Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chrome's Sixth Ride

My sixth ride on Chrome was very disappointing. He acted like we hadn't worked on anything and he had no clue what he was doing. :( I admit he's had a week off because he was limping (and I usually ride him later in the day when it's cooler), but he usually retains what he learns a lot better. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm not being clear enough, maybe he doesn't understand what I'm trying to teach him. 

 I'm trying to work on only one criteria at a time, such as go, then whoa, then steering, etc. When he seems to understand one thing and I move on to the next it's like he's completely forgotten the first thing he learned . . . which makes it difficult to do anything considering the first thing we worked on was go! You can't do much riding if he doesn't want to walk. Maybe he's still a little sore even though he's not limping? Or maybe he's still just too young and immature? I guess we will take a break (especially since it's so blasted hot) and work on ground driving or something... anyway sorry for the rambling post, just a little disappointed in him for acting like a brat.


  1. Awe, hopefully he just needed a refresher and will be back to himself soon.

  2. That actually happened to me with Gabbrielle after she returned from her 60 days of professional training. The first time I rode her after she got home, she was go, go, go with no stop. The second time she wouldn't go at all. Made me wonder what I had just paid for. So, considering this was only Chrome's sixth ride, I wouldn't worry too much about it. You can't win 'em all.

  3. Just my 2 cents...
    Steering is a huge step for them to get. You really have to break things down into tiny steps, nail them down, then slowly move to the next. I would focus on just getting him to understand forward and stop for a while. Just let him go in whatever direction so long as its not into a tree!

    Once he has that down solid, start introducing steering in very small steps. This is when a full cheek snaffle is invaluable. It help teach the horse what your cues mean. Later on once he understands your aids you can graduate to a bitless bridle.

    Because you are only riding him two days a week it will take him longer to learn and retain info. Most trainers work with babies for short periods four days a week for the first 60 - 90 for that reason. Nothing is wrong with two days a week but just expect him to learn slower.

    Good luck and thanks for keeping us all updated. It's so fun following your and chrome's progress!

  4. I think that forward just takes a long time to stick. Each time you remind him he will remember the lesson for longer. It is only his 6th try!

    I like your idea to work in some ground driving.

  5. Okay, so I watched the video my husband took and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought! I was 90F outside and I had a sinus headache so I was being impatient. And my farrier brought a friend I had never met before so I had a little stage fright and was being a perfectionist. Lesson learned. Ride in private from now on LOL!! Thanks for the kind words guys. :D I'm still going to do some refresher groundwork before trying to work on the steering again. I'll focus on go and whoa for now. He really needs to learn go lol.

  6. Patience, little one. This is a big deal for both of you and Chrome does have a horse brain.

    Mango Momma

  7. That is totally normal. I've had 5 rides on Chance and when I thought I had my and no go, I lost my whoa and had all go. It just takes time for them to figure it all out. The best thing to do is be super consistent and he will pick it up!! And all horses do learn differently too!!

  8. Oops, I meant when I thought I had my whoa and no go, I lost my whoa and had all go!! Silly fingers!

  9. Don't beat yourself up too bad on this one and don't be too disappointed in Chrome! :) Grayson still has baby brained, bratty moments and he's 7!

    You're going to have set backs (just like C/T)

    I've also noticed that the time of the day affects my success too...I always work Grayson at night so if I go at 11am on a Saturday, I'm most likely going to get a different minded horse...not bad, just different. As a person, I'm the same way.

    I also have the stage fright thing which makes me unable to communicate with Grayson and we both get frustrated. I'm trying to not care what people think but I've been trying that for years. :)

    I think I can baby brained when it comes to riding...I'm reactive instead of proactive. Basically it boils down to having more confidence on the ground then in the saddle.

    Keep your head up...he has quite the tool box at such a young age because of all the work you've put in! Be proud of you and him! :)

  10. I am with DS. Go slow with every step. Enzo has only about 6 rides. I have not been on him in a while! But he too still hardly gets the idea of go. They have no idea of what squeezing your leg means at all. I too wouldn't worry about steering right now. He has enough to learn right now. Have fun!

  11. If you haven't ground driven him yet I highly recommend it. I spent a few months ground driving my mare after I got bucked off and it made a HUGE difference. I used a dressage whip to get the forward and really focused on those voice cues for walk and whoa while helping her figure out how to follow her nose. Clicking all the way of course :)

    I don't know if you know this- but if your greenie gets stuck, sometimes all you have to do is bend their neck. Eventually they'll turn toward it and you can keep them moving. It's very low pressure.

  12. I have nothing to add as I know nothing about starting horses. Just here to offer support :)

  13. Ugh...I wrote a great big long comment and then it disappeared. The gist of it was: I found when breaking Echo in that I had to really do little and often. Probably as little as 10-15 minutes, but nearly every day. That way it became normal, but didn't stress her out by getting her tired. She retained the understanding much better than if I left her for a few days between.
    I also found that teaching her the voice aids first on the ground then using exactly the same ones when ridden was really helpful. I got someone to lead me on her first, to establish the fact that when I squeezed with my leg I wanted her to walk on, then I got them to lunge me on her so she could get used to the movement while still doing something that she understood. I guess the key is to change as little as you can with each step in training.

    The other thing was that when I was breaking in horses at a dressage yard, we spent the first 6-8 weeks simply riding them forward, worrying about very little else - not worrying too much about steering or stopping. It was just forward forward forward all the time, as young or inexperienced horses can get quite backward thinking quite easily. We didn't worry about what the gait looked like or the horse's body shape - or if it was stylish or not - what mattered was that they wanted to take us forward.

    I don't know if that's useful at all...probably not - but I've been there with Echo and know that it can feel a bit frustrating some days. But remember that every moment you spend with your horse you are teaching them. I'm remembering that now as trying to remind Echo of her manners after so long off. I had been mounting and not really worrying that she was walking off straight away. Then I thought, if I don't correct this, then I'm teaching her that walking off when I get on is fine. A couple of days of insisting that she stands, and she's much more polite again.
    Chrome will get it - and I also agree that ground driving (or long-reining as we call it here) is amazing - I never did it when I backed Echo, but have been using it to bring her back from injury and it is such a useful tool.


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