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[RC] What if your horse hates to condition? - Karen

I have a solution. Get another horse, or two. Then, ride each of them two or three times a week. Soon, they will get jealous of each other and want to go. They will stand around with that "take me" look and will give you the evil eye when you don't!

My horses do get bored with the same training trails, since I rarely trailer anywhere unless it's an actual ride. I've got lots of trails and try to make the loops vary by doing them in reverse or mixing them up. It often just takes a couple of miles for them to get warmed up and going and then less peddling is involved. The horse I have ridden the most, Weaver....will usually need to be forced to go home, as he likes to stay out and play. I think it all had to do with his earlier training, for him the arena work/lessons was the hard part and when he was done I would reward him with a trail ride. Now he thinks that is the reward and if we just skip the hard part (arena work) the trail part is fun fun fun! Of course, he still will go up his first hill so slow that if he were a bicycle he'd fall over. Then after that the momentum comes and he gets into it.

I think a lot of it has to do with the riders enthusiasm as well. You've gotta project to the horse that you are going to go and have fun. I know that some people probably disagree, but I like to let my horses be a part of the choices we make when we go on training rides. I let them pick sometimes which turns to take, and even let them ask when they want to change gaits. I guess I feel that part of being a partnership is listening to what they want. Sometimes it helps if I get off and run with them a bit here and there. My horses have more fun when I let them get their way, the only thing that they probably haven't realized yet (or maybe they have) is that I have trained them so that when they do what they want, it's really what I want.

One trick I use is I'll go do and do a short little loop, head out about 3 or 4 miles then come back, only I don't really come back. I just get the horse going real nice and then we turn and head back out another direction. This way they learn that they don't really know when they are going home, or not.

Another thing I've been trying when I am competing a horse regularly, is that I don't really take them out on longer training rides very often (that's what one day 50's are for <g>), and instead will take them out on shorter rides, about 5 to 7 miles. I'm trying to do this with Chief so he gets it thru his numbskull head that it isn't all that exciting going out for a ride, and that he can too go out for short rides without the necessity to jig home. We're still working on this issue. :>)

I do think that you need to condition your horse for the way you ride it in a ride. I have ridden with numerous riders over the years who, when you time them, really had no idea that on training rides they never trotted their horse for more than 10 or 20 minutes straight without stopping. Then they go to a ride, and they trot from vet check 2 to vet check 3 (however many miles, say 10 or 15) without stopping.

in NV

============================================================ Riding alone is when you teach a horse all the "tools" and "cues" he needs to handle the trail, to hold a speed, deal with hills, etc. It's also where you develop the "bond" that causes him to "defer" to you before losing his cool. ~ Jim Holland

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