty Girl is not amused with the small child and his whip. She is so funny. I told Big Cowpoke to move toward her hip and she should walk off.

She started to walk and decided to stop again when she realized he had no idea what he was doing. But Big Cowpoke sure tried. I then went in with him and we got her going. After a quick warm up, Big Cowpoke jumped on.

You can see some safety issues here. I was telling him, "Don't ever let go of the reins! What are you doing it's not safe." You can see how concerned he is. Pretty Girl doesn't seem to excited to get going.

He finally got her to walk off. She tried a few times to turn around with him, but he was brave and got her turned the way he wanted to go. Big Cowpoke got her to trot for him and they even loped a bit. He is so much more brave in the round pen. Last night we took them to an arena and rode and she tried the whole "want to go her way" stuff and Big Cowpoke just cried. I don't think he is ready to go out into the big arena yet. After the ride we turned her out with the other horses. But Big Cowpoke wanted to give her an apple. He ran back to the house and he got her an apple. When we went to give it to her, all the other horses wanted an apple too!

They all came running!! See Ozzie? He wanted to know why I was giving treats to another horse!! But I kept all the other horses at bay while cowpoke gave Pretty Girl her apple.

He really likes her and she is a really neat horse. I just wish we could get her out of the barn sour thing. My husband says she is too old to fix that and that she is grumpy and old and she will never change. I think she can change, because when I ride her she tries it once and then doesn't dare try it again. So, I think it can be fixed. She also is really "cinchy". She will pin her ears and flare her nostrils while you put the saddle on and when you tighten the girth. So, I have to tack her up for the kids. We have had her back checked and she is fine. I also have her on joint supplements, msm and other stuff, so she will not be sore and stiff. That too is why Mr. Cowboy thinks she is just old and cranky. I think she is workable, what do all you horsey people think? But after Pretty Girl got her apple and was finished eating, the kids and I retreated back to the barn. The horses had to all go and sniff the ground where she was eating.

I love how curious they all are. And wow there are a lot of horses out there. I think we have a total of 18? It is really an addiction. I love them.


Mrs. Mom said...

Love the pics, and glad that your little dude is doing his best to be a "cowpoke",... but... please... please, get him a helmet. I am not trying to be a wench, mean, or tell you how to run your life/ teach your child- this is just the voice of an old EMT speaking, who has seen more than my share of preventable injury done to wee folks. Once they are older- fine- allow them to choose. But for now, please, helmet him and let him stay safe and whole...

kdwhorses said...

He is really trying with her, love it!! LOL! The reason she doesn't try it but once with you, is because you do not let her do it! He is just too small and gets upset and she knows this and uses it to her advantage. They are smart like that! She may be able to change I do not know her or riden her. But the horse my daughter learned to ride on was a older horse and he took care of her until he was 25 years old. She had ridden him from the time she was born and was riding by herself at 18 months. They did everything together up until last year. Not quite sure what happened but one time at a playday it was there turn to do the barrels and she took him to the first barrel and I knew when he turned the barrel he was coming back to the gate! She was trying to pull him back, but he just keep going. So for the next week I rode him (and I mean I rode him!) hard and we went down to our arena and tried the same thing again. He did it again, hubby is just looking at me. At that point we took her off of him and she no longer rides him. So we stopped letting her ride him and she has been riding my mare and doing great! We think he is done, he is ready for his retirement and that is what he is doing now. Hubby had roped off him hard for years, pasture worked, I rode him in playdays and he was just ready to quit. He would try me when I was riding him, but I corrected him and he didn't get away with it. He is 16 1/2 hands, so she just didn't have the strength to do it. That is the experience that we had with our older horse, now whether she will do that or not I do not know. Good luck!

SixShooter said...

You have so MANY horses! Cowpoke is much braver then i was even with old annie horse! Plus animals are never too old to know who is boss! if it works with dogs pretty sure it would work with a horse, i think. . . :)

Rising Rainbow said...

I know what you mean about them being an addiction. They certainly are here.

I think you can teach an old horse if you are persistent but the back and forth process between Cowpoke and you won't work. She is too smart for that.

Pony Girl said...

It does seem like Pretty Girl just knows she can get away with that behavior because Big Cowpoke just doesn't have the strength or experience to correct her yet. Funny thing, when I started riding my gelding, he did stuff like that with me! It didn't take me long to work through it (like you, Andrea, who shows Pretty Girl you won't tolerate that behavior.) But the minute an inexperienced rider gets on my gelding, he knows it! He'll just stand there and refuse to go. But he is harmless. So hopefully Pretty Girl's antics are harmless, too. I am sure she is fine as long as you feel she is safe and will not run off. I am impressed that he loped her! ;)

TjandMark said...

Old Charlie used to not listen to little folks very well either. His problem was more of not moving forward off of their tiny squeeze, so I now have the wee ones and timid big ones, ride with a riding crop. Something about their tap,tap on his rump sets him straight. He has done some of the turning around thing, but I just encourage them to use a direct rein approach (we ride in snaffles) and just pull his head back around and then tap, tap on his rump. For him it only takes a few times. I also ride him at least once a week to keep him tuned up. Good luck. She doesn't look mean. I had an old mare who was cinchy and I just took extra slow time tightening and never over tightened and after a year or two it completely went away. Change always takes time. :-)