There have been a few rides where I have gotten so frustrated with him that that is exactly what I have done. I hated that that was the only way I could get him to say yes though. I told the owners that they MUST be firm and mean what they ask, but he definitely knows what he can and cannot get away with when they ride... and even with me now, a good spanking has very little effect and I felt I needed to reassess the situation so he doesn't turn sour on top of it.
It seems like he is suffering from a lack of consistency.
One day you accept a 10% answer, the next you back up your request for a 100% answer. But then you feel bad and go back to accepting a 30% answer.
It is not actually mean or unfair to the horse to EXPECT your leg aid to get an ANSWER, and to hold you expecataions for that answer to a STANDARD. Get on, tell him "These are the rules, homeslice," enforce them consistently, and soon you will have a horse that doesn't think the leg is negotiable because every third time the aid is applied a different answer is deemed acceptable.
After testing for lymes and treating for ulcers if he's the same I would just chalk it up to being a bored baby. My 10 year old extremly well trained horse is bored out of his mind this winter in the indoor event though I do something different everytime I ride. If the owners don't want to give him 100% time off what if you rode 1x a week and they rode 1x a week? Try to do something different everytime. Desensitize with umbrellas, tarps, anything scary you can find. First in hand then get on and work on his responsiveness just walking and if he feels good trotting around the obstacles. I tell a less experienced girl that rides my guy that if she is walking she should never walk him 1x fully around the ring. If you keep changing direction, circles, quarter lines, riding the diagonals he is much happier. I would also really try to trailer him somewhere new once a month it will be great prep for showing as well. Ask the owners to gallop him or at least put a ton of diff trot poles down. You can even put poles down like a course and practice trotting as if you are jumping. Get him used to the turns and the poles on the ground should make him perk up more. I do agree that riding him 5-6 times a week is way too much. I would try to gently remind the owners that he is only 3 and they will have many many years with him and if they want them to be great years they need to give him some time in the beginning.
This describes giving him a reward for giving you a good answer (which is great), but it does not describe any consequences for tuning your signal to blah.
So, if you squeeze lightly, and he sallies forth, great!
But if you squeeze lightly, and he says lalalaaaaazzzzzzzzzzz, crack him one with the dressage whip big enough that he does a little leap forward. Then keep your leg OFF for at least four strides at a time and if he slows on stride 2, WHAP! If you put your leg on and don't think you got "four strides of answer" from him in response, give your follow-up aid as if a MILLION DOLLARS depends upon him doing the next four strides on his own with no help from you.
Do that consistently and he'll go.
This thread was perfectly timed for me as I have a coming 6 year old OTTB who just. doesn't. want. to. move. I NEVER through I'd be complaining about my off the track green thoroughbred being slow...but well...HES SO SLOW!
Its gotten to the point recently where I am compromising my leg position and bring my heel up to get him forward instead of using my calf (we took spurs of off me because we didn't want him getting even duller.) He gets ridden 6 days a week but I vary what we do, plus go on trails rides or hack through the fields at least once a week.
Well I took meupatdoes advice above and it worked like a charm. Anytime I squeezed and he didn't move off of leg WHACK until he jumped forward. I got a good few times around the ring before that wore off and another squeeze, squeeze, WHACK if I didn't get a response. Worked so well that we only had to do it one direction...when we switched he got with the program. He is NOT dominant at all, very supple, great flatwork and always moves off of leg laterally...just lazyyyy.
Regarding the horse, he's working too hard. Probably in too small a space. Maybe sick. He's going to break.
Regarding the going forward bit, I agree with meupatdoes. Why did you only use the whip when you "got so frustrated with him"? That is Lazy Horse 101. Ask nice once. Response, leg off. No response, use the dressage whip enough to get a big response. Repeat as needed (including when he peters out -- he must continue going forward at the same rate until YOU request a slowing of his pace, or you whack him).
It won't take long if you are consistent. He's just lazy, not stupid. Being so nice to him actually does him a disservice in the long run.
I have on one of these types too... coming 5. She's bugger to keep moving. We go to the beach and ride in the fields there, weather permitting. She is off due to a bone bruise in her foot and is getting the lay up time she needs to grow. Otherwise I would be tempted to ride her indoors this winter. I chock it up to Divine Intervention.
Sounds like our horse! Glad to know that mine maybe isn't the laziest horse on the planet. LOL
I would agree that he's a baby. Warmbloods can take a LOT of time to mature, physically and mentally. Our boy really hadn't even been broken in at 3. He had had a few rides (decided to do it before he got really big and strong), but nothing really formal. I knew there was no way he was going to be doing any of the young horse classes as he was still a baby at 4.
We live in Australia and sent our horse to Andrew McLean. The McLeans have an interesting training theory (you can look them up on the internet) and the one thing that has worked brilliantly with our Lazy Boy is this:
Put the leg on. Nothing happens. Tap him with the whip. Nothing happens so keep on tapping. I think it was about the 20th tap that he woke up and moved forward. Stop tapping. Each succesive time it took less tapping and he began to associate the leg coming on with moving forward. The idea is that you eventually drop the tapping because of the association with the leg. The McLeans explain the theory really well. And it has worked with our horse and he is now zipping off with a bit of leg and a whiff of the whip!
I remember going to a lesson with Andrew when it was time to learn to canter. My daughter was riding him. Andrew would say ask for canter. DD put the leg on and nothing. Go back to the tapping. Kicked the wall. Wrong answer. Keep tapping. Buck. Wrong answer. Keep tapping. This went on for a little while. Finally got the canter. Yea!! Stop tapping and just let him canter. Repeat the exercise a few times, but always giving the horse time to rest mentally and physically during the lesson.
He's been to cross country training days, but everyone just laughs at him and his lack of effort to canter around. Gallop? Don't think he knows there is such a pace.
But in all honesty, I think he has just matured. He's now rising 7 and I can see him trying!!! He has done a few little comps so far (this year is his "coming out party") and the judges are writing things like "lovely forward moving horse" I'm not sure what they are seeing, but we'll take it! LOL He's a bit less lazy when he's out in public.
So, from my totally non-expert point of view, I agree with giving him some time to mature. They are all so different. Some just need longer to get it.
Last edited by ozjb; Feb. 1, 2013 at 03:11 AM.