90 Day Training Expectations

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musical comedy
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90 Day Training Expectations

Postby musical comedy » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:27 pm

This is a spin-off from a COTH thread. Perhaps some of you have read it. If not, and if you're interested, go read and give your feedback here.

I was pretty surprised at the concensus of the posters and what they think a horse should be doing with just 90 days in training. Balanced transitions, spirals in and out, forward and back within the gait, and so forth.

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Re: 90 Day Training Expectations

Postby Moutaineer » Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:24 pm

Well, the poster said the horse was already WTC under saddle, no vices, just green. If you take that at face value, and remedial work did not have to be done, then I would expect the horse to be able to manage the basic elements of a training level test. (Note, i did not say "be able to go out and perform a training level test." Thats a whole other ball of wax.

Now, if the horse was not actually as described and needed civilization and/or remedial training of some sort , which is a likely scenario in the real world, then my expectations might well be different.

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Re: 90 Day Training Expectations

Postby StraightForward » Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:25 am

Yes, I thought of that question as - if I had a horse started by a cowboy who had him w/t/c both ways on a loose rein, then I turned the horse over to a dressage trainer, what would I expect?

It depends a ton upon the horse in question, its brain and athleticism. I think forward/back within a gait might be a bit much, but some spiraling out, contact, fairly smooth transitions etc. all seems pretty reasonable to me if the trainer doesn't need to go back and re-do training or fill in holes in the ground work. I think most horses could do a training level test at home (at least T-1) after 90 days of building upon a green W/T/C started horse.
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Re: 90 Day Training Expectations

Postby Kyra's Mom » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:38 am

Well...I have only sent one of mine to a trainer for a whopping two weeks so I guess I do not have much in the way of expectations ;) .

I have started 4 in my riding life. Bought them all as yearlings. Very much knew what I had before I threw a leg over. My first two (a purebred arab and an arab/Hanoverian cross) walked, trotted and cantered on both leads with absolutely no fuss on their first rides in the fall of their 3 y.o. years. I gave them about 6 weeks under saddle then the winter off and they started showing the next year. Arab was high point locally in first level the next year (way back when Wb's were kind of rare). I had shown the arab cross in a couple low key schooling shows but she had a bit rockier start losing it in the warmup of her first rated show--rearing, dumping me then falling and sliding on pavement(in late May of her 4 y.o. year). We never made it into the ring but instead when to the vet. She recovered quickly from her epic road rash and I was able to quickly sort out the issue (she never even tried to rear with me again) and she was solid by the end of the summer scoring in the mid-60's and even cracked a 70% under Hilda Gurney and high score at a July show (in TL).

The last two...I was much older and I suppose less adventurous but also a bit wiser :?: I had a little (15.2) Oldenburg mare. I thought a WB would make dressage easy. Well, not that one. Of all my horses, she was the least athletic. Although she looked decent as a 2 y.o., as she aged, she didn't get much taller but got much longer.
I affectionately called her my little dachshund. I did have to get help with her in the canter. I even waited about 6 months to get trot super solid but in canter she just wasn't very balanced and after she dumped me once, I started riding very defensively and after the third time of playing lawn dart, I sent her to a trainer to straighten out the canter. She just needed someone that could sit there, let her figure it out without getting in her way. It took all of 2 weeks at canter bootcamp and we never had a canter issue again. I didn't show her much...a few times as my job started majorly interfering with riding (being on call a lot).

Kyra was no problem to start but very much a 98lb weakling. She didn't really start to strengthen and fill out until well into her 5 y.o. year. I didn't start her until she was 4 and just puttered around with walk and trot and with no expectations because she just wasn't strong enough. I did drag her around to show venues and some NH and in-hand clinics to expose her to lots that year. We started dressage training in earnest in late summer her 5 y.o. year and when I started asking for connection and 'on the bit', she was extremely tense and got very distracted and spooky. It seemed the more I worked her, the tenser she got. I finally found a reason for the tension when she was 6. She was getting pinched by the bit and the search for a bit that didn't pinch her fat inner cheeks took me another year. I think she made her show debut when she was 8. I showed 2 training level classes then moved her right to first. She was very successful in local shows at first level scoring in the mid 60's and attaining one championship. We were a THIS close to second level when I fell apart about 5-6 years ago. No real shortcomings on her part. I am not sure I can ever reclaim the fitness I had before I fell apart so that may be it (showing wise) for her.

I am certainly not a pro but as you can see with my sample size it is very much a "depends" question. Of course, I bought mine as youngsters and you really don't know what you have (both physically and mentally) until they mature and as in Kyra's case...that took awhile but really worth the wait :) .

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Re: 90 Day Training Expectations

Postby Dresseur » Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:51 pm

I'm of the "it depends" camp. Which is a complete non-answer. But, you can't really have an agenda with horses. Or at least, every time I've had an agenda, it's royally bitten me in the ass.

So, if we take the poster at face value, I would think that the horse can W/T/C in both directions, do large circles, transitions between the gaits, and possibly starting on some tiny leg yields. If there is remedial work, all bets are off. If the horse is a bit of a bad actor, all bets are off.

Side note, the OP updated the thread - I would except the horse to not be consistently counter bending and to be working into the bridle a bit (not necessarily consistently, but at least showing moments of a correct for the level of training shape. I also would expect the horse to be consistently in front of the leg. To allow behind the leg is setting a precedent that will have to be addressed later.

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Re: 90 Day Training Expectations

Postby musical comedy » Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:15 pm

I suppose I'm sensitive to the topic based on my own accomplishments, or lack thereof. I'm riding an 8 year old and I don't have 'balanced' transitions. Maybe that word means something different to me than it does to others.

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Re: 90 Day Training Expectations

Postby Dresseur » Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:19 pm

I wouldn't necessarily expect the transitions to be balanced, and certainly not consistent in being balanced - just that the horse can do them willingly and isn't crashing down on the forehand or screeching on the brakes throughout every single transition and that generally, over the course of the 90 days, the horse starts to show a bit of improvement.

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Re: 90 Day Training Expectations

Postby musical comedy » Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:25 pm

Dresseur wrote:I wouldn't necessarily expect the transitions to be balanced, and certainly not consistent in being balanced - just that the horse can do them willingly and isn't crashing down on the forehand or screeching on the brakes throughout every single transition and that generally, over the course of the 90 days, the horse starts to show a bit of improvement.

Probably I should have started a thread on transitions. I wonder if anyone here agrees with this thinking. I think that downward transitions are harder the more forward and energetic a horse is. No question this is a big weak link for me right now.

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Re: 90 Day Training Expectations

Postby Dresseur » Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:29 pm

I'll answer on the thread you just started then. I think downward transitions are incredibly difficult to ride well, and to be patient enough to teach them to a horse well.

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Re: 90 Day Training Expectations

Postby Chisamba » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:05 pm

I have started quite a lot of horses, over a hundred, no exaggeration. When I was younger I started them for farm work so perhaps the first ten dont count.

I have had one, ONE, be talented enough to do all you describe in 90 days.

But perhaps my definition of balanced transitions and spirals differ.

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Re: 90 Day Training Expectations

Postby Dresseur » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:09 pm

I agree, totally balanced transitions and spiral in/out is ludicrous unless you have an amazingly talented horse. A tiny, and I mean tiny bit of leg yield may be appropriate depending on the horse. But really, calm, forward, straight is what I expect... and I don't mean ship straight in the body, I just mean that the horse can travel a reasonably straight line down the long side. Heck, the diagonals may still wander at bit at that stage.

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Re: 90 Day Training Expectations

Postby Chisamba » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:17 pm

I want to add that I do strongly believe rushing a young horse leads to numerous potential unsoundness issues, not the least of which is the new uptrend of kissing spines since earlier testing and auctioning of warmbloods

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Re: 90 Day Training Expectations

Postby khall » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:03 am

It really depends on the horse. Some come out ready to go and find the work easy (have to be careful with these and not push them too hard. Some are drunk camels (Rip was one of these) bulging this way and that. Gallie (Rip's dam) was WTC within first 2 weeks of US work (4) her out in the field pretty dang easily. Rip not so much! Though I did start riding him out at 4, not WTC that well though.

I've started quite a few of my own over the years. Rip was sent off for first 30 days, he was WTC mostly then grew. Took us until 5 to really start working on the canter again. He also had some tricks up his sleeve we had to work out. He was started at 3, ridden over the summer, turned away for the winter, brought back at 4, ridden for summer, turned away for the winter and then as a 5 yr old has been in full work since (for the most part).


I've ridden some where I wondered if I could make the turn in a 20m wide arena at the canter, WEEE. 17 hh TB/WB mare, ASB/TB cross, Rip:), 16.3 hh TB

Gallie by far was the easiest and most balanced young horse I ever started and have ridden WTC. She was working 2 nd level by 5 easily then at 6 her OCD in her stifles showed up. Turned her away and bred her twice, found conquer and put her back into work after foals. Worked solidly soundly until she foundered in 2015, used as a school horse to teach lateral work. Now at 23 not doing much. 10 months in the stall was hard on her with the founder. IRAP on left stifle but not holding. See it going right at the trot mostly.

I'm not so sure starting them a bit later, 4 or 5, is not easier. Let them mature physically and mentally a bit. 3 they are still such babies.


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