Magic Mustang Tamer

Saddle Training

In this module we will take the horse from being tame, having learned basic husbandry tasks, to being ready to safely ride.

Number New Criteria Measures
30 Target Indicated Objects
30.1 Horse will target to fingers on random objects with no latency Latency
30.2 Horse will target to object indicated by fingers with no latency Latency
30.8 can target indicated objects in new area close to pens (in sight) 10x X-Omg
30.9 can target indicated objects into nature Level
31 Interact with Guider Ball  
31.1 Horse will target nose to guider ball with no latency Latency
31.2 Horse will allow trainer to rub with guider ball esp. girth with no
31.3 Horse will stop, back, and walk-on in response to cues from guider
stick (10 cycles)
31.4 Horse can be lead in “flight of homing pigeon” into new areas without
31.9 can do homing pigeon out of sight of pens and other horses Level
32 Targeting Cones  
32.1 Horse will touch nose to cone 10x per minute Frequency
32.2 Horse will move feet to put nose on cone without latency Latency
32.9 Go outside gate  to new area to target the cone 10x X-Omg
33 Respond to Walk-On Cue around circle of hoppers
33.1 Horse steps forward in response to walk on and pointing around circle Latency
33.2 Horse will walk half way around circle X-Omg
33.3 Horse will walk full circle X-Omg
34 Respond to Whoa Cue
34.1 Horse will respond to signal: “whoa” by stopping feet and standing still
with low latency while trainer is next to horse.
34.2 Horse will respond to signal: “whoa” by stopping feet and standing still
with low latency while trainer is away from horse.
35 Respond to Back Cue
35.1 signal: “back cue” , pull back on lead both feet 1 step with no latency Latency
35.2 signal: “back cue” , pull back on lead both feet 6 steps Duration
36 Desensitize to Arm Over Back While Walking
36.1 arm can be on back 10 seconds Duration
36.2 person can walk next to horse 100 ft X-Omg
36.3 person can walk with arm over horse 100 ft X-Omg
37 Walk on, whoa, back with arm over back
37.1 initiate walking with a learned cue while AOB with no latency Latency
37.2 initiate whoa with a learned cue while AOB with no latency Latency
37.3 initiate back with a learned cue while AOB with no latency Latency
37.4 WWB with arm over back in alley, between cones, and familiar places Level
38 Direct rein pressure (natural rein alignment)
38.1 Bend neck without stepping (nose to girth) Level
39 Move Front Feet
39.1 indirect rein pressure, pushing/pulling, R and L sides Level
39.2 one lateral step X-Omg
39.3 one cross over X-Omg
39.4 partial circle with only fronts (3 steps) X-Omg
39.5 lateral movement 360 degrees with hind legs not walking, both
40 Move Hips in Response to Belly Taps  
40.1 Horse will move hind feet laterally in response to tap behind girth
without front feet walking  7 steps
40.2 No latency in stepping laterally Latency
40.3 Horse will cross over hinds during rotation 3x X-Omg
40.4 Horse will continuously move haunches as long as stimulus is applied Level
41 Ground Tying  
41.1 horse targets rope on the ground immediately Latency
41.2 horse stops when trainer drops rope immediately. Latency
41.3 horse stations at a coiled rope on the ground while trainer walks
around for 30 seconds
42 Desensitize to Blanket  
42.1 target blanket with nose alternating with blanket moving immediately. Latency
42.2 target with shoulders and withers 5x X-Omg
42.3 CDP with blanket on all parts Map
42.4 stand stationary for blanket approach to the sides 3x X-Omg
42.5 respondent conditioning to associate blanket with food or game without
42.6 horse stands while blanket is flung on 5x X-Omg
43 Desensitize to Girth  
43.1 respondent condition velcro noise + food without evasions Evasions
43.2 target rope or velcro strap 10x X-Omg
43.3 calm with belly lifts 10x X-Omg
43.4 calm with moving girth 10x X-Omg
43.5 respondent condition buckle noises + food without evasions Evasions
43.6 stands calmly while girth applied 10x X-Omg
43.7 walks calmly while girth is on Level
44 Desensitize to Saddle
44.1 target saddle with nose, alternate with saddle moving immediately. Latency
44.2 target saddle with shoulders and withers 5x X-Omg
44.3 stands stationary for saddles approach from both sides 5x X-Omg
44.4 respondent conditioning to associate saddle with food/game without
44.5 stands calmly while saddle girth is fastened 10x X-Omg
44.6 walks calmly saddled with girth on. Level
44.7 respondent conditioning to slapping leather and moving stirrups without
44.8 Horse stands calmly while saddles is put on and walks calmly with the
saddle on 20x
44.9 can go into nature under saddle being led Level
45 Tapping as Easy Cue (guider ball and/or hand)
45.1 Immediately get in easy posture in response to tapping Latency
45.2 Horse will do 10 second duration easy on verbal cue Duration
46 Desensitize to Human over back
46.1 human can change elevation with bouncing/jumping 5x per side X-Omg
46.2 human can stand on block and feed over back 10x X-Omg
46.3 human can stand on fence and horse can immediately target withers to
human knee on request
46.4 human can put leg over back (holding fence) 20x X-Omg
46.5 human leg over back and horse does easy 20x X-Omg
46.6 human can sit on horse and hold fence 20 seconds Duration
46.7 horse can stand calmly and do “easy” (10 sec) with human on back Level
47 Mounting and Dismounting
47.1 Human can be across or along back on belly feeding horse 10x X-Omg
47.2 Human can slide off on both sides and over rump 10x X-Omg
47.3 Human can mount from a block and horse can stand still while human
dismounts 20x
47.4 Assistant can stand on off side (to stabilize saddle) while rider steps up
on stirrup from ground 20x
47.5 human can mount and unmount while horse stands still (both sides) 20x X-Omg
48 Halter Driving
48.1 Horse can circle at appropriate indicated distance 7 steps Duration
48.2 The horse will immediately turn on the forehand (swing away haunches) when trainer pulls lead toward hip Latency
48.3 The horse will immediately transition from facing up to lunging circle with turn on the turning on the haunches Latency
48.4 horse can circle, face up, turn to hip pressure move away in opposite direction or as directed (or horse can lunge, respond to lead pull by swinging haunches and then move front end away from pressure to go back to lunge circle) 10x X-Omg
49 Lunging (free or on lead)
49.1 Horse will walk on in response to verbal cue with no latency. Latency
49.2 Horse will whoa in response to verbal cue with no latency. Latency
49.3 Horse will back in response to verbal cue with no latency. Latency
49.4 WWB on the lunge 10 cycles X-Omg
50 Off Side Circle
50.1 Horse can target with no latency to rope that is alternately waved
50.2 Horse can have rope rubbed all over them Map
50.3 Horse can do easy with rope along side of body 5x X-Omg
50.4 Horse can do easy with rope along body and legs 5x X-Omg
50.5 the horse can turn away from trainer in response to rope pressure on
the off side of its body and legs CALMLY 20x
51 Ground Driving
51.1 Horse can walk with person on side (2 people, 1 leading) 100 ft X-Omg
51.2 Horse can be “whoa”ed with neck rope with driver on one side (2
people) with no latency.
51.3 Horse allows rope along body (2p) Map
51.4 Horse turns in response to rope pressure on hindquarters (2p) with no
51.5 Horse can walk with lines along boths sides of body at at once (2p) 100
51.6 Horse can drive with one line at a time on near or far side (2p) 100 ft X-Omg
51.7 Horse can walk calmly with driver in position but reins crossed on back
getting direction from lead rope 100 ft
51.8 Horse stands still when lines placed on ground 10x X-Omg
51.9 Horse can be driven with lead rope unattached but assistant still there
100 ft
51.99 Horse can be driven calmly around familiar areas Level
51.999 can go into nature being driven Level
52 OMG Stress Training
52.1 Horse will go to trainer to avoid aversive stimulus immediately Latency
52.2 Horse stays with trainer at liberty in the r.p. Level
52.3 Horse stays with trainer being led in alley Level
52.4 Horse stays with trainer being led in yard Level
53 Going Into Nature
54 Direct Horse From Saddle
54.1 Horse turns in response to combination of direct and indirect rein Level
54.2 Horse stops immediately with “whoa” (verbal and seat adjustment) Latency
54.3 Horse backs immediately with rein cue Latency
54.4 Horse immediately moves hindquarters in response to leg cues Latency
54.5 Horse goes where rider indicates with reins and legs in a med size
55 One Rein Emergency Stop
55.1 Horse will respond immediately to direct rein pressure during forward
motion by turning head to release rein tension
55.2 From a forward moving action the horse will respond to direct rein and
inside leg behind girth by stopping with no latency.
56 Go Riding
56.053 Can go into nature ridden and led by assistant Level
56.1 Directed riding in yard Level
56.2 Directed riding into nature Level
56.3 Horse can be ridden out of sight of pens with another horse completing
turns as requested

4 thoughts on “Saddle Training

  1. Valery Saunders

    Thank you for these guidelines. My mustang was gathered at 10, gelded and sent to two different trainers within his first year off the range. Stress caused severe ulcers and he almost died. He got the first year off with me – no demands, just building trust. He is still extremely reactive if I walk through the paddock with anything new (a hat, the halter and rope, etc.), although feeding and winging hay nets around is okay with him. I’m hoping by following your guidelines, step by step, he will become calmer and safer to ride (which I haven’t done yet).

  2. Patricia Barlow-Irick Post author

    It is all about building a history of positive interactions. The more times you can interact in short happy sessions, the better he will get. Longer sessions don’t you more trust, so keep them short to prevent errors. Spend 5 minutes 10 times a day…. one day you will realize that you have a different horse. Spend many sessions on Task 10 and get to where you can give him pleasurable scratches everywhere. Especially the midline of the belly and under the tail….. it will take some time, but you will be glad you took the time to get it done. Require the relaxation of the easy posture on 10 so he has to tell you yes.

  3. Dr. PBI Post author

    Update: Autumn 2020. I will be linking this page to Task pages where all the videos and instructions will be available.

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