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  1. #1
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    Mar. 3, 2012
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    Default Two questions: Warmup and circle trouble.

    Hey everyone!
    Now that it is winter time could I get some advice on how I should warm up a backwards thinking horse? I'm always very paranoid about getting into work too fast but sometimes I feel that I take too long to warm up.

    Also lately I have been having problems with doing circles with a particular horse. When we attempt to do circles at the trot the horse I ride hops as if she is going to canter and sometimes breaks into the canter but not always. My instructor says I need to use a bigger half halt which seemed to work in the lesson but when I'm by myself the horse seems to have my number haha. The last time I rode her I decided to wear spurs instead of carrying a whip and the "hip hop" thing seemed to be worse and using a half halt wasn't seeming to work either. I immediately thought I was spuring her and didn't realize it so I took the spurs off and was carrying a whip and I was still getting the same result.

    I'm not sure if it's me or if she is just trying to evade working, has anyone else had an experience like this?
    http://www.horsez-r-us.blogspot.com
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  2. #2
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    Dec. 23, 2010
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    For the first query, the answer is: you should warm up for as long as it takes to get loose, forward strides with a horse that relaxes down into a soft contact. Lots of sweeping turns and energetic transitions will help get the horse in front of your leg (especially forward down transitions). For really lethargic horses I like to frequently warm up outside of the arena - if you have a farm track, field, or quiet road nearby this can help a lot. Then bring that energy back to the school.

    For the second query, that sounds like the classic symptoms of a sore back or other discomfort... also be sure you are not trapping the mare with your hands, or otherwise blocking her.
    Proud COTH lurker since 2001.



  3. #3
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    Could you explain the "trapping the mare with your hands"? I have been told that I have really soft hands while riding.
    http://www.horsez-r-us.blogspot.com
    Blog of an ordinary and every day horse lover!



  4. #4
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    Sep. 30, 2009
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    I tend to agree with previous poster! Warm up needs to be adjusted daily depending on how the horse feels that day and what outside distractions there may be. There is nothing wrong with a 45 minute warm up and then finish on a good note. Then hopefully the following day will go faster and you can then move on to "bigger/better things".

    Secondly, I have a clients mare who does that exact same thing and it is usually on the right circle or corner, when she is unwilling to bend/stiff, and when pushed a little, favors the canter to rebalance and relieve pain/tension. Some will buck some will run off to avoid the riders pressure. It is usually a clear sign of getting the chiro out, checking the saddle and keeping an eye on lower back/stifle/hock issues.

    Good Luck!



  5. #5
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    Mar. 3, 2012
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    At first I thought it was more prominent in one direction but then it was happening in both directions. This problem subsides when I am having a lesson but when I'm on my own I can't seem to put the pieces together haha.
    http://www.horsez-r-us.blogspot.com
    Blog of an ordinary and every day horse lover!



  6. #6
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    Sep. 30, 2009
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    Sorry forgot one thing!!

    Make sure when you are coming around the corner to do your circle, that your outside leg does not slide too far back and that your are not holding the outside rein too much, the horse might think you asked for the canter, depending on how experienced she is or how she was trained.

    The "trapping" part from previous poster is probably related to your inside hand. When turning with your outside aids(leg and rein), the inside rein needs to give a little (not throw away the contact through) in order not to block his/her inside hind when cantering. Your inside leg pushes him into the canter, the energy you create behind will be released with your inside rein is one way to visualize this.



  7. #7
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    Dec. 23, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horsez-R-Us View Post
    Could you explain the "trapping the mare with your hands"? I have been told that I have really soft hands while riding.
    Then that's probably not the issue. Sometimes riders can inadvertently hold too much contact in one or both hands, asking for too much of a compressed frame or blocking the hind legs, which then makes it more difficult for the horse to bend appropriately.

    However, most times the canter-hopping behaviour is a sign of stiffness, and I agree, either a chiro or physio should be called out. Many good natured horses will carry on through the discomfort, so there may be few other signs present... but the canter breaks are a rather common red-flag and should be considered seriously, especially if ongoing.
    Proud COTH lurker since 2001.



  8. #8
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    Oh! My hand MIGHT be the problem! In an attempt to make her bend, I tend to bring my inside hand back and out a little and keep it there so I'll make a mental note to be more elastic!

    I will also have to take not of my outside leg, I am not sure if it creeps back but it very well could be.
    http://www.horsez-r-us.blogspot.com
    Blog of an ordinary and every day horse lover!



  9. #9
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    The horse I speak of also tends to be stiff but I have seen her go from being stiff in the beginning of the lesson to very round, elastic, and flexibile by the end of the lesson.

    I have a lesson tomorrow so I do plan on brining this up to my trainer.
    http://www.horsez-r-us.blogspot.com
    Blog of an ordinary and every day horse lover!



  10. #10
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    Jun. 7, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horsez-R-Us View Post
    Also lately I have been having problems with doing circles with a particular horse. When we attempt to do circles at the trot the horse I ride hops as if she is going to canter and sometimes breaks into the canter but not always. My instructor says I need to use a bigger half halt which seemed to work in the lesson but when I'm by myself the horse seems to have my number haha. The last time I rode her I decided to wear spurs instead of carrying a whip and the "hip hop" thing seemed to be worse and using a half halt wasn't seeming to work either. I immediately thought I was spuring her and didn't realize it so I took the spurs off and was carrying a whip and I was still getting the same result.

    One of the ones I ride does this sometimes and my response if he persists past a certain threshold of tolerance on my part is to put my leg ON(!), keep the rein ON(!) when anything other than trotting is happening, and I don't effing care if we porpoise down the entire longside and back again so help me god we are going to trot and have some oomph about it.

    When the porpoising has ceased we proceed to trot mach 90 around the ring for a lap or two to clarify the situation and then we see about riding like normal people again.

    If the horse perceives his options as:
    1.) porpoise while being booted forward
    2.) go mach 90
    3.) trot like a normal horse,
    he will choose "trot like a normal horse."

    If "do half-@$$ed work and even possibly get a walk or halt break while rider second guesses and fiddles with equipment and wonders why I am butt-hurt" is an option, horse will choose that one.

    If the horse is persisently evading on a circle you can also suddenly decide there is nothing you would rather do than go SIDEWAYS AT SPEED, in which case if you present
    1.) SIDEWAYS AT SPEED
    or
    2.) it puts the lotion in the basket and circles like a normal horse
    as the only two options, horse if it has any braincells will choose "circles like a normal horse."

    I mean, I'm not saying go into the the first three minutes like hell on wheels, but if 20 minutes later the horse is still negotiating a twenty meter circle, make like a L'Oreal commercial and tell him "BECAUSE I'M WORTH IT."


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  11. #11
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    Mar. 3, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    One of the ones I ride does this sometimes and my response if he persists past a certain threshold of tolerance on my part is to put my leg ON(!), keep the rein ON(!) when anything other than trotting is happening, and I don't effing care if we porpoise down the entire longside and back again so help me god we are going to trot and have some oomph about it.

    When the porpoising has ceased we proceed to trot mach 90 around the ring for a lap or two to clarify the situation and then we see about riding like normal people again.

    If the horse perceives his options as:
    1.) porpoise while being booted forward
    2.) go mach 90
    3.) trot like a normal horse,
    he will choose "trot like a normal horse."

    If "do half-@$$ed work and even possibly get a walk or halt break while rider second guesses and fiddles with equipment and wonders why I am butt-hurt" is an option, horse will choose that one.

    If the horse is persisently evading on a circle you can also suddenly decide there is nothing you would rather do than go SIDEWAYS AT SPEED, in which case if you present
    1.) SIDEWAYS AT SPEED
    or
    2.) it puts the lotion in the basket and circles like a normal horse
    as the only two options, horse if it has any braincells will choose "circles like a normal horse."

    I mean, I'm not saying go into the the first three minutes like hell on wheels, but if 20 minutes later the horse is still negotiating a twenty meter circle, make like a L'Oreal commercial and tell him "BECAUSE I'M WORTH IT."
    That is how I feel at times! I feel like it is a total evasion trick because I know that she can be nice and round and do a 20m circle so easily, but a part of me doubts my riding to some degree and I analyze myself and yes 99% of the time she does get a walk brake while I try to wrap my brain around why she is doing this.

    So I am thinking that from now on make sure that my outside leg is not back so she thinks I am cueing her to canter, be more elastic with my elbows/hands and if the hopping still persists make her do spiraling circles and a part of me wonders if she WANTS to hip hop and threaten to canter then make her canter for her to realize that if she wants to go we are going to go. Of course I won't make her canter FOREVER but just to get my point across.

    I feel that I am a good enough rider to not let my frustrations get in the way, so I do realize when enough is a enough.
    http://www.horsez-r-us.blogspot.com
    Blog of an ordinary and every day horse lover!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2006
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Horsez-R-Us View Post
    and a part of me wonders if she WANTS to hip hop and threaten to canter then make her canter for her to realize that if she wants to go we are going to go. Of course I won't make her canter FOREVER but just to get my point across.
    YES! There is nothing wrong with a "Well, mare, you want to go, then GO" - At least in the warm-up. My mare used to evade by popping her shoulder and taking me into the corner. I learned how to stop that by keeping a steady contact on the outside and applying lots of outside leg to get that hind leg stepping up. That worked, and now her new evasion is to canter off when I do that. Really, that's fine with me. She's kind of self-regulating in that if she's really stiff, a good canter is just what she needs to loosed up that back, and she gets that. She's fine once she gets the kinks out and realizes that I mean business.

    Oh, and don't worry about the perfect 20 meter circle if she's slugging around and trying to squirrel out of work. Just get forward, and keep it, then get her working into your hand.

    All that said, I have also dealt with hip-hop kicking out and bucking. It WAS saddle fit. So definitely get that checked out. At least have a good masseuse give her a once over to see if she's got ouchy spots.

    And finally, when you ask her to canter, might you be tipping forward, even just a bit??? When we had our hip hop issues, it was a combination of saddle fit and me hurling myself onto her shoulders when I wanted to canter. Not comfortable, and mare let me know it!



  13. #13

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    Hi I hope you and your mare are well
    The croup popping on the circle happens when the horse is behind the leg. When you put your leg on to turn the mare just pops up and threatens to canter or buck or whatever, right? In that case, make sure she honestly moves off each leg without being pissy before working on the circles. Maybe try using a big opening rein on the inside and be a little careful with the outside rein until you know she's good.
    I think you should keep the spurs on if you feel safe doing so. She's going to have to get used to them someday, and the only reason she's getting pissier is because your more able to tell her what to do! Once she's ahead of the leg they shouldn't be a problem.
    Hope this helps, and good luck!



  14. #14
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    Sep. 24, 2008
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    It may be that she is one of those horses who need to warm up in canter earlier in the session.
    My mare used to do that "hop" thing and my coach told me to do a good walk warm up , a few trot circles and then ask her to canter to release her back, then go back to trot. Worked like a charm...no more hops as she knows canter is coming soon and she'll be able to stretch out and warm up in a way she likes.

    NJR
    Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behaviour does.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
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    Apr. 25, 2008
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    In regards to hopping into a canter while you're trying to trot a 20m circle - we have a gelding that did exactly that as we were working him. Long story short, he was diagnosed with OCD lesions on both stifles.

    Rule out any physical issues.
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    We have no intentions of tarring and feathering anyone: this is now a thread about dipping Ryan Reynolds in chocolate.



  16. #16
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    Dec. 9, 2010
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    Greensboro, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    One of the ones I ride does this sometimes and my response if he persists past a certain threshold of tolerance on my part is to put my leg ON(!), keep the rein ON(!) when anything other than trotting is happening, and I don't effing care if we porpoise down the entire longside and back again so help me god we are going to trot and have some oomph about it.

    When the porpoising has ceased we proceed to trot mach 90 around the ring for a lap or two to clarify the situation and then we see about riding like normal people again.

    If the horse perceives his options as:
    1.) porpoise while being booted forward
    2.) go mach 90
    3.) trot like a normal horse,
    he will choose "trot like a normal horse."

    If "do half-@$$ed work and even possibly get a walk or halt break while rider second guesses and fiddles with equipment and wonders why I am butt-hurt" is an option, horse will choose that one.

    If the horse is persisently evading on a circle you can also suddenly decide there is nothing you would rather do than go SIDEWAYS AT SPEED, in which case if you present
    1.) SIDEWAYS AT SPEED
    or
    2.) it puts the lotion in the basket and circles like a normal horse
    as the only two options, horse if it has any braincells will choose "circles like a normal horse."

    I mean, I'm not saying go into the the first three minutes like hell on wheels, but if 20 minutes later the horse is still negotiating a twenty meter circle, make like a L'Oreal commercial and tell him "BECAUSE I'M WORTH IT."
    I agree with every bit of this. Mine tends to do the porpoise act when tense and tight. Instead of going forward off my leg, she gets all hippity hoppity on me. I don't react. My leg stays right where it is. If its really bad and she is yanking her head down while porpoising sometimes I drop the reins but still keep my legs on. If I stopped for a brainstorming session on the causes she would never get the hint. So, ignore porpoising and leg ON until you get a real trot. Good luck!



  17. #17
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    Oohh...and also check out physical issues. Could need chiro or have hock/back/stifle issues.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nojacketrequired View Post
    It may be that she is one of those horses who need to warm up in canter earlier in the session.
    My mare used to do that "hop" thing and my coach told me to do a good walk warm up , a few trot circles and then ask her to canter to release her back, then go back to trot. Worked like a charm...no more hops as she knows canter is coming soon and she'll be able to stretch out and warm up in a way she likes.

    NJR
    I've found this helpful as well.

    Also, as someone else said, really be aware of your position when your horse hops into the canter. I was having this same problem with the left lead and I realized it was my right leg sliding too far back when going around a corner. When I fixed my leg position, the issue was no longer a problem. The horse was getting mixed signals so trying what he thought I wanted him to do. Fixed my leg and it fixed the problem.
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