Starting Jacko

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Starting Jacko

Post by armargo on Wed Aug 13, 2008 2:17 pm

As I said in my introduction post I am currently researching bitless bridles and the whole 'alternative' side of horsemanship study I've been on so many websites and have read through several posts on a number of forums and the only conclusion I've come to is that I need someone to come and look after all my own animals, the rescue animals, my two children and the severly lagging housework so that I can dedicate myself entirely to my research Shocked Laughing Laughing

Naturally it goes without saying that I want to be able to have my 3 boys as happy & comfortable as possible which is why I started looking into bitless, shoeless, etc, etc and so I shall continue with all my online reading. It would be great though if someone could point me in the right direction anytime they feel I am wandering down the wrong track Wink

Now to the point of my post ...... The man I bought Jacko from 2yrs ago has just last week started long-reining him and he is moving along nicely due to Jacko's response to having something to do other than expand his stomach another inch in the grassy fields. The one downside to my excitement of someone showing me how to work him towards backing is that he does have a bit in his mouth, I am not wishing for any of you to feel I'm putting him backwards to bring him forwards but there is no point in me part-taking in forums or other discussion boards if I am not being 100% honest from the beginning. I ask you to have some patience with me in the whole area of 'bit/bitless', I didn't feel I was in a position to discuss the bitless training with him as I am not yet confident or knowledgeable enough in the whole area to go into a debate on the subject and he is of the opinion that bitless bridles are for the americans who have acres and acres of fields with no fences, like you see in the western films, where stopping is not an immediate issue.

Having said that he is extremely gentle with Jacko and constantly reassuring him with praise which is what Jacko thrives on and what he is used to with me.

Is the fact that he is being 'started' with a bit going to interfere with me training him to a bitless once his training with him has finished?? Will it be like someone who has a 'seasoned' horse converting from bitted to bitless??

I intend to do a lot of groundwork with Jacko when his 'initial' training has ended and so this is when I would be intending to introduce the bitless bridle to him ...... of course that is if I have decided which bitless to go for ........ its worse than walking into a sweet shop that has just been restocked cyclops

Anyway before my post turns into an essay I will bring it to an end ......... please start posting links to informative sites and telling of your personal experiences, be they good, bad or indifferent so that other confused souls like me might save some time by spending less time on google, etc trawelling for info flower

thanks in advance


Sheena Cool
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by Sydney on Wed Aug 13, 2008 2:29 pm

I start a lot of horses bitless. Some of them have had a bit before, others haven't. My good mare, Indigo was ridden in a bit all her life (13 when she started bitless) until I got her. I find they respond immediately to most bitless bridles. She had an amazing mouth with a bit but through university and a lot of research I come to call bitless my sanctuary for starting young horses and riding/driving my own.

If you know how to long line (line drive) You should do it bitless. Theres no reason why a horse won't respond to bitless later.
Long lining is a VERY resourceful tool! I don't know why more people don't do it. If a horse responds to your voice and hands on the ground its that much more easier to convert it to ridden work. You can take them down the road or away from their buddies they are sour to, with less a risk if they want to fight. I line drive all my horses, even the ones with no training problems like my old mare Naigen. I had little on her history when I got her because she was a rescue. I line drove her and figured out, darn this horse knows a thing or two.

Remember: it's the training you do, not the equipment you use.
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by lightertouch on Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:53 pm

Going from bitted to bitless is not a major leap for a horse, its much more often us humans who have the hangups about it! My 5 y.o. has been bitless since February having been started bitted. It literally can take 5mins, and for me the feel is the same and I often forget I'm riding bitless, until I catch sight of her mouth and how loose and relaxed the whole area is, that it bobs up and down as she walks. I love that!

Longreining bitless is I think a better method of longreining, as you are so far from the horse's mouth at the end of an enormous lever effectively (fulcrums, pivots and 'if you have lever long enough you can move the Earth' type thing), so if you were to make a mistake, the horse to spook, or you trip and fall, the bit's action would be many times that if you were only as far away as his/her back. There is the potential for a lot of pain and damage. If you're bitless, no prob!

Good luck with your info hunt, and all your boys! FYI Marty and I are also barefoot, but not treeless... yet.

Good to have you on Sheena Smile
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by bohohorse on Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:07 am

Some people go from bitted to bitless every other day! bit for schooling, bitless for hacking... or a variation thereof so don't worry about that. Your horse will accept whatever you sympathetically teach him to accept.

I agree with the others regarding bitless longlining though. I know it can be hard to raise your opinion with a professional who seems to know better but your horse (and presumably your money) is going into his hands so speak up! The hilarious comment about bitless being ok for the prairie proves that he doesn't know as much about the horse psyche and how to train as he professes! Rolling Eyes

Scanning various sites/trainers is great - but a word of advice from someone who's done it - don't blow your mind with too many opinions! Laughing I spent a whole day surfing sites one day and felt like giving up at the end of it. Find one or two trainers who's methods resonate with you and stick with that. Later, when you get a feel for yourself and your horse you can look around a bit more and 'cherry pick'

Here's my recommendations:

http://www.richard-maxwell.com/

Originally trained under Monty Roberts but formed his own methods and evolves them all the time. Very kind, genuinely loves his horses and is a mine of information, in person and on his forum.

http://www.imagine-discoverthemagic.com/

Trick and bridleless trainers. I can't find the link to the shop but I'll post it later. I've had loads of fun with their Relationship DVD. The first task is simply to spend time with your horse! I believe the methods are the same as Carolyn Resnicks but I've not looked into her training that much.

Finally, Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling wrote a lovely book called Dancing with Horses. The groundwork is a bit different from Max's but it's very inspirational and proves you don't need force for wonderful results.

Theres loads more but that will do for now! Lots of luck and keep us posted.
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by armargo on Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:00 am

Thanks for the replies ..... I feel like I'm getting somewhere already Cool

At the moment I am thinking of getting the Nurtural bridle, I was thinking I'd probably try the nylon one first to see how he likes it (can anyone tell me if the 'action' of the nylon through the circle-x is as smooth as the beta or would I be better off to go for the beta straight away Question )

What about groundwork and long-lining ...... any recommendations for what type of head wear to use, his head collar is too loose around the nose though I suppose I could put another hole in it to make it more secure confused

Of course I don't want to end up spending a small fortune on his tack and have nothing left when it comes to re-starting Echo and Luke ........ my boys are like a step ladder with Jacko at 15'2, Luke at 14'2 and Echo at 13'1 affraid

I shall await further hints and tips from you, "my new seasoned friends" sunny

Thanks


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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by lightertouch on Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:48 am

I longline in both my Dually and my DC. The DC beta was around 60, the Dually is pretty pricy at 40, but its been a great piece of training equipment (if you get one, get the red one - the colours correspond to sizes and the red should fit all of your boys).
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by Jo on Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:08 am

Hi, I longline in the Nurtural but have also used a simple rope headcollar.
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by Sydney on Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:26 pm

Theres ups and downs of both. Both are the exact same control wise with the nurtural.

Nylon:
Pros:

Cheap
Flexible
Easy to cut if your horse gets in a sticky situation
Easy to wash (I throw mine in a pillowcase in the wash)
No break in time

Cons:

Cheap looking.
gets kind of fuzzy looking after a wile (think halter thats been on a horse that rubs up against everything)
Molds if left in a damp place
If you have nylon reins they can hurt your hands if a horse puts his head down, is strong or pulls back

Beta:

pros:
Looks prettymuch like leather
Feels awesome. It has a great weight to it.
Never moulds.
Will last a lot longer than any lether, nylon, biothane etc etc you can buy
Feels a lot like leather. Will never burn your hands like other synthetic material
Easy to wash (sponge and water)
Doesn't stretch over time
No break in time

Cons:
more expensive
Looks dusty quick (but it's easy to clean)
Hard to cut or break in an emergency

thats about it. I know from personal experience I LOOOOOOOVE beta. I have a lot of harness parts that are beta and you just can't beat it for everyday pieces of tack. I have some beta driving reins that are the first beta to ever come out. They are older than I am and I absolutely love them. I use them every time I drive (out of competition, gotta have brown reins for that)
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by armargo on Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:55 am

I was actually thinking of getting a dually for Luke as he is a bit of a handful (biting, thumps the ground to warn you away, no manners, etc) and I like the idea of it being a 'one piece does all' type bridle because if he wasn't in the humour or right space for work I could just let him back into the field without us needing to have a confrontation about getting a bridle/headcollar on or off. I keep chopping and changing my mind as to whether to let him stay here or not due to his outbursts but at the moment I am on a give him another chance phase and am hoping to try 'connecting' with him next month once the kids are gone back to school so I'll have less distractions. He was apparently 'broken' at a riding school prior to me adopting him but when he arrived I got my vet to come and give him a check-up and passport/chip him and she recommended I turn him out for the winter as he had a tender spot on his back so it is really only the past few months that I have started re-handling him properly. Small slow steps is how I intend to approach his training, hopefully it will work out and payoff in the end for both of us Neutral

As regards the nurtural .......... I'm thinking I'll just 'throw caution to the wind' and get the beta, if for any reason it wasn't suitable or Jacko didn't like it then I could sell it again, that's what I'm telling my worn out credit card anyway Razz Laughing

I think I'll feel more comfortable once he has a bitless bridle, when he was being trained yesterday I had to put his bridle on and I just found it upsetting putting in the bit eventhough he has no objection to it himself.

In relation to Richard Maxwell's site have any of you got his book "Training the Young Horse" and if so have you found it useful, are there photos/illustrations?? I find it much easier to get an idea of things if I can see with my eyes as opposed to my mind how it looks, is done, etc study


Hope I'm not driving any of you mad with all my questions but I've spent so long looking into all the different methods to see which ones I feel would 'sit-well' with me and my 'beliefs' that it is almost a relief to have people to bounce ideas off and get opinions from, etc


Sheena Like a Star @ heaven sunny
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by Admin on Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:58 am

If you want a headcollar/bitless bridle then I much prefer the Light Rider Bitless Bridle. Very Happy

I like the Dually for groundwork but am not a great fan of riding it it as I feel it can move too much.
The Light Rider has more a scawbrig action to it but incorporates a headcollar/halter and clip reins so if you need to get off just unclip the reins and clip to the headcollar/halter ring.

I will create a public folder later for posting pictures of various bitless bridles and will add some pictures of it to the folder.
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by lightertouch on Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:11 am

Just to qualify my recommendation of the Dually - please do bear in mind that it wasn't designed as a bridle, its first and foremost a groundwork training halter, at which I feel it excels. The fact that you CAN ride in it if you want is a bonus. However, this being the case it does lack finesse and subtlety as a riding bridle so I feel is really only applicable for hacking out when you completely trust your horse, rather than any schooling unless at the most basic level.

Something my background with Intelligent Horsemanship (Monty Robert's UK presence) has encouraged me in is to take training tips and methods I like from everyone I come across, regardless of their affiliations and complete training programmes. What works for one horse may not for another, and the same goes for peeps! So don't worry about whether someone's whole ideology suits you if you find something they do effective, clear to the horse, safe, and pain and violence free.

I haven't got "Training the Young Horse" but do have Max's "Understanding Your Horse" and it has a pic or more on nearly every page, if that's any help?

Really glad you're finding us so useful Sheena, please keep bouncing! bounce Good luck with Luke Smile
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by FlorayG on Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:07 pm

I don't think it matters if he is started in a bit, it's the quality of the training that counts. If he is taught to stop, turn and back up on a very light feel then you can just put him in a bitless whenever you feel ready and he will be just as good in that as he is in a bit. People get problems when they want to try bitless because their horse runs away in a bit. Your horse will do bitless whatever he does in a bit, always remember that!
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by bohohorse on Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:29 pm

I haven't got Max's latest book (trying to convince myself I don't need it, I 've got all his others tongue ) But there are always loads of pictures. Also you can go on his forum and ask questions, he often comes on himself to help out. Also there is a very good DVD called 'Maximise your Horsemanship' that demonstrates how to do the groundwork.

That sort of work really helps with trust and respect issues and would help to sort out his issues with biting and warning you off etc.

Basically I'd want to longline in anything that won't slip around too much, longlining is a bit like having power steering!
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by armargo on Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:59 am

In relation to Luke and the idea of the dually, I would be talking about leaving it on as a headcollar when he is grazing and using it for groundwork when we are both in the right space for it. With his current mindset I wouldn't even consider attempting to mount him (I have my two children to think of so the days of me chancing my arm at anything have well faded into the past as they need their mam in one piece Cool )

Being a member of this forum might not be so good for my credit card as I had just convinced myself the other day that buying either Richard's book or that dvd would be enough but I can now see myself opting for them both so that I can benefit from reading, looking at pictures and seeing it all in motion Twisted Evil

Rumour has it that we are going to get an indian summer again this year which would be great as I am sick of going out in this blasted rain and wind, though I suppose it is introducing my boys to my bright yellow and bright orange raingear so they won't ever panic if they see things glowing in the dark Laughing Laughing


Sheena lol!
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by Sydney on Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:55 am

Rain! We need some! It hasn't rained in like three weeks, maybe more here I lost count. The ground is so hard and dry and dusty Sad
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by armargo on Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:28 pm

Sydney wrote:Rain! We need some! It hasn't rained in like three weeks, maybe more here I lost count. The ground is so hard and dry and dusty Sad

I'm sure no members from this side of the world would object to you coming and taking our rain for a few weeks Laughing clown

We'd probably even chip in for your airfare lol! lol!
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by Cyndi on Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:59 pm

I can't speak much on training, as I am just starting out with my first horse, but I will say that someone whose training method "clicked" with me is Ed Dabney. He's in the US. To me, he is a cross between Monty Roberts (no carrot stick for the most part, and kind of uses the Join-Up method) and Pat Parelli (uses much the same types of "games", but they have a different name), and all those other trainers out there, but he's not as "showy" as some. He's a pretty basic, humble guy, and maybe that's what I like about him. He's got a few DVDs on training. I have one right now, but I'd like to get more.

I am a huge fan of Monty Roberts (sigh, except that he too uses bits) and have his "Join-Up" DVD (part of a lovely gift set that my husband bought me for Christmas one year), and I'd like to see some of his other DVDs. I'm also curious about Kelly Marks, since she trained under Monty for a while, but has come up with some wonderful books and videos on training.

I have a beta Nurtural bridle. I don't do a lot of riding yet, but hope to in the future (after I take some much-needed riding lessons to help me with my awful balance...or lack of!!). For now, I am concentrating on building a relationship with her and doing ground work. Actually, I think Fanny would make a great driving horse too. Hmm...will have to check into trainers around here for that someday. Which makes me wonder...is there any advantage to training a horse to drive before saddle training? Fanny is technically saddle trained, but she needs mileage. I'm wondering if driving her would allow her to learn cues, etc., without having to fall off her Wink I know that doesn't help with learning leg and seat cues, but I'm thinking about light rein cues.

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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by Sydney on Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:01 pm

Of course theres a BIIIIG advantage. I have the experience of a few horses that drove but never rode that I backed.
They already know cues (clicking/kissing) they are used to straps hitting their sides/legs so the saddle doesn't phase them and they are used to you working around them so it's not a huge transition.

The thing I always loved about carriage horses before I was bitless is that they never fought the bit wile you were on their back for the first time. They already knew what steering and breaks were about.

Even if I don't put a cart on a horse EVERY horse learns how to line drive. You can get them over barn sour issues before you even get on their backs. None of my horses have problems being alone away from the farm because they were all line driven.


Get a helper one day. Put your saddle on her run the stirrups down, tie them with some baling twine together under her belly, get two longe lines, put her normal bridle on her (all my horses learn to see whats behind them so no blinders until about the 10th drive in the actual carriage) run the lunges through the stirrups and to the bridle rings. I would invest in a driving whip. They are inexpensive and less bulky than a lunge whip. Have the helper walk with a lead line on the horse SLACK. The lead person is just there for support if the horse tries to skitter off. You want the lead slack because you are going to be the one telling the horse where to steer, when to stop etc. When you line drive stand just to the side of the horse and tap them gently behind the saddle if the horse doesn't move off a verbal cue or even better if you have a surcingle use it and tap the horse just behind the surcingle. Smile I hope it helps, line driving is a great way to get confidence in you and your horse up.
Once your horse is good remove the leader and get him/her to walk with you until you can do it independantly.
it's fun Smile
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by armargo on Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:34 am

Jacko is doing excellent with being long-lined and really seems to like it, he went straight through a flood yesterday without thinking about it much to the trainer's 'disgust' Razz Razz Laughing

I haven't had a go at doing it myself yet but I've just ordered a pair of lines so with a bit of luck they will arrive this week and then I'll be able to 'mess' with him myself when no one else is around who may have different ideas on my more 'natural' methods/ideas bounce

I've just taken a chance and hung some washing up on the line so I'm going to bring him over in a while for some desensatisation to things blowing and/or clanking in the wind I love you


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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by lightertouch on Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:44 am

Cyndi, Kelly Marks is GREAT. She runs Monty's courses over here and I've done several. She's done teaching qualifications as well as all the horse stuff, so she really knows how to get it all to sink in!

I met American Pie at the last demo I went to, he's just unfazeable! (Kelly's niece won Rider of the Year on him at HOYS a few years ago) He's her 'problem pony' turned superstar and he canters into the round pen in the middle of the arena, past mock flaming torches (fabric, uplit and blown by fans) and stuffs his head into the headcollar she's holding up its brilliant!

I too love Monty. Yes he does use bits but of course he never needs to touch them *sigh*. At the last demo he stayed on his quarterhorse stallion's back while they changed the bridles over! I think one of them was a bosal, so he does bitless too! Very Happy
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by FlorayG on Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:28 pm

Is that supposed to be special? Staying on a horse while the bridle is changed? I thought everyone did that...
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by FlorayG on Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:32 pm

Embarassed Oops pressed the send button by mistake... I meant to add, It's just a trust issue and if Monty doesn't have his horses trust then who does? I've done that trick, you should try it - that is, change your horses bridle while you are sitting on him. Amazes the spectators and really, it's easy if your horse is easy to bridle anyway (and they all are of course, because they are bitless!!!! Ta Daaaaaa!!!!) cheers
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by lightertouch on Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:18 am

That's quite impressive to me at the moment. My 5y.o. is quite sharp and sensitive and I also don't have a school or appropriately surfaced enclosed space to try that in, so someone doing it in an arena in front of thousands of people about 3 times I found inspiring. Obviously my goals are quite simple ones compared to others and it doesn't take much to impress me! The stallion doesn't belong to him it was trained by one of his students and borrowed for the demo.
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by lightertouch on Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:02 am

Sorry I'm just gonna go read Nettiquet again Embarassed I definitely didn't leave an appropriate amount of time before responding. Apologies to all, especially FlorayG.
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Re: Starting Jacko

Post by Cyndi on Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:02 pm

I'd like to be able to do that with Fanny, change the bridle while I'm on her, I mean.

I spent a couple of hours at the barn this morning. Fanny was so good!!! I took her into the arena and long-lined her. She stood there so nicely to be bridled. When I go to halter her in the field, she will sometimes turn her head away when I put my arm over her neck to grab the rope halter under her jaw. I have to work on that part. Once I have her nose in the halter, she turns her head toward me and waits for me to tie it up. Still some work to do, but she's getting there. Most of the good stuff is what she learned from the breeder, so I just need to keep at it and slowly improve what I'd like to see improved.

I even cleaned her hooves today, with the rope just hanging there!!! Usually she gets bored and wants to walk away. I've never let the rope hang loose (that called ground tying, right?), but thought I'd give it a try today. She didn't budge!!! Again, to all of you it's probably not a big deal, but to me it is leaps and bounds of progress! She's not a bad horse, I just need to gain her trust and have her want to be with me. I'm hopeful that it's coming along.

It's good to know that Kelly Marks comes so highly recommended!! Wish I could see her. I have thought about getting her books, but I learn way better by watching videos. She's got a number of great books though.
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