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Need Help- moving a horse forward

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  • Need Help- moving a horse forward

    I bought a 5 year old QH for a project horse over the summer. He is great on the ground and wonderful lounging with and without side reins- moves forward nicely. However, when I get on him he turns into a different horse- I have checked his back, he is not sore. The saddle fits great.
    He will walk forward fine, but once I trot he turns into a monster. He does not want to move forward at all- flicking his head around- it doesn't matter if I have contact on the reins or not. He dives behind the bit and pins his ears. If I hit him on his butt to try and move him forward he just shuts down and becomes even worse. I want to make this a pleasant experience for him. Please help!

  • #2
    Have you had him totally checked over by your vet?


    • #3
      It still sounds like a physical issue...but if it isn't, what other things have you tried?

      Working outside the arena? How is he in a wide-open field? In a group of other horses? I might do some work away from the arena, on trails, or with a buddy to encourage him to GO FORWARD first.
      “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
      ? Albert Einstein



      • Original Poster

        My vet has looked him over and we can't seem to find any physical problems. I work him in an open field- i don't have an area. I might have to try having someone ride with me. Thanks for the ideas and keep them coming!


        • #5
          did the qh have any western training? I ask because the western pleasure ride with no leg and use a "spur stop"..so if you are using a normal supporting leg, he possibly doesn't understand you..and then you use your heels/spurs to go forward and he just gets ticked because he's doing what he has been taught and that's to stop at the pressure, so he might be confused.

          I'd say watch that your leg isn't constatly on or that you are squeezing constantly....bump bump bump with calves at the trot rhythm and carry a crop to gently reiterate that the bump means move forward (tap crop behind calf) and maybe just have light contact (if he was originally western trained, get the forward first, then the contact)

          That, or he's a really sensitive horse and just make sure you're not squeezing too hard with your thighs and calves.....just my 2 cents...
          I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!


          • #6
            Do you use voice commands on the lunge? If so, try using those under saddle too until he learns what your aids mean.
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            • #7
              And get someone to lounge him while you ride (so he listens to the lounger not the rider then eventually both, then the rider only with ground person as backup), or you lounge while someone else rides.


              • #8
                Does he know what "LEG" means when you're walking? And what, exactly do you mean when you say he "gets worse" if you apply the whip? Which ought to be applied behind your leg, not on his butt, as a forward aid.
                Click here before you buy.


                • Original Poster

                  Well he has had no western training to my knowledge- he is super green. I don't think he knows exactly what leg means yet. When I tap him with the whip behind my leg he sort of threatens me by pinning his ears, throwing his head up and not moving anymore forward than he was before I used the whip.
                  He is great with voice commands on the lounge and I have tryed using them when I am on him and they don't seem to work. Oh and I forgot to add he is very barn sour. I am surely going to see if I can find someone to lounge him while I am on him that sounds like a good idea.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by connemaraeventer View Post
                    Well he has had no western training to my knowledge- he is super green. I don't think he knows exactly what leg means yet. When I tap him with the whip behind my leg he sort of threatens me by pinning his ears, throwing his head up and not moving anymore forward than he was before I used the whip.
                    He is great with voice commands on the lounge and I have tryed using them when I am on him and they don't seem to work. Oh and I forgot to add he is very barn sour. I am surely going to see if I can find someone to lounge him while I am on him that sounds like a good idea.
                    Lunge or longe, not lounge.

                    Apart from that, it sounds like a good plan.
                    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


                    • #11
                      I am rehabbing a mare that has been taught to fight back and is resistant to ANYTHING offered by the rider, but it is starting to become clear that no one ever explained what things mean, apparently just got on and kicked and yanked which she understandably objected to.

                      So I have really had to think about showing her what I want without provoking a fight. She hates the feeling of my leg. Well, she will have to get used to it, but in the meantime it obviously doesn't mean "go" to her.
                      I taught her voice commands on the lunge.
                      We had a breakthrough yesterday on the go forward. She was walking on voice command but stopping and threatening to rear when I put any leg on her. So a friend of mine stood about 10 feet from her with a carrot. I said 'walk' and tap tap tap with my heels, lightly, no leg pressure, just really annoying. She took a step (mostly to go get the carrot, she was trying to ignore the tapping that was pissing her off), the tap tap stopped. She stopped, tap tap tap again. Every once in a while she got a bite of carrot. There was a small amount of weeping and wailing and gnashing teeth but in a few minutes the light bulb went on and she started walking to the tap tap only, no carrot and no verbal commands and stopped wringing her tail and pinning her ears.

                      Sometimes you just have to get that simple and basic with them.
                      For the trot we are going to put her on the lunge. I am going to say 'trot' and tap harder, the person on the other end of the line will reinforce it (gently) with a lunge whip. Carrots will be included.

                      I offer this because if this works with an older mare with a history of being unrideable, it should work, and much faster, with a young horse that is a clean slate. When what you are doing isn't working, try breaking it down into something simpler.
                      Nina's Story
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                      • #12
                        if you rule out a training issue...

                        It might be ulcers. My guy was a non forward kind of TB. Scoped for ulcers and sure enough they were there. I did the 30 days UG full dose, 30 days, 1/4 dose, feed only BS carb guard, alfalfa pellets and hay. T/O is 24/7 and supplements are MSM and tract guard. He improved rather quickly. A year later he is a different horse, mentally, muscle wise and he is forward. I am totally anal about his diet, T/O and his only treat is alfalfa pellets.

                        Good Luck!!!