Well-broke horses take time Trainer Tips

by sheryl lynde | horsetrader columnist T

here are some youngsters who sail through the training program, and they are what I call “born broke.”

They take each step easily and with con- fidence, and their progress is measurable each day. They can be ridden within the first couple of weeks of their arrival. They’ve been handled properly all their life, carried a saddle, ponied and introduced to new loca- tions and environments. And then there are the others, the ones

that take more time. I’ve had a number of these over the years and these are the ones that have taught me the most. I have com- mited each one to memory, both successes and setbacks alike. I’ve learned when to be more creative in geting a step introduced, how to listen, and especially patience. These

Sheryl Lynde gives her view on problem-solving and more

Horsetrader columnist Sheryl Lynde is a John Lyons Certified Trainer who specializes in foundation training, colt- starting and problem-solving. She is based in Temecula.

fearful, the horse stops learning. But if you aren’t pushing enough, moving forward and progressing each day, the horse can become bored, dull and resentful. You need to find the balance, develop feel for what is needed on the ground and in the saddle. If you do not have feel, you will have a failure to com- municate. You need to know more than the mechanics of ground work or what to do in the saddle for your first ride and subsequent rides. You need feel in order to incorporate the proper mechanics. Jimmy is one of those colts. He came to me as a 3-year old to get started. Being a Quarter pony, he is small in size, quick, ath- letic and reactive. He progressed through the ground work and definitely made a change; however, he still lacked confidence. Even though he understood each step which he completed quickly, I knew he performed

body. I went slow and steady with Jimmy. Even though he was prepared and there were no holes in the ground work, I could feel his first step would be a big one. On these colts, even though you have

prepared them from the ground, it doesn’t completely translate to the saddle as well as it does with the “born broke” colts. I had ponied Jimmy giving him the opportunity to see me above his head, but carrying my weight was another sensation. Another valuable lesson I have learned is this: Ask for help when needed. I had another rider come in and pony me while I rode. Jimmy was able to glean confidence from the pony horse and I could rub his neck and rump with both hands and move my legs and seat freely. His first step was a big one but never culmi- nated in a buck because of the experience of the rider holding the lead rope. We were able to safely walk and trot in the round pen. Aſter that, it was solo rides out on trail where I was able to lope him nicely through long stretches of soſt footing. Each step, I listened to both him and my instincts. How can I safely bring Jimmy along and stay true to my rules? I cant get hurt, my horse can’t get hurt, and the horse has to be calmer at the end of the lesson than when we began. Aſter a couple of weeks out on trail, it was

time for training in the arena. His confi- dence, though, shrank more with each ride. I rode with plenty of riders in the arena as well as with just he and I, but with each ride, his anxiety built and was expressed by bolt- ing. We had come into the arena too soon. So, back out on trail where the brush could desensitize him from behind, the hills could teach him how to use his hindquarters and feel the shiſt of my weight. He could maneu- ver through different footing, jump over small arroyos and rollback against neighbor- ing fences. Back in the arena aſter additional trail

are the ones that have taught me the most in how to develop feel for different situa- tions. I’ve learned it takes time. There are no shortcuts. Just as in life, there will be set- backs. But even in the setbacks, you learn. If your movements are too big or the

introduction of a stimuli is too aggressive to the point of causing the horse to become

each task because it was asked of him, not because he was over it. He rushed through each exercise and faced me looking for encouragement. I had to keep his workouts short and varied to keep his anxiety from mounting. When it came time for his first ride, I got on and off several times and moved his feet to release the tension in his

work, his bolting issues were replaced with a newly found confidence. I felt it. I listened— he had taught me well. It takes years to build a well broke, sea- soned horse. Jimmy is on his way.


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