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Getting the mareish mare in front of the leg :)

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  • Getting the mareish mare in front of the leg :)

    I have a lovely mare who is normally very willing and enjoys work. She is lazy, however. If give her a light leg aid and she ignores it, she gets a sharp tap with the whip...her response to this is not to lurch forward as it is with most horses, instead she pins her ears, swishes her tail, slows down and bucks. Wondering if anyone else has a mare like this and if you have any tips for getting her hot off the leg. Thanks!

  • #2
    Ah, welcome to my world.

    Is she really tight in the back? Does she just act out during warm up? Is this a recent thing?

    If this is a recent thing, do the old standby and check saddle fit first. The mare I lease started bucking on canter departs, turned out the saddle was pinching her wither.

    Other suggestion I have would be to not go to the whip right away. Ask with seat, light tap, then THUMP with your leg.

    If her back seems tight, maybe try riding warmup in a light seat and do some nice easy canter work. Seems to help my girl loosen up and gets her more responsive to going forward.

    Comment


    • #3
      How does she act on the lunge?

      This
      http://www.amazon.com/Fleck-Telescop...7512705&sr=8-1
      helped Sophie find foreward
      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


      • #4
        Check the fit of the saddle first.

        Then check if her back is tight. Does she do this only at certain times of the month? Worse on one side than the other? As in, will she yield to one leg, but kick at the other?

        They rarely do this just for fun, usually they are uncomfortable.

        Comment


        • #5
          I concur the check for pain. This includes saddle fit, back pain, ulcers. There are a couple of ulcer horses at the barn where my horse is, and when Lily (for example) is feeling sore she gets cranky.

          If you rule out pain and it's just a protest buck ride it forward.

          JMO
          Paula
          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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          • #6
            I agree with check for pain and saddle fit first. Second, make sure you get forward on the lunge. Third, if she bucks at your first whack, whack her again. She could be calling your bluff.
            http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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            • #7
              My mare isn't necessarily lazy, but she's not necessarily a volunteer worker or an overachiever-type mare. She's a very sweet and lovely horse, but her natural inclination is not to be hot off the leg. This is something that I have tried to put a lot of thought into. In the past, when I would touch with the whip, she would rather ignore me or even better swish the tail and tune me out-- if possible, get slower or buck. Recently, I decided to get to the root of things and I've taken my spurs off. No more begging on my part. She's very sensitive, so I ask quietly with the leg and if no response, I go to the whip, plain and simple. Start with small taps and up the ante until I get a genuine response, even if that means she's pissed off! Consistency and fairness are the most important factors. So now I'm riding sans spurs, my horse is more forward and I'm working less. She's very responsive to just the leg and, if necessary, light taps with the whip. She knows what's expected.

              In all this, I have just realized that I convince myself to compromise. I ask once, I don't get a sufficient response and I may ask again only to get the same response: nothing. But to some extent, my horse learns that she can be fussy or not move or not listen-- and I'm the one repeating myself or backing off.

              In the past, my "mareish mare" was the overachieving mare, so this change was hard for me. There is nothing wrong with my horse-- no lameness and regular saddle fittings. It's just her nature. But just like with any kid or person, it's my responsibility to be clear to her that she has a job with expectations. And honestly, I think she's happier not having the discussions.

              Whether you like the whip, spurs or the thump with the leg it's always important to get a change and to be fair. I can't ask my horse for things that she doesn't understand. She also likes me to acknowledge when she's been successful.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Well interestingly enough...I rode yesterday in my western saddle intent to ride out her bucks and really get after her. She did buck a bit in the beginning, but only little ones, then she was awesome about moving off the leg. We even got prompt, buck-free canter transitions. This tells me she is uncomfortable in my dressage saddle. It was like she bucked in the beginning because she was anticipating pain, but when it didnt hurt she stopped. The dressage saddle is now up for sale and I will be riding her in my western saddle until I can find a saddle she is comfortable with. Glad I posted on here, i should have tried the other saddle sooner

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                • #9
                  My girl started doing this after her recovery from EPM. Her saddle fits and Chiro says she looks great. So far our solution has been back to the longe reminding her to go when I ask! Also added some in hand work to get her to remember where her back feet are. Yesterday was much better so I think we are on the right track.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My horse is developing an attitude as he gets stronger. This is actually a plus for him, because he needed a little more of his own initiative and personality under saddle to really shine.

                    However, it also means I'm due at least one good buck every ride. At some point, he'll decide he has to disagree with me, buck, and if I ask again, same way, he will do what I want and be fabulous the rest of the ride. Key is appreciating that yes, I did get a response, and ask again rather than really correcting. If I had a problem with him bucking, I'm not sure exactly how I'd handle it... but once he gets it out of his system he is forward and in front of my leg. With anyone else, he bucks or takes off every time the whip touches him until about the 4th time in a row. He's not exactly the horse I can just put friends on and tell them to have fun...

                    I definitely would consider if it's cyclical or not in a mare, though. Hopefully it's just saddle fit and you will get a better fitting saddle soon!
                    Originally posted by Silverbridge
                    If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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                    • #11
                      Hey Frisky

                      "My mare isn't necessarily lazy, but she's not necessarily a volunteer worker"


                      OMG! this it too funny. The mare I am riding is so this profile. Can I use it in my sig line?
                      Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club! RIP my dear Avery ~3/21/1995-9/21/2011~

                      Extreme Cat!!! 2006 OTTB
                      Magic Cat - Final Demand

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sounds like a pain issue you hopefully have resolved but just in case:

                        Originally posted by frisky View Post
                        My mare isn't necessarily lazy, but she's not necessarily a volunteer worker or an overachiever-type mare. She's a very sweet and lovely horse, but her natural inclination is not to be hot off the leg. This is something that I have tried to put a lot of thought into. In the past, when I would touch with the whip, she would rather ignore me or even better swish the tail and tune me out-- if possible, get slower or buck. Recently, I decided to get to the root of things and I've taken my spurs off. No more begging on my part. She's very sensitive, so I ask quietly with the leg and if no response, I go to the whip, plain and simple. Start with small taps and up the ante until I get a genuine response, even if that means she's pissed off! Consistency and fairness are the most important factors. So now I'm riding sans spurs, my horse is more forward and I'm working less. She's very responsive to just the leg and, if necessary, light taps with the whip. She knows what's expected.
                        Be consistent, be persistent, and be fair. Follow through, wait for the appropriate response, and reward.

                        Originally posted by netg View Post
                        Key is appreciating that yes, I did get a response, and ask again rather than really correcting.
                        This too ^ Ime you will achieve much more by ignoring the inappropriate answers and re-asking, then rewarding the appropriate answers, than you ever do by punishing the inappropriate answers. You develop a much more willing and happy horse, who also understands your expectations and has a desire to respond positively.

                        "Expect much, reward little"
                        - always have high expectations, but reward the tinniest try with a release from pressure, a rest break, a rub, or all three. Then build off that try until you achieve your actual goal.

                        Furthermore, you don't have to go from 0-10 with your whip - your mare might be interpreting your corrections as unfair. When she ignores your seat and leg, you can wiggle the whip at her hind, make your wiggles bigger, then eventually touch, and increase the intensity of your touch. Release the instant she responds with the right answer (even if it was given with lots of attitude). If you provide more phases of ask, she has more of a chance to respond and will start to respond to the lower phases (ie, leg) as opposed to waiting for the higher phases (ie, touch with your whip). When you go straight from leg to whip you might not be allowing her sufficient time (in her mind) and thus some of the resistance she's displaying.
                        ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                        ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My 4 yr old mare does the same thing-no saddle problems, or any other. It is only in the warm up, then she is light and in front of the leg, but only after the warm up. It is less the more days in a row I ride, but I have a new baby, a full time job, and a 4th level horse so the most I can muster is 3-4 days a week. She isn't one to need lungeing, and I hate it but I have gone back to lungeing in hopes that it lessens the "wind up" phase of our ride. It has made that part of the ride shorter, but I still have to go through a little tough love so to speak. I have been told by a few trainers that this can be a young WB mare response. I don't know if I buy it, but am glad that once we have cantered, I can walk on a long rein, pick her back up and get working without any reminders of staying in front of my leg. My advice is to take off the spur and kick like crazy until she goes. Then lots of praise for going. I also found cantering in a half seat to be part of her warm up that works. I also never ever ever accept a half a$$ response for a forward transition, and always praise a forward one, even if she overdoes it (Canters instead of trot, etc). Try the exersize in the DT Heather Blitz articles too. It gets them super snappy!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Carolprudm how does the telescoping whip work? Is it heavy? Does it require much skill the get it out there and then come back? If its' like flyfishing then I'm in trouble!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 4wdNstraight View Post
                              Carolprudm how does the telescoping whip work? Is it heavy? Does it require much skill the get it out there and then come back? If its' like flyfishing then I'm in trouble!
                              The telescoping part didn't work well for me. It is stuck permanently in the extended position which is fine for me because I don't take it anywhere. It is also heavier than my normal whip.

                              However I have to say that I have had only to apply it to Sophie's butt ONCE. She had been happily ignoring my verbal commands and flicking the whip which didn't come anywhere near her. The first time she ignored me and felt the lash on her butt her reaction was priceless. Now I just have to carry it and she knows it's there. And she knows the difference between it and a regular whip. The lash is longer than the stock so I keep it rubberbanded to the stock
                              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


                              • #16
                                Your mare sounds like mine! She figures everything out that my gelding would never notice. The whip sounds good but I wish it wasn't so heavy.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Just another suggestion for a horse that sucks back and/or kicks instead of going forward with the whip:

                                  You can carry the whip upright and swish it back and forth, creating a noise. This can get a very nice forward response. (You can tip it forward over their mane; just be sure not to hit them over the ears! )

                                  The Brit rider who originally suggested this to me told me to use a short crop, so I started with that. But I soon found that a regular dressage whip works just fine and makes a very effective swooshing sound.

                                  Plus you look cool carrying a whip upright. Very 16th century.
                                  Ring the bells that still can ring
                                  Forget your perfect offering
                                  There is a crack in everything
                                  That's how the light gets in.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Tip

                                    RE,

                                    I have had this problem as well on my project horse (he stood in field unridden for years so doesn't see the point of forward, lol), Good tips given, I will add one...use the whip hard against your own boot to make a noise. For some reason, that sends them forward, without provoking the nappy response the whip actually against their hide does. Good luck!
                                    (you can also smack the whip on your boot for noise and use leg at same time. Smacking the boot at same time you use your leg reinforces the leg aide, so later, when you use just your leg, they take it more seriously)

                                    Another noise trick I have used , sounds a bit nutz but it works...I put a fanny pack around my waist and put some rocks or gravel in it. They make a clunking sound in rhythm with ride. Obviously, you can't do it forever, but with some horses, till they get into forward groove, it helps. Experiment first though with just trotting, it can make them too forward!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      wow these ideas are amazing!! Thank you! I'm going to try the boot and over head whizzing noises tonight!!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Try using a Flag NH style. Works really great on this mare who hates whips and spurs. Also, sitting very, very still is important to her. To much wiggling around also kills her desire to go forward.

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