Maddy Training Thread | From Pushy Pet to Eventer

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Friesiangirl, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. Friesiangirl

    Friesiangirl Senior Member

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    Hello friends.

    I figured I'd start one of these as this is an especially fun project for me. I'll post every few days, and likely lots of pictures. I hope everyone who follows along finds it enjoyable and maybe learns something (or conversely, pipes in and I learn something!)

    Maddy Background:
    Maddy is a 7 year old Anglo Arabian who was started about 2 years ago. She has huge holes in her training, and part of the fun of this mare is figuring out what she doesn't know. In just a few days I've learned she:

    Doesn't tie
    Doesn't clip
    Doesn't bath
    Doesn't like her back legs being touched (hands or rope)
    Loves to rear -- known but it's definitely her go to evasion
    Runs off randomly, human attached or not
    Hasn't been saddled much at all, evident by her terror when the saddle pad came over her back
    Doesn't know what to do with a bit in her mouth, that's for sure
    Doesn't know much about longing
    Doesn't have ground manners
    Doesn't blanket
    Fly Spray is scary


    So what does this mare know? Why did you buy this mare?

    She has lovely gaits, a lovely jump. She is what I refer to as "broke but not trained". You can hop on her bareback, she w/t/c but has absolutely no understanding of leg pressure outside of "go fast". She stops. She turns. All from her face, as she was presumably taught. She isn't spooky, is very attentitive. She's wicked smart. And I hope to go BN on her starting next summer.
     
  2. Dona Worry

    Dona Worry Senior Member

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    Sounds like a blast and a challenge!
    I look forwardto reading it!
     
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  3. VermilionStrife

    VermilionStrife Senior Member

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    Excited to follow her progress! :)
     
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  4. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Isn't it sad that a horse would be seven and have so little training? Oh well, a horse like that is probably a real bargain, and all it needs is...a hell of a lot of training, LOL!!!
     
  5. Friesiangirl

    Friesiangirl Senior Member

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    Week 1 | 7/17 to 7/23
    Monday:
    We worked on some very basic things Monday. We worked on leading predominantly. She likes to rip her face away from you, walk over you (or jump into your lap), push you along with her head (this was trained into her), nibble on you, basically any manner of disrespectful behaviors.

    Her first instinct whenever she meets resistance or is confused is to go straight up in the air as she was taught as a trick to rear and it's her go-to "I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M SUPPOSED TO DO" response. Which is clearly dangerous, and I like all my horses to be able to be handled by anyone at any time for any reason in case of emergencies. So this is an issue.

    So we walked. And stopped. And backed-up. And walked. And stopped. And backed-up. We worked on moving out of my space, yielding both forehand and hindquarters. Back to the basics of moving away from pressure. She likes to lean in and see how far she can get away with this, and it's very important with this mare to drive her forward as not only does she rear, but she typically gets locked up in front and begins to lose focus and get frustrated. This is especially evident when handling her hind end. It's a typical response. As she hasn't offered to kick (yet) but may do so, much of my work is in close quarters to prevent a serious impact.

    We also were tied for the first time outside of being hauled. I tied her to a structural beam, high. There's a release on it, but I didn't really want her to learn she could pull back and get away so I stood behind her and every time she pulled back she got a good amount of encouragement with a lunge whip to her her cute little butt back up there. We did this a few times, until she stood quietly for about 5 minutes and we called it quits.

    We discovered she doesn't bathe... At least, not all the way. Any water past her shoulder is a crisis. Bucking, rearing, and just complete fear take this mare over. She's clearly never experienced this. So we started from the front, and gently worked out way back. It'll be some time before she's accustomed to it, but the washrack is a dangerous place for a panicked horse and I don't see a reason to push her too hard in this just yet. It has to be a calm experience. Sure, I could probably chase her down with the hose and get it done but it won't promote the behaviors I want.

    ---

    Tuesday:

    We began our lessons in lunging. She is a diver. Right into the center. Not too aggressive in body language, but certainly enough that it must be discouraged. Lots of aggressive body language back at her with encouragement from behind to get her moving forward and out in the circle and not in towards me. After a short lunging session we moved on to more work on ground manners. She is already learning. Instead of needing a dressage whip to get her to focus up and yield, hand pressure is enough. She isn't flying backwards or going up when she's confused nearly as often in general, which is great. She's already paying attention to me and my space on the ground. It's not perfect, but it's clear she's a smart one.

    As I know she's broke for bareback work enough, and I need to buy a saddle to fit her (mine are all for OTTB's... and she certainly isn't similar in the back for that) so I hop on with the halter and leadrope. She's used to this, as this is how I tried her out when I went to see her. We did the basics. Very simple, low stress, fun. We did big walk circles, big trot circles. Walk to trot. Trot to walk. Walk to stop. Backing up. We began to transfer the ground work to the saddle and she picked it up right away. I was able to bump her shoulders a bit off my leg. Once she realized what I was asking, she not only performed but over performed. This is a consistent theme with this mare -- She wants to please. But she is very quick to get frustrated if she doesn't understand. I expect this of her breed and her experience level.

    We repeated the tying lesson today as well. And the bathing. She is starting to get accustomed to it, but she's still not convinced she is safe and secure at the wash rack. Today we fly sprayed. She was actually pretty okay with it, but she looked at me like I was satan on earth when I sprayed her hind-end. She's definitely hyper-sensitive about her back end and legs, and will need desensitization there.

    Wednesday:
    I didn't get out to the barn until 8:30PM and I honestly hate to break schedule with new horses. They're habitual creatures, and I find they perform better (in my experience) if you basically keep a routine. We did have a bit more fun today though, but not without a good solid lesson in lunging. I put a surcingle on her for the first time. The saddle pad definitely spooked her, so I put it on her lots of times until I got the good 'ole licking and chewing and sigh. And then I bridled her, with a nice gentle french link snaffle (halter underneith) and lunged some more.

    As it was late, there were some kids playing in the arena. As she isn't a spooky mare, and there was plenty of room, I just went ahead business as usual. She had a bit of trouble focusing but once she got into the moment she was very attentive. Despite the soccer game nearby ;)

    We worked a lot on basic transitions both up and down, and paying attention to me rather t han just running around aimlessly. She definitely is green to a bit. Very fussy in the mouth, despite what appears to be a good fit. She just doesn't know what to do with this THING.

    After that, a session lasting no longer than 15 minutes (she isn't the kind of horse you can drone on and on with, she will eventually get frustrated, especially if it's a lot of new stuff) we did some fun desensitization of her back legs. Touching with the lead rope, with the whip, with my hands. Rewarding her acceptance. My ultimate goal is to have her safe in the event she gets tangled up, so we'll be doing lots of work with those back legs of hers.

    Hopped on for a short bit, walk/trot and again yielding to pressure but this time mostly focusing on general flexion and good forward motion. She is extremely soft in the face, and is beginning not to need so much encouragement from the legs. Man, this mare learns so fast.

    We did trot over a little x-rail that was set up. She loves it. Maybe 12'', but it's what she did with her old owner the most and she seems to really enjoy anything jump related. I figured it was a nice break for her.

    Again, we repeated the wash rack but this time it was a little darker. She is already much better and she's almost convinced you can drink from the hose ;) We then did a short tying lesson, but she's pretty much patient now. She paws a bit, but none of the running backwards or freaking out.

    Thursday/Friday/Saturday to come!
     
  6. Friesiangirl

    Friesiangirl Senior Member

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    SLC, but she can jump. I imagine I can probably take her out fox hunting early next year. That's all she's really done. Bareback trail rides in a halter and jumping giant fences. The old owner had a 4'6'' oxer he used to jump her over all the time. She's seen drops into water, banks, ditches, etc. So hey at least when it comes time to school XC she's likely to be a very confident ride.

    But goodness forbid you try to clip her...

    $500 bucks gets me a "it can walk trot gallop and jump...and not much else"
    Seems fair to me!
     
  7. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    This is awesome! I have so much respect for anyone who can keep such a good routine for training, as it's obvious your new girl is already benefiting from it. I can't wait to keep reading about your progress together :)
     
  8. Garfield70

    Garfield70 Senior Member

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  9. Friesiangirl

    Friesiangirl Senior Member

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    Thank you! I do what I can. It's hard with this one because she'd be really easy to overface because she just gives and gives. It's hard to quit while you're ahead when the horse seems to pick up things so quickly, but honestly I've got all the time in the world, I'm not on the road to rio. I'm on the road to safe, sane and fit. So I've got time. :)
     
  10. Friesiangirl

    Friesiangirl Senior Member

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    Thursday 7.21 otherwise known as Maddy vs Roundpen

    I knew today was going to be interesting right off the bat. A storm just blew thru, she's finally feeling her alpha alpha pellets... and the sudden drop in temperature wasn't helping anything. I decided right from the get go that today's lessons would be much less intense, and we'd go work outside and enjoy ourselves.

    Well.

    Today she was having none of the saddle pad. That's okay though, just all the more reason to do it a few times. Once I've added something to the routine, it stays. She'll figure it out. And on went the bridle too. No long lines, didn't want to mess much with her face but rather focus on being relaxed with having a bridle on, having the surcingle on, and just generally being relaxed with the process.

    I took her out to the roundpen which is outside, and starting lunging her.
    Apparently this was my first mistake.

    This poor mare did NOT get the concept of a roundpen. I've worked a lot of horses in round pens, and I haven't quite seen a reaction like this before.

    After banging into several panels she seemed to have had enough, so we went back to our walk / trot / walk transitions, direction changes, woahs. Then suddenly she forgot the concept of the roundpen again. It's odd because it's so sudden, and there's nothing there really to spook her. Until it clicked with me. I suspect the only time she's been lunged at something with a whip is over a jump. So this would explain the confusion here. She had been amazing on a long line, I expected she'd be even easier to work with in the round pen.

    Interesting enough I had her ear, her eye, and just generally her body language didn't express fear so I don't know what got into her.

    I broke it down, did a lot of walking, and asked for the trot again. This mare .... She wanted to take the whole barn with her. She came across the center and attempted to jump out the roundpen. Except the panels are 6' high. I honestly didn't expect it at all, especially since we weren't even working on cantering or anything high pressure at all.

    Anywho. She's alright. She was able to get her front legs all resolved herself. She's a bit scraped up, and after that i had her walk and she was fine. She's not going to like it, but we're going to the roundpen again tomorrow, this time with a long line so I'm more prepared.

    Round pen 1, Maddy 0

    She relaxed into herself after she figured that one out.

    I cooled her out, checked her legs out and did some ice cold hosing for about 15 minutes just to be safe. She's much better about the washrack. It's nice, everyday she's a tiny bit better.

    Then I tied her up and sat and chatted with friends. Again, I must stress that I am a creature of habit too. We do certain things almost daily, in small doses, for a long period of time. They become the norm.

    I did some stretched before putting her away, and brought back out a little later to have a girl gently dote on her, and then sat our by my car and just hung with her. She seems to love the attention. I also was on swell watch, because I'm paranoid, even though it was just scraping.

    There were some kisses, and here are some photos of the lovely girl. As you can tell she's totally traumatized.
    13769558_272397243117114_289884614410520057_n.jpg 13718760_272397239783781_8838617295902865829_n.jpg 13729043_272397246450447_3901838017278905757_n.jpg
     

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