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Eireamon
May. 24, 2011, 11:02 PM
I am really really struggling and so frustrated. My 5 yr old Sec D Cob is so incredibly laid back and lazy and its driving me crazy.

He has the most amazing rythmical paces but they are just going nowhere. There is nothing much forward about them.
He is scared of nothing. You can crack a stock whip on his back. Hes been used for vaulting. Nothing fazes him.

I have tried everything I can think of. Hes better but just never consistent.
I did the Jane Savoie thing and that has made his upward transitions alot better but he just does not stay there. He will burst into the upward transition if I really slap him hard but then just gradually gets slower and slower and I feel I am constantly trying to motivate him. I can get a little more trot at times but the canter just never gets any bigger even in an open feild with me in two point and yahooing in his ear to try and motivate him.
Lengthening the stride in canter just is not a happening thing and some times if I really try he just gets offended and even more behind the leg.

I have used a Whip Wop which works occasionally and today tried a long piece of thick irrigation pipe which gave a thudding noise. Because it was new it got him moving but did not keep him there.

I am ashamed to say I was actually thinking while riding that wouldn't electric spurs be great :)
My trainer has resorted to chasing me around during a lesson with a lunge whip and says Gosh hes just too laid back.

I went to a clinic with a load of auditors recently and was embarrassed to be whipping him really hard to keep him moving. I was wearing spurs as well.
Hes absolutely exhausting.

Hes fed oats and is out at grass most of the time.

I sold my crazy spooky Warmblood which was constantly trying to kill me and now have the opposite problem. Yes I should be happy I have a safe horse but OMG.

Anyone got any other ideas.

friesian4me
May. 24, 2011, 11:47 PM
I have a laid back Friesian. What works the best for him is getting him out of the ring. Working in a field, on the trails, new places.... Also is you get him in good shape the work would be easier for him. I also use different whips, popper type, longer, shorter, just a variety. Everytime I get on I have to do the Jane Savioe technique and then I do a lot of walk/trot transitions to get his attention. Good luck I know it's not always fun but you are safe!

rizzodm
May. 24, 2011, 11:58 PM
I am ashamed to say I was actually thinking while riding that wouldn't electric spurs be great :)


Don't feel bad this has crossed my mind too.

meupatdoes
May. 25, 2011, 12:19 AM
I had a lazy horse until an excellent trainer made me take my leg OFF.

Ask for your up transition and then take your leg completely off the horse. Dare him to break (as he likely will in three steps). Then: KAPOW!

Immediately after you get your reaction to the KAPOW, take your leg OFF. Dare him to make the mistake. Don't prevent the mistake, tempt him with it. When he falls for it and slows down, even a little, KAPOW!

Turn onto a 20m circle and put daylight between your leg and the horse's side. When he breaks, KAPOW! He should go around the whole circle around and around on his own with you not even touching his side.


Everytime you feel the urge to squeeze or cluck, take your leg OFF instead and tempt the mistake. Then, when he slows down, KAPOW! And then go right back to daring him again to see if he learned.


Works a treat.

Eireamon
May. 25, 2011, 05:06 AM
rizzodm :) Glad I am not the only one thinking evil thoughts.
Friesan4me I am sure the Welsh cob is probably a bit the same in temperament to the Friesan. Yes having him out makes some difference but not alot. I have a racetrack around a big paddock and try to gallop him around. I am sure the neighbours think I am nuts hooping and hollering him on. But sadly it makes not alot of difference. Hes actually pretty fit so thats not the issue. Hes ridden 6 days per week for around 45 minutes.
meupatdoes. Thanks for that suggestion. Definately going to try that one tomorrow and will report back how it goes. :)

xQHDQ
May. 25, 2011, 06:15 AM
My Friesian cross is just like that. I now have a bunch of tricks that I use.
First I start out with diagonals. I half-halt and collect him as we make the turn and then send him forward across the diagonal. He's learned that he should go across the ring and now motivates himself.
Then I move to transitions. My trainer suggested trot-walk-trot transitions, but what works better for my guy is trot-almost walk-trot. After only a couple of those he's better.
Then I move to transitions within the trot to more slowly get him moving. Trot-half-halt, half-halt-trot.
Cantering early in our ride helps too.
That usually does the trick.

Going forward is not necessarily the issue. It's his hind legs moving underneath him that keeps him in front of my leg.

Petstorejunkie
May. 25, 2011, 07:12 AM
I had a lazy horse until an excellent trainer made me take my leg OFF.

Ask for your up transition and then take your leg completely off the horse. Dare him to break (as he likely will in three steps). Then: KAPOW!

Immediately after you get your reaction to the KAPOW, take your leg OFF. Dare him to make the mistake. Don't prevent the mistake, tempt him with it. When he falls for it and slows down, even a little, KAPOW!

Turn onto a 20m circle and put daylight between your leg and the horse's side. When he breaks, KAPOW! He should go around the whole circle around and around on his own with you not even touching his side.


Everytime you feel the urge to squeeze or cluck, take your leg OFF instead and tempt the mistake. Then, when he slows down, KAPOW! And then go right back to daring him again to see if he learned.


Works a treat.

Totally agree with taking the leg off, but I wouldn't tempt him to break because there will be minute physical changes in the rider's body that actually DO tell him to break, and then he's getting punished for listening to subtle cues.
Perhaps a more appropriate mindset would be to think he will rate within the gate just as he is until you tell him otherwise. then if he deviates in any way, he gets a big reaction from the rider.

Also, just want to point out that if he's pokey by himself or with his mates in the pasture, you are unlikely to change his perspective on the matter, even with cattle prods installed in your spurs. I wouldn't want to battle with such a thing every ride

netg
May. 25, 2011, 08:54 AM
I would definitely make sure the release in forward cues happens as suggested.

I would also do more transitions. He's forward in transitions then eventually slows down? Change gaits again before he has the chance. The bonus to that is if you're asking for changes in gaits, you can't be keeping the same pressure on him all the time or he won't be able to tell you're asking for anything.

WILLOW&CAL
May. 25, 2011, 09:09 AM
'I had a lazy horse until an excellent trainer made me take my leg OFF.

Ask for your up transition and then take your leg completely off the horse. Dare him to break (as he likely will in three steps). Then: KAPOW!

Immediately after you get your reaction to the KAPOW, take your leg OFF. Dare him to make the mistake. Don't prevent the mistake, tempt him with it. When he falls for it and slows down, even a little, KAPOW!

Turn onto a 20m circle and put daylight between your leg and the horse's side. When he breaks, KAPOW! He should go around the whole circle around and around on his own with you not even touching his side.


Everytime you feel the urge to squeeze or cluck, take your leg OFF instead and tempt the mistake. Then, when he slows down, KAPOW! And then go right back to daring him again to see if he learned.'

THAT! I also had a 'lazy' Friesian. In truth he was just micro-managed by me so he learned to ignore the perpetual nagging. Less is more.

Concordia
May. 25, 2011, 09:27 AM
I had a lazy horse until an excellent trainer made me take my leg OFF.

Ask for your up transition and then take your leg completely off the horse. Dare him to break (as he likely will in three steps). Then: KAPOW!

Immediately after you get your reaction to the KAPOW, take your leg OFF. Dare him to make the mistake. Don't prevent the mistake, tempt him with it. When he falls for it and slows down, even a little, KAPOW!

Turn onto a 20m circle and put daylight between your leg and the horse's side. When he breaks, KAPOW! He should go around the whole circle around and around on his own with you not even touching his side.


Everytime you feel the urge to squeeze or cluck, take your leg OFF instead and tempt the mistake. Then, when he slows down, KAPOW! And then go right back to daring him again to see if he learned.


Works a treat.


Agree with this. Nagging with the leg and aides makes lathargic horses.

candico
May. 25, 2011, 10:45 AM
Two of the EPSM horses I have worked with ride a bit like that. Like there is a giant magnet pulling the horse backwards more so the more forward you try to go. Or like riding in a bowl of molasses. Eventually, once they break a sweat, and you are soaked in sweat, they do suddenly find the forward button, which is like suddenly being on a different horse. FWIW

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
May. 25, 2011, 03:37 PM
Ditto to check on EPSM. Also, a friend of mine has an amazing Hano mare that for 4 years was like that. She was ready to sell the horse. Then tried Gastrogard as a last resort, voila, horse is now happy to go forward.

Eireamon
May. 25, 2011, 05:48 PM
No leg try out today. A huge rain storm that has been coming in from Australia hit us last night and its been raining hard for the past 15 hours. So it will be a day off for the horses.

Petstorejunkie I do agree his mindset is very laid back. Hes not the type to go running around his paddock. Hes definately of the couch potato variety and if he were a person would spend all day loafing around. I know I am not going to turn him into a hyperactive athlete but would at least like a little more try.

I am aware nagging with the leg is not a good thing and I try not to do this. It usually ends up with a wallop but thats not really a good thing either. I feel so bad that I am after him so much and as Petstorejunkie says when a horse is naturally a very laid back character its not something that is probably going to change a whole lot.
When I was at the clinic and walloped him a few times I was aware that God those auditors probably think I am abusive. I felt it myself.
Its been in the back of my mind the last few days that if I cannot fix this I need to move him on to someone who wants a horse with one gear. He is so safe and would be an amazing trail horse for someone who just wanted to poke around looking at the scenery.

BUT he has really good paces and fantastic rythmn and an amazing temperament and I think if I can crack this I will have a lovely dressage partner so I am not giving up just yet.

EPSM is not something that is known in Welsh cobs and he has no symptoms so thats not something I would really consider. Hes just a laid back horse.

carolprudm
May. 25, 2011, 06:03 PM
The Jane Savoie thing has two parts. Three, actually.
1 Ask nicely.
if ignored
2 REALLY get after him
3 test. Ask nicely.
If no response repeat step 2

Sophie is rather laid back herself. Last summer I took lessons from a really good trainer. In addition to making Sophie GO on the lunge she had me ride at a trot tempo that I thought was really REALLY fast. In the beginning our goal was once around the large arena with no break. If Sophie quit we got to start over.:eek:

It took a few weeks but she will now keep going without quitting and without nagging.

Eireamon
May. 25, 2011, 06:11 PM
I have used the Jane Savoie method extensively on other horses carol and I agree it works really well. But the horse has to have some degree of sensitivity.
This one does not. I am sure if I planted a bomb under him and exploded it he would just walk off it. Nothing much scares.
I had shooters next door last evening and all of my horses were galloping around and freaking out. This one stood looking in the direction of the shooters with a look on his face Of "Oh how cool can I come help out?"
I wanted a more laid back horse but this one is killling me.
I have a couple of Welsh cob TB crosses and I have had to teach them to be motivated in going forward as well. One I have to remind occasionally as he can get a little dull like most horses but once hes going he then stays there.

goeslikestink
May. 25, 2011, 06:13 PM
I am really really struggling and so frustrated. My 5 yr old Sec D Cob is so incredibly laid back and lazy and its driving me crazy.

He has the most amazing rythmical paces but they are just going nowhere. There is nothing much forward about them.
He is scared of nothing. You can crack a stock whip on his back. Hes been used for vaulting. Nothing fazes him.

I have tried everything I can think of. Hes better but just never consistent.
I did the Jane Savoie thing and that has made his upward transitions alot better but he just does not stay there. He will burst into the upward transition if I really slap him hard but then just gradually gets slower and slower and I feel I am constantly trying to motivate him. I can get a little more trot at times but the canter just never gets any bigger even in an open feild with me in two point and yahooing in his ear to try and motivate him.
Lengthening the stride in canter just is not a happening thing and some times if I really try he just gets offended and even more behind the leg.

I have used a Whip Wop which works occasionally and today tried a long piece of thick irrigation pipe which gave a thudding noise. Because it was new it got him moving but did not keep him there.

I am ashamed to say I was actually thinking while riding that wouldn't electric spurs be great :)
My trainer has resorted to chasing me around during a lesson with a lunge whip and says Gosh hes just too laid back.

I went to a clinic with a load of auditors recently and was embarrassed to be whipping him really hard to keep him moving. I was wearing spurs as well.
Hes absolutely exhausting.

Hes fed oats and is out at grass most of the time.

I sold my crazy spooky Warmblood which was constantly trying to kill me and now have the opposite problem. Yes I should be happy I have a safe horse but OMG.

Anyone got any other ideas.
yep

done more than few like him, so 1st change tactics and attitude
so 1st you, sounds like from past warmblood you had to hold him back a lot
so this comes natural to you becuase thats how you rode your horse

welsh cobs are intelligeint horses and they will do what your asking - think about it

so with lazy or sharp horse asin your previous one was sharp this one is lazy you as a rider as it is a rider error , have to be quicker thinker meaning you have to be sharper with your aids

for your next lesson, i want you to try the kick and click method if you have a school kick and click at the same time and send him off on a gallop down the long side of the school, then stop pat praze him with a good boy voice as in use your tones of voice , and repeat , keeping your hands still , do this until he goes of the tweak of your heel

dont slap him, a whip is back up the leg, and dont use anything other than a crop or schooling whips, if you can ride with one schooling whip , and can change hands then try riding with two, dont worry horse will go forwards as they cant concetrate on two whips , when using schooling whips properly your leg should be on the horse the same time as the whip is on his flanks which will
send him forwards and onto the bit using the width and full lenght of the school practice in walk and vary the paces as in medium free and active using the half halt stride if the horse hasnt been taught to do the half halt stride then start off in walk
will give you link of how to perfrom the half halt stride and few more helpful tips

then once mastered hh and the whips use the school to help lenghten /shorten his striding if hes not been tuaght he wont know how to do it and it could be that your asking soemthing from him and either hes not been taught or your not gving the correct commands and signals or perhaps mismatching them which is confusing him, so as hes not a type of horse to nap as in buck or spook but still a form of napping hes being ignoring it and doing what he thinks is right as hes not getting a direct signal of command
horses only ever do what there rider is asking

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=178116

GraceLikeRain
May. 25, 2011, 06:23 PM
What worked like a charm for a smart but lazy one:

a) start out on a loose rein. Expect him to carry you forward without any urging. The minute he slows its 1. light squeeze 2. PONY KICK PONY KICK PONY KICK into a huge trot.

b) bring confused horse back to the walk and continue on as if nothing is different. When he slows. Repeat 1 & 2.


With this I don't really think its the force that is so effective but the "flapping" and transition into a new gait. Even lazy solid citizens prefer not to be kicked like a stubborn lesson pony.
A smart horse quickly learns that it is so much easier to move out then to move up a gait. To keep this effective you really have to correct every time you feel the engine slow before it totally dies on you.

With this horse If we are trotting along and and I go to circle and I feel the engine die, I drop the contact and big kick forward. You have to be willing to abandon any exercise at any point to maintain forward energy. It will get better but never accept "my engines dying but my circles really round" or "we were about to do a downward transition in a few steps any way so I guess now is fine."

Demand responsiveness 100% of the time.


I also find that it helps to do some work in-hand/on the lunge line to get responsive transitions and put in the "forward" button

Eireamon
May. 25, 2011, 06:55 PM
goeslikestink I never hold any horse back. My warmblood was very spooky and sensitive but I never hold any horse back. Your method is similar to the Jane Savoie one which I have used. Yes it makes him responsive to the upward transition (although a click and kick would never make him gallop) but it has not been successful at keeping him going. He will move off ok but just gets slower and lazier. If I so much as relax my core he stops dead. And yes I do transitions within the paces. I can get some change at the trot and walk but urging the canter on yeilds little change. He has one rythmn at the canter and efforts to get him to lengthen his stride at this pace have been pretty fruitless so far. The Whipwop used at the canter in an open field does get a few bigger strides but it does not keep him consisitently forward. I would have to be waving it around constantly.

gracelikerain thanks but yes similar again to Janes method which does work on most horses but does not keep this one forward.
I am not constantly kicking him.

I have been using the whip and the minute his pace starts to slacken it is applied but is not used again until he slackens again. The frustrating thing is that I have to really hit him hard to get any reaction and I just donot feel right smacking a horse so hard. If I hit my warmblood or even my half Cobs like this one I would fly to the moon.
He has a hide like a rhino and is unscareable. He is slightly scared of the whipwop which is why it is more moderately effective when cantering in an open field but its ungainly to use and only really suitable for one handed riding at faster paces.

OverandOnward
May. 25, 2011, 07:06 PM
<Adds layers to protective foil over head.> I have ridden a fair few "lazy" horses. I've come to believe that "lazy" is something people train, it is not a natural horse attribute. A horse may have a laid-back attitude toward life, but that /= lazy. Horses don't have the brain cells to decide they are "lazy" - they just react to what happens every day. Once people put the words "lazy horse" in their head, they expect the slow or ignored response, and don't correct it properly. The horse reacts accordingly, since horses do what seems to be best in each circumstances.

I recommend making up your mind that this horse is NOT lazy. That word is killing your ability to deal with him. Rather, he is CONDITIONED, behaviorally, to riders that don't ask so that he knows he needs to respond promptly - whether he has just been asked for a transition, or he's expected to keep going. No matter what he does, he's just responding to you, and to other riders, in some way. He is not creating some ethic out of his own mind - because he is biologically unable to do that.

Take the advice of other posters on ways to get his attention. Being that his conditioning is in a sad state right now, you need to be pro-active and anticipate his next slowdown. Correct him before it happens - get in front of his pre-set anticipation and re-direct him to expect something other than slowing down.

Your horse is not gaming you. He never understood that someone expected him to keep going. If the aids applied to date haven't communicated that, it's past time to find something else that he understands. The standard checklist of aids don't work the same for every horse. Part of horsemanship is adapting to the horse that you have. But you are likely to get a lot of resistance to that idea from other people, who like sticking to the standard checklist, and blaming the horse for not knowing it. :)

Be very observant to how the horse moves, and get help from others on the ground who believe in behavioral conditioning, not horse "laziness." Identify what causes him to slow down, given that you believe you are telling him otherwise. Something is impeding him - in his mind - and it is likely physical, although not necessarily painful. Is it the rider on his back - does he feel he needs to be able to move his back more freely? Is it that he wants more freedom of head and neck? He doesn't know where to put his feet? Something else? Let him tell you why he doesn't maintain pace and isn't responding .

I'd advise every rider to never allow the thought "he's lazy." No, he needs another path to conditioning his behavior than he's had to date. A horse has no idea what "lazy" is. That's just the excuse we use to give up on conditioning the horse's behavior, when we're puzzled by it. ;) :)

Good luck! I hope he works out well for you.


(From someone who has been there more than once -- after you have fixed this through behavioral conditioning (and I never found that difficult, just in need of creativity and observation,) you will have many surprised observers that the horse is no longer "lazy." They will not like it that you have undermined their favorite excuse for horse-blaming when they have to work harder than they intended to to get good performance. :winkgrin: But - you will be a happier rider for the experience. This horse has much to teach. :))

dunride
May. 26, 2011, 11:55 AM
^^^^
THIS....excellent post Overandonward!

suzy
May. 26, 2011, 01:30 PM
I also agree with others who advised you to take your leg off. Give the aid and be sure to stop giving it. The aid must be applied long enough so that the horse can process it but not so long that he tunes out and/or resists it. General rule of thumb is the count of 1 for a halt to walk transition, 1, 2 for walk to trot. It’s important that you not be in a perpetual state of carrying the horse with your legs and that you avoid escalating the aids. If you keep giving stronger and stronger aids, you are dulling the horse and teaching him that he only has to respond to the hard crack of the stick or boot of the leg. Pretty soon, you run out of strong enough aids, which it sounds like you have already discovered. The electric spurs was the dead giveaway as I used to lust for a pair. ;)

Without seeing your horse, it’s impossible to know what will work best for him, but Overandonwards is absolutely right that you have to be willing to adjust to your horse and find aids that work for him. Just because your trainer has given you one set of tools to use does not mean it’s the best or most appropriate. I have had to adjust my aids to accommodate various horses. For example, I had one horse that did well if I gave a light leg aid, released my leg, and followed up with a sharp smack if he did not respond, and then retested with light aid. That absolutely did not work with my next lazy horse. With him, it was better if I gave light leg aid, released, and a split second after releasing my leg, tapped him with the stick. Not really hard but enough to give him a sting as though he was being bitten by a fly. I would keep repeating that aid until I got the right response. I never increased my leg pressure or the tap of the whip. Pretty soon he realized he’d get that “fly bite” feeling from my whip if he didn’t listen to the leg. To avoid that, he would respond appropriately to my leg. Yet another horse only got sharp off my leg if I gave the aid, released my leg, and, if he didn’t respond, I held him and swatted him to get his hind legs under. My experience is that one size does not fit all. It certainly makes training challenging but has concretized in my mind the need to be flexible in my thinking as well as the application of my aids…also to be 100% consistent in my application of the aids.

Whichever method works for the transition will work within the gait, too, as long as—and this is key—you are consistent in the way you apply the aid. This is where I got into trouble initially with my first lazy horse. The aid just has to be the same or, from the horse’s perspective, you are asking for something different. They don’t understand our intentions, only our instructions. So, once you learn what aid works for the transition, discipline yourself to use it the same way within the gait.

The last thing I will mention regarding aids is that just because you find the right aid does not mean the horse will forever after be light off your aids. You will have to begin every ride doing a few minutes of remedial work in which you sensitize your horses to the aids in the same way you likely had to spend time calming your hot horse.

Someone else mentioned having your horse checked for EPSM. You may also want to have him checked for insulin resistance. My somewhat lazy horse took laziness to the next 3 levels a year ago, and it turned out he was IR. I have been feeding and supplementing him appropriately since, and he is back to his normal level of lazy. ;)

mbm
May. 26, 2011, 01:54 PM
hi. here is what i have learned as i "experiment" with my now 3 yo Connemara pony.

When i got him @ just 2 he clearly thought he was in charge and didnt seem too motvated to be sensitive :) i decided that i did not want to work very hard and that i really liked the super senstivity of my WB mare so i started to treat him like i expected him to be sensitive.

as an example: he would not move over when asked... so i took my hoof pick and used it where my leg would be later, and nicely asked - move over. no reaction? i used the hoof pick a bit harder - no reaction? i make him feel it = he moved. i only had to do this a couple times. now he is literally so sensitive to moving off pressure... more sensitive than my reactive mare :)

i did the same with lunging him... i asked for and expected a very forward reaction each time i asked. i carry a whip with me at all times and i will use it to instill a quick and energetic response.

now, i am fairly experienced rider so i know i can handle creating this type of hot response... i probably would not create this if i knew he was going to be a kids pony or what not.

so - my experimentation says that yes, a more laid back type of horse/pony can learn to react as you want. the key is to decide what you want and then ONLY accept that behavior.

since you already have a horse that was taught to not react you will have a hard time changing this. first and foremost you need to change YOU. take a long hard look at how you ride, what you ask etc etc.

maybe start on the ground. does he more promptly off your hand? does he back up etc with just a thought or is it a struggle? does he go FORWARD on the lunge immediately as the normal response to forward?

these are the things to work on and only when you have him responding as you wish on the ground would i try it under saddle.

it will be a hard journey because you need to change yourself... once you do that your horse will follow. :)

Jim Knopf
May. 26, 2011, 03:13 PM
So sorry you are going through this! Just want you to know that I sense your frustration and wish I had an answer for you. I think what most people aren't hearing, and luckily most people have never had to deal with this type of horse, is that he doesn't care how hard/how often/how little you use your aids. Great...come with a light aid, it gets ignored. The next step is to take the leg off and really wallop him. Well, I think what you are saying is that he could care less about the wallop. So then you're told to go back to handling him/lunging him on the ground. Same thing happens there...you ask for a trot, nothing much happens, you chase him with a lunge whip and nothing much happens. Like you said, you could light a bomb under him and he wouldn't move. So how do you motivate that?? And yes, you can use your whip, but if that isn't getting a reaction why would you just hit him harder and harder and harder?

I know there are a lot of people that have dealt with "lazy" horses. I don't think that's what you are dealing with or even really saying he's lazy. He's completely unmotivated, not interested in working with you and you have no idea what makes him decide to slow down. You'll be riding along and all of a sudden he'll hit a wall of jello and s l o w w a y d o w n.

Wish I had advice for you, but I have no idea how to get him over this. Just want to let you know you are not alone in dealing with this and I know how frustrating it is!!

suzy
May. 26, 2011, 03:38 PM
Jim, I totally heard and understood her. In fact, my current horse is trickier than the one she describes; he gets downright combative and backwards if the aids are escalated.

Once she has eliminated physical issues as the cause of the problem, she has to figure out what aids work on him and be 100% consistent in applying them correctly. That takes a lot of retraining of the rider. We learn to do things a particular way, and it's difficult to break out of old habits. The horse has also learned a response pattern that she has to find a way to break through. It's challenging and will take time but is not insurmountable.

mbm
May. 26, 2011, 03:42 PM
hi jim.... fwiw, i hear what the OP said and my response was directly in response to her saying he doenst care what she does.

the point is to find out what works for HIM... i explained how i motived my cob type pony.... obviously what worked for him may not work for others....

the point was: do not accecpt anything other than what you want.... if the horse does not respond as you wish you have to ask why? obviously he was taught to not react. so he needs to learn to react. right, but HOW? that is the question and the way to figure that out is to experiment on the ground... it is just a lot easier - especially for non pros to work on the ground on stuff like this. ....

does he move off your hand lightly and as you wish when you ask? if not then he needs to learn this before he can do it under saddle. does he move forward happily etc on the lunge when you ask? if not then start there.

*if* you teach him to move over in a sensitive and prompt manner , then backup same, then to move ut on the lunge, same, then it will be much easier to continue this under saddle.

to me the obvious progression would be to do in hand, lunge then rider on horse being lunged, then rider on horse off lunge.

we are working on a big (17+h ) Holsteiner right now that is very stuck and this is also how we are working with him and so far so good.... lots of positive change and progress.

you have to find the way in and then go from there.

BaroquePony
May. 26, 2011, 10:29 PM
Is he fat, overweight or seriously out of condition?

Eireamon
May. 27, 2011, 02:21 AM
None of the above Baroque Pony.

Weather has been appalling here so hes now had 2 days off. Hopefully the floods will subside tomorrow.

I am not offended by what anyone has had to say. As a coach I would be going through the exact same checklists with my pupils.

I can assure you that we have tried alot of things. I have two trainers. One German who trains in a pretty traditional German way. Shes the main trainer as shes based in this country and comes twice per month for 2 days. My other trainer comes twice per year for 5 days stretches. Shes French school and her methodology is far more classically based.
Neither have been able to find a solution so far.

My main ride is a half cob and although he can be get a tad dull in the upward transitions at times he keeps going.
I use Jane Savoie method for him and or a variation of the whip and legs off methods to sharpen up his transitions when he gets a bit lazy.
(The Andrew McLean method is tap tap tap with the whip until you get a reaction with zero legs until the horse is really sharp)
Both methods work with him really well as hes sensitive and only needs a reminder every now and then.

The purebred is a totally different kettle of fish because he is totally unsensitive.

I do admit that I probably use far too much leg on him to keep him moving so perhaps the complete legs off thing might be the answer.
Once I do get back in the saddle I will let you know how it works out.

suzy
May. 27, 2011, 08:47 AM
None of the above Baroque Pony.

I do admit that I probably use far too much leg on him to keep him moving so perhaps the complete legs off thing might be the answer.
Once I do get back in the saddle I will let you know how it works out.

You are at the same place I was with my first really lazy horse. You are working way too hard while the horse is hardly working at all. I used to be dripping wet after a ride, and he would be bone dry! :/

When you are using a lot of leg continuously, it makes your muscles contract, and that contraction actually blocks your horse. You have to concentrate on maintaining a flexible seat and leg which means letting your legs just rest by his side. If he doesn't go, use a quick leg aid, release, use the whip (or a kick--whichever works best). You are going to have to forget about keeping the horse on the aids for now. In the moment you ask for the upward transition, you have to give--exaggerate the give--with your hands. Don't give him *any* excuse for not responding to the driving aid. I go through a mental checklist when asking for the upward transition: am I giving with my hands, staying loose in my hips so that I am not blocking him with my seat, removing my leg after asking for the transition, and using the whip in the same way every time. As I said earlier, being 100% consistent in how you do things is critical.

You have to reprogram yourself and your horse. If you keep changing the aids around, you are just confusing him. Pick what you think is most apt to work and absolutely commit to it.

mbm's suggestion of working him in hand is a good idea, too. Get him responsive to the same tap of the whip that you would use if you were riding him so that he can more easily make the connection when you are in the saddle. Be sure to reward him a lot when he makes even a small effort to give the correct answer. The good thing about working the horse in hand (not on the longe) is that you are close enough to give a whip aid really quickly. If you have a piaffe whip, work on walk-trot transitions from the ground. You can do it with a dressage whip, but the piaffe whip gives you a greater range--handy with the lazy horse.

CFFarm
May. 27, 2011, 09:30 AM
Good advice all around. May I add that sometimes a change of venue makes a world of difference. Ride him out to somewhere flat you don't usually work and work there. Trail ride and work on the trail. Get out and gallop occasionally. Sometimes it's as simple as boredom :D

suzy
May. 27, 2011, 09:39 AM
Ditto CFFarm. Does he jump at all? Setting up small courses and grids (low) can help.

Eireamon
May. 29, 2011, 12:44 AM
Yes he jumps. He was jumping a couple of times per week over the summer months but not so much now as the jumping paddock is too wet.
He is not too bad at courses as long as there are single fences. He struggles to keep the stride up enough to get down a grid or even a 2 stride.

He just does not have that pull forward that you need to get to the fences on stride.
CCFarm as much as we have tried to gallop him he just never changes rythmn from a slow canter.

When a horse is truly motivated and taking you forward is the gear that he is missing and the one we just cannot find. Nothing much seems to motivate him and its not from a lack of trying.

4 days off and this is the longest stretch hes had off in a long time. Will definately be back in the saddle tomorrow. Hes always much better after a day off so hopefully 4 days on good food he should be revving! :)

BaroquePony
May. 29, 2011, 02:13 AM
You do know that Cobs generally are bred for their trot and the canter was an afterthought, right?

Give him credit for cantering :yes:.

I have a Section D Cob that I bought about two years ago. He was quite sour, and was slow and resentful at first. Once I dumped the dressage whip and gave him a more well-fitted bridle he began to perk right up. We also hit the trails immediatley. He does love to trot through the woods. Forgets I am even up there.

I think one of the most important things that I have learned about them is that they are VERY intelligent and will do anything for you, but forcing them just pisses them off. They are also extemely sensitive and you can really hurt their feelings. I'm serious. I never thought I would find myself discussing an equine in those terms, but after meeting Max (my Cob), I have a whole new outlook on ponies.

Max gets bored very easily and I can understand that. He was bred to work and to work with people.

Max can be quite lazy until I wake him up. He actually is rather hot, but he has size three feet. He seems to get tired dragging those feet around on a hot day. The more I condition him, the easier it gets and he can be quite light.

Think anglo-arab with size three feet and that is kind of strange. He also has a very thick hide.

BaroquePony
May. 29, 2011, 02:28 AM
Do you have any photos of your Cob? Interested in seeing his face as well as how he is built. Does he have a good eye? Is he smart?

If he is as smart and as sensitive as the one I have I'm guessing that maybe you haven't really had a long talk with him :yes:.

Eireamon
May. 29, 2011, 05:54 AM
http://s284.photobucket.com/albums/ll32/Emeraldpark/?action=view&current=199859_10150116241181721_628326720_6708118 _145862_n.jpg


This is him

workinggirl
May. 29, 2011, 07:48 AM
Oh gosh, he's a cutie! Sometime I wonder if some personalities (of horse) is just not suited for the job at hand! I had a lazy horse (draft/tb) that I wanted to do the 3 foot hunters with. It just felt like I was carrying him around. He got a new Mom that loves to trail ride and take it easy and I got a new horse with a little more go. I tried with him, and he did get better but still I felt like I was cantering backwards, I give the go signal and he would slow down!

BaroquePony
May. 29, 2011, 09:24 AM
Well, he certainly is gorgeous.

I hope you don't mind this, but if you were wearing spurs in that photo you would be poking him all of the time. You probably should loosen up your ankles and turn your toes in (your ankles should move out and off the horse).

I would like to further critque your position, but I do not want to do so on the board without your permission.

How long was he used for vaulting? They like slow, rythymic and steady.

One of the things that I have noticed with my Cob (and I have been told by people who breed and work with them all of the time, that mine is very typical) is the thick hide. Mine doesn't wiggle his skin like a regular horse when flies land on him. He doesn't care about regular horse flies. He goes ballistic over the very painful deer flies and some of the other bloodsucking flies that we have here. He will gallop, buck or bite them off.

I think there is a difference in how a Cob responds to the aids. However, they will respond once you figure out how to explain what you want and expect without insulting them or making them resent you. I wasn't used to this aspect. I am much more careful about it now.

That does NOT mean that I don't give him a sharp smack with the whip or (gasp) a series of major yanks with a very mild french link bit, but he always knows why. They have a VERY strong sense of justice. My veterinarian saw that the first time he met my out-of-control new pony.

I pay attention to all of the tiny little facial and ear gestures. Max was depressed when I finally got him. He is no longer depressed. You could see it in his face and his ears were back more than they were forward. He just looked *dark* and not *chipper*.

I'm not saying that your Cob might not just be lazy by genetics, but I think that there are a number of things that you haven't tried yet.

Also, I was told, and have found it to be true, they do not suffer fools gladly. They seem to have been bred to demand correct riding.

ETA: when I say Cobs are *sensitive* I am referring to their psychological make-up. They get their feelings hurt very easily.

Eireamon
May. 29, 2011, 06:45 PM
Baroque I should have added thats not me riding him. Its a student and his jumping rider. I no longer jump due to a back injury.
For some reason I could not post the picture taken 5 minutes prior. It keeps coming up as an error but in it shows rider in two point reins in one hand up around his ears and whip in the other and trying to make his canter bigger.
It just went no where but this trot was taken straight afterward and is about the best forward shot I have of him. Hes usually alot pokier.

He was not used for vaulting for any length of time. I had a vaulter here for 2 weeks and he was the one she vaulted off as I had nothing else suitable.

yes this guy certainly has the typically thick skin of the cob. Whips and spurs make no difference. That is why the whipwop worked somewhat for a time as it was because it was the flapping side to side action (which never touched him) that was an unusual thing for him and sent him forward. But like everything once he got used to it there was no real difference.

You could shoot off him and crack whip standing on his butt. He wouldn't care.

BaroquePony
May. 29, 2011, 08:08 PM
Eireamon, sorry to have mistooken :lol: your student for you.

Well, he sure is beautiful and it looks like he would have good gaits.

It does seem odd that he would be so lazy.

Eireamon
May. 30, 2011, 02:48 AM
OK so report from my first legs off ride.
Hes always a bit better after his day off so after 4 days off I thought I might have some good varoom.

I put in my mind the amazing para rider who has nothing below the knees to remind myself not to put any lower legs on.

So first tap tap tap starting out light and getting gradually stronger until I got a reaction. Interestingly all he wanted to go sideways but after about 10 taps he moved forward into a poky trot. My normal reaction would have been to add leg to get him move forward but I resisted the urge and just let him poke for 4 rounds one way and then changed the rein and 4 the other way. He kept going the whole time. The pokiness was at least consistent. So back to walk and I tap tap tapped again. This time it took about 5 taps and the trot was a better one. Did a couple of laps and then came back to walk again. So tap tap again. This time he reacted by giving a bit of a buck but the trot was alot more forward.
So I did quite a few more walk trot walk transitions and by this time he was listening and all I had to do was to move my leg back and he went into a canter. We did this both ways.
So all in all pretty successful. I had absolutely no contact with his mouth at any time. I just let him go with his nose poked and only used a bit of lower leg pressure to keep him straight when I needed to.

Considering the 4 days off he wasn't all that fresh. Hes normally fresher when hes just had the one day off. I think the work ethic went a bit downhill with the 4 days off.

So will see what happens tomorrow and will report in.

SaddleUp158
May. 30, 2011, 09:43 AM
Transitions. This has really worked for my mare. Spurs are no longer needed and dressage whip is there as a quick reminder if the transition doesn't happen immediately. Lots of canter walk transitions for my mare. She is now much more reactive than before.

mbm
May. 30, 2011, 01:05 PM
he is simply smashing :)

the pic posted looks forward.... so would be interesting to see how is is going.. do you have any vid?

trabern
May. 30, 2011, 06:23 PM
I very much like this thread.

We haver a horse that is by all appearances "lazy" with timid and new riders. She has a "dumb pony" act. But I get on her, she is light and responsive and even jiggy sometimes. She is not "Lazy" but is adjusting her effort to the lowest level she can get away with with any particular rider

2tempe
May. 30, 2011, 07:31 PM
I have a mare that has similar tendencies, but doesn't sound as difficult. One suggestion after reading your "legs off" day is that you do your transitions closer together. Walk 5-6 strides, ask for trot. When you get it, 5-6 strides, then back to the walk, trot, walk. When he feels reasonably quick to respond, lengthen the trot part a few strides and shorten the walk. Same w/ trot-canter; just a short distance, then a transition, short distance, transition etc. This will take time, so keep your patience button in the "on" position! He's lovely, so keep up the work.

BEARCAT
May. 30, 2011, 08:03 PM
OP, you could have been describing my Mustang in your first post. Super laid back guy, not phased by much.
What has worked for me was:
1: meuxtoa ' s post, which I read a while ago on another thread
2: getting his reactions/transitions REALLY sharp on the ground (I would bet yours is also quite unresponsive there?)
3: using clicker training to sharpen his reactions - he is also quite food motivated, so that has really helped.

PS: your boy is beautiful!

Eireamon
May. 30, 2011, 09:47 PM
2tempe the first rounds were just to see if he would stay in the trot without me using any leg which is why I went so long.

After the first couple of upwards transitions I made the distances shorter and shorter.

So yes we will be doing alot more transitions today. Just about to go out for ride number 2 of the No legs training.

Bearcat I never thought of clicker training but it would probably work for him too as he is very food and reward orientated. Might give that a try too.

Eireamon
May. 30, 2011, 09:55 PM
mbm yes he does look quite forward in this pic. Its the most forward pic of him in existance.
The reason is that its just after a downward transition from a 2 point one handed whooping attempt to get him to lenghten his stride at the canter around the paddock. The canter did not get any better but at least the trot afterward (the result in this pic) did improve. Trouble is as you can see from the pic the ride did need to keep her leg on to keep the trot going.
We never use spurs at home. They are reserved only for my rides at clinics or shows. We use whip only for training.

I always have George Morris ringing in my head from a clinic I did with him about 20 yrs ago.
Never teach legs with Legs.
His upward transisitons have never been sharp but are not that bad. Its just been keeping the pace up without him slackening into a piddly poky pace. Although he cannot really lengthen at the canter he is capable of doing a decent trot but it just takes me being at him constantly to keep it up. I want him to be able to hold it for himself.

Merle
May. 30, 2011, 10:32 PM
Oh gosh, he's a cutie! Sometime I wonder if some personalities (of horse) is just not suited for the job at hand! I had a lazy horse (draft/tb) that I wanted to do the 3 foot hunters with. It just felt like I was carrying him around. He got a new Mom that loves to trail ride and take it easy and I got a new horse with a little more go. I tried with him, and he did get better but still I felt like I was cantering backwards, I give the go signal and he would slow down!

I went through the same experience. I sold my draft/dutch warmblood cross over the winter and got a 4 year old Thoroughbred gelding (who does not look like a typical TB - he is very cob looking!). I am much happier riding him, even though he is extremely green and we are just doing walk/trot at the moment. My old horse is packing around someone who wanted a very sane, slow horse.

suzy
May. 31, 2011, 08:54 AM
I love the picture of him! One thing I wanted to add is about not getting after the lazy horse until they have had time to warm up. I know a lot of people will be in arms at this advice, but you have to consider *your* horse's personality. My current lazy horse backs off even more if I hassle him too much during the first few trots. If I settle for a less than wonderful trot and let give him the time he needs to warm up his muscles and joints, he is much more amenable to offering a bigger trot/canter when I ask.

The interesting thing about these lazy, seemingly insensitive horses is that they are actually quite sensitive and are easily offended by loud, nagging aids. However, instead of reacting by taking off, they suck back. Just something to consider.

SaddleUp158
May. 31, 2011, 09:30 AM
[QUOTE=suzy;5636493

The interesting thing about these lazy, seemingly insensitive horses is that they are actually quite sensitive and are easily offended by loud, nagging aids. However, instead of reacting by taking off, they suck back. Just something to consider.[/QUOTE]

Excellent point. Seems contradictory, but very true. My mare is this way. We started off with loud nagging aids, but have had to change our approach. We are using lots of transitions up and down at the canter and she is becoming much more in front of my leg, if she doesn't immediately take off inti the canter she gets a pop with the dressage whip, but that is the only time. Too much of the whip, spurs, leg and she tunes them out.

Eireamon
May. 31, 2011, 07:06 PM
The interesting thing about these lazy, seemingly insensitive horses is that they are actually quite sensitive and are easily offended by loud, nagging aids. However, instead of reacting by taking off, they suck back.


suzy a very true point and it seems in my haste to try and make him stay forward this is exactly what I have done to him!

So yes I am Guilty as charged and now I have to fix it !

Schiffon
May. 31, 2011, 07:50 PM
The interesting thing about these lazy, seemingly insensitive horses is that they are actually quite sensitive and are easily offended by loud, nagging aids. However, instead of reacting by taking off, they suck back. Just something to consider.

This is an important aspect to consider. I had ridden a number of typical energy-preserving horses where the technique now being ascribed to Jane Savoie (that I first saw in a very clearly described form at a Kyra Kyrkland symposium), worked quite well.

However, I had a mare that seemed to get slower to the aids the more she was smacked with the whip. We managed a decent 2nd level test, could do nice half-steps with a ground person, but there was no where near enough motivation to train 3rd on a daily basis. I was desperate and bought some Parelli DVDs (sssshhh, I know the feelings on this board and please don't flame the source, I'm just passing along something I learned and then applied) and worked on ground work. That helped some (she got really responsive in that setting) but didn't automatically transfer to our issues under saddle. What I did find interesting is that PP has 4 phases to every aid, instead of the 2 (light->whack) typically used in the JS/KK method. The 4th phase is anything it takes to get the response and the escalation from 1st to 4th is quite quick, maybe 1/2 second between each. So under saddle I applied this as 1 - light movement with seat and calf, 2 - touch with spur, 3 - grind into side with spur (a nice smooth spur), 4 - smack with whip twice. It was almost like she found this more reasonable to her sensibilities, the reactions were much more fluid and maintained, and got so she rarely required phase 4 and only phase 3 now and then.

Also, when you didn't ride for 4 days due to rain, was your horse stabled or still turned out? If he was stabled and 4 days in didn't increase the energy level, the following might not be relevant. However, some well known European trainers believe that the training barn routine, with relatively little turn-out, where horses look to humans for all of their needs, including feed and exercise, fosters more energy and willingness to partner. The mare above did much better in her work on 4 hours of turn out daily rather than 8-12 hrs the others on the farm had. She seemed content with that arrangement. Maybe some horses have different sleep needs than others or their herd dynamic makes it such that they are sleep deprived being out so much. It has been shown that horses who are turned out alone all of the time do get sleep deprived since they have no companions to keep watch.

ctab
May. 31, 2011, 08:09 PM
Check his blood and make sure he is not lacking in some area or does not have a metabolic condition.

It sounds like you have tried a few things mentioned here and they seem not to work. How does he go for your trainer? Or for another rider? Sometimes they will go better for one or two rides for a new person, just because they are unsure and the aids are just slightly different. So make sure you give it a couple of rides with a trainer. If he goes better for them, then the problem is the training. If they feel the same as you then either this is how he is or there is something else going on. If there is no physical cause, then it is probably just his personality.:sadsmile:

BaroquePony
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:13 AM
Posted by Eireamom:

suzy a very true point and it seems in my haste to try and make him stay forward this is exactly what I have done to him!

So yes I am Guilty as charged and now I have to fix it !

One thing that works wonders once you realize that you may have pushed things a bit too much, is to sincerley apologize to your pony. They know if you mean it or not, so keep that in mind.

I once saw Michael Poulin apologize to his grey stallion in the warm-up at regionals, and no one knew exactly what *aid* he had used too strongly (it's not like the horse exploded or even put his ears back or complained in any way), but Michael knew and the horse knew.

Eireamon
Jun. 3, 2011, 08:41 PM
Today the student that rides him once or twice per week came for the first time since our new legs off regime.

Her description "OMG he feels awesome"

And at the end. "Thats the best ride I have ever had on him."

So the legs off is certainly made a difference. Hes still not really got it in the canter yet though. His strike off is really good. No whip required. As soon as you sit and move your outside leg back he jumps into it. Its still not what I would call a forward canter though and I have had to let him strike off and then add whip after a bit to get him a bit more forward. Hes staying there but at this stage its a nose pokey just 'getting there' canter. Hes not really taking forward at all.
But so far so good.

belgianWBLuver
Jun. 3, 2011, 08:52 PM
yep

dont slap him, a whip is back up the leg, and dont use anything other than a crop or schooling whips, if you can ride with one schooling whip , and can change hands then try riding with two, dont worry horse will go forwards as they cant concetrate on two whips , when using schooling whips properly your leg should be on the horse the same time as the whip is on his flanks which will
send him forwards and onto the bit using the width and full lenght of the school practice in walk and vary the paces as in medium free and active using the half halt stride if the horse hasnt been taught to do the half halt stride then start off in walk
will give you link of how to perfrom the half halt stride and few more helpful tips

then once mastered hh and the whips use the school to help lenghten /shorten his striding if hes not been tuaght he wont know how to do it and it could be that your asking soemthing from him and either hes not been taught or your not gving the correct commands and signals or perhaps mismatching them which is confusing him, so as hes not a type of horse to nap as in buck or spook but still a form of napping hes being ignoring it and doing what he thinks is right as hes not getting a direct signal of command
horses only ever do what there rider is asking

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=178116

This :yes:

and take him out of the arena regularly ride the hills and trails at a faster pace, praise him when he works this pace for you. Also try jumping - small - if he likes it and is motivated, praise.
Try warming up outside - work in the arena - cool down outside.

All these things lead to my 5 YO belgian WB being forward and agreable now.

Swing
Jun. 3, 2011, 09:48 PM
So sorry you are going through this! Just want you to know that I sense your frustration and wish I had an answer for you. I think what most people aren't hearing, and luckily most people have never had to deal with this type of horse, is that he doesn't care how hard/how often/how little you use your aids. Great...come with a light aid, it gets ignored. The next step is to take the leg off and really wallop him. Well, I think what you are saying is that he could care less about the wallop. So then you're told to go back to handling him/lunging him on the ground. Same thing happens there...you ask for a trot, nothing much happens, you chase him with a lunge whip and nothing much happens. Like you said, you could light a bomb under him and he wouldn't move. So how do you motivate that?? And yes, you can use your whip, but if that isn't getting a reaction why would you just hit him harder and harder and harder?

I know there are a lot of people that have dealt with "lazy" horses. I don't think that's what you are dealing with or even really saying he's lazy. He's completely unmotivated, not interested in working with you and you have no idea what makes him decide to slow down. You'll be riding along and all of a sudden he'll hit a wall of jello and s l o w w a y d o w n.

Wish I had advice for you, but I have no idea how to get him over this. Just want to let you know you are not alone in dealing with this and I know how frustrating it is!!

Yes absolutely! I have only read 1.5 pages of this so far...but OP describes my mare to a tea. Spurs worked for only a little bit, until she learned to shut them out. Over use of the whip causes my mare to shut down totally in the brain. YES there ARE unmotivated horses out there....its NOT all just the rider!!

Now my mare is a little older (she is now8) she is a tad more reliable, but she will never be a forward going horse:() Have had countless lessons with different instructors, none could help me at all. Leg off is a very good technique, but you cant do that every 3 strides to keep a horse going, my horse had no issues at all wiht tranistions...but to keep her going was HARD.

The only thing that made a bit of difference was to do most of our riding out on a track that the racehorses use!!! and to ride out there when the racehorse trainers were training there horses...doing quarter pace etc...this got her blood up a wee bit. I got her super super fit and she was a bit better in the arena (which I used to ride in once a week!)

After a few years of training and competing her, I decided she just didnt want to do this dressage thing....she is still in my paddock, but being ridden by nervous riders, she totally looks after her rider;)

DutchDressageQueen
Jun. 3, 2011, 10:06 PM
I don't know how many days you ride him, but maybe try riding him not as much? does he get a little "crazy" after you haven't ridden him in a while? also try riding in new places.

erfarrell
Jun. 5, 2011, 06:12 PM
It might be worthwhile to check out Jane Savoie's book "Cross-Train Your Horse". I really enjoy her advice.

I hope I don't butcher it in my summary, but here goes...

She says basically....

Give your horse the amount of leg/seat that you WISH they would respond to. If they do not respond, reinforce fairly aggressively. As soon as they respond, take the reinforcement away and praise. That way they learn to listen the first time.

mswillie
Jun. 5, 2011, 06:45 PM
I love the picture of him! One thing I wanted to add is about not getting after the lazy horse until they have had time to warm up. I know a lot of people will be in arms at this advice, but you have to consider *your* horse's personality. My current lazy horse backs off even more if I hassle him too much during the first few trots. If I settle for a less than wonderful trot and let give him the time he needs to warm up his muscles and joints, he is much more amenable to offering a bigger trot/canter when I ask.


I've been following this thread with interest because I have the same issue but I've had to adopt the opposite strategy.

In the past I've always taken about 10 minutes and warmed up on a long loose rein sort of poking along before I asked for any real work. I was doing this as much to loosen my old muscles and joints as to get the horse ready. Apparently for us, that sets the stage for our whole ride.

About 2 weeks ago we started a new tactic. As soon as I hit the saddle it's work time. He gets to warm up of course but it's at a brisk forward walk on contact. I will take my legs off but if he slows and doesn't respond to my leg right away he gets a good solid smack. When I ask for the trot I expect it to be immediate and forward, and even when he gets a breather he must maintain his forward walk on a long rein.

It seems to be working. Today was the first time that I was able to do trot/canter transitions consistently picking up the correct lead and without a lot of fuss. He even gave me a canter a few times when I wasn't asking. I didn't reprimand him, his heart was in the right place, I could tell he was just trying to figure out what I wanted, and the response to his uncertainty was to go forward, not slow down.

When we're done, we're done. I'm asking for a good forward trot, a square halt, and then I get off. I hand walk him to cool off. No more slacking under saddle.

So for now that's what is working for us. Of course I'm not getting the chance to loosen up but that's what they make Tylenol for. :)

BEARCAT
Jun. 5, 2011, 07:03 PM
I ditto Mswillie - that is what I have been doing also, and it has helped a lot. No more pokey cool down walk. Every walk is a "march." If he has worked hard and needs a rest, we halt (square and in balance.) We also do a lot of halt "in motion" as my trainer calls them. If he dribbles into a halt (or any downward transition), we pick up the next gear up immediately. I insist on nice forward downward transitions. If they are poopy ;), off we go back up at the next gait - briskly. Then ask again for the lower gear.
It takes the rider being extremly diligent, while NOT nagging. Everytime my leg goes on, it now means GO - I want to see/feel a definite, visible change in leg speed.
Had a great ride today on Pokey Pokersen using the above principles. :)

DutchDressageQueen
Jun. 5, 2011, 10:29 PM
erfarrell is right. That should work on most horses

Alexie
Jun. 8, 2011, 01:24 PM
Love him love him love him, I have a welsh sec D 4 year old that I bred, he's gonna be a dressage dude too!

Just to add my twopenceworth to the excellent replies,

His saddle looks a bit small for him, it may be digging in/pinching behind his shoulder blades, at the top, just below the withers. This can be quite subtle but still have a huge impact on desire to move forward. cheap and easy way to test is by trying a great big thick saddle pad, like a polypad doubler or such, under the saddle.

Re EPSM, if he were mine I would be trying a change of diet to see if it affects his way of going, no need for tests etc. Just cut out the oats and replace with as low a sugar feed as you can get and just see if it helps. This is what I did with my similarly backward horse - admittedly not a sec D - and it made a whole world of difference for very little effort and expense.

He is delicious, lucky you!