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The over achieving horse

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  • The over achieving horse

    I have a horse who loves to work, loves to learn new things, loves repetition, loves forward!

    However I am trying to teach her not to anticipate and correctness over speed, plus to relax and slow down. We don't have to do everything in high gear. It's kind of like she thinks the quicker she gets it done the quicker we will be finished.

    She was originally trained as a working cow horse. She's a hony (14.3) red dun, quarter horse.

    Last night we were working on spiraling circles at the trot to try to control her speed, so when asked to make the circle bigger she starts half passing (?) making the circle into an oval.

    I have a really hard time getting her to respect the bit. Right now, she is in a jointed kimberwick with the reins in the highest slot. She leans on the bit and ignores half halts at the moment. She does have scar tissue on one side of her mouth where the bit rests (I guess from her cow horse days) so she might not actually have all the feeling in her mouth.

    What are some things I can try with her? I need her to slow down and relax. I want to be able to confirm her in the basics before moving on to typically harder manuvers.
    www.abernathyfarm.com

  • #2
    1. soften your aides. if she's over reacting it's partly because you are asking too strongly for this horse. she will make you a better rider if you are giving a solid aide, try a pulsing one, or try thinking the aide without consciously telling your body to do it...
    2. if you asked for spiral out, and your horse did a half pass that would mean your horse counter bent off the circle and tracked laterally with shoulders leading... I'm going to assume you misused the term and your horse popped a shoulder. this means your outside aides are not connected from her bit to your back. your outside aides are the wall.
    3. if she's quickening that either means a.) she's blowing thru your aides. so take it all the way down... ie. if rushy trotting bring her down to a walk for a few steps and then back up or b.) you are asking for more tempo with your seat.
    4. Kimberwicke's aren't legal in dressage... you might want to think long and hard about why you are having to resort to curb action to control your horse... and don't introspect on what your horse can do different, focus on what you can do different. you are the pilot, every action is within your control if you have the precision to do so.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble

    Comment


    • #3
      So slowing your posting where the rider sets the pace will slow her trot. Intersperse with 10-15 meter circles to help slow.

      ANother method is to introduce shoulder fore. It is the start of collection (I know she's not close to being ready for that now) but since it gets them stepping underneath themselves more it tends to naturally slow them down. It will also help you establish the outside rein to inside hip (leg) connection used at all levels of dressage.
      Now in Kentucky

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        oh, this is at a sitting trot. I am a primarily western rider, but I like to use a dressage foundation. I used a kimberwicke to try to transition down from a tom thumb, but if she won't respond to the kimberwicke is it safe for me to back to a snaffle especially since her mouth seems to actually be numb, she's not hard mouthed in the traditional sense of the word. Right now my reins are basically useless. I am half halting, pull and releasing, sea sawing, everything I can think of and she just keeps at it. It's not like shes bolting or anything. She never does anything I can't ride out, but she ignores me until I say whoa and then she stops whatever it was (backing, trotting, cantering, sidepassing, what ever) Its kind of like cruise control, she just keeps doing the last thing I asked until I tell her to do something else.

        She def popped the shoulder, poor use of the term half pass, but it was that strong of a reaction. I am trying to get this horse to allow be to have some leg contact with out taking off like a rocket, and forget voice commands, used a canter pole a kiss and she leapt to a canter like she was running in the derby-that was with no leg cues.

        She really does think and trys to do what I ask before I even ask for it. I think that is our primary problem. I ask for one step back she gives 3, I ask for one step sideways she, she sidepasses across the entire pole. She knows the steps for opening a gate from horseback by herself, all I have to do is hold on the the rope (competition).

        I use an exaggerated seat to try to get her to walk slow without being in her mouth all the time. Think western pleasure belly button to the sky type seat.
        www.abernathyfarm.com

        Comment


        • #5
          do you have access to a trailer?
          you are only an hour from some REALLY great trainers and instructors.
          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
          chaque pas est fait ensemble

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Yes, I'm thinking I need an outside perspective as well. I think this horse has wonderful potential, she def has the work ethic!

            Do you have any suggestions on people to try. I would like to stay away from trainers who are biased against western because that is my primary discipline.
            www.abernathyfarm.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Lmabernathy View Post
              oh, this is at a sitting trot. I am a primarily western rider, but I like to use a dressage foundation. I used a kimberwicke to try to transition down from a tom thumb, but if she won't respond to the kimberwicke is it safe for me to back to a snaffle especially since her mouth seems to actually be numb, she's not hard mouthed in the traditional sense of the word. Right now my reins are basically useless. I am half halting, pull and releasing, sea sawing, everything I can think of and she just keeps at it. It's not like shes bolting or anything. She never does anything I can't ride out, but she ignores me until I say whoa and then she stops whatever it was (backing, trotting, cantering, sidepassing, what ever) Its kind of like cruise control, she just keeps doing the last thing I asked until I tell her to do something else.

              She def popped the shoulder, poor use of the term half pass, but it was that strong of a reaction. I am trying to get this horse to allow be to have some leg contact with out taking off like a rocket, and forget voice commands, used a canter pole a kiss and she leapt to a canter like she was running in the derby-that was with no leg cues.

              She really does think and trys to do what I ask before I even ask for it. I think that is our primary problem. I ask for one step back she gives 3, I ask for one step sideways she, she sidepasses across the entire pole. She knows the steps for opening a gate from horseback by herself, all I have to do is hold on the the rope (competition).

              I use an exaggerated seat to try to get her to walk slow without being in her mouth all the time. Think western pleasure belly button to the sky type seat.
              Until I got Sophie I always rode "foreward" horses.

              Don't try to sit the trot, post and let her relax her back and swing. When she gets rushy ask for a transition to a walk and start over. You said she will "Woah" so use a gentle squeeze on the reins and if that doesn't work use your voice.

              Ground poles will also slow some (not all...ask me about my eventing pony)horses
              I wasn't always a Smurf
              Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
              "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
              The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

              Comment


              • #8
                Being a primary western rider might you try a hackamore? Being western the breaks are installed just need to use different points instead of the mouth if she has scar tissue. If she came with a curb than it's all leverage which doesn't always translate well in the english world. You can try the snaffle but if she's running through a kimber than it might or might not work. If you try a hackamore don't use the long shanked one see if you can find an english one with the shorter shanks. Pal mare wore a curb to the cans and a hackamore to the dressage ring. As far as I know it was legal but I was not showing her dressage and to my knowledge they were local schooling shows not the Olympics.
                I agree with the access to some awesome trainers in your area.
                Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                Originally Posted by alicen:
                What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

                Comment


                • #9
                  When I got my mare as a 4 yo she did the same thing -- everything was super-fast-forward. She had to learn balance and in general listening to me (still working on that ). The first few months, every lesson sounded like this: SLOW DOWN!!! SLOW THE &*^& DOWN!!!

                  Experiment with bits and bridle set ups. This is NOT about severity, but what gives you better access to the horse. Simply adding a flash (not tight!!!) to my dearest made a HUGE difference in the stability of the bit and therefore my ability to tone my aids down yet make them more hearable.

                  And then ride transitions, transitions, transitions. And that's at least two on each circle. The more the merrier.

                  Give your horse a chance to respond, but you also need to make your point so they can get the idea that hey, you're asking and NOW would be a good time to respond. Keep her balanced, help her trust that you keep her balanced.

                  Also flex her to the outside a bit and ask for a 45 degree legyield along the wall. Doesn't matter if you get it, just the idea that they have to think about what their feet are doing .
                  "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Walk/halt, trot/halt transitions spread throughout your schooling will help her learn to slow down. They will anticipate you asking for a halt so they aren't so likely to go rocketing everywhere. However, when you get her at a normal pace don't overuse the transitions because they'll continue to make her slower because she will still be anticipating a stop. But for now, it sounds like she really needs to learn that a "Whoa!" is in your deck of cards and that it will be drawn often and at any time.
                    Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
                    Thank you for everything boy.


                    Better View.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      First, the caveat...I'm not a dressage rider...but I do ride a pony who sounds remarkably like yours. She's focused on forward and anticipates everything, and is easily bored. She's also most likely a quarter horse/cow horse of some sort, with the downhill build that often comes with them. I read the thread to borrow some of the help coming your way.

                      I've found great success using a waterford bit and the "rein-aide" elastic inserts. I imagine neither is legal in competition, but it sounds like you're not worrying about that right now. I had used both snaffles and kimberwickes without much luck, the pony would still just lean on the bit rather than slow or halt. Since I've made the switch, pony is moving much better, giving and relzxing, and SLOOOWLY learning to lift her shoulders up and her weight back, just a tiny bit.

                      I also second the suggestion of lots of transitions. We mix it up constantly...walk A to K, halt, sitting trot to H, canter to B, walk, halt, turn on the forehand....trying to eliminate the anticipation element. After I've done lots of transitions, she is usually more inclined to focus on the more repetitive things she finds boring, like trot circles.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I had one. He had a "go" button and no "slow" button. Took a while. We did a million circles. Spiraling- if behaving, increase the spiral, if too forward, make circle smaller.
                        We did alot of free-form, which is using the whole inner ring, and changing direction whenever you feel like it (use a step or two of straight before starting a new shape) It backs them down and gets them more on their hind end as well. Kind of like figure 8's that have no conformity.

                        If you want to slow down, always remember that everything is a pulse or a rhythm-hands hold release, hold release. Never pull back. Thrust your seat into your hands as you hold release. If you pull your hands back to stop or slow, it becomes a pulling match and horse will win. If you hold release, you've ended that evasion of blowing thru the aids. It may take some time, but you'll be gaining alot:
                        ending the pulling match
                        getting horse more off your seat and leg to slow
                        listening to you better
                        horse will have to work off his haunches more, therefore beginning some collection.

                        Comment

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