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equine body awareness improvement

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  • equine body awareness improvement

    So, my 5 yo Fjord gelding tripped at the canter in a well groomed indoor and proceeded to fall on his face last week. We were both fine and he is healthy and sound. He's not an overly trippy guy, but so laid back that I don't think he tries too hard either so I'm trying not to over think this but going forward I'd like to help him avoid a repeat. I don't have any hills or rugged trails to help get him thinking more. My trainer focuses on gymnastics during winter so that should help. I'm hoping to have her help me with cavaletti soon, otherwise I do trot poles and lateral work, other creative ideas?

  • #2
    lol...I had a 3-4 year old TB do that to me. Just cantering along the long side.....and down we go. He basically did a full rotation. We were both fine....and he got a bit better about watching his footing

    Eric Smilely suggested an interesting exercise in a xc clinic. He said scatter some ground poles around the ring. Don't do any measured distances....then just ride around and do your flat work. As a rider...basically ignore the poles on the ground. Make it the job of the horse to sort out their feet. I thought it sounded like something good to do when stuck in the indoor on a green horse
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


    • #3
      You can be creative in helping him learn where to put his feet and be constantly aware of them. I used to do lots of these silly things to prepare a young'n for trail work.
      I've used old tires, real logs, stacks of hay or bales w/o wire or string, mounting block, tree stumps, etc. The object of these things is to make him think about getting over, upon, or through things. Teaching him to step upon things and just stand and then step down will help also.

      I also like small water puddles, small tree limbs, blankets on the ground, tarps, to maneuver over or through, actually anything to make him think and figure out how to place his feet.

      These things do work, I even do some thing backing up. That works beautifully once they figure it out.

      Good Luck!! and Have Fun!!
      "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


      • #4
        I don't advocate this one way or another, but a Thoroughbred racing farm I used to work for had a TTouch woman come in and do a figure eight wrap with polo wraps that went around the horse's chest, tied over his back, and around his rump to try and teach him some body awareness. Horse was a 17.2hh barely 3 year old and had no idea where his feet were. Did it work? I have no idea, but found it interesting anyway.
        www.cobjockey.com - Eventing the Welsh Cob


        • #5
          Falling on his face will do more to make him pay attention than anything else...horses really don't like to fall down and even the most laid back will usually remember THAT for a long time. Poles and lots of hacking out definitely a good excercise too. Glad you are both ok!! Really hate it when they do that...
          Last edited by kt-rose; Jan. 26, 2012, 06:26 AM.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks, those are some great ideas and it seems just keeping things interesting goes a long way. I can try out the poles right away. I have a hard time bringing my creativity into riding, so I really appreciate the ideas. The polo 'body wraps' sound interesting, I'll research that b/c I'm very curious...lol.


            • #7
              TTEAM, TTouch. Lots of books and videos made for this sort of thing.