Saturday, August 1, 2020

Moving Your Horse from Trail Riding to Polo Player

Bella is a beautiful half Arabian and American quarter horse that has power and intelligence unmatched in the area. She wasn't an easy horse to deal with. As a rescue that was almost starved to death by a son who inherited the family farm she wasn't expected to amount to much. Worse than the depletion of health at the time of rescue she was jumpy from abuse and even after extensive training she was still jump. So jumpy that the first owners returned her to the trainer because it was "too much horse". Yet Bella has survived and overcome her challenges and is now moving from the trail into polo riding. 

Its a different sort of expectation being a polo horse. In trail riding you want them to be desensitized so they don't bolt when they see things they don't like and polo horse must be further trained to move quick, have stamina, bump other horses and do things that a normal horse would never be expected to do!

While she is in the beginning of her training she has learned to move with a one handed rein, not be afraid of the polo mallet, and can take off on prompt. Easy to handle and pays attention to your slightest cue making moving during a polo game much more effective. Here are a few things I worked on with her. 

Desensitized: Continuous riding and making lots of noise around her until she calms down. 
Bite and Cue Training: Training her on subtle cues from body, bit, arm and legs that help her be responsive. 
Dominance Training: Winning her trust and then taking the dominant position with her by using firm commands with nice rewards. 
Consistency: Having other people ride her to allow her to become giving to many different mixed signals and to lower her nervousness. 
A Quality Day Trainer: Hired someone to day train her and ride here consistently in different environments to prepare her for more complex commands. 

She has more to go but is able to play polo at the walk and trot. Our next steps are to move to canter and then gallop. 

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