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Training funk...

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  • Training funk...

    My trainer and I have been working my horse pretty hard recently preparing for Galway. He had about two weeks that were super light due to her being gone, weather, and time constrains before we went into "bootcamp".

    I've noticed that since being put back to work, he's just...blah. He's being really dead to the left leg especially, and has even earned himself a couple of spur marks from trying to get him to lift his back and keep it up instead of cheating. He is very athletic, and is able to handle the work load and our level (Novice) and our trainer wants to move us up to Training next year. He was worked on by a chiropractor and is scheduled to get his teeth done this week.

    We hack out once a week, and jump school once a week as well to keep him from getting too bored with the flatwork. He is learning how to carry and use himself differently. He used to tend to jump with his chest, so we're working on that. He can also cheat and go into frame on the flat, but still have a hollow back and brace against the bit without opening his mouth the slightest, so that has been our Dressage Nemesis so far.

    I just feel like we're at a point in our training where he's hit a wall. He used to be a bit more hot, and is quite lazy now. His diet is Orchard/Bermuda, 2lbs of Equidae, and 2lbs of hay pellets. I am switching him over to Equus Fiber Max Omega and will stop feeding the Equidae and hay pellets. No supplements other than electrolytes.

    A friend of mine went through this with her gelding, but he had a few lameness issues on top of everything and chronic just NQR syndrome, and this year they had their breakthrough and are doing great. Any tips, advice, or "I went through that!" stories would be appreciated. I want to push him through this, but I'm also frustrated, and worried that I'm forcing him to do work that he doesn't want to do.
    runnjump86 Instagram

    Horse Junkies United guest blogger

  • #2
    Maybe his fitness has not yet caught up to the work he is doing. My prelim and intermediate horses go through a lazy phase when getting fit, where they are "blah" for awhile and then after a few weeks, they go from feeling tired from the work to feeling fit from the work. Then their energy levels rise dramatically and I have to learn how to ride them all over again. :-) I have found this to be true for the lower level youngsters as well, but not as much, probably because they never really get that fit.

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    • #3
      Sounds bored to me, if you're sure he's healthy. Try taking the flatwork out into the fields and woods. One hack a week isn't enough!
      Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

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      • #4
        I agree with the "might be bored" theory. A great way to spice things up while building fitness is to GET OUT! Get out of the ring and hit the great wild. Some of my most productive flatwork is in a big field behind the barn away from everything. The subtle terrain changes are great muscle builders (don't forget, the heart is a muscle too ) and it beats the sandbox blues.

        If there are some obstacles you can hop over in between leg yields that's even better, just do your flatwork in your jumping saddle. It really breaks up the tedium and you will be amazed at how much more good energy you can generate.

        All this said assuming that there is no physical issue . . . blah blah blah . . . usual disclaimer speech

        Don't feel alone in this, the funk has gotten us all at one time or another. Good luck!
        Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

        The Grove at Five Points

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        • #5
          ARE you sure he's healthy? I went through this with my guy for a couple of weeks earlier this fall-- he is the laziest horse in the world at the best of times, he was coming back from colic surgery in April, it was hot, so there were tons of excuses, but I just kept feeling like I was driving a car with the parking brake on. Finally my trainer and I worked on really "galloping" him to the fences... and, nada. Like, he was barely cantering no matter how hard I tried to get him to go. Normally he is like an old schoolhorse 90% of the time and an idiot 2- year old the other 10, but he wasn't even spooking when deer/ wild turkeys leapt into our path.

          We pulled blood and his WBC was a little elevated, showing that he was fighting an infection of some kind-- my vet suggested putting him on antibiotics for a week, and either that worked he was just about over it on his own because after only a few doses of SMZs he was suddenly himself again. Which isn't exactly the Tigger of the horse world, more like Eeyore, but he is competing at Prelim and pretty fit-- this was after two months of solid fitness work.

          He never had any physical symptoms, shiny coat, good appetite, seemingly bright, no respiratory issues, just no energy at all. When we ran the tests I was expecting a big fat nothing (but had my fingers crossed for a vitamin deficiency or something easy of course)-- I was shocked.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by RiverBendPol View Post
            Sounds bored to me, if you're sure he's healthy. Try taking the flatwork out into the fields and woods. One hack a week isn't enough!
            We live in Southern California...fields and woods are non-existent. And I agree once a week isn't enough, but with my schedule and the daylight growing shorter and shorter, its all I can do.

            Originally posted by ACMEeventing View Post
            I agree with the "might be bored" theory. A great way to spice things up while building fitness is to GET OUT! Get out of the ring and hit the great wild. Some of my most productive flatwork is in a big field behind the barn away from everything. The subtle terrain changes are great muscle builders (don't forget, the heart is a muscle too ) and it beats the sandbox blues.

            If there are some obstacles you can hop over in between leg yields that's even better, just do your flatwork in your jumping saddle. It really breaks up the tedium and you will be amazed at how much more good energy you can generate.

            All this said assuming that there is no physical issue . . . blah blah blah . . . usual disclaimer speech

            Don't feel alone in this, the funk has gotten us all at one time or another. Good luck!

            My trainer has banished me to a dressage saddle for flatwork because of my position challenges. I do agree that having something to pop over during a flatwork session could help. Cavaletti in a dressage saddle is nothing new to us!

            I wish we had a big field to work in. I get the best lengthenings on the trail! But, we don't have that luxury.

            Originally posted by Highflyer View Post
            ARE you sure he's healthy? I went through this with my guy for a couple of weeks earlier this fall--

            We pulled blood and his WBC was a little elevated, showing that he was fighting an infection of some kind--

            He never had any physical symptoms, shiny coat, good appetite, seemingly bright, no respiratory issues, just no energy at all. When we ran the tests I was expecting a big fat nothing (but had my fingers crossed for a vitamin deficiency or something easy of course)-- I was shocked.
            I've been wondering about this as well. When the vet is out to do his teeth I'll chat with her about it. I've even contemplated putting him back on alfalfa, which turned him into a crackhead, just for a change!
            runnjump86 Instagram

            Horse Junkies United guest blogger

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            • #7
              Originally posted by runNjump86 View Post
              We live in Southern California...fields and woods are non-existent. And I agree once a week isn't enough,
              I don't know So. California but I remember my friend in that area once told me that she didn't have trails or woods and her showjumper was bored and lost his excitement in the ring.

              So she and a friend found some very quiet rodes and got a place to park the trailer and would "trail-ride". I remember she used ace the first time and he was great. She now has others who join her on a regular basis.

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              • #8
                Wow, sorry you're having this issue but glad to know I'm not the only one! I get my guy out of the ring all the time but I think we are just getting tired of each other's company. He's feeling uninspired, bored, whatever lately. Last weekend I took him on a hunter pace and that really helped. He got to gallop with an old buddy and they generally behaved like idiots We're making one big push to the T3D this week and then he gets a big break for a few months.

                Basically, I feel like Lincoln is telling me where exactly I can shove my trot sets I expect a little downtime and fox hunting is all he needs to perk up. Great answers on here, very interesting about the "calm before the storm" theory of conditioning and the low grade infection.
                The big guy: Lincoln

                Southern Maryland Equestrian

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                • #9
                  Ok I have lived and boarded in So. Cal.

                  That's WAY too much dressage/flat work.

                  How about instead of 1 hack a week, 1 jump school and by my count 4 days of dressage (OMG I would want to die) can you change the schedule to something more like:

                  Day1: Flatwork (work on transitions and circles and work over poles.

                  Day2: Dressage

                  Day 3: Jump School

                  Day 4: Conditioning in a ring (Put a jump saddle on, go in the ring and do your trot sets and canters while in the ring but don't go for a frame. Instead work on balancing and better turns, flying changes etc.)

                  Day 5: Flatwork, dressage mix. Try not to get too hyped into a test or a frame.

                  Day 6: Hack

                  Day 7: Off.

                  That way he gets more variety. And don't be suckered.... you need foundational strength in dressage for jumping. But on the vertical is not the biggest key. And it certainly should not supersede having a joyful happy horse.

                  Its a shame you're so close to your event, because I would honestly suggest giving him a week off to find his joy again.

                  Good luck

                  ~Emily
                  "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

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                  • #10
                    bloodwork?

                    Just to be sure, pull some blood
                    breeder of Mercury!

                    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

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