just so i can explain what i mean: horse does not get forward nor working into contact... those issue can and will be resolved in a day or two by a well seated rider that knows what they are doing. The rest of the 30 days would be to solidify the work so that you can ride her.
its great you want to help this horse. but this is the exact kind of horse that needs a pro.
you will be happily overjoyed if you were to take her to a excellent trainer.
LOL - well, bless your heart for assuming I am a terrible rider even though you have never seen me ride. I'm not depending on this BB for my only source of help. I find it useful to hear about others ideas and experiences. Then you can sort through and see what may or may not work for you. Neither the horse nor I are in grave danger of getting killed. I have a plan and will certainly get help along the way, as needed.
I personally think this horse needs a little decompression time, instead of being shipped off to a trainer. I think some low key walk/trot work will be very beneficial to her attitude.
Horseshopping, take it one day at a time. Go slow. Be careful.
We don't know you or your horse. You have to be the judge but some of us can and will give you the benefit of years of this sort of thing.
Seriously, take a peek at the french school thread. Also think about some moody mare supplement. Put your hands all over her and memorize her body so that as it changes for the better you will know and if it changes for the worse you'll get a heads up.
With her problems I think the canter should be shelved under saddle and if it upsets her at the moment even on the longe.
A happy horse is a safe horse.
i am not assuming anything. i just am suggesting the most useful thing for you to do to get what you are after.
a good trainer will be able to work thru this very quickly with no pain or stress for your horse - then you will be able to enjoy her in a safer manner.
Having worked with many horses with similar issues it takes CONSIDERABLY more then two rides to fix a horse to go forward again. It always gets worse before it gets better, then it doesn't really move either way, then it gets better, then it goes backward again, and finally it starts to keep improving.
I actually think you should start all over. And don't worry so much about the contact. She clearly has no foundation as far as moving forward and listening to you from the ground first. If you have an indoor and some help - we lunge on the circle and then we free lunge. Making them go in figure eights and large and we use sliding side reins we find that they can slowly get used to the fact that there will be some contact regardless of where they put their head.
Free lunge until she understands the change of direction(and rein) and stop her, get on her without the sliding reins and just repeat the process at walk, trot for about 5 or 10 minutes and get off.
As the pattern becomes something she understands you can eventually add the canter.
Hope this helps you.
Really, suggesting pro help with a horse that you report your are having a serious problem with is not "assuming you are a terrible rider". It is merely assuming you are not a professional.
Originally Posted by HorseShopping
I am a professional and I have fixed horses like you describe and many others with different issues and have no plans to stop fixing these types any time soon, and I still get professional help weekly with MY OWN horses with whom I have ZERO problems.
How did I learn to ride and handle training problems like a pro? Lessons. In case anyone is wondering, that's the magic formula.
Originally Posted by meupatdoes
I agree w/ ise@ssl - just start over, treat the horse like it knows nothing.
I had one that had similar contact issues- same kind of situation- older horse, no physical problems, long history of questionable "training". Once I got past the major behavioral problems (rearing/bolting- so much fun!), realized the horse wasn't really broke. The contact issues were just the tip of the iceberg- horse really didn't know what leg meant, didn't truly bend.
Had to learn how to bend and go forward (like a baby) before I could work on contact. Lunging with side reins and running reins was super helpful, as was a nathe bit.
fwiw, i didnt say that in two rides the horse would be perfect - but a pro that knows what they are doing will have the horse working well the first few rides... but note that by "working well" i mean going forward when asked . then the trainer will add in having the horse work into whatever contact is deemed appropriate.
Originally Posted by enjoytheride
like meup said - this is why they are pros..... and even the best in the world ask for help.....
If I knew a pro that could fix this in a week, I would have the horse on a trailer right now. I don't think you can undo 5 years of issues in a week. This isn't like a 3-yr-old. This is a horse that has gotten away with this behavior for years and has serious gaps in its education. And YES, I will get help from my trainer. I just don't see this as a quick fix problem. I would rather lay some of the groundwork at the walk and trot (which has been going okay in the 4 rides I have had) and then get some pro rides down the line if they are needed. But, honestly, I know my trainer won't want to take this horse on now and I think I have one chance to get the RIGHT trainer. Don't know who that would be right now.
There is very rarely only 'one chance' to do anything with a horse, unless you actually kill it (which is for obvious reasons mutually exclusive with 'trying again'). If person A screws up a horse, Person B could fix it. If Persons A and B screw it up, well then we have Person C. And so on and so forth. A successive string of people could get it wrong, but one person comes along who gets it right, the horse will come around.
This is how trainers fix problem horses. It doesn't matter how many people screwed up before or what they did. Some horses are coming off their fifth crappy trainer, others are dealing with a green ride-owner for the first time. Trainer fixes what's in front of them regardless.
A qualified trainer could most likely make decent headway with that horse now, after you send it to three trainers who find themselves overfaced, or after you do whatever you are going to do. Don't ride around with the weight of the world on your shoulders. No one is ever any horse's 'one chance.'
You are putting the cart before the horse. Why are you even concerned with the canter at this point?
From your description it seems to me that this horse has not had any real training in basics. Tosses the head, doesn't accept contact, has a forward issue.
Start from scratch and just start with bit acceptance, and forward.
As you ride, think forward, straight, in rhythm and pace. Have the same feel on both corners of the mouth. Be kind, sympathetic, listen. After a while you will be able to ask the horse to step up into your hand at the tempo YOU dictate and then real training can begin.
By the way, I agree with MBM. Teaching a horse to go forward from seat/leg isn't rocket science and they get it very quickly if you are consistant in intention even those that have been "ruined" by others.
After having others run them around without any real education involved they readily accept and appreciate the consistant, sympathetic, and understanding rider that has done this a thousand times and they find comfort in their able hands.
I am retraining a mare with almost the sames problems you describe. I am basically doing what you are doing in the 1, 2, 3 you mentioned. Some days I do canter, but only when I feel she has relaxed and is taking the contact on that day. It is a back and forth process, and I do think it will take months...but overall she is progressing nicely. My mare was ridden in a running martingale, as she was a jumper mare...and I do not ride her in it at all...even when jumping, which has been interesting. She seems to be curious as to where it is at times but I just thought I would start from scratch. A long time ago, when I rode a TB that would try to put his poll in my nose, I rode him with a standing martingale, I just thought this mare could figure it out without that and so far, so good.
What kind of lateral mobility do you have on this horse? Shoulder-fore? Leg-yield? Can you move the haunches if you want?
I own one of those "problem horses" who would buck if you carried a whip. Or put legs on in the canter. Or tried to pick up contact in the canter. It wasn't physical-- he'd lived in a world without a whole lot of rules (for about 5 years) and he was pretty abusive of his newfound powers. He's absolutely thrived in a regimented program (i.e. "No, you can't bite me. No, you don't get to buck when I put my leg on. Yes, let's put that energy to work and halfpass like crazy") and debuted at GP in June.
So, it can be done.
The reason I asked about lateral mobility is it was the key to unlocking Bucky. Nose-to-wall LY at the trot helped develop power and thrust (I did a lot of trot lengthenings in nose-to-wall LY) while keeping contact. Serpentines with lots of changes of bend also help soften that resistance.
I don't know about your horse, but Bucky's buck would never have gone away if I didn't canter. I had a couple days where I just had to sit up, sit down, and ride out some not-so-pretty moments. The evasion might change-- Bucky switched from bucking like a bronc to running away, although he gave up that one pretty quickly because I didn't try to bring him back and just asked him for bigger canter-- but in about 3 months it was 80% better and in 6 months it was gone entirely.
I didn't longe very much because a) it warmed him up athletically so that when I got on he was ready to go and I was... not, and b) it got him super super fit. Also, I'm an amateur whose riding time is limited. If I'm longeing, I don't have time to ride.
I also took a ton of lessons. Maybe 2 tons. Between lessons, riding 6-7 days/week and 1-2 times/day, and the exercises above, he's turned into a pretty good citizen.
Ah, where is this mythical, magical "Pro" that can fix any horse any time in less than a handful of rides? In all my years, some of them working for some pretty good pros, attending clinics, you name it, I have yet to meet this person.
To me the OP sounds capable enough, and is asking questions, and cares. Geeze people, how on earth are people supposed to actually learn how to RIDE and TRAIN if they send their horses off to magical pros every time they run into an issue?
When I was 12 I was given an untrained and really nasty Anglo Arabian mare that went on to be the best horse I ever had, eventually beating national champions and no one else ever sat on her for me. No one in those days even suggested it, they suggested I get on and ride.
Thank you! She does surprisingly does move off the leg but she is not that supple. Lateral suppleness is not something the former trainer worked on (NOT a dressage trainer!) So, I will most definitely make that a key.
Originally Posted by cnm161
And this mare tries to bully you on the ground. That got nipped in the bud REAL quick! But, she is one that you can't give her an inch or she tried to take a mile.
I have no delusions that this mare has FEI potential but there is no physical reason she can't do up to 2nd level.
I do plan on lessons once I move the horse home. I just like getting as many ideas as possible - you can never have too many tools in your tool box to try. They may not all work on every horse but you never know what might be helpful down the road.
And I do think eventually the canter problem will have to be solved at the canter. But, I think a more solid foundation at the walk and trot and a good acceptance of contact at those gaits will assist in working out the canter problems. A good base to work from should help.
Hey, no problem. Hope you have a great update in a couple months!
My horse was at a very different place from a training perspective, so I had to tackle the canter issues at the canter. He'd been shown through 2nd level (though with varying degrees of success) and so understood contact and lateral movements, but didn't respect them. I agree that starting smaller (walk/trot) will work in your favor in the long run.
With sour horses especially, the ground manners and under-saddle behavior are very interrelated. Keep the rules fair and consistent and change will happen.
So go forth and go sideways!
Originally Posted by Perfect Pony
Agree 100%. A lot of people who call themselves "pros" aren't at all. Some people need to wear out a few more saddles before they start labelling themselves as one.... like the "pro" at my barn correcting a rearing horse by repeatedly yanking the hell out of an OTTB's mouth. Hmmm maybe he reared in the first place because you were yanking his mouth into that stupid fake wannabe hunter frame? But that's neither here nor there.
OP, best of luck to you. My horse has some similar issues (more minor), but they are getting better, mostly due to some great training by his 2nd owner/rider. I'm his 3rd owner/rider and am trying to continue the good work of his previous owner.
Being referred to a trainer does not mean anyone thinks you're a total noob, but it is GOOD ADVICE. We can't see what is happening, and things can feel very different than they look. A trainer who has both been on the horse and watched you ride is in a great position to give you feedback that is simply not possible online. My gelding looks like he rides one way, but when you're on his back, it's a different story. By hopping on him and getting a feel for how he works, my trainer (hunter/jumper) has a really good idea of how I contribute to any problems, how my horse is reacting to me, and the subtle tweaks I can make in my own riding to really make a difference. It's not an insult, and the truly wise horseman will never bristle at the suggestion to get an in-person opinion from a pro. Anyone who bristles and gets insulted at the suggestion to contact a qualified, competent trainer needs a reality check.