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Brigit
Feb. 24, 2012, 12:06 AM
I've got this 4 y/o greenie as a project horse, had her for a few months and it seems that we've come into a "balky" & slightly spooky phase. When I tried her out she was a fantastic little jumper and showed lots of scope & willingness to jump, nothing phased this horse.
Well all of a sudden she's super balky about even jumping a small X. Like full on slam on the brakes 10' away and refuse to budge. Some days the painted poles are scary enough that it's a huge deal to even go over them. I can kick & cluck & kiss all I want and she's just not gonna go. It's only when I break out the crop that she'll move forward, still with much resistence. The funny thing is that she's a super laid back little horse, very easy going, quite pokey to ride and will generally walk right up to anything she's had a little spook at to check it out afterwards so not really worried. She's never tripped, stumbled or fallen while jumping or going over poles, nobody has ever hit her in the mouth over a fence or anything like that. It's just like she's decided she doesn't want to do it all of a sudden.
Tried lunging her over things but she's just so laid back she just pokes along at a slow trot and doesn't care about the lunge whip at all.
She's been checked for physical stuff & saddle fit, nothing seems to be amiss.

I'm hoping this is just a phase but wondered if anyone had any ideas on how they deal with balkyness?

alterhorse
Feb. 24, 2012, 04:55 AM
How is she just flatting w.t.c doing patterns and up/down transitions?

Has she put on or lost weight since you've had her. What's in her diet including supplements, and have you added of changed anything in her diet recently?

Has anything changed in her eating habits lately?

Has she a history of colic?

Are you sure you can rule out ulcers?

How much turn out does she get, and for how long? Is she turned out alone or with company? Where is she on the dominance scale with other horse while turned out. Does she have another horse that she has formed a close bond with?

Are you located in a geographic area that's currently experiencing an abrupt seasonal change?

What level is your riding experience with regards to feeling the difference between a horse that's testing you vs. one that's really reacting to something?

Is she spooky while being led? How are her ground manners?

Does the behavior occur everywhere, or just one location (e.g. the ring), have you every hacked her out? Have you tried riding her in the presents of another horse, and if so how did having company effect her behavior, if at all? Have you tried the technique of using another horse like a "lead pony" over a cross rail to see if she will willingly follow.

pm59
Feb. 24, 2012, 06:44 AM
Is she coming into season? WE had this issue a few weeks ago ( really funky winter weather here this year and everyone came in SUPER early) we changed her diet and added some raspberry leaves and its much better!!

CBoylen
Feb. 24, 2012, 08:39 AM
You have a forward problem, not a spooking problem. She started brave, is not scared by your description. She has just learned you will let her loaf on the flat, on the lunge, and to the jump. Fix the flat first. Get forward. Get straight. Use your stick if you don't get an immediate response. Every time. The horse has your number, and you have to be consistant to fix it.

myalter1
Feb. 24, 2012, 09:12 AM
Have you had a chiro look at her? I agree with CBoylen.. but my chiro recently told me that horses can get headaches if their poll is out of wack..and that will trigger their flight response (spooking).. It's worth a look, if you really feel its not the forward issue indicated by CBoylen.

Brigit
Feb. 24, 2012, 12:51 PM
You have a forward problem, not a spooking problem. She started brave, is not scared by your description. She has just learned you will let her loaf on the flat, on the lunge, and to the jump. Fix the flat first. Get forward. Get straight. Use your stick if you don't get an immediate response. Every time. The horse has your number, and you have to be consistant to fix it.

I'll agree that it's definitely a forward problem not a spooking problem necessarily, however, believe me *I* do not let her "loaf" along on the flat. I make sure I get that engine going and really pushing along at the w/t/c. Her canter isn't pokey at all, she's still figuring out that she doesn't need to canter with hear head up in the air like a llama though but she's definitely forward. Her trot is MUCH improved from when we got her home, all she wanted to do was the pokey western pleasure type jog. She just suddenly decides that she's not going forward and no matter how much you kick, boot, cluck and kiss (with spurs on I might add), it's not gonna happen. So yes I do ride with a crop all the time and after the initial cluck/kick/boot/boot, she gets a few whacks. But again, she could care less if you tap her shoulder or behind your leg, the only place I've found that really gets a response is a few solid whacks on her bum. Even then, I still don't quite get the response I'd like and you practically have to deliver a smack for each step closer you get and then another to get OVER said x-rail. Aside from riding with a hot-shot, I'm not sure what else I can do?


How is she just flatting w.t.c doing patterns and up/down transitions?
She's doing well with her w/t/c stuff. Our arena is really small so there's only so much we can do in terms of patterns but I'd say she's doing well. Picks up her leads and is learning to carry herself better, when we first got her, she literally carried herself like a llama at all gaits and didn't understand contact and would put the brakes on, she'd mostly been ridden western so I'd imagine she was trained that way. She leg yields, reins back, turn on the forehand & haunches. Her canter is improving but still needs work (kinda llama like at times) but it's starting to be less rushed and more rhythmic.


Has she put on or lost weight since you've had her. What's in her diet including supplements, and have you added of changed anything in her diet recently?
Nope, no changes in weight, feed, supplements or any of that.


Has anything changed in her eating habits lately?
No, she's still a healthy eater.


Has she a history of colic?
No history of colic.


Are you sure you can rule out ulcers?
Nothing would indicate to me that she's suffering from ulcers. She's relaxed, eats well, gets along well with other horses (no cranky-ness), ears are up during our rides etc.


How much turn out does she get, and for how long? Is she turned out alone or with company? Where is she on the dominance scale with other horse while turned out. Does she have another horse that she has formed a close bond with?
She's out 24/7 in a group of 3. She's probably middle of the pack. My older mare is the head cheese and will boss her around a bit but they are good buddies.


Are you located in a geographic area that's currently experiencing an abrupt seasonal change?
We live in an area that experiences regular chinooks throughout the winter. A chinook is a front of warm air that comes in from the coast and can warm up temps as much as 20 degrees.


What level is your riding experience with regards to feeling the difference between a horse that's testing you vs. one that's really reacting to something?
I've ridden tons of horses and have a big WB mare that is genuinely spooky/nervous of new things. There are times when she's "afraid" of new things for sure, she's a greenie but there are other times that she's just like "umm no...don't think so lady". An example would be trailering, she's trailered a pile of times in our trailer (big open stock type angle haul) by herself and never had an issue getting in/out. Went to take her with me to another arena to ride at on the weekend and she walked up to the trailer, planted her feet and wouldn't budge.


Is she spooky while being led? How are her ground manners?
Ground manners are good, no pushyness or bad behavior. Though she can be extrordinarily pokey while being led. It literally feels like you almost need to drag her into the barn every step some days. Some days she'll stop at the door coming into the barn and be like "umm I don't really wanna..." and have a look around.


Does the behavior occur everywhere, or just one location (e.g. the ring), have you every hacked her out? Have you tried riding her in the presents of another horse, and if so how did having company effect her behavior, if at all? Have you tried the technique of using another horse like a "lead pony" over a cross rail to see if she will willingly follow.

Yes it definitely occurs everywhere. If you're out hacking and she decides she doesn't want to go past something, you get the brakes on and sometimes she'll try to spin around away from whatever it is. Though she's not bad at all to hack out, just a bit ADD/busy. She's definitely better with another horse, almost a bit dependent sometimes, hence why I try to take her out on her own as much as possible. But yes, following another horse over an x-rail definitely works but I don't always have the opportunity to do that nor do I want to.

She's been checked by the chiro for physical issues and none were found that might be causing the issues.

Hence why I'm just feeling a bit stuck I guess. I've ruled out all kinds of things, ride with a crop & spurs regulary and try to keep things different & interesting so she doesn't get bored. I can get her to do what I want but it's usually only after a "discussion" about it, so it's not like I'm giving up & letting her get away with this game. My thought is just to keep going as we are and hopefully she'll get better, she definitely needs more confidence jumping & seeing new things, however it's hard to build that confidence when she's like "heck no!" and slams the brakes on. Y'know what I mean? It just doesn't seem like the best experience to have to whack her on over each fence.

FineAlready
Feb. 24, 2012, 01:10 PM
For one thing, she is 4 years old, which is the age that horses' brains are temporarily taken over by aliens and they become evil devil incarnates for about a year. So you probably have a little bit of that "challenging authority" behavior going on.

Also, regarding the striped poles: My horse scared himself while *in the air* over a tiny striped pole vertical when he was 4 years old. Prior to the spooking in the air incident, he had been fine with striped poles. I still have no idea why he became frightened in the air. He left the ground fine, from a very good distance, and he had already jumped the jump a few minutes earlier. But scare himself, he did. He did one of those deals where he randomly cranked his front legs up almost behind his head. I remember catching a very unexpected glimpse of polo wrap out of my peripheral vision, lol.

After that, he was worried about striped poles for a while. What really helped was to trot and canter over striped poles on the ground every day as part of our normal flat work. He got over it in a couple of months. He was (and is) a very brave horse, so the striped pole thing really was weird. If he balked at all to one of the poles on the ground, I did wack him over it with my crop.

Not sure if your problem is similar or not, but just tossing that out there.

eventer_mi
Feb. 24, 2012, 01:17 PM
is she afraid, or is she balky? When you present her with something new, does she slam on the brakes and then tries to look for a way out, or does she get mulish and refuse to move?

The first is a confidence issue; the second, a forward issue (totally agree with CBoylen here). The first needs to be handled totally different from the second - it sounds like you have the second issue. However forward they seem to be on the flat, if they don't move forward when YOU want them to (not just because they feel like it),you need to reinforce "I said move NOW" and wash and repeat this lesson. If you don't, you'll probably end up with a horse that will eventually test you on the flat, on the trailer, etc.

My WB filly was like this. Perfect on the flat, but suddenly grew roots about certain XC jumps. What do you know - after babying her (thinking it was a confidence issue), she started balking about flatwork, too. A couple of Come-to-Jesus meetings with her about listening to my leg and she shaped up.

LoveJubal
Feb. 24, 2012, 01:25 PM
For one thing, she is 4 years old, which is the age that horses' brains are temporarily taken over by aliens and they become evil devil incarnates for about a year. So you probably have a little bit of that "challenging authority" behavior going on.

Probably defiant 4 year old phase, my guy did it. I thought I was having an "out of horse" experience for about 6 months or so, but the demon is gone now. I had to jump him pretty hard a few times and then it started to ease up and then it eventually went away. I had to let him know that I wasn't playing around when it came to things that he already knew how to do. Every now and then, he has an evil day, but for the most part, he's back to his old Steady Eddie self.

Sounds like you have ruled out the physical things that could be going on, so you just need to continue with the discipline.

Brigit
Feb. 24, 2012, 03:50 PM
Thanks! That does make me feel a ton better that other people have gone through this phase with their greenies too. My poor riding crop is gonna get worn at at this rate though, hopefully it doesn't last too long! haha

CHT
Feb. 24, 2012, 04:25 PM
Baby horse + small arena? Perhaps she is going through a growth phase and finding the work needed to turn and balance with the jumps too hard and getting discouraged.

She is blaming the poles/jumps for her discourangement and getting nappy/creating a negative association with jumping/work. Spurs and whip if used often will reinforce the negative association.

barring unsoundness issues (OCD?) or dental issues (loose caps?) I would get rid of the spurs, and just use the crop to make nagging less likely, and then go back a few steps to get her work ethic back. And I would ask nicely with the leg, and then if that doesn't get the right responce, firmly with the whip.

Brigit
Feb. 24, 2012, 04:41 PM
I had thought that at first too, perhaps she was feeling a touch claustrophobic. So I've been trying to get her out to other arenas as much as possible and take her for long trots & canters outside which has helped immensely. Even so, when it comes to the jumping she actually jumps better at home than somewhere else.
The most we ask her for is a single jump (xrail) at a time, nothing complicated or huge. But yes that's another thing I didn't want to happen was her to associate me whomping on her with jumping and then hate it. It feels like a fine line, I don't want a negative association but I do want her to understand that when I ask her to go forward, there is not other option. Taking a few steps back never hurts! Thanks!

HappyHorselover
Feb. 24, 2012, 04:55 PM
You have a forward problem, not a spooking problem. She started brave, is not scared by your description. She has just learned you will let her loaf on the flat, on the lunge, and to the jump. Fix the flat first. Get forward. Get straight. Use your stick if you don't get an immediate response. Every time. The horse has your number, and you have to be consistant to fix it.

This is what happened with my balky greenie - exactly the same issue. Fixed it for awhile with lots of pro rides and lessons, but it turns out I am just not enough rider for this horse to work hard. Unfortunate because he is really nice. He needs a pro. Not saying your mare does at all, but so been there and feel for you! These are good tips, wish I had been able to fix my guy.

alterhorse
Feb. 24, 2012, 05:11 PM
I'll agree that it's definitely a forward problem not a spooking problem necessarily, however, believe me *I* do not let her "loaf" along on the flat. I make sure I get that engine going and really pushing along at the w/t/c. Her canter isn't pokey at all, she's still figuring out that she doesn't need to canter with hear head up in the air like a llama though but she's definitely forward. Her trot is MUCH improved from when we got her home, all she wanted to do was the pokey western pleasure type jog. She just suddenly decides that she's not going forward and no matter how much you kick, boot, cluck and kiss (with spurs on I might add), it's not gonna happen. So yes I do ride with a crop all the time and after the initial cluck/kick/boot/boot, she gets a few whacks. But again, she could care less if you tap her shoulder or behind your leg, the only place I've found that really gets a response is a few solid whacks on her bum. Even then, I still don't quite get the response I'd like and you practically have to deliver a smack for each step closer you get and then another to get OVER said x-rail. Aside from riding with a hot-shot, I'm not sure what else I can do?


She's doing well with her w/t/c stuff. Our arena is really small so there's only so much we can do in terms of patterns but I'd say she's doing well. Picks up her leads and is learning to carry herself better, when we first got her, she literally carried herself like a llama at all gaits and didn't understand contact and would put the brakes on, she'd mostly been ridden western so I'd imagine she was trained that way. She leg yields, reins back, turn on the forehand & haunches. Her canter is improving but still needs work (kinda llama like at times) but it's starting to be less rushed and more rhythmic.


Nope, no changes in weight, feed, supplements or any of that.


No, she's still a healthy eater.


No history of colic.


Nothing would indicate to me that she's suffering from ulcers. She's relaxed, eats well, gets along well with other horses (no cranky-ness), ears are up during our rides etc.


She's out 24/7 in a group of 3. She's probably middle of the pack. My older mare is the head cheese and will boss her around a bit but they are good buddies.


We live in an area that experiences regular chinooks throughout the winter. A chinook is a front of warm air that comes in from the coast and can warm up temps as much as 20 degrees.


I've ridden tons of horses and have a big WB mare that is genuinely spooky/nervous of new things. There are times when she's "afraid" of new things for sure, she's a greenie but there are other times that she's just like "umm no...don't think so lady". An example would be trailering, she's trailered a pile of times in our trailer (big open stock type angle haul) by herself and never had an issue getting in/out. Went to take her with me to another arena to ride at on the weekend and she walked up to the trailer, planted her feet and wouldn't budge.


Ground manners are good, no pushyness or bad behavior. Though she can be extrordinarily pokey while being led. It literally feels like you almost need to drag her into the barn every step some days. Some days she'll stop at the door coming into the barn and be like "umm I don't really wanna..." and have a look around.



Yes it definitely occurs everywhere. If you're out hacking and she decides she doesn't want to go past something, you get the brakes on and sometimes she'll try to spin around away from whatever it is. Though she's not bad at all to hack out, just a bit ADD/busy. She's definitely better with another horse, almost a bit dependent sometimes, hence why I try to take her out on her own as much as possible. But yes, following another horse over an x-rail definitely works but I don't always have the opportunity to do that nor do I want to.

She's been checked by the chiro for physical issues and none were found that might be causing the issues.

Hence why I'm just feeling a bit stuck I guess. I've ruled out all kinds of things, ride with a crop & spurs regulary and try to keep things different & interesting so she doesn't get bored. I can get her to do what I want but it's usually only after a "discussion" about it, so it's not like I'm giving up & letting her get away with this game. My thought is just to keep going as we are and hopefully she'll get better, she definitely needs more confidence jumping & seeing new things, however it's hard to build that confidence when she's like "heck no!" and slams the brakes on. Y'know what I mean? It just doesn't seem like the best experience to have to whack her on over each fence.

Is she a Haflinger per chance, she sounds like she has a draftish mind....

My Opinions, which may or may not be appropriate for your situation, but hopefully might be helpful nevertheless:

I agree with what the other posters have said, and it may be likely that she is going through a phase of testing you. She sounds like she's questioning your authority to be her leader.

I think the lead line issue is the biggest symptom out of all that you've described. A horse that randomly refuses to be led, is boldly telling you that you are not the boss. The fact that she is also obstinate on the lunge line would seem to support this idea too.

I'd say maybe start on the ground by teaching her to stand. She's currently using not moving as her choice to defy your authority. So reverse it and make staying put your choice.

Have you ever trained a horse for showmanship, cause that's essentially what I'm thinking might help. Except I'd add voice commands the the ground training that you could also use to provide instruction when you're riding her.

Random youtube example of showmanship:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43R7GAFeMuQ

I'm not saying stop riding her, I would work on both the ground work, and the riding at the same time. The one thing I might try to change about the riding is to keep the work simple yet interesting.

Once you have her really listening to you on the ground, you could do things like lead her in tack through a ground pattern over ground rails and around cones using voice commands (add halts and jogs in locations), and then mount her and do the same pattern under saddle using the same voice commands.

The idea is to let her get to know you in a way other then "Oh here comes the person who climbs on my back and whacks me on the butt with the stick".

You want her to start to think "Oh here comes my leader who does interesting things with me in a way that I clearly understand, but I can't defy her because she wont let me, but that's ok because she's a nice leader and worthy of my trust".

The other thing I'm thinking of, if you haven't already tried, is to make your aids under saddle more consistent. If the smack on the butt works, then use that to reinforce the leg aid in a very methodical manner. Ask with your leg, and if she doesn't move off it after asking once, then immediately follow up with a smack on the butt every time. Make her know that the whip is coming right after the leg every time she ignores that leg.

But I wouldn't set her up for a ride of continuous beatings with your stick either. Keep the rides simple at first, and be sure to reward her when she listens to you. And probably keep the rides short at first too, and always end on a positive note offering great praise.

Hope the above might give you some ideas to work with. I'd also keep in mind that she's young, you've only just gotten her, and the two of you are still just getting to know each other. Maybe be patient with her yet firm, and simplify the relationship so the focus can clearly remain obedience without too much additional distraction.

As another poster said, "come to jesus meetings" can be useful if done correctly, but that's up to each individual trainer to know if they have the experience to make that impression in an overall prudent and constructive way.

Good luck! :yes:

trabern
Feb. 24, 2012, 05:48 PM
For one thing, she is 4 years old, which is the age that horses' brains are temporarily taken over by aliens and they become evil devil incarnates for about a year.

HA! This came just at the moment in time when someone was trying to get me to adopt a 4yo. So, so true.

aWp
Feb. 24, 2012, 07:08 PM
Yep, my 4-year-old WB gelding, previously a saint, hit this phase, too. Wouldn't go forward no matter what. No kicking, no whipping, no nothing would make him move. I starting bringing his head around hard to my leg, and made him walk fast in tight circles every time I felt him want to stop, and within a week, he realized going forward isn't so bad. He's turning 5 at the end of this month, and still challenges me, but gets it much more quickly that I'm going to get after him. He was a saint up until about 4 months ago.

I just keep praying he won't figure out how big he is--he's nearly 17 hands now, and I'm barely over 100 lbs. He still thinks I'm stronger than he is, and I really really hope to keep it that way for as long as I can, like until he turns 8 or so....

Have fun!

CBoylen
Feb. 24, 2012, 07:31 PM
I'll agree that it's definitely a forward problem not a spooking problem necessarily, however, believe me *I* do not let her "loaf" along on the flat. I make sure I get that engine going and really pushing along at the w/t/c. Her canter isn't pokey at all, she's still figuring out that she doesn't need to canter with hear head up in the air like a llama though but she's definitely forward. Her trot is MUCH improved from when we got her home, all she wanted to do was the pokey western pleasure type jog. She just suddenly decides that she's not going forward and no matter how much you kick, boot, cluck and kiss (with spurs on I might add), it's not gonna happen. So yes I do ride with a crop all the time and after the initial cluck/kick/boot/boot, she gets a few whacks. But again, she could care less if you tap her shoulder or behind your leg, the only place I've found that really gets a response is a few solid whacks on her bum. Even then, I still don't quite get the response I'd like and you practically have to deliver a smack for each step closer you get and then another to get OVER said x-rail. Aside from riding with a hot-shot, I'm not sure what else I can do?

As someone mentioned already, there is a big difference between going forward and going forward immediately when *asked* to go forward. You actually see this a lot in horses that have a forward canter. The rider is so used to thinking quiet, quiet, slow down, slow down, the horse never learns how to move up off the leg, and the rider can often think they are asking for forward, but still holding on to some of their body cues for "slow down", because they have that concern about getting too much pace in the back of their head.
Where you can test this is by mixing up extension and collection, and in your downward transitions. Does the horse come down from the canter smoothly into a decent trot? Or does he "slump" into the trot, immediately backing into your leg? Same thing trot to walk. Same thing on an approach to a pole on the ground, can you go from the trot to the walk before the pole and still walk smartly over the pole, or is there a stall? At the same time, are you losing your forward momentum in your turns because of any bulging or trailing hind end? You have to make sure that you are letting go with your hand at the same time as you are encouraging them to go forward, and keeping a still body.
I would carry a dressage whip until there is an immediate response to your leg.

willowmeadow
Feb. 24, 2012, 07:54 PM
If you said and I didn't see it, I apologize, but what breed is she? I know four-year olds can be difficult, however, I think some breeds are naturally less forward than others. I think it is more difficult to get these horses to think, "forward."

I recognized a long time ago that my personality fit better with hotter horses. I would rather deal with spooky and reactive than balky and obstinate. I had a horse like that and as someone else said, forward means forward NOW. I had to be absolutely consistent with this horse and eventually succeeded with her, but she was never going to be a naturally forward horse. Just wondering if you're trying to make a square peg fit a round hole?

Brigit
Feb. 24, 2012, 08:06 PM
She's an Appendix. And she's the complete opposite to my older mare who's quite reactive, very sensitive, can be spooky and just overall high strung. She's fun to ride but you practically have to just think "canter" or "walk" and it's there nice & smooth.
In a lot of ways, I'm ok with this much more laid back horse, it's a nice change from riding a touchy-hot horse. But it's kind of gotten to the opposite end of the spectrum where it's a bit too laid back. This horse is definitely not one that seems like she'd ever make it beyond say 1st level dressage for instance cause she's just not got to "oomph" to really lengthen. In terms of jumping, I don't think it's a case of "round peg, square hole" because when I tried her out (was actually in a x-country scenario, mock hunt type deal) we did a fair bit of jumping and she impressed the heck out of me by jumping absolutely everything I pointed her at. I had more fun riding her than I had on my older mare who's pretty much broke to death, been there, done that (but hotter). So I know she's got the ability and she sure seemed willing. We've just hit a real rut it seems.

alterhorse
Feb. 24, 2012, 08:38 PM
She's an Appendix. And she's the complete opposite to my older mare who's quite reactive, very sensitive, can be spooky and just overall high strung. She's fun to ride but you practically have to just think "canter" or "walk" and it's there nice & smooth.
In a lot of ways, I'm ok with this much more laid back horse, it's a nice change from riding a touchy-hot horse. But it's kind of gotten to the opposite end of the spectrum where it's a bit too laid back. This horse is definitely not one that seems like she'd ever make it beyond say 1st level dressage for instance cause she's just not got to "oomph" to really lengthen. In terms of jumping, I don't think it's a case of "round peg, square hole" because when I tried her out (was actually in a x-country scenario, mock hunt type deal) we did a fair bit of jumping and she impressed the heck out of me by jumping absolutely everything I pointed her at. I had more fun riding her than I had on my older mare who's pretty much broke to death, been there, done that (but hotter). So I know she's got the ability and she sure seemed willing. We've just hit a real rut it seems.

If you have the ability to contact whoever started her in jumping, you might explain to them the problems you're now having and ask them for advice....? they may have dealt with it already and fixed it, and that could be why she's now beginning to balk for you... you're a different rider then her first trainer, and perhaps she's become aware of something you're not doing the same that her first trainer did?

The person who started her might have your answer, maybe it wouldn't hurt to ask if you have their contact info?

Just a thought..

willowmeadow
Feb. 24, 2012, 08:41 PM
Thanks for the clarification. I did just have a thought - my friend had a horse become balky (I think because she did parelli with him but that is beside the point :) The way she somewhat resolved it was to have a little bit of grain in or on something at each end of the arena and she would ride her horse to the grain. I don't remember the specifics, but it was a great incentive for her horse to go forward.

The other thing she did was to ride in large spaces as much as possible.

JustMyStyle
Feb. 24, 2012, 08:45 PM
One of my first horses was having canter depart issues. As in, there was no canter depart. My trainer finally had me stand in the corner of the long end and ask for the canter, then do all in my power to make it happen immediately - aka kicking and whacking until he cantered/galloped off. We repeated this every long side for about 20 minutes. By the end I'd ask for the canter and he would spurt out. The goal was not to get a nice canter depart but to get go.

Many years later a dressage friend of mine showed me a similar exercise. With her upper level horses she wants them to get "hotter" when she takes her leg OFF. So she stands at the end of the long side and literally takes her legs off the horses sides. They then get whacked and are allowed to gallop down the long side. It is then reformed from there in future rides. The key with this is that they are allowed to go, so the aid is very clear.

Anyways, I'd say you're missing a go button. And if your previous horse was hot, then my guess is lazy but compliant was a nice change until now :)

oh, and I'd definitely second the ground work. Her not walking next to you at whatever speed you choose shows who's calling the shots...and it's not you! hehe

DMK
Feb. 24, 2012, 09:47 PM
"four year olds" is a bunch of 4 letter words strung together, and we do best not to forget it! I've taken to calling my still technically (till april!) 4 year old, "The Thug".

Three year olds are little angels who believe everything their riders tell them, like little pearls of wisdom drop from our aids. Four year olds are teenagers, and just like human teenagers they occasionally (often) think those who are in charge are STUPID and we SUCK!!1!!11!!!!

Brigit
Feb. 25, 2012, 12:22 AM
Definitely some more interesting thoughts.

As for talking to her trainer, I'm not sure if that'd do much good. She was a ranch pony that occassionally got taken over to a few mock hunts last fall. She likely didn't have any formal training in jumping but more just did it then. Hence why when I brought her home, I went right back to poles on the ground and x-rails because I knew there was some holes that would need to get filled in for sure.

I should clarify that this isn't all the time, it's just when jumps/poles are involved or there's something she doesn't want to go past. Her go button has definitely gotten a ton better since I first brought her home, literally at first I'd be huffing & puffing because I had to keep her going every step (just about had to get off & push!). It was partially due to the fact she'd never been ridden with contact, so when I'd try to pick up some contact, she'd back right off or stop; because that's how she had been trained. She's learned how to soften & accept contact now. Now it's just when she decides she doesn't wanna, those feet get STUCK. (No worries, no Parelli-ness here either! lol)

The funny thing is, I do groundwork every day before I hop on to help get her attention on me & get that brain engaged. We do the walk forward, turning & walking "through" her & expect her to get outta my way, change direction and expect her to follow me & stay close, walk forward, suddenly back up & expect her to back up right now too. She's quite good at that and I've found with horses that don't like to lead up beside me, that generally helps with the lagging behind issue. But not with her. I've even tried walking with a whip in my left hand so I can reach behind and try to get her to move up beside me and she'd much rather back up or walk even slower.

event_ryder
Feb. 25, 2012, 02:49 AM
Does she need a brain break? Not sure how much you've worked her over the winter, but perhaps she just needs some time kicked out in the field to sort things out. Works well with our greenies. Thats what we did with my big guy the summer we started him, he came back ready to learn and move on.

kmwines01
Feb. 25, 2012, 03:08 AM
I was going to say I agreed with much of the above and tell you to get after her and ride with a dressage whip so anytime she says no to your leg you have an immediate back up without changing anything else in your position or body. BUT... My experience with appendix and QH types is that they remember a lot and hold a grudge... So I would say try to creatively work through it rather than getting in all out fights with her. Try patterns or incorporating jumps into flatwork where she doesn't realize she's jumping. Working with her rather than telling her what to do.

As another poster mentioned, the ground work reluctance would bother me. Growing up doing 4-H and showmanship, all my horses could trot, halt, turn on haunches, etc solely by body position and language. I would work on her reluctance on the ground and see if that translates to her being more responsive and obedient under tack. She may just have an attitude problem and have a problem respecting your authority and what you're asking. When you lead her, bring a long dressage whip and every time she lags behind your shoulder give her a tap. Dont turn your body, don't change your hands, just tap her and expect a response. She should walk promptly up and next to you. You should never be 'dragging' her.

ETA: I think you posted at the same time about your groundwork.. Make sure you aren't changing your body while using the whip. A lot of times that will make them react differently. Ask as you normally would of any other horse and if she doesn't respond five reinforcement. Might try having it in your right hand because you don't have to move your body as much. Or have a friend walk with a whip right behind you and give the tap.

sp56
Feb. 27, 2012, 12:08 AM
One of my young ones went through that. Stopped at everything before going over it. One day I took her off property to another facility and she jumped around like a pro (over much scarier jumps). After I came back, she (knock wood) hasn't stopped once (and it's been a while).

Take a step back. Maybe get out of the ring and go for a ride over solid stuff. With most mares, you sort of have to be creative in making them think it's her idea. ;)