I have a 9 yr old TB, never raced. She was born and bred for jumping in FL. She's been in VA for 3-ish years now, and I've only owned her for 8 months next week.
She's driving me crazy because she will be PERFECT at home (we have a large riding field), and I mean flawless. No bad behaviors, perfect collection, bending, you name it - she does it.
I've started taking her to the neighborhood rings. We're going to a ring off property at least 3 times a week now. She turns into a rodeo bronc whenever we ride somewhere other than home. Usually hopping over a few jumps calms her down (she's a freak, I swear), but I don't want to jump her every time she goes off property.
We're hoping to show jumpers and some hunters this winter, so I really want to fix this. She's evented, done second level dressage, hunters, jumpers and fox hunting. She also had never been this healthy in her whole life, so...I have a feeling that has something to do with it. She also is quite the nervous gal so here is what I'm thinking would be the best option:
- Trailer her off property at least twice a month.
- Use Calm And Cool when we do that, until she learns it's ok.
- Keep riding in other rings.
I have her on Raspberry leaves for her mare-ish behavior, but I'm probably taking her off it because I don't notice any difference.
If you guys have any other suggestions, I'm dying for help.
I think your plan sounds great....but think about adding some ulcerguard or perhaps a daily tractguard to her diet. I am not one to jump on the ulcer bandwagon that it cures everything but when you say she is the nervous sort, and she only does it off property it would lead me to think she is getting some pain from an upset stomach when she leaves the comfort of home. Worst case is it does nothing for her and you haven't hurt anything, but it could possibly help her.
Unfortunately for some horses, training is situational and does not transfer to new situations easily.
If I were you I would back wayyyyyyyy down. I would take her somewhere and never get on her, but instead do some Inhand work that I had already taught her at home. Then I would progress to longing and then I would once that goes well, start riding. When I rode. I would first walk around, get off and put her back on the trailer.
Somewhere in your horse there is a hole in her training. If you backtrack and retrain her to be comfortable with leaving her comfort zone you will fix it even tho you may never know what it was. FWIW I train the babies to show as outlined above and 99% of them end up being safe, reliable, happy show horses. It may seem like overkill but it works.
The other thing is that bucking and rearing are both evasions about going forward. You must train your horse to be reliably in front of your leg at all times. In your video she is running around and you really are not in control of her. This is not the same as forward. Until she is reliably and correctly in front of your leg you have no way to correct her behaviour when she acts up off the property or anywhere else for that matter.
In all honesty it sounds like you need some help understanding the progression of training and what your horse is really doing versus what you think she is doing at home. Is anyone helping you? If not, you need a trainer, if yes, talk to them about these issues and if they don't see it or get it I'd be thinking they might not be the right person to help you with this horse. JMO.
"Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
--- The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.
Well, I think it's a great idea to take her off property often like you are doing. But a better idea may be to have a very experienced rider/trainer ride her when you get there. Is that a possibility? Not that you can't do it, but the mare needs to learn that rearing/bucking is not tolerated at ANY time. If you can't shut it down immediately then you need someone who can to do it for you.
Another issue I see in the video is the clear tension in your elbows and arms. TBs are super sensitive to that. My TB will get amped up in less than one second if I stiffen. Try to picture your arms as super stretchy elastic bands and ask her to stretch down into the contact when she gets tense. It will immediately calm her mind. And EqTrainer also pointed out something so important, the mare is getting behind your leg. I can also see that in the video. Once a horse goes behind you leg you've lost control. Keep her out in front of you, feel like you have 1/3 of the horse behind you and 2/3 out in front.
Well, the fact that you already have a legitimate way to calm your mare sounds pretty good to me (the jumping you mentioned). We all know people who get anxious about something, and what solves the problem? Moving around to get a little tired and distracted (vs. sitting tight in a chair while waiting for 'it') and burning off the adrenaline.
Maybe she experiences 'performance anxiety,' and going somewhere new triggers that. I don't think jumping a few fences as a way to help her be calm is such a bad thing? Or going for a canter around the ring for a few minutes?
Using a calmative sounds like a good idea, and maybe reducing her grain the night before and that morning could help, too. My TB was completely different with grain and without (mellow).
OK I know she is green and you just learned the test but you need help. The trot is super quick in the tempo and you are chasing it with a chair seat (not in a deliberate way). Think school trot until she can except not running through the tempo which you end up restricting with your hands creating some of the nap and pissing off. You should also consider having a empathetic professional show her who can be firm when naughty and immediately forgiving and supportive. Mares are funny that way.
Before depo or regumate I would eliminate the ulcer issues with GASP $$ at least 7 tubes of gastro guard. Start with four whole tubes one a day and then split the tubes in half after. Most horses I have seen a difference in has been 2-4 days and YOU do notice it. If that has no bearing talk to vet about trying regumate (care in handling) as you can start it anytime
unlike the depo which seems to not be as effective if you start it at certain stages in cycle. I do not think this mares problems are all marish though, I think she is being a wee bit of a cow but better to make sure she does not have ulcers which she may well have.
Also u guard is well not going HEAL ulcers, it may help prevent them but spend the money on the GG
Good luck with her but you need some tactful help from what I have read and seen in the video. BY the way I get she is a intro horse but it was how you handled it not how green she was in video :-)
To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart
I suspect that you are changing something about how you ride when you take her off property. Even if it's just a bit of anxiety or freezing up a bit, that could set her up.
Looking at your video, your horse is behind your leg and above the bit most of the time. It would be helpful to see video of her at home to see how she is different. I don't know if she's more on the aids at home or whether being in a familiar place just allows her to go more consistently. Obviously, in a test you're trying to stay tactful so it's hard to know what would happen if you really put your leg on and pushed her up into the bridle.
Will your trainer do a half hour training session? It might be worth it to have her ride because then she can feel what your mare is doing and better help you through it.
Waht I like to do with horses is develop a training ROUTINE that can be utilized when away from home. With green horses I first lunge them (properly, with side reins, not tearing around) and then ridie them, with the same basic warmup at home. Then when we go away from home we do the EXACT SAME THING. THat way they have something "familiar" to fall back on when things are unfamiliar to them.
After watching the video here is my take. This horse is SO TOTALLY not on the aids or focusing on the job. She is focused on EVERYTHING but you. I took the liberty of looking at a few other videos of you/your horse on your channel, and granted she look s BIT more relaxed, but far from what you describe as "perfect". You are riding VERY defensively in the dressage tests, your wrists are in a "Fixed" position which is making her get very upset with her head, your legs are also "braced" on the stirrups not really coming into contact with her sides and therefore she is showing no bend at all. THis mare needs to get back to basics. I would go back to a NICE lunging session prior to each ride to work on getting her relaxed, working thru her back and accepting the bit which she is not doing in any videos that I saw. Then she needs a LOT of work on bending a lateral flexibility. A large part of your problem is that she is not on the aids, and if you can develop that at home, it will become your "friend" away from home. Once you get to that point THEN you can begin taking her away from home, as EqT describes, and just starting with walking around, lunging, etc making her FOCUS on you, not looking around and staring at everything.
Last edited by shawneeAcres; Oct. 28, 2010 at 10:26 AM.
I want to be honest and frank with you a second...this comes from kindness but it may not sound like it
in all 3 videos that horse is not paying a lick of attention to you. in your at home video she's sufficiently sweaty making me think she's been properly warmed up yet she's still not coming over her back, nor straight, nor accepting contact, or responding to the aides. I'm assuming since you are riding intro with her that she was sold to you as a second level horse?... that may be an assumption, but I'm not seeing a pair currently capable of second level in that home video. I'm wondering if you are basing expectations on her that are based around her ad description rather than the horse you actually have.
Allll that out of the way, you have to address the horse you have. I think if you set your expectations on showing this winter you are going to disappoint yourself. A current home video would really clear things up as to where you really are.
In your videos I see alot that could have been prevented by more accurate or more insistent and clear riding. I would seek out a good dressage instructor to teach you how to properly use your leg and seat.
For off property stuff i'd just take her other places to hand graze, and be groomed and eat cookies until she's leaping on a trailer to go for a field trip, then sit on her while she grazes and you feed her cookies, then tack up and just walk around. Rinse repeat for the winter. Hopefully by spring you can hack in a warm-up ring with other horses and have her be sane, but you need to slow things waaaayyyyy down.
Bach flower rescue remedy is great for taking the edge off. I use it when rehabbing abuse cases, but no horse of mine sets foot in a show until they are happy and confident without chemical aide.
I can't find the video, but you have a lot of really good advise here and I might add if it hasn't been said already, that you are riding a Thoroughbred, not a draft cross. You are riding a horse that's bred for activity and being off the property is very stimulating for her.
I don't know what you mean by bucking and rearing either. My mare will buck and pop up her front end when we go somewhere different and the weather is cool. Bucking and rearing problems to me mean rear up, take off bucking and broncing for say 50 ft. Feeling good bucking or broncing can be worked out of them with lots of steady slow trots and circles. Finally, and I speak from experience with my current mare, she has learned that when we go somewhere new she will work and work hard. Going to a new place is now not exciting as she knows "work" is coming.
Bucking to one person is feeling good to another. And I will go out on a limb here and say, not every instructor is cut out to work with Tbs and you said yourself that your instructor didn't have experience with them (I'm paraphrasing.)
This may just be one of life's learning things, so keep an open mind and remember that every horse is different, you can't expect every horse to be what you want. Learn form this experience and understand that she may not be right for you or in a year you may say "wow, that was hard, but worth it."
RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"
"To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."
My mare is FANTASTIC at home too but when we go away from home, I lunge her. She does her crazy rodeo act for about 10 minutes and then we're over it and she's back to being a good girl again. I lunge her one direction, till she'll pick up the canter without bucking, then turn her around and do the same thing the other. She has to get a chance to buck on both sides. One lady I used to ride with called it "a bubble that has to pop." I feel like if I tried to keep it all bottled up and not let her buck at all, the whole ride would be more on edge, with a possible ugly surprise coming when I'm not expecting it.
We went to Rocking Horse to school a while back with a VERY timid rider who was not familiar with my horse at all. She watched my girl buck and play (and I mean leap through the air, strike out, and fart) and said she'd be nervous to ride a horse like that. I told her we have an agreement: She get's to buck and play on the lunge line for a few minutes, and when I'm on her back, it's time to work and be nice. And that's really how it goes too - once she finishes her bucking, and I'm up, she is steady as they come! I know most eventers don't lunge, but she wants her play time - especially if we've missed turn out - so I let her have it.
I don't put on side reins or try to "work" her on the lunge line. I just do lots of transitions and let her do her thing as long as she keeps the play on HER end of the lunge line - no striking or kicking in my direction. She knows the rules of the game.
The jumping probably gets her forward and in front of your leg. No videos to view at this point, but that's my guess. Work on those issues at home, and it will be better away from home, even when things become more exciting. Be sure you aren't anticipating her behavior - (hard not to at this point), but important, as you may be stiffening up and adding to the issue.
Some good advice here about breaking things down into smaller pieces for her, as well as getting help from a trainer that understands TBs.
My horse will do this; I just kick him forward & go. He's only naughty when he's not forward - or if a pasture mate start talking to him :rollseyes: Jumping also keeps his leetle mind occupied & forward so it helps. When I feel him sigh & relax, then we usually get productive work done. Carry a crop too, I don't appreciate hopping & a pop between the ears can end that problem real quick. Time will help, a couple years ago I couldn't walk this horse down the driveway without a spin & bolt attempt (green OTTB). Now I can take him out by myself, it can get a bit , but time & patience have worked wonders
Where are you located in Virginia? I ask because there is a lady (event rider & trainer) by the name of Katie Davis who lives in Lincoln, VA (not far from Leesburg & Middleburg) with her partner, Jon Sorkin, another eventer. I do not event; however, she's helped me tremendously with my tempermental but often scared and willful filly. Being an eventer, Katie loves and understands thoroughbreds. In the year that I've known her, I've watched her change the lives of some pretty naughty horses and helped their riders (including me) gain confidence and become able to ride the better behaved horse. She's firm but gentle and a huge believer in moving forward. Her phone number is 540-905-3933 and email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck -- and stay safe!
I know who Katie is, I know a few people who train with her.
I just wanted to let ya'll know I rode with a crop tonight. Did not use it except to get her to move to the rail like twice. She was a completely different horse, didn't buck or rear once. I worked her on the flat (just walk and trot) and after a few laps of trotting she was nice and low.
I feel stupid if all I needed to do was carry a crop on me >.<. Wouldn't surprise me though since ALL the pictures I have of her US before I got her, the rider had a crop.
We have both had a rough year between my health problems and getting her as a rescue (severely emaciated and lame when I first got her 8 mos ago). We are working with a trainer, not often as we should, but we're going to be training with her more often once I get more funds.
The only additional advice I can give is that sometimes it takes a bunch of trips before they start to behave away from home. This spring and summer was all about getting my 4 year old out and about. Unlike your horse, she DID have a buck in her at home so I figured it would only be worse away from home! I had no goals other than that she get in the trailer and go places. If she was solid enough to ride and show--fine. If not, we would just do a tour of local farms!
But I also made sure that I would set things up for success. First trip was with a "seasoned" travel-wise horse. The next was a little dressage show at the SAME place. But, I got there the night before so she had plenty of time to settle in. And I was totally prepared to NOT ride if she was over the top. After a few outings with other horses--I took her somewhere all by herself. Again--I had low expectations and figured that I wouldn't ride if things were too "exciting". Always, always, lunged out the silliness before I got on.
Anyway--our first adventure was in late April. In May and June we did some schooling dressage shows. There were some baby bucks during the warm up, but NONE in the test (where it counted!) And lots of lunging when we first arrived. We also trailered out to lessons and she got more and more blase about the whole thing.
Fast forward to August, and she went around her first BN horse trial like a pro, and we did another HT in September and October. At those shows, she was "all business" and I did not lunge her once before getting on (and there were no bucks during warm up either). In fact at the last show, she had to be tied to the trailer all day (and was alone) and she stood like a wise, old show veteran, munching on her hay! Sometimes it just takes a well thought out plan for introducing them to new venues and sticking to that plan.