Sunday, May 15, 2011

Green Broke Mare

Hey, I have a question regarding my four year old green broke mare and I was hoping you could help me out. I am training my mare, Epona, to ride, ground manners, etc...and I'm currently lost on how to continue. She knows how to walk, jog, lope, neck rein, leg pressure and circles. What other essential things do you think I could teach her? Also how do you teach a young horse collection, cause this mare definitely has none! Thank you for your time and I hope you can help me on this.

Hello Marianne,

The basic thing we need to think about when schooling and training our horses, whatever age, is how to make certain that we are strengthening them physically (and mentally) to be able to do the tasks that we desire without doing harm to the horse.

Frankly, as you probably know, riding can be difficult for them in keeping their backs and bodies free from stress and problems. That is one reason all riders need knowledgeable people on the ground helping them with THEIR riding no matter what their level may be...that our bodies are riding our horses correctly.

When we are riding our horse we are either strengthening them or breaking them done...period. Not realizing this has caused so many horses to become lame way before their time.You need to consider the QUALITY of the things you have already taught her first.Are you able to bend her correctly in whatever you are doing? Are her circles in a true "C" shape, with the hind legs following the track of her front legs?

Are you trying some lateral work with her? At the walk a lot of bend, change of bend, counter bend, leading to leg yields, slight shoulder- ins,, eventually haunches in. Done correctly, these movements just strengthen any horse, western or English.

Collection (correct collection) will depend on her ability to load her haunches with more of her (and your weight). She needs to be supple longitudinally and laterally. You need to work on her transitions.....walk to jog, forward to jog, lope to jog, walk to halt, etc. If you give her the aids to do this and help her learn to do these from Back to Front, with your seat and legs and THEN hands initiating the transitions, then she will be able to collect without any force.

Do not be influenced if you see other people "collecting" their horse by yanking on their mouths, and using devices, tie-downs, spurs, etc. A spur is for a trained horse and rider to give exact aids...tie-downs mean the RIDER is not able to ride their horse correctly..not that the horse is lacking in ability.

If you train with the basic, correct fundamentals, it will carry through when you specialize your requirements for the horse, whether it be western pleasure, hunt seat, or dressage. If you have further questions, (which, really, you hopefully will, ) you can email me at EXPERTS or at

When people realize how a horse needs TIME to accept the weight of a rider and the demands of a rider, hopefully these much-touted 2 and 3 day COWBOY CHALLENGES will cease. Great fun for the riders and spectators.....eventual trouble in so many ways for the unfortunate horses being used to promote the ego of "trainers". It is like my telling you that you need to do certain gymnastic exercises by tomorrow WITH a back pack on you and if you do not you will be run around, and physically and mentally challenged until you either do it and maybe ruin your body for years to come, or just break down.

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