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Re: last message lost-pls send again
In a message dated 5/24/99 6:19:00 PM US Mountain Standard Time,
<< Maybe if I circle and head back away from
home he'll get the idea quicker?
I have a 2.5 yr old arab I'd like to start working, but is it too early
to work in the round pen ..it's a 60' one? >>
I'll start with the last question first. Yes, it's perfectly fine to put a
2.5 yr old in the round pen. I would put bell boots and some kind of
protective boot, like the Professionals Choice, on him/her. I have some of
the cheaper knockoff type boots just as protection from banging their legs
against one another or railings. Make sure the footing is good. Neither too
hard nor too deep. The idea is to gain control not to run the snot out of
them so don't be afraid of stopping too soon. On the other hand, it is a
myth that horses, even young horses, have short attention spans. As long as
you are teaching something, with lots of rewards, the horse is OK. Be aware
of the weather and don't overdo it. Stopping for water breaks for both of
you is great. If in doubt, stop. I've done most of my lessons at the trot
as that is fast enough to motivate the horse to look for the correct answer
but not just flying around at warp speed possibly hurting their legs. If the
horse pops into a canter for brief periods don't freak out. I'm just saying
most of the work should be at a nice energetic trot. After learning the two
kinds of turns it is OK to start letting the horse stop and rest. Be sure to
watch JL's tapes to learn how to teach him to turn and face you, then
eventually come up to you.
Repetition is OK but mindless drilling isn't. I haven't lunged my horses in
years but will occasionally put one back in the round pen to review or
solidify some part of their training. Lunging is usually mindless with the
horse on the verge of being out of control or at least not listening whereas
lessons in the pen (without any lunge line) are to teach the horse to focus
on you and your requests. You don't want to use the pen to "get rid" of
excess energy; quite the contrary, you want ALL the energy the horse has so
you can use it to teach him.
In the last several Perfect Horse magazines, JL has been showing how to use
round pen techniques on a foal. You don't always need a round pen to teach
these things and don't think that it will magically train your horse. All
these techniques can be adapted if you think through the logic and reasoning
behind them. The JL certified trainer that I go to, Jean Franzmeier, has had
seminars on how to teach ground manners without the use of a round pen. Many
of the techniques are what you might teach a horse using JL round pen methods
but with a halter and lead.
As for your first question, I don't think the horse will figure it out in
that way. I tried that years ago on horse that wanted to jig all the way
home. Teaching a cue like "give to the bit" is a conditioned response. It
takes hundreds and hundreds of repetitions (preferably in an arena so you can
focus on teaching just that and not have to worry about distractions) so that
when you give that cue on a trail ride he will "gttb" automatically (the
response has been conditioned into his brain). You then get to practice the
"gttb" lesson as you are riding away from and toward home.
In his tape series "On the Trail with JL" he explains very well what to do
with buddy-sour and barn-sour horses. The gist of it is to ride only a short
distance away (20 feet or so) and then circle back. When the horse is doing
great at that distance spiral out another 10 feet or so then back around.
Keep this up until you are 60,70,100, 250, around the corner, etc. The
reasoning is that if you leave and come back just once in a ride then the
horse only gets to practice it once. He can leave, get excited about coming
home and stay really nervous for a long time. But if you get him excited
about leaving and then come back over and over the horse finally realizes
that it doesn't pay to get that excited over and over. You must be
practicing the gttb and maybe adding in speed up and slow down or practicing
perfect circles, anything to keep his mind occupied and calm. Soon you will
be circling further and further from home. Remember to keep the same focus
on the way home. Gttb and practicing anything you have taught him so he
knows that "it's the same thing only different". Don't change your cues or
rewards or even your thoughts. With a horse that is rushing or jigging
toward home I feel it's better to stop your forward motion and do circles
until you have established 100% control and the horse is working on a loose
rein just like he was at the barn than to go further away form the barn. You
might only get 10-15 feet heading back before he gets excited but then you do
as before and once under control proceed in the direction of the barn. When
I first started to take my gelding away from his buddy I only got to the end
of my street (still within sight and hearing of buddy) and that is where I
did ALL my work but I was eventually able to leave and return without a fuss
from either of the horses.
Good luck and let me know how you do.
Melanie in AZ
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