Short drive, big lesson; teaching uncontrollable horses to walk calmly on a loose rein.

4 years ago
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Barry explains how he teaches a pair of Friesian mares to walk calmly on rubber bits and why we are giving this lesson over a short-distance drive. He talks about the importance of horses listening to you, why we drive hard-pulling and hard-mouthed horses in rubber bits and shows how we control horses that are fresh out the stable.
These horses were sent to us because they wanted to go at 90mph everywhere, wouldn't walk out the yard and wouldn't stand still. We are trying to get them to walk on a slack rein just off the voice instead of hanging onto their mouths to get them to stay at a slower pace. Although they are being driven in rubber bits, we still want them to respond mainly off the voice.
As these horses throw their heads up in the air to evade the bit (a habit which can be due to having a severe bit in their mouths to control them previously) we have put a standing martingale on them. We are only doing a short drive with them when they are fresh out the stable to ensure they will listen to us and are still controllable when "full of beans". This is a good test for a horse and one that is often overlooked; if you had to return to the stable for whatever reason i.e. a loose shoe and you need your horses to walk to prevent injury, you need them to listen to you even if they have only gone a short distance and then turn for home. These horses will be doing commercial work with their owner, so they need to stand still when told and to walk calmly instead of jig-jogging or trotting virtually on the spot. We have also put these horses on the other side of the pole (they were previously driven the opposite way round).
We also show us teaching them to stand still and rein back when going into the yard. This film was taken early on in this pair's training, more videos will be posted showing how they have progressed.

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