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  1. #1
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    May. 20, 2003
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    Default How to get the horse to go FORWARD??

    I have a 5 yr old Hanoverian, who is SO S-L-O-W. He has always been laid back. While he is a hunter, we do far more flat work with our horses than jumping, hence why I am asking in this forum.

    With the summer heat and hard ground (we ride outside in the field 90% of the time, the other 10% we haul to a ring 5 min away or are showing), he is even less willing to really get going than he normally is, but even in the winter he is not in a hurry. For the past month or so, I have to practically beat him to get him moving faster than a walk at the beginning, and forget trotting first--if I don't canter him both ways right away, I have NO trot with any impulsion. I have been doing trot sets on the hills, and when I let him "gallop" (yeah, right ) outside, we might go from his normal 12-13' loping stride to a 14-15' stride. When jumping, he is more willing to go forward, and does the nice "hunter lope", but if I take my leg/spur off him, he will immediately come down to the trot from the canter.

    I do multiple transitions when I ride him, trying to get him engaged and thinking. He gets better after about 15-20 min, but certainly not really forward. He naturally has lovely self-carriage and balance, and can canter a 20 meter circle engaged from behind on the outside rein when he is going forward. I ride him with 2" spurs (which I think I might flip up to be more effective) and a dressage whip. He couldn't care less.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on something I can do to help him MOVE ON when I ride him?
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles



  2. #2
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    There are many things to look at. Diet, weight, saddle fit, hoof comfort, rider balance, and age.

    If he's too heavy, get some weight off him. If his feet sting on the hard ground, don't ride on the hard ground. If his saddle does not 1000% fit (and you must be SURE), then address that. If his diet is high in sugars, reduced them.

    Assuming he doesn't have anything medically wrong, it's flat out a training problem.

    What, *exactly*, does "practically beat him to get him moving faster than a walk" mean? How, exactly, are you asking?

    What does he do when you lead him around? If he's "behind your leg" there, he'll like be the same under saddle. Lagging while leading is not allowed. Slugging off the mounting block is not allowed. Everything you do with these horses -EVERYTHING - has to demand a quick response. This includes picking feet up, moving over, EVERYthing. It all adds up, really

    If you are not carrying 2 dressage whips, start. The instant he doesn't move forward off your leg, use the whip as hard as it takes to get a reaction out of him. You might test just how hard that has to be so you don't go shooting to the next County at first, but don't dink around. Grab mane if you have to.

    If you don't feel comfortable doing that on him, then stick him on a lunge line, close enough to be able to tag him with the lunge whip. Ask him to walk from the halt, trot from the walk, and the INSTANT he is sluggish to respond smartly, Tag. His. Hiney and mean it. If he bolts and acts stupid, fine, for now - he has to GO. He'll be more quick to listen to your first request the next time.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  3. #3
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    Nov. 17, 2001
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    Transitions to active his hind end. I would not worry about what his head is doing, that will sort its self out later, but stay on his case about power from the hind end. He must be actively engaging his hind end--marching walking, power from behind in trot and canter needs to have jump from behind.

    Just a thought, has he always been laid back and do you think he might be running a low grade infection?



  4. #4
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    Feb. 7, 2007
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    You may want to try Red Cell (or similar product). It worked wonders with my horse. He is also 5 yo and was sooo sluggish. He's black and his coat was turning orange, which my trainer is a sign for low red cells. In any other color other than black you may not notice the difference.

    We put him on Red Cell and within a few days his energy was up and all of the orange hairs fell out.



  5. #5
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    He has ALWAYS been laid back.

    He is not overweight. I am trying to put weight on him actually, as he grew another inch (now almost 17.1). He leads just fine. I always put a chain over his nose, as he can be mouthy. I expect my horses to LISTEN immediately, and do not put up with any lollygagging, either in hand or u/s. I do not feed my horses sugar. They all get a combination of Triple Crown Senior, 14% protein pellets, BOSS, ground flax, alfalfa pellets, and lots of high quality hay.

    I would love to say I won't ride him on the hard ground, but around here that would mean he isn't being ridden from June to mid-September. Just not feasible. And with my work schedule and 5 other horses to ride, I am not able to haul him over to my friend's place every time I want to ride him. Working in the field the majority of the time is unfortunately what I have to do with.

    I am anal about saddle fit. His saddle fit perfectly before he grew and lost weight, and I am now riding him with a Tad Coffin pad to narrow the tree, which now fits him. When he puts on weight again, we can do w/o the pad.

    Practically beat him, means that I first ask him to go forward with leg and seat, then with leg/spur, then with leg/spur/whip, then if there is no reaction, I dig in the spurs and USE the whip and whack him. It takes a pretty hard thwack (or several) before he shows much response. I have not tried riding him with 2 dressage whips, but I will go and buy another one this week and do so. It takes about 5 SOLID hits with a dressage whip before I get a major reaction like a little buck.

    I know he has to be engaging his hind end, hence my frustration with him with his utter reluctance to go to work. When he finally IS moving and engaged (takes 15-20 min of solid transitions), he is simply lovely to watch go, as his canter and trot is active and flowing, and he jumps with power from behind. I don't worry about his head, when he is engaged the head and neck go to their proper place as a result. But even when he is finally going forward more easily, I don't have much ability to lengthen/shorten stride, as all my effort is just to get him going forward period.
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by QHDQ View Post
    You may want to try Red Cell (or similar product). It worked wonders with my horse. He is also 5 yo and was sooo sluggish. He's black and his coat was turning orange, which my trainer is a sign for low red cells. In any other color other than black you may not notice the difference.

    We put him on Red Cell and within a few days his energy was up and all of the orange hairs fell out.
    Thank you! I will purchase some. Yes, he is black, and he is what I feel is sunburnt (kind of a dark seal bay at the moment), but there could certainly be some orange hairs in there too.
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles



  7. #7
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    This is where you're going to get a difference between dressage and hunters... because you need to get your leg off him. He's dead to your legs, and constantly feeling your legs and spurs is just a nagging he has learned to ignore. You need to get the prompt responses mentioned above, and make him MOVE when you tell him. If your legs and spurs are constantly on him, he's not going to learn that and will keep ignoring.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silverbridge View Post
    If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SidesaddleRider View Post
    I expect my horses to LISTEN immediately, and do not put up with any lollygagging, either in hand or u/s.
    Aparently not, as that is what you are complaining about. You, ideally, have to illicit a snappy response on the FIRST subtle asking. If it initially takes a lot to get a response on the first try, DO IT, and then gradually tone down your aides(always remembering that the reward is the romoval of that aide). Quit nagging.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._



  9. #9
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    Sep. 24, 2008
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    Jane Savoie has a very good lesson plan for getting a horse to move off your leg.

    Ask, demand, get the response, re-test, is the general idea.

    And, yes, you need to get your leg off. He doesn't need to be told to take every stride.

    I'd suggest a good trainer to have a couple of training rides with you watching and see what they do in order to get that forward thinking going. If you can get on after in order to "feel" what it is supposed to be lik, that will help immensely, too.

    NJR



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equibrit View Post
    Aparently not, as that is what you are complaining about. You, ideally, have to illicit a snappy response on the FIRST subtle asking. If it initially takes a lot to get a response on the first try, DO IT, and then gradually tone down your aides(always remembering that the reward is the romoval of that aide). Quit nagging.
    No, I DO expect all of my horses to listen to me (and all the rest do so), hence why I am so peeved at him NOT doing so, and am looking for suggestions as to how to end this. All of my other horses get the "reward" of the removal of the aid when they do as they are asked. As others who have ridden my horses have commented on, I typically ride with what most people consider to be too LITTLE leg/hands--I am very soft--as the horses can have an adjustment period of 5-10 min when someone else gets on them and they have to get used to someone who rides with much more contact/pressure.

    So, how do I get the INITIAL snappy reaction out of this guy, when even if I immediately start off using the spur/whip (as I have been doing), I don't get a response from him in reaction to either spurs OR whip? Once he is going forward (15-20 min into the ride), I do not have to "nag" at him, I can just keep leg pressure on him or use a light touch with spurs/whip to remind him to think forward. My problem is, and the question that I asked was, how do I get him going forward AT THE BEGINNING? After 15 min it's fine...but the first 15 min are exhausting.

    Just saw the post above this...yes, the Savoie method of ask, demand, re-ask, and soften aids as reward when correct, is what I use when riding. And no, I do not ask him to go forward every stride. I just want him to go forward the first few strides!
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles



  11. #11
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    Oct. 13, 2006
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    are you clamping so tight with your seat and leg that he just cannot move?

    are you in his mouth too much? have you tried to hack on a very loose rein just to see if he gets more umph?


    just some thoughts.
    I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!



  12. #12
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    I read a trainer who started dead sided horses with ONLY whip for forward.

    I found that worked very well with a QH that had been kicked and kicked. I would tap with the whip until canter or trot or gallop, and increase the tapping if no response. I even had to some times tap left switch hands and then right and back again like over under. We did that for a week, and then went back to legs without whip.

    Funny thing though, she moves off of the leg excellent now.



  13. #13
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    I understand the difference between mentally insisting they go forward all the time, not accepting a lack of a response, and this situation where a response just isn't being gained

    Why is there TC Sr AND a 14% pelleted feed used? How much, exactly, of what, is he getting? It's not likely this is a dietary issue, but never hurts to check all bases

    What does he do on the lunge? That may be the place to start

    I understand hard ground issues. But, really, if it makes his feet sting, is it really fair to demand work? It's something to consider, and if the rides have to be mostly walking to work on the responsiveness without causing him discomfort, then that's what has to be done. Before I built my ring, I was driven by how often I could ride, and how hard. July and August meant concrete-like red clay all the time save for a day, maybe 2, after a good (infrequent) rain. Walking was our main gait LOL

    I would stop using the spurs for forward - for Dressage, those are lateral backup aids, not forward.

    Go back to the lunge and work on his reaction to the lunge whip there and see if you make a difference under saddle.

    I didn't see, so apologies if I missed it, but what is his reaction to your leg right at the mounting block? That right there can set the whole tone for the first 15+ minutes of the ride. If he meanders off, slow to pick up speed, that's his expectation which you'll have to work to fix. But if right off the bat, if he reacts slowly and you wallop him, he's going to be a lot more awake.

    It may ALSO need to be taken into account that he's young and still apparently growing. He's a big horse. Maybe a little time off would be of benefit. Maybe That doesn't mean his reaction time cannot be sharpened though.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    Why is there TC Sr AND a 14% pelleted feed used? How much, exactly, of what, is he getting? It's not likely this is a dietary issue, but never hurts to check all bases
    He gets 4 qts TC Sr and 2 qts pellets 2x/day. I have found the combination of both of them to be a good mix for all the horses, allowing them to put weight on or maintain their weight without getting stupid crazy and without having them pork out and look like conformation show hunters, and keeps them going during long hunt days (all of our horses are field hunters first, and show horses second). With my luck, though, this one, being so special, will need something else.

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    What does he do on the lunge? That may be the place to start.
    I've only lunged him once (in my friend's sand ring), when I first got him in March (he came from a hunter trainer by way of High Point Hanoverians in MD, where his breeder had him in training with Klaus Schenger), as he certainly hasn't needed it in terms of letting lose on energy or needed to learn to go in a frame. When I did, he knew what he was supposed to do, but was as lazy as described here. Cracking him with the lunge whip a few times resulted in him making a half-hearted buck and then ignoring it. I DID insist he go forward as asked with the whip until he did what I wanted him to do. But WOAH and WALK are definately his favorite commands.

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    I understand hard ground issues. But, really, if it makes his feet sting, is it really fair to demand work?
    In all honesty, no, it is not. But I think the majority of this is just laziness/boredom at the idea of having to do flat work, because if we go out of the ring or riding area and do some cross-country riding or jump, he is much more in front of my leg, and the ground is just as hard as it was before. I will be hunting him some this season, so perhaps that will work some to teach him "forward."

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    I didn't see, so apologies if I missed it, but what is his reaction to your leg right at the mounting block? That right there can set the whole tone for the first 15+ minutes of the ride. If he meanders off, slow to pick up speed, that's his expectation which you'll have to work to fix. But if right off the bat, if he reacts slowly and you wallop him, he's going to be a lot more awake.
    He walks off from the mounting block easily, but not in any hurry. I will change that, thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    It may ALSO need to be taken into account that he's young and still apparently growing. He's a big horse. Maybe a little time off would be of benefit. Maybe That doesn't mean his reaction time cannot be sharpened though.
    Another good point. I'm afraid that if he doesn't have a job, though, that he will destroy my barn. He LIKES to be ridden and worked with. When he doesn't get worked at least every other day, he starts looking for something to do. Which usually involves trying to gnaw on something, bend his paddock gate, etc.
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SidesaddleRider View Post
    He gets 4 qts TC Sr and 2 qts pellets 2x/day.
    Really??? That is at least 12lb of "grain", and probably more like 15lb. That is a HUGE amount. If it's on the higher side of 7.5lb per feeding, that can be problematic.

    I have found the combination of both of them to be a good mix for all the horses,
    TC Sr is pretty low in sugars. I can't imagine that alone would cause any crazies. How much of what type of hay does he get? any grass?

    I've only lunged him once (in my friend's sand ring), when I first got him in March (he came from a hunter trainer by way of High Point Hanoverians in MD, where his breeder had him in training with Klaus Schenger), as he certainly hasn't needed it in terms of letting lose on energy or needed to learn to go in a frame. When I did, he knew what he was supposed to do, but was as lazy as described here. Cracking him with the lunge whip a few times resulted in him making a half-hearted buck and then ignoring it. I DID insist he go forward as asked with the whip until he did what I wanted him to do. But WOAH and WALK are definately his favorite commands.
    go back to this for some training. This isn't about lunging for fitness, it's going to be about lunging for respect. He obviously has no respect for you - enough energy to buck and then ignore LOL A buck should elicit another whack with the whip. I would just work here a bit more, working on walk from whoa, and trot from walk. No need to canter, you can walk with him to make a bigger circle.

    I will be hunting him some this season, so perhaps that will work some to teach him "forward."
    That will likely certainly help, but it doesn't solve the problem in the "boring" environment

    He walks off from the mounting block easily, but not in any hurry. I will change that, thank you.
    I learned that one the hard way too. I'm asking all these questions and making suggestions because I've been right where you are Dealing with him has made me revisit how I deal with daily, "boring" things like leading, picking feet up, backing up, and more. With him, I have to request that everything be done quickly and instantly. Everything

    Another good point. I'm afraid that if he doesn't have a job, though, that he will destroy my barn. He LIKES to be ridden and worked with. When he doesn't get worked at least every other day, he starts looking for something to do. Which usually involves trying to gnaw on something, bend his paddock gate, etc.
    I understand
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  16. #16
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    Aug. 13, 2003
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    Sounds like he is a lazy bum.
    You have to make him believe you will kill him if he doesn't obey!
    Above are good suggestions. I would take my crop and when I leg him to speed it up and he doesn't, hit him right behind the leg with the crop. Do not hit your leg like I did. I had a welt on there for a week. More reason for high boots.
    He sounds like he is not serious about work.
    A teenager perhaps?
    Let us know how he works out with these suggestions.
    You might tell him he will end up in an Alpo can if he doesn't wise up. I know it is an idle threat but he doesn't know that.
    When he does work for you and does a good job, tell him he was good and reward him. Horse respond well to treats.
    He just doesn't see why his working hard will pay off.
    He sounds like a good horse otherwise.
    JMHO
    sadmakr



  17. #17
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    Every horse I have known that is that "lazy" had something wrong with them, especially a young horse.

    My favorite quote ever is the following (curtsy of Dr Muller, but it's an old saying and I don't know the origin)

    "Absence of lameness DOES NOT equal soundness"

    This horse is trying to tell you something. My horse was the same way (and Jane Weatherwax called her an 8+ mover) and she was mildly neurologic - undiagnosed by many good vets for years. We have other horses that have had "laziness" problems that turned out to be other things. Horses speak pretty loudly if you listen. If you have to beat this horse to go forward there is a reason, you just have to dig until you find it.



  18. #18
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    Horse is dead to your leg and spurs, so stop using them.

    Use dressage whips (two) not hunter bats or crops. They have a sting to them, and follow the outline given to you by others here.

    Once you teach him to respond to the whips, he can learn to respond to your leg (lightly) and spurs can come later in his life. Entirely unenecessary.

    Whether you agree or not, he is dead to your leg. The reason is either psychological and conditioned, or metaboloical.

    Consider changing his feed to a high performance feed which gives him extra 'go'. If he's on supper supllements stop them, to see what his baseline is.

    Last, reduce his weight. A horse slightly ribby has less weight to carry and can learn to use himself correctly, and you can put weight on as he puts on muscle.
    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.



  19. #19
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    Also, do bloodwork. This could be a lyme disease or some such issue.
    Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    Really??? That is at least 12lb of "grain", and probably more like 15lb. That is a HUGE amount. If it's on the higher side of 7.5lb per feeding, that can be problematic.

    TC Sr is pretty low in sugars. I can't imagine that alone would cause any crazies. How much of what type of hay does he get? any grass?
    Yes, I like TC Sr because of the low sugar content. I have not found sugar to be helpful to any horse.

    I know, the amount is HUGE! This horse eats more than anything I've ever had to deal with before. He wasn't getting that much, probably only 2/3 of that, until he started growing and looking really thin. I increased it for 2 reasons: 1 - to put some weight back on him; and 2 - hoping that it would help his energy level. he is most certainly NOT fat--his ribs are just barely not showing at the moment. He eats probably 8 flakes or more of hay per day. I feed a timothy/orchard grass mix, or when I can get it, broom hay. The protein level is usually 10-14%, depending on the hay.

    His stall is always open to a dry lot, about 20' x 60', and he gets turned out for a couple of hours each day or every other day (he can't go out with the rest of the herd, he gets terribly beat up). But he always has good hay and water in front of him.

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    go back to this for some training. This isn't about lunging for fitness, it's going to be about lunging for respect. He obviously has no respect for you - enough energy to buck and then ignore LOL A buck should elicit another whack with the whip. I would just work here a bit more, working on walk from whoa, and trot from walk. No need to canter, you can walk with him to make a bigger circle.
    Will do. Thank you!
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles



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