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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2009
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    1,002

    Default LAZY 4yo will not go forward at trot

    Hi guys!
    My 4 year old is the laziest. Beast. Ever. He is also very very easy and uncomplicated and I love him dearly. That being said, I'm in the process of finessing his flatwork and am running in to one issue- he does not want to trot forward. He likes to give me a medium-ish trot but when I ask him to extend, and really use his hind end, he tries to canter. He'd much rather canter than trot, as its easier for him-I get it. I do not know how to fix it. We work on it every single ride, and by the end of the ride he is giving in and finally giving me some impulsion and push. I don't mind working in it every ride but I'm wondering if there are exersizes I can do to make the whole thing easier.
    More details: he is jumping around courses, doing his changes, bends, lateral work is decent, and he is a decent mover. He is not a cranky horse and never acts "sulky," meaning when he won't trot forward he just happily picks up the canter instead, no pinned ears, no tail swish, no nothing. He loves his job; really he is just a doll. He has has a full recent vetting, his saddle fits, and he does not have Lyme or EPM. No ulcers no nothing. I'm 100% sure this is just lazy warmblood action. I do hill work out of the ring 1x/week to strengthen his butt, and he gets ridden 3-4 other times a week.
    Disclaimer: this was written on my phone so I apologize for any spelling/grammer issues or if it sounds disjointed...its hard to proof read on a 4" screen.
    Thanks for any help!!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2006
    Posts
    7,355

    Default

    At four years old, he probably doesn't understand what you are looking for and also doesn't have the strength or balance to come on the bit properly. So you need to work on strengthening and forward.

    Trot poles. Should pique his interest, get him rocking back on his butt, thinking about his feet, and hopefully using himself a bit better.

    Lots of transitions, too.

    Hack him out more! Make things interesting! Hill work is great, same with lots of trot sets and natural terrain.

    When you DO get a nice forward trot, loads and loads of praise.

    Also be sure YOU are not giving him mixed signals, blocking him with your seat, etc.

    Have access to a dressage trainer? Might be worth taking a few lessons.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2010
    Posts
    163

    Default

    I also have a 4 year old warmblood with a lazy trot. He is a big love, and will try anything I ask of him, but when it's time to get his trot motor going, he's just not quite there.

    Trot poles have helped to develop his impulsion, and I place them around the ring like a small jump course as well as putting three-five in a row. Trotting through raised cavalletti will help, too. I also work a lot of reinbacks, as it helps to put him on his hind end, and develop his quad muscles.

    My guy is also big, nearly 16.3, so I have to give him some slack for when he hits growing phases, and just doesn't have as much push in him. Both my trainer (we're currently doing dressage, since he's such a growth hog!), and vet say to work the canter more, as the canter is actually what will build the muscle that will improve the trot. The vet said the trot is almost useless when it comes to building muscle in comparison to the canter.

    We also recently blistered his quads, as his stifles seemed weak, and he was getting a little wonky behind when pushed fully forward. He was never lame, he'd just occasionally lose his hind end for a stride. The vet said that his musculature isn't yet strong enough to support his pelvic area, which is common in young horses. The blistering has already made a wonderful difference.

    Frankly, I'm not going to worry too much about the trot for another year or two. As long as he's working happily and soundly, and doing what I ask of him to the best of my ability, I'm happy not to demand more than his gangly 4 year old body can give me.

    Hope this helps!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2011
    Location
    Hypothermia Wisconsin
    Posts
    308

    Default

    He might just be a little tired and not want to give you his all. In the hot months my four year old does the same thing. I put him on red cell and now he is willing to work. Maybe he is just tired?



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 20, 2005
    Location
    Lexington, KY
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    780

    Default

    I have a very similar youngster. I think the thing that helps the most is doing a lot of hacking out in company and doing a lot of hill work for strength. The second thing that has helped is asking him to be more "put together" at the trot. So I second maybe doing a little detour and doing some dressage lessons.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 18, 2010
    Location
    california
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    4,222

    Default

    My 4year old OTTB was 16.2 when I saw him in Feb. but he too is growing. My trainer that is working with him had a similar experience as aWp and his lack of forward movement was the reason that both me and the dressage trainer at my local barn agreed that he needed a lot more work on basics than what I had been told. He apparently was not traveling right behind and my baby trainer has worked with my horse to resolve that issue. She has gotten results-his hind end has much more muscle-and this assessment is based on her work with many other young horses.

    All horses are different but your post is very similar to my own issue with my OTTB. It might be a growing issue with larger horses, I don't know, but both me and the dressage trainer elected to seek the baby trainer out of our area for this issue. I hope it resolves soon, I've ridden forward energetic horses in my past so this was a new issue for me.



  7. #7
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    Oct. 20, 2009
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    Thanks everyone. He is just a hair under 17hands so it could be growth issue...I will definitely try the trot poles, that's a great idea!
    Any more ideas are welcome



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2010
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    163

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    My goodness, if he's that big, then yes, a lot of it could be growth! Try having him back up, both under saddle and also in hand. My vet said I could work up to backing my guy all around the ring in hand. I had another horse with hind end issues, and this kind of exercise really helped him, especially with balancing back on his hind end.

    Good luck!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2005
    Location
    Va
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    3,586

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    Hacking out really developed my mare's trot from slightly short to OMG I can barely post this! I think lots of hacking out, trotting and cantering on surfaces that are not so even as a ring helps with balance and strength.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2000
    Location
    Southern Pines, N.C.
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    11,542

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    Where in the great rule book in the sky does it say that you have to trot before you canter?

    When you turn horses out and they take off, they are not aware of any need to trot first!

    I have the t-shirt on lazy young horses. Long spurs and a dressage whip. Oh my!

    Then I changed my plan. We would walk, then canter, then do a few "x to tiny oxer" gymnastics. Once he was warmed up and going forward, THEN we would do our trot work.

    Then, if he got doggie on me, instead of nagging him and getting little response, we would go right back into a modified hand gallop. He finally "got" the connection of: if he was lazy at the trot = he would have to work much harder at the canter. Both ideas combined gave him a reasonable trot. Never a great trot, but one in which he would listen to my leg and move off it.
    "I used to have money, now I have horses."



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 1999
    Location
    Ireland & sometimes the US ;)
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    11,073

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    Take him foxhunting! Made a HUGE difference in my OTTB who wouldn't go forward much. After that, he was a happy camper, and I had no other problems.
    co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 18, 2009
    Location
    Florida
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    565

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Helpus View Post
    Where in the great rule book in the sky does it say that you have to trot before you canter?

    Then I changed my plan. We would walk, then canter [...] Once he was warmed up and going forward, THEN we would do our trot work.

    Then, if he got doggie on me, instead of nagging him and getting little response, we would go right back into a modified hand gallop. He finally "got" the connection of: if he was lazy at the trot = he would have to work much harder at the canter.
    This is exactly what I did for my mare, worked very well. Still today, if I'm not getting the trot I want, I go to canter work for a bit and come back to it. The trot work is always better after they've cantered



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2009
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Helpus View Post
    Where in the great rule book in the sky does it say that you have to trot before you canter?

    When you turn horses out and they take off, they are not aware of any need to trot first!

    I have the t-shirt on lazy young horses. Long spurs and a dressage whip. Oh my!

    Then I changed my plan. We would walk, then canter, then do a few "x to tiny oxer" gymnastics. Once he was warmed up and going forward, THEN we would do our trot work.

    Then, if he got doggie on me, instead of nagging him and getting little response, we would go right back into a modified hand gallop. He finally "got" the connection of: if he was lazy at the trot = he would have to work much harder at the canter. Both ideas combined gave him a reasonable trot. Never a great trot, but one in which he would listen to my leg and move off it.
    this is something i have learned with this horse... we usually Canter a bit before we trot, mainly becaus the forwardness is easier to get this way. it always feels like cheating

    Anywho, the idea of forcing the connection of "lazy trot = hard canter" is another great idea!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2008
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    2,054

    Default

    I have had a couple over the years that were the same way...

    The canter is an easier gait for them then the trot. So I would canter a bit first and then do some trot work. I'd add in more canter transitions as they got stronger. I do think it is a question of strength & not so much fitness...



  15. #15
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    Aug. 28, 2007
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    Triangle Area, NC
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    Rider position can inhibit, or even prevent a horse from moving more energy to the hind to engage. He's more vulnerable when engaged and lengthened. Since he's so abiding for the rest of his work, look to improving your own equitation to improve the issue.
    And please remember, despite talent, he's only 4
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  16. #16
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    Apr. 19, 2011
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    Madison, GA
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    I completely agree with the trot poles and walk-canter-trot-walk transitions! This worked for my guy who sounds a lot like yours. Spurs help too if he needs the occasional reminder, but as some COTHer once said, spurs shouldn't generate energy, just enhance the leg.
    Southern Cross Guest Ranch
    An All Inclusive Guest Ranch Vacation - Georgia
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  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2009
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    Disclaimer 2: I wear spurs on everything I ride, and use them when necessary.



  18. #18
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    Oct. 20, 2009
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    oops double post



  19. #19

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    also, in addition to all of the above, how's the walk? I love to make them really march in the walk until they get a big swingy, panther like walk and will HOLD IT on their own. That's the key. Once I get that, the trot is almost a non issue.
    Cornerstone Equestrian
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