I understand what you are saying. If you look closely in the videos you can see the mare is very tight in her jaw, tight in her back. She is very well behaved, very mannerly, not speedy, just tight. What I also see (not trying to be mean--just observing) is a rider with set hands and a very tight back herself, with tight tense hips.
I would suggest lessons with a pro, preferably someone who understands OTTBs. I've had tons of OTTBs, galloped on the racetrack, etc. In the meantime, while you are looking for an instructor (I read your other posting about this too), you could try concentrating on bending your elbows while you ride. This will soften your hands. Remember the addage--it takes two to pull! Once she can relax her jaw, it'll be easier for you to relax too. Since your back is so tight (I understand the feeling of trying SOOOOO hard not to do anything to set them off) maybe go to the other extreme--round out your lower back, especially in the posting trot. Think about flexing your knees in rhythm with your posting. That will help you relax your leg. It's probably not putting leg on her that makes her tense , but the fact that you are tense when you do it. (I mean have you SEEN some of the exercise riders at the track? :eek: Not exactly equitation riders, but they are generally relaxed, even floppy!) Just some ideas that might help in addition to everything else.
Like said on the other thread, ulcers are probably a big factor in her attitude, and possibly hock soreness/tightness from watching your videos.
Good luck and have fun.
Oh, please, I cannot be offended when you speak of my riding! LOL, I absolutely have my flaws and I'm sure I'm contributing to her lack of relaxation. I must admit that during my rides I always have these moments of brilliance where she relaxes, gives to the bit, uses her back. It's a glorious three seconds! And I always reward her with a "good girl" and a wither scratch. I suppose that those moments are always so far and few between because she hasn't had consistent work for a consistent period of time.
I do appreciate all this insight, it is probable that there are many factors here making it so that the mare and I are not progressing.
And OK OK OK I will take her off the Strategy hahaha! In my area I can get Buckeye, Purina, Nutrena, and Tribute feeds. Any suggestions? I'll also have to see if I can work this in with what the BM feeds since she offers Strategy, Oats and Country Acres 12% sweet feed.
I feel for you...it is not an easy situation. What I see is a cycle of behaviors that you need to break. I would start with getting her to halt and stand quietly first. I would start with her in a free lounge situation...her saddle and tack tied up of course...sending her forward in a circle. Ask her to halt and stand...give a food reward when she does. Repeat multiple times then get on. Send her forward at the walk and ask her to halt and stand. Have someone on the ground step forward and give the reward on your...'good girl'. I would make sure that everything is done very quietly and your helper moves far enough away so they do not distract. If you have no one to help you, then I would ask for the halt and immediately dismount at the first sign that she is standing..even if it is only a few seconds and give the reward. I reward any 'try' they offer. It will certainly surprise her and change her focus. The idea is to not do what you were doing before, you need to break the cycle of resistance and keep everything extremely simple and short until she starts to understand and relax. I would be surprised if you did not achieve some success in your first attempts.
I do most of my reward training during the ground work and it translates pretty easy to the under saddle.
Tribute's Kalm Ultra may be a good choice for you....
I do like the looks of that one, thanks.
I posted on your other thread by having seen your video, here are a few other ideas:
- Think of draping yourself on your horse, rather than perching.
- Post to the canter to establish a rhythm, rather than trying to ride her in a half seat.
- Think about keeping your leg soft and supporting - what helped me was to think about letting my horse come to my leg. Your horse needs to be taught that a supporting leg is a good thing.
- Teach her some verbal slow down/relaxation cues
- Remember to let go. If you are riding in an enclosed area, don't be afraid to give with your reins so that you are not always holding her together.
- Ride with a neck strap. I have suggested this to several people at my barn and although without fail they all tell me they don't need one, their horses always go better when they do!
- If you horse is grinding her teeth she is anxious. It could be ulcers, but it could also just be that she doesn't understand what you want. Make her new job very clear to her.
Go to http://www.uscavalry.org/shop/index....nship-volume-i and spend $15 + shipping and buy this book. The Cavalry from 1906 through 1948 wanted a well trained, TB-type horse. Their program was designed to produce one. This book is functional equivalent of a "TB Owner's Manual." :)
The Army had a big advantage in that they worked their horses daily and had very competent riders and trainers. You lack their time advantage. You may lack their skill level. But even the Army used lots of "ground coaching" with junior officers and senior non-coms monitoring the riders. Find yourself a good "coach" to help you with your skill development.
Something I'd add is some round pen work. The Army didn't use these methods, but they are a partial substitute for time and the ability to work green horses with broke horses. Don't walk the road of Monty or other "showmen." Instead work on the goal of having the horse move when you say "move" and stop when you say "stop." It's also OK to do the "join up" thing. That is a really effective way to calm an horse that gets "stressed." The goal, here, is to make you the "island of calm in a stormy sea." This is something you can use later.
If you do the join up then also teach the "stay on the circle" method. The two are not mutually exclusive; I've been working with a coming four year old Marchador and he's figured out when he gets to come in and when he doesn't. It's a good lesson in discipline for the horse.
Most OTTBs I've seen I would not even call "broke" much less trained. I don't deal with them as they are not my "cup of tea." But many of my friends do (particularly in some of the re-enactor units I'm familiar with) and they swear by the Army manual. I use it in training my Marchadors and it works to develop a well rounded, well trained horse. It's not of much use in teaching proper gait form however. ;)
Invest a few bucks and buy the book. If you want more then buy the training videos (there are three of them) that were used in recruit training. It will be the best $100 you've ever spent!!! :)
Didnt watch the videos, but...
a green OTTB that you're riding once, mayyybe twice, a week? And you're surprised that she's tight and anxious?
To my (inexperenced) eyes, the horse looked fine in the videos, but you looked like you were bracing in your back, had your legs forward (water-skiing), and staying above the horse's back too much. The only contact with the horse that you seemed to have was through the reins. The horse was also bracing her neck and using you to balance.
I'd say, set up a couple of lines of cavalletti (maybe 3 or 4 in the line). Initially set them up for walking, so about 2 feet 3 inches apart. Then just walk her over them several times in a row at the beginning of every ride. After a week or so, set up 2 cavalletti (again at the lowest level) for a trot line, about 4 feet 3 inches apart. Go over those several times at the beginning of every ride and continue with the walking cavalletti as well.
In going over the cavalletti, don't initially try to maintain any rein contact. Just let her find her own way over the cavalletti. If she tries to rush the trot cavelletti at first, go back and continue to walk over them until she seems calmer.
Gradually pick up a little bit of contact; you want her to begin to balance herself and not rely on you to hold her up. The cavelletti work will strength her back and allow her to begin to round into the motion rather than travelling flat or inverted.
Get the book Cavalletti: The schooling of horse and rider over ground poles by Ingrid and Reiner Klimke. It's a great book with a lot of great exercises in it.
Yes, we with green horses, or green riders, wait for those same three seconds! Then get giddy as those 3 turn to 5, then 10, then half a lap.......
Originally Posted by Bedazzle
Good luck with your girl!
I've just looked at Amazon for the Klimke book and see that it's apparently out of print and what copies remain are outrageously priced.
So, here's a website that sums up one of Ingrid Klimke's seminars. Scroll down to her suggestions for schooling a young horse:
My TB used to go like that. Still does when "I" am having a bad day lol. What worked for us was dressage lessons with a kind, calm, understanding trainer who understood nervous TB horses (and tense riders) and when to push him and when not to push him. I think (if you can afford it) a combination of having the trainer ride the horse as well as having lessons with the trainer would do wonders. Made such a differnce with me and my horse.
The only other thing I have changed in the last few years was switching to a bitless bridle. I did it under the supervision of a trainer though. A large part of why it works for me is that I (and I stress I).....hold a lot of tension in my arms and hands and the poor guy does a much better job and ignoring my tension without a bit in his mouth lol :o
I'd send her to a trainer who specializes in green horses for 60 days and see what CONSISTENT work will get you. 1-3 days a week is not "working" for a young, healthy TB. :)
Your videos are very different than what I expected based on your first posts. The good news is you have a willing horse, she just doesn't know what to offer you because as others have said you're trying so hard to be soft with her that you're leaving a vacuum between the two of you. So she's filling that vacuum with what she knows - which is a little rushy and tight.
When you first start draping yourself around her and really giving her aids she is going to be confused. This will be new to her & her initial response probably won't be what you want. Stay with it, remain soft & patient and help her figure it out. Breathe. I have been in your exact situation, you will get 'there.'
And about grinding - sometimes it becomes a habit. A very wise horseperson once told me to ignore it (stop focusing on it). If you've had their teeth done, scoped for ulcers, checked saddle fit and basically invested a small fortune and they're still grinding...well then, you own a grinder. When she is more comfortable after the feed and training changes then she might grind less, but it will probably never fully go away.
Now that I've seen the videos, I agree with Big Grey Hunter - this is a willing but unbalanced and confused green mare. You can't ride a horse with no leg (trust me, I learned this the hard way with my old TB who was cold backed and hot - I tried to compensate by not close my leg on her... well that made it worse in all reality, and once I finally put my legs on her and worked her that way, things came together much faster) By not riding with your legs on her, you are slightly pinching at the knees and tensing up even though you are trying to be soft and light - horses pick up on all of that, no matter how slight it is.
Cantering is much easier on horses than trotting is, so an unbalanced green horse will want to lean on hands and break into a canter whenever possible. You could still look into a different bit if the grinding is really bugging you - but I wouldn't worry about that for now (as long as things check out okay and she isn't sore anywhere) she may be doing it because she is unsure or that it has become habit.
Sticking her with a trainer for 30-60 days may be really beneficial if you are able to do that. You've gotten a lot of good advice and I think overall, just riding the mare more often will help.
And I also agree with the poster who mentioned that exercise riders can be downright floppy... some are actually really amusing to watch and you wonder how the heck they even stay on the horse LOL
I have this thread on the Hunter/Jumper area as well, and I posted an update there. I had a really great ride on her today and suspect, as many have mentioned, that she really needs more consistent hard work.
I would recommend re-breaking her. Get in the round pen or a small fenced area; put a bareback pad on her, and just practice climbing on and off from both sides while she stands there. You can also lay over her on your belly, rubbing her all over - flanks, sides, back, etc. Then slide down, lots of praise, then climb on again. Climb off/on/off/on ..... really, she will become so bored with the idea of a rider on her back that she will learn to relax. Once she is adequately bored/relaxed - then walk off a few steps. Rub her - get off - get on - walk off a few steps - reward/rub etc. etc. etc. Always end on a good note, lots of treats/rubs/reward.
ETA: this method will also help you desensitize her to your leg and body movement.
Originally Posted by Chestnut Run
This is dead-on advice for getting along with a tense/nervous TB!!!! They can't fight if you don't fight back. I have aweful posture when I ride, but can get along with about any horse - especially TB's. Key phrase...Less is more with a TB!! Good luck.
i have all of my ottb's on strategy healthy edge and none of mine are hot, not a sweet feed, it's a pellet. she is just like grey hunter horse said, unbalanced, unsure of what she is doing, slow everything down, go for a hack, change things up for her. try lunging her a bit before riding her for a couple of days, tb';s are bred to work, they like having a job 5-6 days a week, they train 6 days at week at tracks and training centers.i don't see a naughty girl just confused