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View Full Version : I Know This Is Going To Sound Stupid.. Buttttt........UPDATE Post 11



KrazyTBMare
Jan. 2, 2008, 03:25 PM
Since my boarder/girlfriend is out for 6 wks post op, I am going to be riding her horse a few times. Ive ridden him before for her many many times, but after riding him last night felt like I would make a fool out of myself and post these questions.

Horse is a big (1220+lbs) Spotted Saddle horse, but he doesnt gait. Anyways, was a "trail"/western horse until she bought him almost 2 yrs ago. Had some issues with no sweating, and living in FL left with not much time for riding. Anyways, so basically hes green in the sense that hes not had a lot of education, but DEAD quiet, very willing, and super fun to ride.

ANYWAYS. Hes a big lug esp when it comes to bending and circles, which really stems from his straightness. I dont expect him to bend like my 1st level mare, but I do expect him to get off his inside shoulder and carry himself without diving around a turn. I can get him to do it, but it gets pretty physical (as in me really having to use my seat/legs/hands way more than I ever have to with my mare, even when she was green).

So is this normal to just have to be louder with your aids with a green heavy horse or what? My mare is VERY light and responds to the lightest aid (which wasnt a great thing when she was green and hot!).

Esp to the left, its quite difficult to get him to take even contact on the reins and not counterbend. To the right hes much easier but still not easy. If that makes sense.

Again, I can get him to do it but its a very involved ride.. meaning I have to be in his face (not with the bit but meaning I have to really push with my seat, use spur, and ride a lot more aggressively).

Oh yeh, and you CANNOT lunge him. And no round pen. And please, no advice on how to make him lunge. Been there done that, have the tshirt. Its going to have to be solved u/s.

Any little tips or tricks to help with a horse like this? Do I just need to keep focusing on keeping him straight and on both reins evenly and eventually the bending and not diving around the corner will come?

Eclectic Horseman
Jan. 2, 2008, 03:37 PM
The best advice that I can give you is to not expect so much. It is easier for the horse to learn on the longe, but since you can't do that you just have to ride him like a baby.

By that I mean do not make circles, make ovals. Do not attempt to go into the corners, make a big oval in the arena. If you try to force him to do something that he does not have the strength and the balance to do, then he will just become more sophisticated in his evasions.

Right now, he probably can do pieces of a 30 meter circle while staying upright. So stick with that and just gradually ask for more in tiny increments over the course of days or weeks. When you can get him to do the arc of a 20 meter circle and stay straight, then you can work on other straightening exercises.

Good luck.

pintopiaffe
Jan. 2, 2008, 04:24 PM
Can you teach him shoulder fore & leg yeild on the ground? Turn on the forehand?

I start all of these on the ground, using a verbal cue, then add them under saddle.

It sounds to me like he doesn't really get how to step away and under himself from your leg.

Agree completely that it has to be in baby steps until he gains strength.

I *love* non-gaited saddle horses. :yes:

Hampton Bay
Jan. 2, 2008, 04:35 PM
Agree that you need to ride him like he is a baby, and work primarily on forward and straight. You're not going to get too far with him if you cannot get him forward from a reasonable aid, and he cannot carry himself is he is not straight.

Use big circles and figure 8's, and don't focus so much on bending. Just keep him forward, try to get his shoulders in front of his hips, and steer with a light, almost loose, opening rein. If you need a whip, use one. But be careful not to fall into the habit of nagging with your spur. It's all too easy on the lazy types :)

How is his response to flexing? Does he give his head readily? If not, then really work on that. Does he yield his hind end if you put your hand on his hip, like when he is in the cross ties? If not, work on that too. Since he is green, I would be he is just confused, so he does what is easiest for him, which is to fall in and be crooked.

It likely will not be an overnight fix. If hes not been ridden much, he does not have the strength and flexibility to really bend and carry himself. Add that you are fighting against years of "trail training" where he carries himself how he chooses, and it may take a long time to really fix this. He has to un-learn the incorrect response as well as learning the correct.

IMO, retrains like this are the hardest. Number one reason I have bought a youngster and have a foal on the way as my next riding horses. Retraining my mare has taught me a lot, but starting with a blank slate is SO much easier!

KrazyTBMare
Jan. 2, 2008, 08:13 PM
Thanks guys.

Yes, we do leg yields and the walk and trot. Much better going to the left (meaning towards the left) than going towards the right. Again, its the outside rein contact while tracking left. He moves away perfectly on the ground (didnt when she got him though) and most of the time dont even have to touch him, he just moves if you step in towards him. But thanks to my gf and I, he has perfect ground manners now.

I dont go deep in corner or expect perfect circles, but even on a huge (like we are talking 40-60m) circle, or even just a soft turn, esp to the left.. it feels like hes pivoting off his inside shoulder and counter bending and bracing his neck and turning it the opposite direction.

We are working on flexing. Lord knows what kind of bit he was ridden in before my friend bought him. But his previous owner was QUITE timid and scared of him (why I have no idea) and probably used a huge gag or something. Plus he was previously at a SSH farm where he was a breeding stallion and apparently they "tried to make him gait but he wouldnt" so who knows what they did to him.

He can get really stiff in his jaw. The best bit I have helped my gf find for him is a Dr Bristol, since it is legal for dressage. He did not respond at all to a Boucher, 3 ring elevator, reg snaffle, mullen mouth, or french link. We tried a regular snaffle mouth pelham on him, just to try to lighten him off the hand (leverage for elevation) and since Ive used double reins before and his owner hasnt, I rode him in it a few times. He was actually VERY good and after a few half halts with the 2nd rein, I rode all off of the snaffle rein. But its not dressage legal and I didnt want him to rely on the leverage. So we only used that for like 3 rides.

Basically we start out walking on a long rein, getting him to stretch and march forward. Then we do a lot of halting transitions, using just our seats, making sure to not tip the pelvis to negatively push on his back and to get him listening. Then once we have that, slowly pick up some contact. He will stretch down into the bit (totally opposite from my mare who likes to try to hide just behind it) so you dont have to pick up much rein to find him. Then we work on him flexing to the left and right. Very gently and slowly. Then we work on him halting while still flexing and staying soft in the jaw. Most of the time at first he wont, and he will invert his head (and yes, I have very light contact and still ask for transition by tightening my abs no rein pressure) so I just gently ask him to flex and kind of jiggle the reins (NOT see sawing, just vibrating the reins very slightly). Eventually he will give, and as soon as he does, big pats and hes rewarded with walking forward, but must remain soft and yielding. Then we trot, just work on forward, not where his head is. Hes the type that you cannot in any way try to force or bully. He knows how big he is and if he gets frusterated or upset, he just plants himself. And he knows he will win. So its really soft and easy with him. Then we do lots of trot/walk/halt transitions, asking him to not brace on the bit. Some circles (like 40+m) and change across the diagonal. Then once hes moving well, a few baby leg yields.

I notice with him to the right you have to really keep your outside leg back to keep him from swinging his haunches around in a turn and to the left its a really good contact on the outside rein, open inside rein to get him to give on the left side, and lots of inside leg asking him to move over. I was really working on keeping him even in both reins, not caring if he looked crooked in his neck or not. And he really responded to me really just half halting every other step on the outside rein and alternating with the inside. He likes to doze off and zone out, so we try to keep his mind active by not just trotting in circles or laps.

I have read that with babies you keep an even feel on both reins and start to teach turn from the inside rein... if this is correct, then we cant do that to the left. If you try to turn slightly with the inside rein he just falls completely to the outside through his right shoulder. If you try to block him with the outside rein/leg, he just braces his neck and stiffens his jaw. I can get it, but its hard. Should I just keep trying for 1 or 2 steps?

BTW, saddle fits great, feet are great, teeth are AWESOME. Its just that he doesnt know and I think he had some bad cowboying done to him that makes him defensive.

J-Lu
Jan. 2, 2008, 08:51 PM
I have read that with babies you keep an even feel on both reins and start to teach turn from the inside rein... if this is correct, then we cant do that to the left. If you try to turn slightly with the inside rein he just falls completely to the outside through his right shoulder. If you try to block him with the outside rein/leg, he just braces his neck and stiffens his jaw. I can get it, but its hard. Should I just keep trying for 1 or 2 steps?

BTW, saddle fits great, feet are great, teeth are AWESOME. Its just that he doesnt know and I think he had some bad cowboying done to him that makes him defensive.

Maybe you already have your answer? Perhaps he just doesn't know much. If that's the case, then there's no big deal that he tenses or braces when you ask him to do something correctly. That will go away as he gets stronger and more "with the program" (especially if your friend lets him coast on a regular basis). It sounds like you have a nice opportunity to put a wee bit of training on him. I'd go more by his learning curve then what he does/doesn't do at this point in time. See if/how quickly he responds to your training. And go from there...

J.

Rusty Stirrup
Jan. 3, 2008, 07:37 AM
Maybe you already have your answer? Perhaps he just doesn't know much. If that's the case, then there's no big deal that he tenses or braces when you ask him to do something correctly. That will go away as he gets stronger and more "with the program" (especially if your friend lets him coast on a regular basis). It sounds like you have a nice opportunity to put a wee bit of training on him. I'd go more by his learning curve then what he does/doesn't do at this point in time. See if/how quickly he responds to your training. And go from there...

J.
This is what I find the most fun (and challenging at the same time) in regards to training or retraining. Opening the communication with the horse, finding out what he does know and helping him understand what we are asking for. You learn a lot when you teach......Enjoy the opportunity.

Valentina_32926
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:30 AM
Yup - normal. Try using your thigh to push his shoulders outside on a circle - getting him to give in his shoulders will help straighten and get him bending more.

EqTrainer
Jan. 3, 2008, 10:49 AM
Well, at least now you know the traditional differences between a TB mare and everything else :lol:

Personally, since he's not yours and you are only riding him for a short while, I'd just hack him. No point IMO in pissing in his cornflakes for no long term gain.

Hampton Bay
Jan. 3, 2008, 05:47 PM
Personally, since he's not yours and you are only riding him for a short while, I'd just hack him. No point IMO in pissing in his cornflakes for no long term gain.

I think from the "dressage-legal bit" part of her post, that he is his owner's dressage horse, but that the owner may be less experienced in riding dressage. If that is the case, helping him figure out his new job would likely help his owner too.

Wild Oaks Farm
Jan. 3, 2008, 05:54 PM
No point IMO in pissing in his cornflakes for no long term gain.

:lol::lol::lol:I have to remember that one!!

KrazyTBMare
Jan. 3, 2008, 08:09 PM
Thanks for the help guys. Yes, hes my best friends horse and hes boarded at my house. I "train" her, meaning I give her some little tips to help her in between lessons as Ive had a lot more lessons and clinics than her b/c Ive had my own horse longer. I also did a working student for a year at a private dressage farm, so Ive just had the opportunity to learn more than her. I ride with her almost every day, I ride him for her some times, I give her some tips, and we show together. So me putting some training help on him only helps everyone. Plus hes on the market as well so it cant hurt!

UPDATE though..

His owner came out tonight and I rode him for her to see. Again, shes out of commission for 6 wks (well 4 now) post op. So anyways, its dark, its cold (38 degrees at 630pm), theres people jogging and walking their dogs, and Ive got my 4 flood lights on to ride with. Yeh, he was def feeling good. But he was a very good boy. We started with the walking and halting. He was way interested in everything else going on so we didnt have much luck with the flexing and keeping supple at a halt so I just went into the trot. He was very nicely forward which is a change! LOL He can be lazy. So anyways, he wasnt on the bit or anything but kept an even contact. He was very light in my hands and moving off my leg very well. So I just kept a steady contact and then BAM he just rounds up but keeping his neck arched and nose in front of the vertical and he was so light and soft and I was just trying to keep the corners nice and open and easy and he started to get counterbent and I used more inside thigh and BOOM he went straight and he never came off my aids the rest of the ride. We did some big circles both ways, leg yields, and I introduced some shoulder in. To the left the SI was good to the right he didnt quite get it but gave me like 2 steps so I stopped. Then we did some TOF both ways and he was perfect. I cantered 1 big circle each way. He was tossing his head and feeling good it was silly. Then we stopped.

So he was perfect today. I couldnt have asked for a better ride. He started getting slightly heavy at the end when he was tired but didnt lug on me at all. I told his "mom" that he knew she was watching. LOL

Another cold one tonight.. down to around 25 in FLORIDA. Hello! Its cold. Thanks for the advice! :)