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Help with going forward!

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  • Help with going forward!

    I landed an amazing job for the summer which entails alot of keeping horses worked and getting a couple back into shape.

    All of these horses are Foxhunters with a couple doubling as jumpers but there is one little odd ball in the barn. Kiyus belongs to the owner's ex-wife. He was too spooky for the hunt field so he just hacks around the property. He is a absolute dressage school master. He can't do any of the upper level moves that i know of but he is a superstar with the half pass, leg yields, haunches in, and shoulder-in. I mean he is an complete auto pilot ride. Even after being off for the majority of the past year he was half passing across the ring like he'd be doing it every day.

    Problem is....He has a lovely light and round canter however when he truly elevates off his front end he feels as if we are very collected and not going forward. He is moving forward but he just feels as if we aren't going anywhere. Is this normal? I've been on a semi-retired GP Dressage horse before and I don't remember having this same feeling. With Kiyus he will stay light and off his forehand but the minute he truly raises up and rocks back onto his haunches more it just feels as if we aren't going anywhere. Any Ideas? I understand it is hard to tell without seeing but I don't really have any eyes on the ground so to say as I ride alone most the time.

  • #2
    It is not uncommon in young and/or unfit horses to get a "stuck" canter when the horse is not strong enough to carry weight on his haunches in collection and push with his hind legs (impulsion.) It's kind of like the passag-ey trot where the horse looks all fancy with his front legs and his back is hollow and his hind legs are trailing out behind him.

    You need to get him strong enough in his haunches so that he can move forward in collection. That means lots of very forward (working or medium) canter in a longer, lower outline for now, while you do all the other work (transistions, etc.) that will strengthen up his hind end.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

    Comment


    • #3
      Lunging is always a good idea to help strengthen his back and haunches and get them forward from the ground. I rode a horse that was similar to this, he would start to canter, but felt "stuck" and didn't cover ANY ground. Part of it was because he wasn't straight. so we had crookedness to work through, and he did not want to travel straight and forward. My trainer and i did lots of transitions within the gate. start your canter work then ask from your leg for more until he gives you something you can work with, then bring him back through your seat and half halts, then ask him to go forward agian, then bring him back. do it on the long sides and on a circle - so that he begins to use himself and you have an actual canter you can work with. I ended up with a very forward thiking horse that was finally straight after a few weeks of this work. Good luck!

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        he is very straight luckily. He is just a little chubby and needing to get back in shape. He can be very ground covering in his canter work and all other gaits are fine. But for some reason when we work out in the field he gets all fancy and almost tries to show off. He is very rideable but that canter just seems to get stuck unless i really get him moving off my leg which gets him mad and he starts to get a bit strung out. In the ring or around the pastures vs the open field he will move on out by himself nice and relaxed but the minute we cross the bridge he collects himself up and just gets 'show-y' He is still very relaxed in his back and light in the bridle he just seems to be feeling the need to show off....perhaps it is his arab half coming out.

        I have been asking him to extend and collect his canter in the ring on the long sides as well as lots of circles of various sizes. He is also drilled with many transitions and he is always eager to push off from behind.

        Could this also be a lack of proper work back in the day combined with an extremely smart horse? When he was being worked he was ridden very relaxed with a timid rider who always expected him to spook. Carry a dressage whip and work him in dressage tack and you'd think he has been in work forever without a super extended vacation.

        Comment


        • #5
          Sounds like you do not have a "dressage" problem. You have a basic riding/obedience problem when you are out in the field. Many, if not most, horses will act differently out in a field--sometimes it is because they are away from the barn and the herd--sometimes it just seems to be the wide open area makes them feel a little high.

          When you ride in the field, you may want to work the horse down a little bit to relax him in that environment. Do whatever you need to do to get his attention to focus on you. Do not canter until he is thoroughly warmed up and relaxed. If he offers that incorrect, stuck canter, then box him with your calves and send him forward every time. Do not allow it-- go back to the trot if necessary-- until he settles.
          "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            see that is the thing...while he is in the field he is very light and very much so paying attention and waiting for my every cue and very willing to move left or right off my leg with lovely bends around my leg for circles and everything he just seems to spend more type up than moving forward. This is a horse that pretty much goes on auto-pilot. I've been told maybe with time coming back into work he will develop all his muscles back and the issue will be solved!

            Comment


            • #7
              This thread is very timely...today was our "canter" day and after 10-15 minutes of walk and lateral work we went right to canter. To the right, everything was relatively fine but to the left I expereinced that "stuck" feeling. So...we galloped...a lot! We did lots of transitions from canter to trot and back up which helped tremendously.

              A little background...my horse is coming back from being treated for Erlichia (tick-borne illness). He had a fever of 105 for 5 days 5 weeks ago and this is the first week I have really felt I could push him a bit. We had been working on collection before he got sick so I know he is not back to the fitness level he was prior to being treated.

              The lesson I learned today was that going foward and having him alternate between stretching and being picked up at the canter was the best remedy for that "stuck" feeling. I'm certain this is a strength issue so hard work and consistency are what will get us through.

              Good luck!
              http://community.webshots.com/user/beezer44

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LiveLikeUrDyn04 View Post
                see that is the thing...while he is in the field he is very light and very much so paying attention and waiting for my every cue and very willing to move left or right off my leg with lovely bends around my leg for circles and everything he just seems to spend more type up than moving forward. This is a horse that pretty much goes on auto-pilot. I've been told maybe with time coming back into work he will develop all his muscles back and the issue will be solved!
                You said that he does not do it in the ring--just in the field. So do you think that he has all his muscles back when he is in the ring and that they disappear when he goes out to the field.

                Methinks you are wasting our time. Get a good dressage trainer.
                "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

                Comment


                • #9
                  Eclectic Horseman Quote:
                  Originally Posted by LiveLikeUrDyn04
                  see that is the thing...while he is in the field he is very light and very much so paying attention and waiting for my every cue and very willing to move left or right off my leg with lovely bends around my leg for circles and everything he just seems to spend more type up than moving forward. This is a horse that pretty much goes on auto-pilot. I've been told maybe with time coming back into work he will develop all his muscles back and the issue will be solved!

                  You said that he does not do it in the ring--just in the field. So do you think that he has all his muscles back when he is in the ring and that they disappear when he goes out to the field.

                  Methinks you are wasting our time. Get a good dressage trainer.



                  That was rude!
                  http://community.webshots.com/user/beezer44

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Buzz4, I agree. That comment sounds like somethnig from TOB.
                    I am sure you will get some good answers.
                    Sending him forward worked for my horse, with less emphasis on being round or up....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Alot of times a horse and rider can get into a kind of 'patting the ground' canter that is very soft and pleasant, but just isn't active; it usually isn't as straight as it should be, though it may not feel that crooked and may be very comfortable. It's kind of where one finds the working canter wasn't 'working enough'. It is very deceptive, but I think the best way to 'test' a collected canter is can you go right into an extended canter and back to a collected canter. It's not a 100% foolproof test but it can help. "If you can't get out of it, it's wrong" is good advice.

                      A collected canter should feel very active and wound up. It's very hard to get the right feel, it helps to have some eyes on the ground watching you and telling you waht they see. It should feel like if you relaxed for a second the horse would fly forward.

                      Riding a schooled horse can often be much more challenging than a less schooled one. They can learn to 'pat the ground and go around' and be hard to get out of that. Takes a lot of leg.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        I'd like to thank everyone for their comments....Kiyus and I have seem to overcome our little issue. He is becoming better and better every day! I am just falling in love. This horse used to not even like attention at his stall....he'd run from the stall front when you walked up and now he nickers and he is just pleasant and i am sooo thrilled he is finally tuning back up and gaining muscle.

                        Just for giggles I had a kid take pictures riding sooo......Don't kill me but feel free to critique...

                        http://photos-c.ak.facebook.com/phot...49418_4837.jpg

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What a sweet horse!!! Isn't it great that we have these incredible creatures to share our lives with? you have a wonderful position and your horse seems so happy in his work. i'm glad things seem to have turned around for you and this sweetheart of an animal. Give him lots of love!

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