Top Way to Ruin Your Training: Lesson 3

The Number Three Way To Ruin Your Training


The third way to ruin your train­ing is by always using too strong a sig­nal. This is a vari­a­tion of the prob­lem we men­tioned in les­son one but more sub­tle. Say your horse will trot off from your spur and will keep trot­ting but won’t trot off from the light clos­ing of both legs. Hmm there’s a prob­lem here. You are train­ing your horse to only lis­ten when you shout.

This prob­lem sneaks up on you. At first you may not notice it. One day though you wake up and your horse needs a stronger bit to stop and long spurs to go. Your horse has slow­ly been desen­si­tized to your aids.

The oth­er large prob­lem I see is that the horse isn’t quite get­ting what you are try­ing to teach it. Instead of ana­lyz­ing and chang­ing your teach­ing style, you begin to get loud­er with your aids. Maybe your half halts are stronger, your legs tighter, your reins short­er, maybe you’re using the whip more often, kick­ing, yank­ing, pulling and yes maybe even scream­ing. Whoa. Stop! This is a clear sign of mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It’s time to take a break. Back up and teach it dif­fer­ent­ly.

Hors­es can feel a fly land on their skin, they can feel your legs squeez­ing. Again, remem­ber if your horse isn’t respond­ing they either don’t under­stand what you are ask­ing or you have taught them to ignore your aids. Either way, it’s your prob­lem, not the hors­es. If your horse is just ignor­ing you, why make your job hard­er than it has to be. Go back to teach the basic aids to be from light pres­sure. Reward the basics so when train­ing gets more com­pli­cat­ed the easy stuff tru­ly is easy.

I also want to men­tion, that some rid­ers get accus­tomed to rid­ing duller type hors­es and then when they ride a “sen­si­tive” horse, they end up over rid­ing it. The horse gets more ner­vous and the rid­er get’s stronger. A vicious cycle I’ve seen over and over. Some­times, it just takes less, not more to get your horse on the aids. Giv­en that I have a sen­si­tive horse, he has taught me how to be clear but qui­et. With a sen­si­tive horse you almost have to be more clear and def­i­nite with your aids but also qui­et.

If you’re find­ing that your rid­ing is dete­ri­o­rat­ing over time here are some symp­toms that your over doing it. You may notice:

  • increased dull­ness of the horse.
  • increased ner­vous­ness or anx­i­ety of the horse as you ride.
  • your fit but your out of breath. maybe you’re work­ing too hard?
  • you get on oth­er peo­ples hors­es and over ride them.
  • your aids are very vis­i­ble to onlook­ers.
  • you are feel­ing impa­tient, frus­trat­ed or angry when rid­ing.

 Stay tuned for the 4th Way to Ruin Your Training