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myalter1
Mar. 24, 2011, 08:43 PM
Ok so I will preface this by saying, YES i am whining and YES i am feeling sorry for myself.

I've had my OTTB now since October and I am starting to get frustrated. He's not as consistent as I had hoped he would be by now, and I haven't really started jumping him much. I am concentrating on getting him consistent on the flat before I introduce the jumps, although i do trot a crossrail here or there.

He's still spooky in the indoor and I DID get to ride him outside 3 times before the weather turned cold again. He was so-so the first time, better the second ride and downright awful the third ride. SIGH.

I can't keep him focused, no matter how many transitions, serpentines, circles, etc. I do. His canter IS improving (no racing, grabbing the bit and running any more) but i just feel like every step is a correction. He's been falling in A LOT to the left lately which he had been much better about..he can do a nice leg yield off my left leg at the walk, but doesn't move off my leg at the trot, WHICH makes it really tough when he counter bends to spook at something, falls in with his shoulder and hip, and I can't push him over into my outside rein.

I DON'T have the extra funds to lesson right now and that is frustrating me too. Besides, the trainer at the barn seems to think i should be doing more with him and that i am too focused on making him go well on the flat. She says he's bored. I've tried t o incorporate trot poles and some days he is good (over 1 pole, not multiple trot poles in a row) and some days he speeds up and gets on his forehand.

Sorry, i just had to vent. I love my horse, i just wish he was more consistent. He didn't know how to stop, go, steer, or bend when i got him. I KNOW he has made progress but I just feel frustrated. Maybe it's the cold weather getting to me...Thanks for letting me whine....

horsechick
Mar. 24, 2011, 08:54 PM
amen sista...right there with ya today. All I tell myself is to just keep plugging away. They are progressing and one day it will all click.

myalter1
Mar. 24, 2011, 08:56 PM
Thanks horse chick. I just watched a video that someone took in October, about 3 weeks after I got him. He was so quiet and relaxed in the indoor. Now, he's tense and nervous, concerned about the far end, b/c the snow fell of the roof one time when I was riding. SIGH. I think he could be a really nice hunter... he's got a lovely trot and canter and a cute jump (i've been told, i've always been on him.) someday...someday....

Reagan
Mar. 24, 2011, 08:57 PM
Stick with it. We all go through months like this, and winter doesn't make it any better! He will come around, don't show him your frustration and just keep working. One day a light bulb will go off (or maybe several!) and everything will come together all at once.

Don't push him too quickly, slow and steady wins the race! Good luck! You guys will get there and it will be worth that much more in the end because of all the sweat and tears you have put into him.

Dakotawyatt
Mar. 24, 2011, 09:05 PM
Sorry you're feeling frustrated; try to stay patient! My ottb will be off the track for three years in August ... we just NOW figured out how to *really* trot. He is 15.2, and has the world's tiniest trot. It took 2 1/2 years to develop a "real" trot.

Every horse is different! October REALLY wasn't that long ago, especially if you take into account winter weather and holidays. Variety is definitely good; but rushing things and not making sure your horse has a solid flat foundation is NOT a good thing.

I did LOTS of trail rides. Helped a ton with the spookiness. A lot of people really like to use Quiessence to help with that, as well. Mine chilled enough that I don't have a need for it, but I know many people have success with it.

Go to some little schooling shows. You can even trailer in to a show for the day just to hop on and school, or even hang out.

It takes time for the flatwork to develop. Your ottb will probably feel like he's leaning on you for quite some time. Just keep at it ... one day you will be cantering around your first recognized horse trial (or whatever!;)) and think to yourself, "Wow! I FINALLY have a REAL horse!":winkgrin:

kinnip
Mar. 24, 2011, 09:12 PM
Just keep chippin' away, and don't get too bummed when he rides like champ for a few days, then quits. It's a process.

myalter1
Mar. 24, 2011, 09:17 PM
Thanks guys. I appreciate it. I REALLY am of the philosophy that if the flatwork stinks, the jumps are going to stink. SO when we do jump, it's literally trot an X, halt. Repeat. Jumping should NOT be a problem. He steeplechased a few times (I was able to look him up and in his last race, he won by like 30 lengths!) It was cool to watch him race. I have NO idea what he did before I got him (He was a rescue) so I am literally starting at square one. I plan on trail riding him in the spring, and shipping him to 1 day shows just to hang out. I really wanted to do one of those natural horsemanship clinics where they desensitize your horse to the tarp, bridge, etc, but i just don't have the money. Thanks for the support. I really needed it tonight!

amberhill
Mar. 24, 2011, 09:48 PM
If you are frustrated can you imagine how frustrated your TB is? Just take it one day at a time, one step at a time and break it down for him in a positive language he can understand. TBs are smart. He will get it. One day it will click and it will all be worth it!

Good luck and give him a special pat from me!

myalter1
Mar. 24, 2011, 09:54 PM
everyone says that...one day it will just click....i guess there's truth in that!!!

I'dRatherBRiding
Mar. 24, 2011, 10:04 PM
I had a lot of problems with my mare spooking in the indoor over a year ago. She was fine when I first got her, then a loud noise in the dark outside a door one night spooked her so badly she bolted and refused to go back by that door. After that it was like the arena of doom. I actually ended up switching barns for other reasons, and never, ever had a spooking problem in either the new arena or the outdoor ring. I did put her on Smart Calm about a month before I switched barns to try to settle her some in general, so not sure if that is part of it or not, but something worked.
And as for what you are experiencing with a couple OK rides then a horrible one, I'm still kind of going through that even without any spooks, but weekly lessons and a consistant program have improved us about 75%. If you can't afford lessons right now, I would suggest keeping your rides regular and picking something new to work on each day. Then if he's being bad about whatever you're trying to do, go back to something else he's comfortable at until he settles again. For us, our "comfort" excercise is walking on a smallish figure 8 with a leg yield in the center going each direction. Once she's accepting my leg really well and not acting like a runaway train, we're ready to move on to something else- like poles, or cantering, or other lateral exercises.
Just keep at it, and good luck!

SanJacMonument
Mar. 24, 2011, 10:09 PM
Sometimes bonding excercises on the ground will help. It may be a trust issue. OTTB have a ton of baggage. Work with it on the ground and push it side to side, trot over poles. Walk backwards over poles, stand still while ground tied. It will pay off in the saddle! :):):)

Pixie0304
Mar. 24, 2011, 11:16 PM
I did not read everybody's replies so sorry if I repeat someone else's thoughts.

First off, it is ok to be frustrated but please, dont take it on him :D

i had a OTTB mare too and let me tell you, I spent the first 6 months just doing ground work and teaching her how to lunge. I did not ride her at all the first 6 months. my goal was to incorporate new things everyday so she would not get bored. I work a lot on her trusting me as she was scared of everything that moved... i taught her to lunge, first with a halter, then added the saddle, and then the bridle. every step was small, but as long as she was doing what I had " planned" for the day, I was happy and she was getting rewards.
I also had to work on her ground manners as she had the tendency of biting people passing her stall.

now after the first 6 months, I started like for any green horse, moving around her on the ground, moving stirrups,ect...
before eventually starting to sit on her, walk, trot, canter, and then ( about a year after having her) starting small jumps and flat work, dressage.

so you have your gelding for only 4 months, and you are frustrated? maybe you need to step back, go slower with him. Race horses usually have a lot of issues that needs to be work on. dont get me wrong, I DID get frustrated too at some point, but patience is something you will need with a race horse.
My mare had scares on her back canon bones, where the hairs never grew back, a friend at my barn who was in the jockey club and knew about race horses told me some people put like hot spikes, or whatever you call these things, on the horses legs to make them go faster, or "stimulated" them.
WHATEVER, for 2 years, on and on, I had to gain her trust for me to even get close to her hind quarters. could not even touch her croup, slowly with patience , I was able to touch her back leg, and pick her hooves, but it was extremely hard and frustrating. not on my mare, but I felt so bad knowing people would even do things like this! to the point where she would kick everytime someone would try to clean her back hooves.

i want to add that money was tight for me too, I had 2 jobs and all money was for my mare :) so having trainers help me was hard, but i was trying at least once a week, to get some pointers, advices, ideas. and to make sure I was on the right track. I would ask questions to people at the barn, help from boarders, even the assistant manager who used to work race horses was giving me tips and kept telling me to be patient :D
if you have the right people around you, it can be helpful, but a trainer is really necessary.

hope this help :)

Roxy SM
Mar. 24, 2011, 11:21 PM
I know in general it makes sense to get the flatwork really solid before starting to jump so that the rideability will be there, but I've had some horses that didn't focus well on the flat. Therefore, I did lots of repetitive exercises over teeny jumps, eventually seeking perfection/being able to control each stride. These exercises not only improved their rideability between jumps but also their flatwork. So maybe try some little jumps with him? It might keep his attention better so he won't spook so much at silly things.

goodmorning
Mar. 24, 2011, 11:39 PM
I've yet to find a way to keep my OTTB happy while working in an indoor all winter. I think at firstit was too small of a space for him to work comfortably, then, too much repition, too many horses, and I'm sure my own frustration & bordem didn't help. With that in mind, I would probably back off work in the indoor. You can spend time hacking out, if he's sane enough, or just give him some time off. I limit my indoor training rides/lessons to twice a week. Coming out of the snowy & miserable winter better than ever.

TBs don't usually have a problem with fitness, and a couple short rides, which end with a positive accomplishement, are probably enough. In hand work, or lunging with a Pessoa system or vienna reins is a good idea. You can work on transitions, keep it short & sweet, and Spring will be here soon enough.

Horses don't have time lines. I think they are quite content with an apple, a pat on the neck, and a 'good bay.' Some horses like to have a job of sorts, many TBs do (many more probably don't!), but the job description is unlikely to have longterm goals. Its been a long winter, scale back on the work & pick up when the weather improves.

jn4jenny
Mar. 25, 2011, 08:17 AM
I understand your frustration, but you strategically left out the bit from your Horse Care thread about how this horse is currently being treated for ulcers and has pretty much every ulcer symptom under the sun--including weight loss and being uppity/jittery/nervous.

Spookyness, bracing against the leg, these are all symptoms of ulcers. Which means the crappy rides might not be your fault, but every time you get back on that horse and let him have another unpleasant experience, you're telling him "doing things my way is unpleasant and unfun, and you should hate your job."

If I were you and I knew that I couldn't afford the full month of Gastrogard (again as you stated on your other thread), I wouldn't be working this horse during his treatment period. I'd give him the month off to recover in a low-stress environment. I'd go out and groom/graze to help with bonding, but otherwise I'd let him just be a horse as much as possible. OTTBs are not stupid, and if you climb back on him in a month when he's feeling much better, he'll recognize that this is not the unpleasant experience that it was before and will probably become much more compliant.

And if he's responding to the Gastrogard, which I would bet about $100 he will based on his symptoms, I'd find some way to keep him on ulcer treatment for 30 to 60 days. If Gastrogard is truly beyond your economic means, talk to your vet about using omeprazole, ranitidine, or sucralfate. A bunch of people over in Horse Care have had success with enteric-coated omeprazole granules that they sprinkle on their horse's grain, and those are something like $2 per day.

Just my two cents.

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 08:47 AM
jn4 jenny - i didn't strategically leave it out. i just didn't think about it. Please don't make it seem like I left it out on purpose. I completely understand what you are saying. i'm going to talk to my vet about cimetidine and my horse is also going back on neigh lox (which i had him on from October-December) and he seemed happier. Of course, i didn't KNOW that he was happier on it rather than off it, until (at the BO/Trainer's suggestion) I took him off of it. Then, i thought it was the REALLY cold weather in Jan/Feb that was making him tough. SO yes, you are right. I believe he has ulcers and I am taking the necessary steps to treat them. I appreciate your response and all of those I have received herein.

Sport
Mar. 25, 2011, 09:27 AM
I have an OTTB, well he has been off the track about 10 years, and he still has frustrating days.
One thing I found that really helped out was reading Jane Savoyie's book That Winning Feeling.
I came to realize that I was expecting him to be green, spooky or bad adn as a self fulfilling prophecy he was green, spooky and bad.
After reading the book I took a step back in our work and really went for positive reinforcement. We progressed in leaps and bounds. Part of his limitations were my mental limitations. We went from my not wanting to canter him due to his behaviour to jumping small x's comfortably in a month.

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 09:33 AM
sport - i'll have to look into that book. Part of the time, I feel like I am not expecting enough from him..Then, i feel like maybe I am expecting too much...

When I got him, he didn't steer, bend, slow down, half halt (you get the picture), move off my leg. Now, he can't maintain the same pace/rhythm all the time, but he does steer, bend (most of the time), slow down when I ask, half halt, and moves off my leg at the walk (the trot is still an issue) So I guess we ARE making progress...
:)

LookmaNohands
Mar. 25, 2011, 09:43 AM
I reschool OTTBs. I understand what you are going through. I have found a very effective tool for getting the horse's attention on you and not on other things. Be forewarned though--because it is CHEATING!

I teach all of the horses to halt. Then, I reach forward and shove a cookie in their mouth. Then I walk on. After a while, I halt and shove another cookie in their mouth. I repeat this a few times so that now the horses is almost asking if we can halt. Now, I have his attention! Then I trot and do some other work, occasionally halting and having a cookie. Still their attention is on me! I do this hacking out too. How nice to be on a OTTB not long off the track that is hacking out asking, "Can we halt and have a cookie now?" :lol:

Of course you could create a monster with this if you over do it. I give the cookies from both sides and eventually phase them out. But let me tell you, it really works and you don't have to be a really great rider to do it.

While we all wish we could have the skill sets to work through a problem like an inattentive horse, not everyone does and this is a realistic an effective way to get a horse's attention.

I have many, many tools and many exercises as well but this is simple and easy. I love stepping them over ground poles scattered around. They must look at where they are putting their feet as opposed to looking around. Another great tool!

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 09:51 AM
lookmanohands..i love it! I use that one when horses dont want to stand at the mounting block...I also, when he isn't paying attention...turn...when ever, wherever, so he never knows where or when we are turning or going. That, however, is sometimes difficult inside b/c of other riders. I am so happy that i have gotten good tips on this post. AND no attacks. Thanks everyone!

showidaho
Mar. 25, 2011, 09:51 AM
I've had my OTTB for years and he has shown (and done well) and is broke to death....BUT we just moved to the Northeast and when we got here the snow did too. I didn't ride him at all for three months and just got on him again for the first time yesterday. He's always had the crazy gene in him, but it was like riding a sewing machine on speed yesterday. I realize that he will take MONTHS to come back to the party...I also know that he will get better as the weather gets warmer ;)!

I genuinely sympathize with you - mine is downright embarrassing right now and yesterday he drew a crowd of gaspers. Yup, it was that bad. I knew he'd be high (my fault, combined with snow and bad weather for not riding) but I also know that if I stick with it he'll get better...And hopefully the peanut gallery won't gasp. :) Horses are humbling and they don't have any idea that we have goals and timelines. Stick with a quiet, calm, reassuring ride and he'll eventually come along, albeit at his speed.

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 09:56 AM
ha ha..Idaho..I hear you there. The winter has not been fun. There were MANY days when i went out, snuggled with him, handwalked and went hom. TOO cold! LUCKILY, aside from his newly acquired spooking (commencing January 2011!) he is a gentleman when you are on his back..no bucks, no rears....he used to try to run away with me...but other than that, which he has stopped, he's gentlemanly....

goodmorning
Mar. 25, 2011, 09:58 AM
If he's recently been spooky, I would invest in a lyme test. My TB is NOT spooky, when he started acting spooky I had one done and it was off the charts. Treated, and he was back to his rather opinionated, but not spooky, self ;)

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 10:02 AM
hmm lyme. never thought to check that...thanks!

ponymom64
Mar. 25, 2011, 10:06 AM
I also would test for Lyme on a horse that has recently started spooking...

Other than that, I think most horses (in the Northeast, anyway) are geniunely over this winter and are all fresh because they haven't been able to get out and cut up because of snow, ice, mud etc. Can you let him canter around for a couple of minutes after you get on but before you start your real work? I know that helped my DD's young horse this winter - he was able to expend some energy and after that was able to settle down to work.

Just be patient and positive and eventually he'll come around! Do you use earplugs for your horse when you ride? I have found especially with the young ones, stuffing their ears makes a huge difference in their focus

showidaho
Mar. 25, 2011, 10:07 AM
I'm new to the Northeast and this spring I have heard a lot about lyme...what are the symptoms to watch out for (sorry I'm getting off topic here, but I'm genuinely curious)?

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 10:07 AM
I usually throw him on the longe for 15 minutes and work voice transitions...i HAVE used earplugs and it helped but only a little..

ponymom64
Mar. 25, 2011, 10:14 AM
I usually throw him on the longe for 15 minutes and work voice transitions...i HAVE used earplugs and it helped but only a little..

Hmmmmm, maybe just try the cantering around for a few times and see if that helps. I generally can't get any freshness out on the lunge line, so we do the cantering around thing or a good chase, sometimes they just need to release their backs by a canter/hand gallop or buck and it makes all the difference in the world! I would continue to use the earplugs, even if it helped only a little....

Idaho - Lyme symptoms vary from horse to horse but spookiness is one, as well as, skin sensitivity, intermittent and "travelling" lameness, general NQR or change in attitude (sulkiness, sour etc). I tend to pull a Lyme test when there is something going on that I can't quite put my finger on....

showidaho
Mar. 25, 2011, 10:18 AM
Thanks ponymom!

Sport
Mar. 25, 2011, 12:03 PM
Depending on his mindset, but my experience with TB is that in general they want to please, they want to do right. If you give them positive reinforcement regularly I have found it to really help.
We had a clinic at the barn recently and the clinician was having us do something that was very hard for Sport, so she kept interspercing it with something he was really good at and enjoyed. This meant he got a positive reward for trying the new exercise and each time asked he continued to try. If we had just tried to drill the new work into him, he would have just said this is too hard, I can't and had a temper tantrum.

I think that was one of the most valuable tools I took away from that clinic.

GrayCatFarm
Mar. 25, 2011, 12:35 PM
If you can get your hands on cold pressed soy oil, it is a great way to add calories without adding "hot" on a TB, and it does marvelous things for ulcer prone stomachs. Yummy and soothing. PM for the name of the company in Wisconsin that ships if you can't find a local soy mill.

MintHillFarm
Mar. 25, 2011, 12:39 PM
Warm weather will help! I can promise you that:)

And keep at it...

It took one of my OTTBs over a year to learn he could canter on the correct lead going to the right. He was very one sided for a long time (and big at 17.3).

Time is the answer and patience the key (I know you know this).

Sometimes just go for a walk in the indoor; then maybe just hang out on his back in the center and watch other horses go.

I personally never felt the need to accomplish something at the trot and canter everytime I ride...hanging out, whether on the ground at the end of a shank or on his back are some of the low key exercises I use. I do a lot of walking - the forgotten gait gets lots accomplished.

I don't lunge as I feel it gets them too fit, just my opinion. And I'm lucky in the OTTB I have now, he is the same whether I ride him 1x in 5 days or 5 days in a week. He is a gem.

And I also feed sugar or a treat while I am on board. I incorporate the word whoa at the same time. I've done this with every OTTB I've had and it works really well for learning that voice command. I am sure there are some out there that may disagree on that but it has been sucessful for me.

You will get there and October is not that long a time at all...

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 12:46 PM
Thanks minthill. I ALSO do A LOT of walking.. i think the other riders in the barn think i am nuts...It does him good. He does respond well to voice commands....and is especially good when he gets a GOOD BOY! His ears are always pricked forward, ready and alert...ALWAYS...I have some rides where if we ride for a few minutes and he trots the straight line of a serpentine well, bends without falling in on the turn and stays even just one time..we stop without trying to recreate... I don't like to drill him...i do like to end on a good note and sometimes that means stopping the new exercise and just going for a nice canter to the right (which he is pretty good at!)

MintHillFarm
Mar. 25, 2011, 12:52 PM
Thanks minthill. I ALSO do A LOT of walking.. i think the other riders in the barn think i am nuts...It does him good. He does respond well to voice commands....and is especially good when he gets a GOOD BOY! His ears are always pricked forward, ready and alert...ALWAYS...I have some rides where if we ride for a few minutes and he trots the straight line of a serpentine well, bends without falling in on the turn and stays even just one time..we stop without trying to recreate... I don't like to drill him...i do like to end on a good note and sometimes that means stopping the new exercise and just going for a nice canter to the right (which he is pretty good at!)

You and he will be fine...you have the right mindset. Let us know how you do! Spring has to be coming soon!

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 12:58 PM
Thanks..i'll keep posting updates....i haven't ridden an OTTB in about 20 years....

pixie
Mar. 25, 2011, 01:25 PM
Try this......I GUARANTEE it will solve all of his behavour and unfocused issues including his spooking. It will help hugely with his ulcer issue, may even solve it.
STOP feeding your horse treats. Stop feeding your horse grain. Do not feed him ANYTHING except hay. If he is not the calm focused horse you are looking for in 48 hours than soak his hay (minimum of 45 min, not more than 2 hours, completly under water). If you had to resort to the soaked hay to get his head back then your horse is very sensitive to starch and/or the chemicals and fertilizers used in making hay (and grain).
I guarantee you if your hay is at least a good maintanance quality than you will not need extra energy fed to him. You can add protein through alfalfa pellets when he can work harder for a living than just trotting around an indoor.... and give him a vitamin/mineral block or supplement.
The added bonus is that your horse will learn to relax all the time and cure his own ulcers if they are stress related.


The other things that I picked up from your original post is that your horse's feet hurt....falling in is a classic sign of sore feet.....his lf hurts more than rf.
Make sure you have a professional saddle fitter and/or Vet check the fit of your saddle AND hire the best blacksmith you can afford.

LuvMyTB
Mar. 25, 2011, 01:35 PM
I've had my OTTB for 18 months, and it's just been in the last 90 days that he's really started to put it all together. Don't get me wrong--he's progressed continuosly since I've had him, but all of a sudden it just seemed to click and now everything's "there" if that makes sense.

I will say one thing--I would be willing to be that your horse IS bored. My guy has an incredible work ethic and will go all day long for me, but he CANNOT be drilled.

I eventually had to start moving on and doing different things even though I didn't feel like the flatwork was perfect. We started jumping small crossrails and verticals, trotting over flower boxes, started the basics of turns on the forehand, spiraling in and out, etc. I started riding bareback once a week too.

Yes, he rushed sometimes and got on the forehand and fell in. It was ugly for a while. But mentally, he needed the variety.

tidy rabbit
Mar. 25, 2011, 01:35 PM
My ottb is a nut. He's always been a nut and he probably always will be a nut. :)

I've owned him for 7 years. He's never going to change, but he is very predictable after all these years together. I have to say that I love him for his quirks.

Enjoy the process of figuring out what works and what doesn't. They are different, those ottbs. :)

Spring is goofy time for all the horses... hang in there, mid summer in 95 degree heat, he'll be the horse you dreamed of! :)

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 01:49 PM
thanks tidy and Luvmytb...i always value your opinions.

Pixie..i'm a little confused. yes, i see where you are going w/ taking away his grain/treats, etc. but if you see my post in Horse care, you'll see I cannot get weight on this horse and he does not eat his hay..

as to sore feet, i wonder how you made that deduction just from my first post?


ETA re-read your post and see that you think that b/c he falls in his feet hurt. I disagree. I DO think he needs a chiropractor. I would like to hear more about your theory though.

MintHillFarm
Mar. 25, 2011, 03:13 PM
Pixie - I wouldn't take away his grain. That's not fair in my opinion...

And if he has a weight issue, then there is another problem. And if he is not a good hay eater, then what?

southernbell
Mar. 25, 2011, 03:30 PM
Pixie - I wouldn't take away his grain. That's not fair in my opinion...

And if he has a weight issue, then there is another problem. And if he is not a good hay eater, then what?

I guess Pixie is suggesting that he has some sort of allergy or intolerance to his grain and treats.

Ibex
Mar. 25, 2011, 03:39 PM
You might want to try adjusting what grain he gets as well... Pixie may not be far off with the high starch issue. I don't know what you're feeding now, but maybe consider swapping to a high fat/low starch feed? We did that with my mare, and it did her a world of good...

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 04:12 PM
i'd LOVE to try to see a better feed that works. However, I board out and don't have the luxury (see my boarders woes thread in Horse care). I could try to buy my own feed, but it seems to piss off the barn owner/trainer.

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=297760

AND unfortunately, I am not there at feeding time. I know when he was supposed to be getting his denjie in the PM, lots of times, if i didn't give it to him, then he didn't get it (i could tell b/c the bag never had less in it.)

eyetallion stallion
Mar. 25, 2011, 04:55 PM
Spring is goofy time for all the horses... hang in there, mid summer in 95 degree heat, he'll be the horse you dreamed of! :)

That is shake shake shake advice-- the Sunshine will warm him right up and calm him down.

Love OTTBs.

chaltagor
Mar. 25, 2011, 05:12 PM
Oh yeah, a horse at the barn named KC loves the warmth from the Sunshine.

Oops, I think his name is Eddy Rabbit, can't remember. Some people just love those old bands/singers.

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 05:12 PM
here's to hoping!!!

FineAlready
Mar. 25, 2011, 05:29 PM
I've had my OTTB for 18 months, and it's just been in the last 90 days that he's really started to put it all together. Don't get me wrong--he's progressed continuosly since I've had him, but all of a sudden it just seemed to click and now everything's "there" if that makes sense.

I will say one thing--I would be willing to be that your horse IS bored. My guy has an incredible work ethic and will go all day long for me, but he CANNOT be drilled.

I eventually had to start moving on and doing different things even though I didn't feel like the flatwork was perfect. We started jumping small crossrails and verticals, trotting over flower boxes, started the basics of turns on the forehand, spiraling in and out, etc. I started riding bareback once a week too.

Yes, he rushed sometimes and got on the forehand and fell in. It was ugly for a while. But mentally, he needed the variety.

I totally agree with this. For a Thoroughbred, variety truly is the spice of life. :) I think you do get further with them in the long run if you don't drill and expect perfection before moving on to the next challenge. If you dabble in a bunch of different things that he needs to learn (flatwork, cavallettis, small cross-rails, trot in and canter out of a line with tiny jumps, etc.), I think you will find that it will all come together in one big rush eventually.

Do as many different things with him as you feel comfortable doing. Mine LOVES being ridden bareback, FWIW. Though you probably won't want to take that up until the heat of summer, lol.

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 05:38 PM
I have tried cavalettis...but man, some days he rushes right through them... the other day, he bounced them!

Starhouse
Mar. 25, 2011, 05:45 PM
I have a 5yo OTTB mare who has been through all of these issues, too, right down to not being crazy about her hay, even super soft green second cut. She was driving me NUTS over the winter (I'm in the Northeast).

People have already suggested great things for some of the under saddle issues. For hay/grain, I give my horse a warm soupy mash every night (I rough board) and because I know she's not a big fan of hay, I take some of the grain flavoured water off the top of her mash and sprinkle it over her hay. I find on nights that I do this, she eats every last bite of her hay. Good luck :)

FineAlready
Mar. 25, 2011, 05:46 PM
I have tried cavalettis...but man, some days he rushes right through them... the other day, he bounced them!

Yes, I do hear you on that. I trot over a few nearly every time I ride, and sometimes canter some depending on the mood my horse is in. If he is in a particularly hot mood, it is a losing battle to try to do a lot of cavaletti work, especially at the canter.

I do think they get used to them in time. When I first started trotting them, my TB would just launch over them as though they were 4 feet high. Now he can trot calmly over them nearly any day of the week. Maybe start out just trotting over a single cavaletti here and there? That worked well for me, and as long as I just kept it random (i.e., oh, there's one - let's trot over that one) he never got rattled by it. It's also really good for building hind end strength. Has helped my gelding's stifles quite a bit.

spacytracy
Mar. 25, 2011, 05:47 PM
Is there anyone that you can take him out trail riding with?

Sounds like a change of pace will help both of you.

myalter1
Mar. 25, 2011, 05:53 PM
[QUOTE Maybe start out just trotting over a single cavaletti here and there? That worked well for me, and as long as I just kept it random (i.e., oh, there's one - let's trot over that one) he never got rattled by it. [/QUOTE]

i try to do this each time. I would like to start cantering a pole here or there...When it was really cold, and I would longe him, I would set up 3 poles on the circle, one at 12:00, one at 3:00 and one at 9:00 and ask him to canter them. I didn't set any "strides" and he figured out VERY quickly that he could do 2 strides to 3 strides, and he adjusted accordingly. It was good for him, rocked him back on his hind end...then he got tired. :) (well, tired for HIM, which isn't really tired at all!)

This has been such a helpful and supportive thread...thank you to ALL of you!!!

Oh, and Finealready...the first cross rail he jumped...he jumped SO HIGH that he smashed me in the chin with his crest of his neck!! ;)

spacy tracy... we don't have trails and it's been too cold (NJ) we do have a field across the street that the farm lets us ride in, and if you go to the top, there's a dirt road that leads to another field, that leads to another field, etc. (you get the picture). I plan on taking him trail riding this spring (i have my own trailer) and one of my barn mates wants to come with me (her horse is a driving horse turned dressage horse - she says he's good on the trails). The few times I have gotten to ride outside so far, my horse is VERY happy to take stroll down the driveway...not spooky,just ears up and forward walking... I can't wait to take him trail riding..

FineAlready
Mar. 25, 2011, 06:00 PM
Oh, and Finealready...the first cross rail he jumped...he jumped SO HIGH that he smashed me in the chin with his crest of his neck!! ;)

Yes, that's fun, isn't it? ;)

At least he is a try-hard sort. Best thing about TBs, hands down!

MintHillFarm
Mar. 25, 2011, 06:06 PM
I guess Pixie is suggesting that he has some sort of allergy or intolerance to his grain and treats.

Maybe add a Probiotic...it's helped some of mine.

Bogie
Mar. 25, 2011, 06:28 PM
My current TB was like this. I started hopping him over small fences about a month into riding him.

Don't get too caught up in perfection.

I know that with my OTTBs they've all benefited from a lot of trail riding. I do quite a bit of training on the trails but it's easier for them not to be working on a circle (helps keep them straight), the variety keeps them interested and the varied terrain helps with balance and muscle.

If you have trails where you can go on some nice long walks that's one of the best ways to clear your mind and his!

Good luck!
I know in general it makes sense to get the flatwork really solid before starting to jump so that the rideability will be there, but I've had some horses that didn't focus well on the flat. Therefore, I did lots of repetitive exercises over teeny jumps, eventually seeking perfection/being able to control each stride. These exercises not only improved their rideability between jumps but also their flatwork. So maybe try some little jumps with him? It might keep his attention better so he won't spook so much at silly things.

pixie
Mar. 26, 2011, 08:31 AM
TAKE AWAY ALL GRAIN AND TREATS!!!!

HE WILL PUT WEIGHT ON!!! In 3 days you will see his topline start to fill out and if is belly looks large in the wrong place that will disapear.....HE WILL carry weight in all the right places in 3 days!!!! I am not responding anymore....just do it, it works, PERIOD!!!

If you start today you will have an awesome ride by TUESDAY.

THE GRAIN NEGATES WHAT THE HAY IS SUPPOSED TO DO on some horses. The feed companies have messed with the grains so much our horses are injesting pure chemicals...this reeks havoc with the metabolism and immune systems in our horses, not too mention phsycotic features as well.

If your horse is a hard keeper than that is just one more reason to take him off the grain and the dengie...that is full of starch as well!! He is living in a constant state of agitation and nervousness...not a recipe for healthy living.

NO DENGIE, NO TREATS, NO GRAIN, NO HAY STRETCHER, NO SUPPLEMENTS WITH ANY FILLERS...

If your horse doesn't like to eat hay SOAK IT!!!! HE WILL LOVE IT!!!! Soak it for more than 45 min, less than 2 hours. I promise you he will eat his hay when you take the grain away.....why should he eat the main course if you are feeding dessert all the time???

He will definately jones from the sugar for the first 24 hours and he may get nasty and agitated.....but you will see a difference in the following 24 hours.

I have 17 horses in my charge that I have tested this theory on....ALL have improved by leaps and bounds and the added bonus is inflamation anywhere in his body will be reduced!!!!

good luck....be brave....just do it!

meupatdoes
Mar. 26, 2011, 09:00 AM
TAKE AWAY ALL GRAIN AND TREATS!!!!

HE WILL PUT WEIGHT ON!!! In 3 days you will see his topline start to fill out and if is belly looks large in the wrong place that will disapear.....HE WILL carry weight in all the right places in 3 days!!!! I am not responding anymore....just do it, it works, PERIOD!!!

If you start today you will have an awesome ride by TUESDAY.

THE GRAIN NEGATES WHAT THE HAY IS SUPPOSED TO DO on some horses. The feed companies have messed with the grains so much our horses are injesting pure chemicals...this reeks havoc with the metabolism and immune systems in our horses, not too mention phsycotic features as well.

If your horse is a hard keeper than that is just one more reason to take him off the grain and the dengie...that is full of starch as well!! He is living in a constant state of agitation and nervousness...not a recipe for healthy living.

NO DENGIE, NO TREATS, NO GRAIN, NO HAY STRETCHER, NO SUPPLEMENTS WITH ANY FILLERS...

If your horse doesn't like to eat hay SOAK IT!!!! HE WILL LOVE IT!!!! Soak it for more than 45 min, less than 2 hours. I promise you he will eat his hay when you take the grain away.....why should he eat the main course if you are feeding dessert all the time???

He will definately jones from the sugar for the first 24 hours and he may get nasty and agitated.....but you will see a difference in the following 24 hours.

I have 17 horses in my charge that I have tested this theory on....ALL have improved by leaps and bounds and the added bonus is inflamation anywhere in his body will be reduced!!!!

good luck....be brave....just do it!

You know, one of my horses had colic surgery as a coming 2yo, and the vets said he had to have restricted grain etc etc etc.

So for a long time he got the most minimal amount of grain (like, a couple handfuls) and all of the high quality hay and pasture he could eat. Literally he had access to a full bale of hay at all times.

Finally I got tired of looking at a bony horse and gradually upped his grain.

You know when he finally started to gain weight?
When he was getting 6lbs of 14% protein pellet AND 6lbs of Purina Ultium a day plus 24/7 pasture, hay, and some dengie.

So I don't necessarily think that screaming in all caps for people to take away all the grain is a viable idea for all horses, especially not ones that are sporthorses who work hard every day, not pasture puffs.

But if I ever want mine to be a 2 on the Henneke scale, I'll send him to you.


And also, I have found that a tap with a dressage whip cures foot soreness.
It's amazing!
I get on someone's horse, and its feet clearly hurt because it is leaning through my inside leg and trying to slice the corners. It wants to lean in instead of going to the outside rein.
Taptap! with the whip and three legyields later and voila! Sound horse!

MintHillFarm
Mar. 26, 2011, 09:11 AM
"So I don't necessarily think that screaming in all caps for people to take away all the grain is a viable idea for all horses, especially not ones that are sporthorses who work hard every day, not pasture puffs."

Amen to that -and a top line in 3 days? I just can't seem to think that will happen. Maybe I am wrong...

I never had luck soaking hay to make it more appetizing. In fact, it made it less so for the ones I tried it on.

For most (not all) the OTTBs that I have had, it has taken more than months to get them fat, so don't be discouraged. Spring and Summer will help! And hopefully there is pasture for your guy myalter1

S1969
Mar. 26, 2011, 09:21 AM
TAKE AWAY ALL GRAIN AND TREATS!!!!

HE WILL PUT WEIGHT ON!!! In 3 days you will see his topline start to fill out and if is belly looks large in the wrong place that will disapear.....HE WILL carry weight in all the right places in 3 days!!!! I am not responding anymore....just do it, it works, PERIOD!!!

If you start today you will have an awesome ride by TUESDAY.

THE GRAIN NEGATES WHAT THE HAY IS SUPPOSED TO DO on some horses. The feed companies have messed with the grains so much our horses are injesting pure chemicals...this reeks havoc with the metabolism and immune systems in our horses, not too mention phsycotic features as well.

If your horse is a hard keeper than that is just one more reason to take him off the grain and the dengie...that is full of starch as well!! He is living in a constant state of agitation and nervousness...not a recipe for healthy living.

NO DENGIE, NO TREATS, NO GRAIN, NO HAY STRETCHER, NO SUPPLEMENTS WITH ANY FILLERS...

If your horse doesn't like to eat hay SOAK IT!!!! HE WILL LOVE IT!!!! Soak it for more than 45 min, less than 2 hours. I promise you he will eat his hay when you take the grain away.....why should he eat the main course if you are feeding dessert all the time???

He will definately jones from the sugar for the first 24 hours and he may get nasty and agitated.....but you will see a difference in the following 24 hours.

I have 17 horses in my charge that I have tested this theory on....ALL have improved by leaps and bounds and the added bonus is inflamation anywhere in his body will be reduced!!!!

good luck....be brave....just do it!

Wow, so the feed companies have had us snowed all this time! Unless you're feeding pounds and pounds of grain, I doubt that it has any effect on their willingness to eat hay. Mine all eat pounds and pounds of hay, despite also getting grain every day. :rolleyes: And if I ever run out, I never see them "Jonesing for the sugar" before I go to the feedstore.

Personally, it sounds like your horse might be bored. Arena work can be really boring! I'd definitely see what you can do to mix up your training sessions - poles, a few xrails, some trail work, whatever. And definitely treat for ulcers if the symptoms suggest that might be an issue.

My TB mare is super lazy in the summer; she does not like the heat very much at all. My guess is that the change in seasons will definitely help. :)

Good luck.

Bogie
Mar. 26, 2011, 09:33 AM
Hmmn, I always thought that soaking hay for at least 45 minutes was a way to reduce calories and sugars . . .

If you are only feeding your horse hay and it's being soaked for up to 2 hours wouldn't you really be reducing the calories fed?

I'm all for a forage based diet but some horses just need the calories provided by a concentrate. There are some very good low-starch feeds out there so I don't think eliminating grain is a necessity.

BTW, all of the TBs I've owned needed quite a few calories until they hit about age 10 and then they seemed to level out. Now, that's a study based on a sample of three so not statistically accurate! But, while my current OTTB gets no grain today at age 11 (he gets a ration balancer, beet pulp and alfalfa pellets) at age 6 when I got him, he was eating a lot more calories to hold his weight! In fact, when I first got him he was underweight (someone had stopped feeding him grain to see if it would make him calmer) and he was on 7 quarts of Strategy/day until his ribs disappeared.

M. O'Connor
Mar. 26, 2011, 09:40 AM
I haven't read the whole thread here, just the first few posts, and I can really sympathize.

This may have been covered by other posters already, but I want to emphasize the importance of not expecting too much, and establishing a predictable routine when you are dealing with green horses, particularly OTTB's.

The TB's who have raced are in some ways ahead of the game--they've been shipped, bathed, clipped, and groomed. The generally haven't been turned out much, though they normally have been made to expend quite a bit of energy at some point in the day if they've been in work.

Winter is a tough time to start work on this type--the nature of winter weather makes it very difficult to make sure that the horse gets enough turnout, or work. So many times, I will just defer their activities and my expectations till spring, and I rarely start up a greenie/OTTB by going straight to the saddle.

Instead, I will work for a week or so on the longe line, often just walking. The point for the horse being that "vacation is over, you are going to get handled, groomed, worked, groomed again, and this is going to happen every day, and you will have to start to pay attention, and remain calm, it will all be good."

I add in work over rails on the ground right from the start, while I'm longeging and still walking, and I don't necessasrily make the horse work on a circle--I'll take them around the ring in the gear, both directions...maybe around the property. Keeping things slow allows me to work on the horse's attention span--very important to develop this before you go on to more vigorous work.

These sessions don't have to last more than 15/20 minutes to begin with, and I keep the trot work pretty quiet too, once I start doing it. At some point, after going back to the barn I will switch the gear to regular tack, go back out, and walk around again. The horse has no expectation at that point that "work = explosive activity of any sort" and I can normally get a horse back to a working routine within a week or so with far less drama than by simply mounting up and cantering in circles/doing laps till the horse is tired. When it's done that way, they might be tired, but they really aren't "calm" and mostly I find that their attention is pretty much shot. (To say nothing of what expectation it creates in them for the next time they are ridden).

Making sure the horse gets "enough" turnout is very important--you do NOT want to feel once you start working under tack that the horse is "about to break loose" as my daughter terms that "powder keg" feeling!

If I get that, I'll go back and do some trot work on the longe before going back to the tack--it might take longer, but trotting for 20 minutes or so WILL bleed off that extra steam.

As I said--my point is to establish parameters for a horse so that it expects to go to work, and comes to a training session willing to concentrate. This is a step that often gets skipped, but is so easy to do if you are patient enough take the time to do it, and is really worthwhile in terms of where you are in terms of your "starting point" once you begin under saddle work.

M. O'Connor
Mar. 26, 2011, 09:57 AM
On the hay soaking, a quick spray with (preferably hot) water will keep dust particles down and improve palatability for many horses. Soaking for a bit longer is indicated if the hay is stalky--they will just like it better.

Judging from the other thread, the OP sounds in need of some general guidelines for both the feed and training situation.

Missteps are made by doing "too much" in both areas--just remember that horses are pasture animals, and that it really is the forage part of the diet that can have the greatest impact on weight--I'd say try alfalfa, either hay or pellets (soak them, they are lovely for them to eat that way), and beet pulp. This combination has never failed me.

Note that many of the 'new feeds' on the market now have been formulated to contain less "grain" and more fiber, along with higher fat. When switched from traditional feeds, many horses will do well with lower amounts of feed in their grain bucket and increased (nice) hay. No smoke, no mirrors, just common sense, if you stop to think about it.

With a sensible feeding program, I'd suggest taking a few steps back and proceeding as I described with training , and then updating us again in 2 weeks.

findeight
Mar. 26, 2011, 11:07 AM
Ok so I will preface this by saying, YES i am whining and YES i am feeling sorry for myself...
I DON'T have the extra funds to lesson right now and that is frustrating me too. Besides, the trainer at the barn seems to think i should be doing more with him and that i am too focused on making him go well on the flat.


I didn't read the rest yet but will go ahead and comment.

Lets start by saying you cannot afford lessons yet trainer thinks you should be doing more with him??

Ever hear the old adage free advice is worth what you pay for it??? Because it is a crockfull to expect an OTTB to turn completely around in 5 months. Actually, any horse that's basically starting over. I get flamed sometimes for stating it takes a year or more to master proper flatwork and that flatwork must be solid before you go to the fences (and groundpoles and crossrails and 2' "verticals" don't really count as "jumping").

This is why I sometimes get a little aggravated at those who claim 60 day turn arounds on these. They are Pros and do whatever it takes to sell them. You are an ammie working in your spare time and trying to do it RIGHT so it lasts.

Far as being frustrated? I well know exactly how you feel. All I can suggest is try to work in shorter sessions as many days in a row as you can. If he is falling on his nose over those groundpoles? He is not yet strong enough thru the back and not carrying himself as well as he will in the future. Same thing with the steering problem-he will get there.

Do you use spurs? A stick? proper use of these can get the point across to him moving off your leg is not optional-everytime you ask and it does not happen, he learns he does not have to. That is probably your biggest challenge-too many think the horse is "sensitive". No, they just don't want to. That is someplace where some pro help is really worth it.

I always say lunge in sidereins to help them learn self carriage and you might want to scrimp and save a little for some Dressage lessons. Maybe invest in some DVDs with basic Dressage.

And, oh, he may be bored. Try to mix it up more. And remember he has about a 5 minute attention span for learning new things so keep it short and quit while you are ahead.

adragonwolf
Mar. 26, 2011, 03:54 PM
As my riding instructor tells me sometimes, sounds like you've hit a plateau. This happens to me with my OTTB too. It's a little hump and you will get over it. My guy can be very inconsistent too and I can't afford lessons that often but keep plugging away. One day everything will come together and the next fall apart but just keep working and the good days will come more and more often. Best advice I can give as I'm a rider and not a trainer.

ponymom64
Mar. 26, 2011, 04:32 PM
TB's, especially the young ones, need a lot of calories!! My daughters horse eats 6 quarts of a high fat feed, plus a quart of rice bran pellets morning and night. He also gets lunch plus free choice 2nd cut Timothy hay and Dengie with dinner.

myalter1
Mar. 27, 2011, 10:16 AM
s.

And also, I have found that a tap with a dressage whip cures foot soreness.
It's amazing!
I get on someone's horse, and its feet clearly hurt because it is leaning through my inside leg and trying to slice the corners. It wants to lean in instead of going to the outside rein.
Taptap! with the whip and three legyields later and voila! Sound horse!

:lol:

magnolia73
Mar. 27, 2011, 10:27 AM
Please do look at your horse's grain and consider changes. Mine was spooky all late fall/early winter and it was OBNOXIOUS as she is not a spook. I got fed up with her and told them to eliminate the senior feed in her diet and it eliminated the spooking. Also, when I first got her she was a full on idiot. Totally pulled the sweet feed she was on, switched to a pellet and she was much better. More hay, lower octane grain, things like beet pulp, rice bran are good.She gets the lowest quality pellets, rice bran, beet pulp, very good hay and flax and stays fat, gorgeous top line and sane.

Your money might be better spent changing her diet then even paying for lessons at this point.

myalter1
Mar. 27, 2011, 10:34 AM
I can afford to change his diet, but as i said before, I have problems with getting the BO to do it. We started him on Beet pulp and he won't eat it. I am going to buy some rice bran and ask her to cut the sweet feed and feed the rice bran as a start. I can already anticipate her response though - something to the effect that if you cut his sweet feed he's not going to eat his grain...he doesn't like to eat, you know...

My problem is, i have so many suggestions on what to feed and what not to feed that i really don't have a good starting point (aside from feed more hay, add rice bran).

He doesn't EAT his hay. That's the problem too! I will try soaking it, but i am not there to feed him all the time and i CANNOT get the barn "staff" to do it (there's not a really full time staff besides the stall mucker and the BO and the stall mucker only mucks - sometimes the BO's kids throw hay, sometimes she does)

findeight
Mar. 27, 2011, 10:41 AM
Some horses don't like stems and he may need a closer look at his teeth, vets hate doing that and can skimp a bit. It's also the tail end of the year for what's left of the hay, alot of them turn their noses up at it. New stuff ought to be out in another 90 days or so.

Ya' know, when you are in a boarding barn, you often don't get to call all the shots and have to go along with what they will and will not do. Most don't want the hay sitting if they don't eat it within an hour or so and pull it and many do not feed outside of twice a day.

I might suggest smaller quantities of less stemmy hay fed 3 or 4 times a day...in a perfect world...

He is still adjusting to his new lifestyle, he'll get there.

billiebob
Mar. 27, 2011, 11:20 AM
OP I feel your frustration! I've had my TB for two years and boy, it's hard this time of year when the weather's constantly changing. I have a vastly different animal when it's over 60 degrees and sunny :lol:. For instance, this week I had such highs as his first flying changes without a groundpole and his first on-purpose 3' jump......and then yesterday he couldn't be bothered to even trot through a grid of 18" bounces. Whereas on Wednesday I couldn't get him to stop jigging until a good solid hour of work.

Honestly, the best advice I can offer is to give him more time and keep things interesting. I'd say it took me about a year to figure out my guy's moods, but now I know on spazzy days he needs a few canter laps before doing any actual work and on lazy days he needs a handgallop in the outdoor if possible. Some days I have a reliable trail horse and some days we jig the entire time, but he's almost always happier if he's gotten off the farm. At least it keeps my riding sharp! Also, maybe try freeschooling him. My horse hates lunging and it just winds him up, but he likes freeschooling, especially the occasional freejumping session. He's much more relaxed the next time I ride him, whether it's the next day or three days later.

I know you say you've had some issues with changing his feed (and I have a TB that if I took him off grain he'd look like a bag of bones) but I quite liked this supplement for winter sillies. It really helps get my horse to focus without completely taking the edge off. I take him off it when the weather's warm.
http://www.smartpakequine.com/ProductClass.aspx?productclassid=4501&cm_vc=Search
And if rice bran isn't an option, this http://www.horse.purinamills.com/products/naturesessentials/ECMD2-0032705.aspx is nice and doesn't make them hot.

pixie
Mar. 29, 2011, 11:36 AM
Bogie:
Yes, soaking hay is for helping horses lose weight.
However, your "typical" starch/toxin sensitive horse presents himself as a "hard keeper". At least from the ones I have seen. They do not carry weight where they are supposed to and/or the other extreme is that they carry a large belly...with a bloated look.
I suspect that their metabolisms are even more taxed when the hay is not soaked and they injest more starch and toxins. These types of horses just respond to soaked hay oppisite of the "normal" horse from my experience. They even prefer it if you give them soaked vs not soaked to choose from. They eat it at a faster rate and clean it up completely.
These horses from what I have seen NEVER cleaned up non-soaked hay.

myalter1
Mar. 31, 2011, 12:27 PM
So horsie had off for Friday and Saturday. I went to ride him Sunday and he had pulled a shoe. SO he was off Sunday and Monday. Went to ride him Tuesday and there was a lot of activity in the ring,so no longeing. He was a little fresh and not paying attention, so we just started (after a little warm up) trotting little crossrails, halting in the corner. That got his attention a bit! LOL he ended up good, and I was happy with how he was after 4 days, no longe, no riding. Yesterday I rode him. Again no longe since the ring was busy. He was DEAD quiet (for him). AND no spook. Not one. I thought he was sick. I kept riding him around (and at the spooky end of the ring) thinking 'is he colicking or something?' He was really good. A little on his forehand and we worked on halt/walk transitions, since every time in yesterday's session that i halted, he wouldn't move forward when I put my leg on. I took find8's advice ( i think it was find8) - couldn't grab spurs, but a handy dressage whip. We worked at the end of the session on halt/walk. When he didn't walk right off, he got a little tap tap behind my leg. Wasn't sure how he would react to that but he was great. He was a little behind the vertical, but he got soft and light in front (not evasive curl behind the bit false lightness, but maintain the contact and stay soft...) He would start to reach for my hand when i would stretch it forward which was great! The ONLY problem with yesterday was he was really stiff to the left through his back. Bending and moving into my outside aids were a problem. Say - tracking left on a circle...starting at 6 PM, the first half of the circle was good...get to 12:00 on the circle and he would start to fall in, counter bend, get on his forehand and want to speed up. This is not unusual for him. Although, when I got him, he went like this to the right and was better to the left...ah well. I was really really happy with how he was. SO quiet, tail swinging, relaxing! Yeah!

findeight
Mar. 31, 2011, 12:35 PM
He will get better and be able to do the full "clock" for you later. Right now, half of it is good progress.

I might not ask him for more then half at a time for now so he can continue to do everything you ask correctly and earn praise for it. Add another "quarter hour" on that clock face in after about 5 or 6 rides, then add the whole thing is after another 5 or 6 rides. If he fails, drop back a bit. Remember, never ask for anything you are not sure he can do.

And never underestimate the effect of WARMER WEATHER.:cool:

Rosie
Mar. 31, 2011, 12:49 PM
when a total stranger gives advice and first says this:
"ok....listen carefully.....don't respond.....just do it!"

I immediately discount what they have to say.

myalter1
Mar. 31, 2011, 12:49 PM
LOL thanks Findeight. I was really proud of him. And one of the other boarders (a dressage rider) commented on how well he is coming along :) Sometimes, instead of continuing on the clock, at the point where is going to fall in (you can feel it coming and no amount of inside leg to outside rein is going to fix it yet) I will actually switch the bend and change directions in a serpentine or a right circle. Yeah, it was a bit warmer yesterday here in NJ - although looks like more snow is coming tonight!

myalter1
Mar. 31, 2011, 12:49 PM
when a total stranger gives advice and first says this:
"ok....listen carefully.....don't respond.....just do it!"

I immediately discount what they have to say.

:lol::D

Sport
Mar. 31, 2011, 12:56 PM
Awesome ... myalter1.
Isn't it great how these little break throughs make us feel.

Hopefully things will continue to improve from here on, but remember small setbacks don't mean that everything has fallen apart.

myalter1
Mar. 31, 2011, 01:06 PM
Sport - yes. It was a great feeling. I know that there is SO much more to do. He's a good boy. He is starting to understand that leg can mean, go, go slow, move over, - so many things...I just can't wait until it's warm so we can go on a trail ride...I even thought about trailering 2 1/2 hrs to the shore so we could ride on the beach. I've never done it before...I have to, of course, make sure he will trail ride first - and by water! LOL I know he's raced through water...but the ocean - eh, that's kind of scary!