The soft horse

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by BluemoonOKy, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. BluemoonOKy

    BluemoonOKy Senior Member

    Apr 12, 2013
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    Me and my soft horse in training, Bluemoon

    Saw this today on Facebook and man is it ever good and true. show me and tell me about your soft horses !
    "Thought for the day:
    When you first start to learn about how to teach horses to be soft, balanced, relaxed and forward you will feel a little overwhelmed at what it takes.
    Your friends might be out on their young or green horse or older horse with history charging about in groups. You will be walking squares and side passing and getting that back up just a little better.
    Others will be out trying to force their horse through something trying to beat the clock or impress a judge. You will be correcting slight balance inconsistencies whilst walking, trotting and loping on a loose rein.
    Some will be reefing their horse to a stop, hauling on it for a turn and spurring it to go trying to work a cow.
    You will be helping your horse to better understand that accepting the bit and following a soft feel is much better than avoiding it or leaning on it to protect himself.
    Riders you know, might be trying to make their horse go near something they are worried about and you will be busy teaching yours that something is ok.
    They will be focussed on blaming the environment or the horses past for their failings.
    You will be busy working on what needs working on with the horse you have in front of you.
    One day you will see them running the energy off their rushy, braced,confused , tolerant horse so they can ride it, from, the back of your, soft, relaxed, confident, brave, balanced, energetic sound amazing horse. And you will know how to improve on that not make it worse.
    There is no magic training, or magic equipment.
    That is all.

    Ok that is not all.
    Those others that I talked about will probably tell you how fortunate you are to have lucked upon a horse with such a great temperament or that you would find things different if he were a hotter breed. Chances are most of them wont even know enough to recognise the way your horse carries himself or moves as an improvement.
    Don't expect any praise.
    Your enjoyment should come from your own sense of achievement and the fact that riding horses that operate like the one you trained is addictive.
    (c) Ian Leighton 2015"
  2. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

    Dec 27, 2014
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    I was thinking something along those lines yesterday when I was riding Bella. It was a windy, rainy day but I caught a window of light showers and quickly threw on her western saddle to just take a few rides around the road that circles around the ranch.

    I was in such a rush to catch the lull in rain that I forgot my helmet. The wind was lashing the branches in the trees, rattling metal roofs on barns, cascading acorns off branches and tossing the ends of tarps and plastic bags willy-nilly.

    Bella serenely walked around the ranch on a loose rein. She's 11 years old and we still haven't gotten to a show BUT she will do anything I ask her to without a fuss, alone or in company, in any weather or any conditions. She'd quietly walk past a grizzly bear if I asked her to.

    Her canter transitions are rough so we need to get those down before we tackle a dressage show but it's not for any lack of willingness on her part. It's taken years of slow, patient work but I've never been in a hurry and now that shows because she trusts me. :)
  3. CoopersPprScpr

    CoopersPprScpr Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2011
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    Yay Blue! That's my goal for King Carl - softness and trust. We also are in no hurry to get there, just enjoying the ride.
    Breezah and BluemoonOKy like this.
  4. GotaDunQH

    GotaDunQH Senior Member

    Dec 19, 2008
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    Love that pic of you Moon!! I rode Sidney yesterday and hadn't in a while just because of my crazy life schedule. But he was the same as the last time I rode him.....happy to work, his usual willing self.
    BluemoonOKy likes this.
  5. lucky_pine

    lucky_pine Senior Member

    May 31, 2005
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    It's especially rewarding when the horse has sat for years upon years with no refreshers, no one on them, and they're still the same horse you had put all the time and effort on. When it's done right, it's done right. I adored this horse, soft and willing even for my non riding husband. That was a good read. Thanks for posting!

    magoo320mj, Jahmar and BluemoonOKy like this.
  6. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

    Feb 23, 2007
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    It is all so true.....unfortunately.

  7. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

    May 21, 2010
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    Flexing the horse on the ground until they follow the slightest of feel and do it automatically, habitually, every single time you ask, flowing with the feeling and the motion like a stream.

    Most people don't have the time or patience to teach it.
  8. MuckMuck

    MuckMuck Senior Member

    Dec 22, 2008
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    Great post!

    Softness comes from within the rider and joins with the horses understanding of the task required.

    A rider or handler that touches that communication is hooked for life.
    Nuu, billz, StraightandTrue and 10 others like this.
  9. QHriderKE

    QHriderKE Senior Member

    Dec 2, 2011
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    My personal favorite is when babies or greenies just start to "click" and become little sponges that try really hard and want to go work, and trust that you know what you're doing, and are just so willing and happy to go do whatever because they trust you and are learning to enjoy having a job. They get to that point where they are learning to anticipate your cues, but in a good way, when they start to feel you lift your hand or sit deep and get real keen on listening to everything you're doing up there. I love it when I'm doing something with a young one and they are just like, "YEAH! Let's go do that! I don't really know what that is but lets go do it anyway!"

    Nuu, billz, waresbear and 12 others like this.
  10. LeenieBean

    LeenieBean Senior Member

    Sep 14, 2012
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    ^^ I love that phase. Miss my kid terribly, he was outstanding that way. Well on his way to "soft horse" that point where they start piecing together everything and look for new things to master is such a wonderful feeling. The great joy of training from the ground up its so much easier to do it from the start than to try at it later.
    Jahmar, MzCarol and QHriderKE like this.

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