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Horse TrainingTips

Habitual stiffing of the back is done in fright, back pain or lack of back strength. 
It produces a hard trot or in the case of gaited horses, a tendency to hard-pace rather than four-beat gait.  
To get rhythm  a back needs to be relaxed to move left and right, up and down in  motion with their legs.

Picking Up feet
Make sure his weight is equal on all four feet.
Front:  Keep palm contact from shoulder down  to chestnuts.  While saying "Foot".  With time they will understand the command "foot". Legs pulled too much to the side will hurt.   Also don't allow them to lean on you.  It becomes a worsening habit.
Rear feet: Keep palm contact from hip down  to hock.  Squeeze the hock, while saying "Foot".  Make sure his leg is aligned with the rest of his body.  Don't raise foot high in the beginning.  

Work into holding for longer and longer periods.  Don't make a stress scene/fight, or the pattern will be repeated for life.  Nonschantly ignore or keep working, they will relax, later it will get better.
-  Horse (Equine)

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Smarter, stronger and more resourceful than either parent.  George Washington was the first American colonist to raise mules in this country.  He thought horses died too young, did too little and ate too much.  George acquired his first two donkey stallions from the King of Spain as a gift when becoming the first president of the United States of America in 1776.

Christopher Columbus brought the first donkeys and mules to the Americas in 1495.  The Spanish used them in their colonization of South America and at their other land holdings. 
When the Sante Fe Trail opened trade from St.Louis, Missouri in the 1820's to New Mexico.  A new animal was discover by the colonists which was faster than Oxen, more sure footed, possessing more stamina than a horse.  This animal was the mule. The mule gained so much popularity in Missouri that the name sake "Missouri mule" stuck verses the "New Mexico mule" for area of trade orgin.  Much of the trade with Sante Fe was for mule stock.  The mule would soon spread from Missoui to the rest of the nation wth the colonists.  Mules were instrumental in the construction of America's railroads, which openned the West up to settlement. (But that is another story).

A mule is a cross between a horse mare and a donkey stallion.  They usually resemble the mare more.  A hinny is a cross between a donkey mare and a horse stallion.  They usually resemble the donkey side more.  

Their height, build and color/markings are determined by their dam.  Donkey gives a lighter muzzle and belly.

Like the donkey they have a extreme sense of self preservation and bond strongly with a their primary handler.  They are sure-footed and careful.  Slower to over react then horses.  Donkeys have a mind of a mountain animal adapted to mountainous regions of the Old World.  Horses have the mind of animals eveolved on the open grass palains of North America.  Human equalivant of a 8-10 yr old human.  Donkeys about a 12 yr old.  Think of dealing with your spouse.  If she sees you have a well devised game plan, use of clear communication, and a rewarding relationship or fair partnership thing go well/better?  Same with your donkey or mule.  If push comes to shove, spouse shuts down, so does a donkey or mule.

Mules excel at packing and pulling.  Although with careful breeding you can get animal well suited to endurance, jumping, dressage, pleasure, driving, trail and racing, cutting, roping and gymkhana.

Price, palomino weanling mule out of breeding stock paint brought $3,200. in 2006.

You can expect to pay $5,000. to $8,000. per mule from the Coffee Hollow A-male stock.
before they reach the age of three years old.  As un-shown mules.

You can expect to pay $10,000. plus for a donkey stud that is ridable and has some jumping and show experience.

 Many mules live past the age of 40 years.

Donkeys can live for 50 years.

Paso Fino horses have been known to live to near 40 years.  Useable in their late thirties.  so mules of this cross could very well be the mount for your entire life.  If bought in your forties to sixties they are likely to out live you.

Training:  You have to be smarter then the mule/donkey and not treat them like a horse.

The being "stubborn": Is taking a moment to think things through.  Be patient.  If you get aggressive the donkey or mule will think OH! this is a bad idea to cooperate.  He'll then leave or kick without warning.  They can jump and spin around like a rabbit but above your head.

Strongest part of a donkey or mule is their head and neck.  You can not physically move them.  A donkey squatted is nearly as impossible to move.  You may ask respectfully and get good response.  Especially if this lesson is well ingrained to give.  Remember to remain calm and non-aggressive.  They will usually accept one swat if they are in the wrong.  ONE.  Don't waste it, over use it or be too hard with it.  This swat should be with a wrote-in-stone rule.

Mules and donkeys have a highly developed sense of justice.  They will not take well to whipping and spurring.  Mules and donkeys clearly realize how strong they are and they will take advantage of any opening when under stress etc.  Donkey/Mule male by nature runs off all other males.  So be careful when first boarding a new one at your place.

The general rule of thumb is don't start them under saddle until age of three.  Better yet age four.  Don't start a new lesson or training until you know you can be successfully and finish the lesson.  An aborted lessen to create bad habits later.

Keep in mind what you want to do with your mule.

Saddle mules:  look for one out of Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, Morgan or any gaited type mare (including Paso)
crossed with a mammoth jack.
For packing:  choice one from Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, Morgan, Paso Fino and a standard jack for a small
pack animal or a mammoth for a large pack animal.
Racing:  from Thoroughbreds or running Quarter Horses or American Paints and a mammoth jack.
Draft: from the draft horse of your preference.

When bringing a mule home to a horse herd.  The horses may be fearful and aggressive at first. Introduce one horse at a time if possible.

"Mules are popular in general because you can do anything with them.  They are sure-footed, smooth-gaited, and good-minded. You don't have to worry about them spooking, stumbling or hurting themselves, and people are catching on to that.'  --Webster

In addition, they are better keepers then horses.  Less care. Don't reproduce.  Less groceries.   Eat/drink about half of what their horse dams would eat and drink.   Live longer, are better athletes.  However do not neglect foot care.
Their feet are more sensitive in non mountainous or non dry conditions.

Teach them as babies that being with you and to follow.  When too unresponsive  or mean they can't be with you. (They get tied up for a few minutes).  They soon accept your suggestions to do as asked.

Then teach to not run away when it isn't fun or rewarding enough.  About all you can do.  But you can PLAY follow me all over.  Later when riding make sure the mule or donkey is always physically comfortable.

 And a creature of habit.  Which won't be fooled twice.  SO be a buddy and be careful what you do/teach or accept.  Don't man handle, you WILL DEFINIATELY LOOSE. 

A happy donkey or mule is a HARD WILLING WORKER. 

When training especially in round pen.

Moving your animal until they are tired will accomplish what?  
Are you aware they can lunge or run for twenty some miles without breaking into a sweat?

Use the round pen to evalute your animals dispostion and training perceptions.  

Have a education training plan in your mind to fit each individuals mind, and stick to it.  Making a list is helpful, refer to it to keep you on track.

Don't send them mindlessly in one direction or more the 4 reperations at one time.  Otherwise it becomes a punishment.  As we all know donkeys and mule dislike torment.  And if they don't want to corporate with you they are physically able to leave the lesson with or with out your consent.  Then its accident or injury for one of you.

Enlist friend or mule trainers whom have overcome the same training problems you are working on for advice/help.

KEEP YOUR TRAINING FRESH AND FUN.  Don't hurt or make mule miserable.  Remember they get it at 1 or 2nd try.  Once correct or nearly so it is better then several attempts at once. Repeat on other days to train. Work on something else, if you want your sessions to be longer.  I can guarantee at try 20 you'll be pissed or frustrated and the mule will preceive this and {think NO} danger is coming.  Especially if he knows you spank when impatient.  They don't keep track or their successes, they keep track of your relationship with them.

Keep the Growl out of your voice unless they kick or bite.
Give them a "good boy/girl" voice if they make any progress.  Along with good boy/girl circles rubbing.  Or if they accept your mistakes in training them.

Be a thinker, leader, not the follower with mule.  You need to be a tolerant  and understanding person to get along with your mule.  

Horses developed flight instincts because of pursuit of predators on the plains. (Same for deer species.) So running off as a herd was beneficial. As well thinking what scares me can hurt me so I and run fast first and think later.
Donkeys lived in steep and rugged terrain, so blind flight is just as dangerous as the predators.  So
So the donkeys used Standstill: When feeling in danger, they freeze up, try not to be seen, therefore nothing will make me move.  Hence the reputation for stubbornness.

Next comes the attack. It is not normal of horses to attack, but be ware some will and they do so with out mercy.
Donkeys however think, and if hide, and run won't work in the situation will attack.  They especially hate canines: wolves, coyotes, fox etc, and have to be taught to tolerate farm dogs.  (Bighorn sheep react similarly to pediator situations.)

The day the mule industry people didn't breed mean old mares to jacks that where hard on the eyes, but convently close; the mule industry took a BIG STEP FORWARD in a positive direction.

Donkey News
 Donkeys:  The mammoth donkeys are considered Threatened species.  
Threatened = Fewer then 1,000 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population less than 5,000 animals.  
"Critical" is the next negetive step; defined as fewer then 200 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population of less then 2,000.  

Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys are on the "Recovering" List.

I read some where about Mammoth jacks being rare now.  Only 26 registered in the USA.  Looking for the article again to confirm my figures.
Donkey Loadweight Capacity Recommendations

The size of the donkey determines the load weight it can carry without causing it harm and the load weight is the combined weight of the rider and tack (saddle, pad, etc).  At no time, for any reason should weight be placed on the back of an immature donkey.  Mature means the donkey has all of its adult teeth.  For a miniature donkey maturity can be 4 ½ to 5 years old, for standards 5 to 5 ½ years old, and for large standards and mammoths it can be at late as 7 to 7 ½ years old.  You can not gauge the maturity of a donkey by its size.  You must lift the lip and look at its teeth.    I am including a table that has the recommended loadweight capacity for donkeys based on their average height and weight.

Loadweight Capacity Recommendations for Donkeys  
Height*Maturity AgeWeight (lbs)***Loadweight CapacityBack Length
32                5                236                    59 lbs                    12.5"
34                5                263                    65.75 lbs                13.5"
36                5                 294                    73.5 lbs                  14.5"
38                5.5               326                    81.5 lbs                  15"
40                5.5              368                    92 lbs                    16"
42                 5.5               407                   101 lbs                    17"
44                 5.5               453                   113.25 lbs              17.5"
46                 5.5               504                   126 lbs                   18"
48                 5.5               558                   139.5 lbs                 19"
50                6                 618                    154.5 lbs                 20"
52                6                 683                    170.75 lbs               21"
54                  6                 753                    188.25 lbs              21.5"
56                7                 828                   207 lbs                    22.5"
58                7                 879                   219.75 lbs              23"
60                7                 996                   249 lbs                    24"

**Mature means they have a full mouth of adult teeth.  
**Maturity age and weight are averages  
***Loadweight capacity is the combined weight of rider and tack  
      Loadweight capacity recommendation is based on level terrain  

Choosing a saddle for a donkey is based on the shape and length of the donkey’s back, not on what size the rider will be.  The saddle must not be placed on the donkey’s shoulder blades, nor be too long that it interferes with his hip.  If a saddle that fits his back length is too small for the rider than it is an indication the rider is too large for the donkey anyway.

For donkeys 48” and larger I recommend the American Saddlery cordura endurance saddle on the professional endurance tree. Not all “endurance” saddles are the same.  Most, such as Abetta and others are build on a Ralide tree, and Ralide trees do not fit donkeys.  The American Saddlery cordura endurance saddle is reasonable priced at Chick’s Saddlery, has round skirts and is lightweight weighing 14 lbs.  It will not properly fit a donkey smaller than 48” because of the tree length.  For donkeys 40” to 48” I recommend a 12” seat pony saddle.  If the 12” pony saddle is too small for you, than you are too large for the donkey.   There is an old tale that donkeys are stronger than horses.  They aren’t.  They have the same physical structure as a pony or horse and a 10 hand 40” donkey is not more able to carry 100 pounds of loadweight than a 40” pony would be.  Just because they will carry it, doesn’t mean they should.  Overburdening puts them at great risk of permanent injury.   If someone has the story of Diesel in their files please repost it to the list so the tragedy of his death can remind us how fragile they really are. 

Husbandry is what is good for the animal.  Convenience is what is easiest for us.  No where in the definition of husbandry (conserve, preserve, protect, prevent) is the word convenience. Copyright: Vicki Knotts Abbott
Reprint permission granted by Vicki Knotts Abbott. 

Donkeys have coats which do not repel water or snow melt.  They are susceptible to colds and bronchitis if out doors in severe cold climates.

Ways To Get The Most Out of your Paso Fino's Gait.

 Buying a gaited horse and getting the smooth as silk ride can be achieved with a little know-how.  Just because a gaited horse is smooth doesn't mean he won't bounce you around from time to time.  To get the smooth ride you must do a few things right so you and your horse can work in harmony & rhythm.

IMPORTANT FACTS - Even distance (spacing) and even timing (speed)
All four legs must move in perfect rhythm and even timing with each of the individual legs moving to cover the exact same distance to make gait possible.

RIDERS SEAT:  Keep the rider's weight off the front end.  Train or ride the horse with weight going on the hind legs.  Train so they bring their rear feet up under the riders hips as much as possible.  This is done with a good foundation training.  (Legs yields and lateral work to a 100% before trying for gait).  With the ground work done.  Apply even legs pressure and the horse will naturally bring their rear ends up under to move away. (Hence forward).  This also brings them up into the bit. For a more proper collection. Verses drawing their heads back with the bit and doing a detrimental collection (non-collection) (rear end will be more strung out behind horse, horse rough, and unstable on feet.) 
For speed: Don't Lean forward, it causes more speed and anxiety. Instead:  Reach your arms forward towards the horse's mouth to indicate the wish for more speed by letting them stretch their neck a little.

RIDER'S LEGS:  When the rider's legs are forward they are at a disadvantage for controlling their horse and slightly off balance for unexpected movements.  When riding gaited horses the tendency is for the riders legs to drift forward with the movement of the horse.  Some riders haven't practiced centered riding therefore they can't get gait from their horse if riding in incorrect posture (keep working at it, your horses's gait will improve if you ride correctly).  Also your back health will improve.
Leg aides:  A horse won't move freely in gait if the rider's legs are clamped on.  Likewise with a trotting horse with a rough trot.  The movement will be softened if you decrease your knee pressure.
Leg aide: roll your lower leg verses pushing with leg.

SADDLE FIT:  A gaited horse needs the riders weight to be further back so their shoulders are freed up.  Quick sprints or jumps are not usually part of a daily routine for a gaited horse, so just slide the saddle back a bit.  Forward saddle may contribute to a rougher ride.
Correct angle of fork in saddle tree is essential for comfort.  Or  buy "The corrector" by Len Brown (see web searches) which takes care of most saddle fit problems.  We recommend the mid sized one.  Can be used English or western and isn't too long for gaited horses, and will fit Quarter horse type sizes too.  With "The corrector" system you eliminate a lot of saddle purchases.  And Decrease the trottiness from shoulder pain in the gaited animals.  And an improved trot in non-gaited stock.  As a rule, short backed horses are more comfortable in shorter saddles.

BIT AND REINS:  The horse should be trained to take some light pressure on the bit.  And to not be afraid of the bit. (Fear comes with hard hands).  As the rider gently holds the reins, and the horse rounds his back and drives his rear forward, there is a mild pressure on the bit.  The whole thing is like a bow or suspension bridge.  Energy gets transmitted through the whole system including rider which enables fluid movement and strength.  
If the riders releases the reins at this point, the built up pressure is lost and all falls apart.  
Hence rhythm is gone.  Then so goes the gait.
Note you are not trying to bring brilliance in gait by pulling in on the reins!
Give a horse a break by letting them stretch their necks occasionally.  Moving at a slow gait or flat walk will help release tension from the neck muscles.  The back is released manner to, and it encourages them to round under during the next work time.  Doing this in gait, may give you a more trotty gait, because of the weight transfer to the front legs.
With practice most horses learn to stay in gait on a loose rein as slower speeds, without getting trotty, because they learn to keep their shoulders up.
When a horse has a lot of up and down movement like the Tennessee Walkers, the rider must keep the rein pressure steady by letting their arms swing back and forth, or the rein pressure will go from slack to tight every step.  This undoes the collection or "the bow".
Many riders feel that they can keep their weight off the horse's front end better if they hold their  hands fairly high.  
Since stretched out low hands and arms tend to make some rides lean forward.
I state:  High hands, high head.   Low hands, low head.  

Tip to help keep rider from leaning too far forward, if that is your tendency, keep your  hands on saddles horn spot area. Move only a couple of inches in any direction.  With a horse well ground-schooled and with 100% leg aide responsive.  The reins are rarely used in general riding. Relaxation of body, seat, belly & body is sign to stop.  Add the rein to your legs in the arena and your gaited horse will rein on the dime!

HOOVES:  Angles affect break over, and the angles of rear and front feet need to be in correct relationship to each other.   
Note:  A shorter hoof will speed up action.
One problem from trimming incorrectly:   Having the rear feet too short can cause a horse to start forging.  (Stepping on his front feet because of angle and increase in rear foot speed.) Rear feet should be slightly bigger.

While moving all horses need to move in a straight line like on a railroad track.  That is not leaning or swinging their butts over. This requires a watchful rider.  Only let your horse move his head around to watch the sites if they can maintain a straightness when doing so.  Your leg on their sides should prevent the horse's butt from swinging out.  Generally speaking when your horse moves his head to the right while looking around their butt's will swing to the left, causing them to take uneven steps.  
In a gaited horse this means they drop gait as rhythm was lost.
Riding up hill puts more weight on the front legs and causes the front to quicken, making for a trotty gait, or a pacey gaited horse right. 
Moving down hill puts weight on the hind legs, making the gait pacey or in a trotty gaited horse just right.
As a rider you can use these physics principles to your advantage by using a slight up hill or down hill grade to practice getting the timing of the gait just right.  Do not walk a horse on the slope that causes the horse to fall into a pacey or trotty movement until they learn to hold their timing and rhythm in any terrain.

FITNESS:  Horses need to gradually get into shape too.  On each ride their may not let you sit real well until they start to relax and warm up.  It is important to start out slow to avoid tension and injury.  It takes concentration and strength for a horse to gait under a rider.

On every ride give the horse opportunity to find his gait.  Ride on smooth and level ground that is not to soft or gravelly in a constant speed without turning; for longer and longer periods of time, on a gentle rein.    

If a horse starts to get pacey, give him more slack in the reins and drive him forward crisply asking anything else for a while.  You could also ride on a uphill slope.  Note to: that to much pressure on the bit or anxiety about the bit can promote pacing.

A large, well ridden circle can help break up the pace, but a fast, small, and hurried circle in gait increases the chance of the horse striking his outside front foot with an inside hind foot,  which at times can happen more often, with a gaited horse that moves each foot independently, then horse at a trot. Trotter move their legs diagonally together.

A trotty horse needs to be pickup and collected more, he needs to lighten the front end and use his hind quarters more.  Exercises which help lower the croup and reach further with his hind legs help (like riding down hill), also going from a back up into a crisp gait can work well.

Engage the horses rear end by gently changing from slow walk to fast walk
stop to gait, walk to canter, and all of these back down to a walk, stop or back up.
The practice with shifting his balance over his hind quarter, and giving his head to the bit by tucking his nose (by breaking at poll), and responding to the rider's legs by moving his own legs underneath himself and pushing off with more energy.

Backing up hill, up a bank or out of a ditch can be a great strengthener when done correctly.  That is without the horse raising his head in the air.

Legs yields, rein yields and exercises like shoulder in and reverse arcs (in a walk at first) all loosen the shoulders and cause the hind legs to reach further, lengthening the horse's stride, and getting him to carry more weight over the hind legs.

The most important exercise and movement is the Regular FLAT WALK.  Most gaited horses are happier gaiting then walking, but walking encourages the horse to relax and stretch its neck, to lengthen its stride rather than getting quicker, and helps him get an even 4 beat gait. (The regular flat walk is 4 beat gait.  =  Paso).

Understand that if your horse gigs when saddled, mounted or asked to stand still with a rider, they may be uncomfortable.  If not it may be behavioral, and they should be backed. Made to stand still until quiet.  Then ask to go forward, if they gig; repeat the process.  This works for rearing excited stallions to.  But watch the bit pulling.

 We don't recommend NOT riding your gaited horse until they are three.  And then so very lightly.  Four is a more appropriate age to be started with a rider.  Gaiting requires strong back muscles and good posture. Gaited horse tend to be more refined and have less muscle mass for bone support.
If a horse is out of shape and asked to gait too long or fast, or if he moves under his rider with his back dished in and the underside of his neck bulging out, he can very easily get a sore back.  Becoming difficult to saddle and mount, rush under saddle to get away from the pain, or even stumble because carries to much weight on his front legs.  That is why it is important for a horse to learn to walk on a loose rein; to stretch and release his back muscles every so often.  Moving in collection must be gradually increased.
Even for a trail horse, good horsemanship and an effort in riding to keep the horse's proper posture must not be neglected.  Riding just on weekends does not count as regular exercise.  With out being used more, it just adds to the stiffness or muscle/back soreing.
Energize that horse.  The 4 beat gait, except the walk, demand a lot of energy and can not be performed by a lazy horse.  You may notice that with some fright your horse suddenly finds a 4 beat gait.  This is because they will lift their shoulders, and engage deeply with their hind legs while keeping the rear up under their bodies.
Set up and Establish a work out pattern for each ride.  Warm the horse up slowly.  A tense or hyper horse can be ridden in a small circles (figure eight) until he is warm and calm.  After the warm up ask your horse to concentrate and  really work for a while, so he sweats and breathers hard for 30 minutes or more.  After which he should be allowed to cool off and stretch for a while, so he is mellow and relaxed when you dismount.
On long rides you can go slow and steady, giving him opportunities to stretch his neck and back.  If you can't get him to do it any other way.  Get off and walk him at hand for a few minutes every hour.

Picture each ride as a combination of aerobic exercises and strength building for your horse, during which you are his coach, and also a lesson for the the horse in controlling emotions, learning to dance happily and trusting with a gentle partner that Leads the way (you the rider). Warm up and stretch before, stretch and slowly cool down afterwards.

After all your ground work has been established. 
Ride 100 miles in about (6 mile sessions)  (about 12 miles each)  in only a soft bosal or halter without a
saddle. For the first (17 to 20) rides when trying to get lengths of rhythm to establish gait.

Lack of suppleness and flexing can cause a horse to go diagonal.  A horse that does not relax into other gaits will most likely tense up and eventually begin to pace.  Do not teach them to pace, it is nearly impossible to reverse.  Another sign of not relaxing is the loss of even footfall and the increase in forward movement.  Which in turn causes you to miss Paso Gait.

The sound effect for trot is      ta-ta-ta-ta                      with a moment of hesitation between each beat.
The sound effect for trocha, is tra-tra, tra-tra, tra-tra, tra
The sound for Paso gait is       paca-paca-paca-paca-paca
The fun will come with the exercises.

This all in the end makes for a happy gaited or non-gaited horse that will move smoothly.

Biting the Paso Fino Horse

 Snaffle:  Is a gentle bit if both reins are not pulled hard as a unit.  Use one hand to support and the other hand to signal.  The advantage with the snaffle is it won't frighten, nor make horses tense or nervous unless you yank.  If you yank or pull quickly it is a severe bit.  It is great for helping them become supple through turns, and to teach him lateral movements like leg yields, etc.
You can collect a horse and center it's weight over the hindquarters and lighten it's front end with a snaffle, but it takes a lot of training.  
Once trained in a snaffle move them on to a shank bit.  After training, the horse will take a correct posture as soon as the riders hands make contact with the bit.  

I personally start them in a rope halter, soft bosal (Jaquima) or regular halter. Then move on to a soft pliable braided rawhide side pull. Then a snaffle. Then ride occasionally with a calvary bit.

I personally love a calvary curb bit with med high port.  However, I must stress this is a finger pressure bit used with LOOSE rein.  Move your finger a bit to the left or right, or rotate the wrist.  The Paso Fino breed usually has high mouth palates, which enables them to use a taller port. But not always, so be kind and careful.  Some can carry California style bits.  This Spanish stock is the reason for the California style bits.  
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 Training Elements for the Paso Fino Horse

 Discipline - Remember your training starts from the moment to enter you horses stall to the time you put them away.  Be consistent in what you approve and disapprove of on a daily basis.

The horse must respond and obey with respect.  Give you body space.
Lounging a horse before mounting or as a way of punishing when they are uncontrollable is a good idea.  
Don't allow acting up when they have tack on.  Lunging in a small circles with high speed will get their attention.   Do this as many times as necessary.  
When under saddle stop the horse everytime it acts up and start over with what you were trying to teach. 
Do not fight the horse on his back.

You must only reward after a good performance  by petting not by pampering.

Getting to know your horse is the best asset you can achieve before you start training.

You need a planned curriculum to guide your horse step by step through the learning process.
Horses have good days and bad days just like people.  

Remember you have long term training goals and short term training goals.  

You must try to set your mind to think like your horse so you can recognize his intent and change his response if
you need to.
A long term goal is to have your Paso Fino moving in a 4 beat gait unless you ask for otherwise.

New Paso Foals:   Imprint, but don't handle so much that you make a pet out of your Paso. 
Keep out doors if possible. Exercise is essential.  Running room impoves gait.

One to Three months:  Teach to lead at about 3 months.  Don't let the foal jerk you around, but don't
make it a pulling contest.  Use pressure and release system. Move the hips, and the foal moves.
       Once a foal takes forward steps reward with stroking its face and neck, establishing this as your
sign of reward.  Circular motions copy that of mothers licking and is comforting.  Square movements
are punishment feelings.

Three to Four months:  Introduce the foal to their new best friend a POST.  (Minimum 4" diameter and 3 feet in the ground, minimum 6ft above ground.)  Tie foal to post by looping rope around post and back into halter with a quick release knot.  Should be 6 inches of play between the post and the halter.  The foal may resist the post.  Pay attention to the colts actions at this point, it will give you an idea the the colts mind.  Always approach from the front.
Gentle sack the foal out with a plastic sacks (white & dark) and a towel in gentle swinging motions touching him in different parts of the body.  Every time the foal stops reacting, stroke him with the bag.  When doing the head slowly remove.  After the foal has accepted this repeat, but this time with your bare hands.  Then untie foal and return him to stall.  Once the foal is responding without complaint and allowing me to approach and catch it, I give the foal the reward of taking the halter off afterwards.  Now it is time to wean the foal.

Weanling:  It is important that your post in your round pen or in an open area has a 15-20 ft clear radius.  Work the foal around the post while making sure the post is between you and the foal.  Have the foal face you.  Use a 12-15ft rope or lead.  If you want the horse to travel left wrap the post from the right to the left reverse for going right.  Your goal is to move the foal in a circle around the post without stopping or rearing back (at a walk is best).  Where the rope/lead intersects on the pole a right angle of 90 degree should be formed.  Hold the rope so your fingers are facing the ground.  This way if the foal fights the flat of your hand will hit the pole not your fingers.  The trainer is to walk as close to the post as possible.   Make sure the foal is traveling not leaning on the rope.  After a couple of laps, stop the foal by raising your right hand and "whooing" while giving a slight wave/pull on rope.  The colt should be facing you again. Then work in the opposite direction.  Do this only as necessary and not often until  the horse is saddle age.  To not harm the growth plate in legs and neck.

Saddle Breaking:  Begin at two or three years.  I stress don't ride until a full three. (Not 2-3 yrs, but 3-4yrs). Tack use a jaquima with a soft bosal and soft chin piece.  Western bosal or a rope halter.  Lunge the horse on the pole to get his attention in both directions.

Sacking:  once lunged, sack out as you did when horse was a foal.  Now you can introduce a set of hobbles to ready for saddling.  Tie to post with 6 inches from the halter to post.  Apply hobbles from left front to left rear, and right front to right rear.  Make sure the hobble buckles point to the outside.  Make sure the horse is standing square so the hobbles can do their job.  Untie the rope and ask the horse to move.  Some horses will fight the hobbles very hard, falling over.  Once the horse is standing up again, walk him back to the pole and tie him up.  Leave hobbles on and sack out again with bags and towel.

After this slowly start sacking out with a saddle pad.  Then place on his back.  Now introduce saddle while hobbled.  Let the horse sniff is before placing it on his back.  If he back away walk him forward again.  Present the saddle again. 

Saddling:  Slowly let horse smell his saddle pad again.  And next the saddle.  Do not let the stirrup or cinch drop over his side. (Doing so will scare him unduly causing him the jump or bolt right into you. )  Lightly place saddle on his back. And gentle touch cinch to his belly a few times before tightening it up.  SLOWLY tighten. Again the same procedure with the rear cinch.   When the saddle is secured turn the horse loose from the pole.  Keep him on a line.  Make him move so he can feel the saddle. Don't let him buck.  Once he settles bring him back to the post.
Once you are ready and the horse is fully three years old continue with training under saddle. (Or complete saddle break without mounting by using a bareback pad and or light English saddle.  Do everything but sit on the horse.  You can walk beside and imitate riding and moving tack around.)

IF you have no help make sure the horse can not move.  If you have help, have them wrap the rope around the post one full time and a bit more.  Move the saddle around a few times and pull on stirrups  before mounting.  Put foot in stirrup slowly.  Don't bump the horse with your toe as you mount.  Carefully and slowly mount the horse. A few times partially going up is better then rushing aboard or landing hard in the saddle.  A few practices and they usually will stand. When using a helper have your help facing the horse with the pole between them.  Move around in the saddle a bit.  Rub the horse continuously in circles while mounted on neck, rump, and along the sides.  Next remount from the right.
I would do these things one to three times a day.  For three days minimum.  If horse relaxes and accepts move on.
When the horse accepts you on his back with out tension.  Remove hobbles.  Have horse move around pole.  If they try and buck pull them into the post.  Finish each day with mounting and un-mounting from both sides while tied at the pole.  Unsaddle at post.  Lunge unsaddled at post a couple times in each direction.  End day.

Second day lunge around the post for 10 minutes.  Return to the pole, tie , mount and dismount several times.  As you do so, rub your legs over the horse in your on and off.  Rub neck, sides, rump with your hands.  The sign for the next step, riding, is when you lounge the horse at any speed that you ask and the horse does not offer to buck or hunch its back in discomfort under saddle when it moves.

Your ability to teach and correct problems is the future of your horse.

I barely have upward pull on bit/headstall, that way the horse is rewarded immediately when I take pressure off of his mouth.  

Paso Fino's do not usually give in to hard punishment or abuse! 

Paso Finos respond best to bosal work, so the bit should not be introduced at an early stage. 

Biting too early can cause stiffness, impeding their natural ability to gait.
Head gear, attach one set of reins to the side rings (bosal) and second set of reins tin the bottom (barbada).  The top rein is mainly for turning, and the bottom rein is for stopping.  From the first day your job will be to teach the horse to stop and give lightly to pressure.

I teach the babies to go (click) and to stop (whoo) by walking with them for miles while they are little.  And the body space rules.  It is a good time to teach halter show principles.  Then again just before they are to be saddled.

To stop, you sit back and down in the saddle, relax legs, body, (fully relax stomach) and use as little contact as possible (more of a touch and release when they slow a bit) on the reins.  When you get ready to go again, use a compression and lift with your groin/seat muscles and verbal cue "click" "click click".

To slow relax, slight cue on reins. use verbal cues too (easy) for slowing Which also means be careful.  Great on the trail when crossing hazards.  They will get to understand and will set their noses and heads down to get a better view of the obstacles upon a cue of "easy".

Then continue on with the rest of natural training methods.

Use your body to help a horse turn.  
When you ask to turn to the left, put weight on your outside (right) stirrup.  At the same time, bring your left shoulder back with a pull and release for the same hand.  Maintain your upper body straight and look in the direction you want the horse to turn.  It will be 25% easier to flex a horse if you use the above tip.

Make sure your horse is standing square, before flexing.
Rein pull must be quick(not jolting), firm, and short, with a immediate release.  The quickness of your release will give your horse his suppleness and ability to respond quicker.
Use different sized circles.  Do not have the horse turn tightly before the horse is truly supple. 
 Or it will set you back.
Be patient and CONSISTANT.
Work both sides evenly.
Always end on a positive note.  
Let the horse know they did what you wanted by patting and reinforcing with your voice.

Most of my horse are only aquintaed with people until 3 yrs old.  That is grooming.  From 3 - 9 yrs started under saddle.  Most of the time I don't get to mine until they are 9-10 yrs old.  They will be extremely good, if you allow them time to bond with you while working.  They are loyal, and protective when trained by one person.

To buy a "Traditional Paso Fino Training Book" click on here to link.
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The harness

!. Must fit horse properly.
2. Must work with the type of convance you will be using.
3.  The reins for the team: the long rein is on the outside.  Inside adjustment varies with height of individuals used &
how the reins are strung through hames or not through hames.  Possibly the type of pole hook up system used
will affect inside length.

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