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Suggestions to put some OOmph in a lazy mare

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  • Suggestions to put some OOmph in a lazy mare

    Obviously, I am an idiot. Thanks to those who posted helpful suggestions.

    To those who did not like the post and gave it a "bad" rating, well, too bad for you.
    Last edited by lorilu; Dec. 17, 2012, 05:58 PM. Reason: Obviously, I am an idiot. Thanks to those who posted helpful suggestions.

  • #2
    A pair of spurs, a dressage whip, and the consistent application of both on your part until she gets the message. Lazy is not a metabolic issue, it's a training (or lack of it) issue.
    Click here before you buy.


    • #3
      I had a gelding that didn't want to go forward. No obvious lameness even after a full lameness exam including x-rays. A couple years later he developed laminitis and diagnoised as IR. We ended up euthanizing him at age 5 years when his coffin bone collapsed. His only early on signs were not wanting to go forward and bucking when saddled (but not with a rider).

      It is most likely that she is just lazy but it can sometimes be something else........
      RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
      May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
      RIP San Lena Peppy
      May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010


      • #4
        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
        A pair of spurs, a dressage whip, and the consistent application of both on your part until she gets the message. Lazy is not a metabolic issue, it's a training (or lack of it) issue.


        • #5
          Just wanted to add...we had this same exact issue with my daughters mare, and unfortunately, with artificial aids, had to "explain" to her that she COULD move forward, at the pace asked of her...it was pretty remarkeable how fast she picked up on it though


          • #6
            With my very lazy mare, who didn't respond to any amount of dressage whips, spurs, and consistent applications of these aids, I was told to get a feed called "Summer's Heat." Its for racehorses as I understand, but you do have to start incorporating it extremely slowly, or they can get sick. I decided to sell that mare and let her live a happy life as a trail horse, so I don't know how well it works, but it was recommended to me by quite a few different trainers.


            • #7
              Is the horse over weight?

              Is the horse physically fit?

              Where is the horse ridden? (ring only or on trails, in fields)

              I find that some horses are ALWAYS asking can we stop now, how about now, now? What you want is that they listen to you, as to when to stop or slow down. Obviously the same can be said that some horses are ALWAYS ready to step up the pace and continually ask the same question of the rider. Again, you want them to not change the pace, until asked.

              If this is a change in behavior, I would be careful of lameness, laminitis. I know a lady who has an IR horse who had foundered before. She took 3 weeks off from riding this summer during the extreme heat, but didn't back his food down. When she started riding again he was reluctant to move on. At first she thought it was a lack of fitness, then she worried it may be a recurrence of EPM, and lastly she thought about IR and foundering. She had the vet out and he had foundered with a slight rotation. He is in shoes and pads with limited turnout (still, recovering, but SLOWLY). He should be rideable again, but she will have to be MUCH more vigilant about listening to her horse and watching for signs of discomfort.

              If all checks out ok, and its just your horse being obstinate, then spur and whip and open spaces are your friend.


              • #8
                I wouldn't go seeking weaponry on a 5 year old, especially a slow developing Lippy!
                Go back to ground work. Get your work ethic on the lunge, and your impulsion in hand. Lots and lots of trot halts. Make them fun but also insist they be prompt.
                Start each ride with 10 minutes on the lunge and a handf of trot halts. She will be zippity dodah in no time.
                chaque pas est fait ensemble


                • #9
                  agree with Azul Blue, Deltawave & Petstore. If she has no health issues, spurs & dressage whip when mounted. Start on the ground with whip & move up (literally) from there,

                  I have a lazy Friesian x mare. She is lazy in warm weather, especially. When I first started riding her, she reminded me of my childhood stubborn shetland pony. I am sure I looked like Thelwell cartoon with my legs blurry trying to get her to just m-o-v-e.

                  Having ridden Morgans & Saddlebreds who were always willing to move out, this was new to me (I should add that I was never successful in getting that pony to move, except when it was feeding time & we were headed back to the barn). I really, really thought I should be able to get a response without spurs, and I still do, but instructor convinced me that it was not copping out to use them.

                  A clinician explained it like this: when you ask for something on a horse like her, make it like a lightening crack from God (spurs & whip) & expect a response. Yes, eventually you want quieter cues, but start with the strong ones, then reward the response. Then you can tone it down once she figures it out.


                  • #10
                    In addition, I have found that open spaces and trail riding situations can (but not always) make the horse more focused on the rider because they are out of the safe zone. Because they are out of the ring, they are more "up" and are sometimes more responsive. That may allow you to get the uuummpph that you are looking for.

                    This is not a solution for every horse, but I like to do it with my young guy. He is not pokey, but he needs practice focusing on me and "depending" on me a little more at times. I do this often because I love any excuse to get out of the ring every now and again.
                    "The Prince" aka Front Row
                    Cavalier Manor


                    • Original Poster

                      In general tho I always get reminded why I ask so few questions here.
                      Last edited by lorilu; Dec. 17, 2012, 05:59 PM.


                      • #12
                        The use of whip and spurs is a means of ENFORCING THE AIDS, not "weaponry". A horse may have an opinion, but what we ask of them when they're working is OBEDIENCE. If they refuse to provide it, we have several choices:

                        1. Make it clear(er) to them what we are asking
                        2. Punish them if a clear and fair request is ignored
                        3. Accept whatever it is horsey-poo feels like giving us today
                        4. Look for a supplement to change horse's temperament/behavior (which is virtually never the issue anyway)
                        5. Have a trainer ride the horse, who wil almost certainly do what I've written below:

                        What, exactly, is the horse's response to your leg? If one of my horses decides on any given day to ignore a clearly-given leg aid, they get the aid repeated and if the signal is still ignored there is IMMEDIATE follow-up with vigorous, quick, and absolutely fair application of whip and/or spur. (or the end of the rein on the shoulder if I'm unarmed with either) At this point I absolutely anticipate the horse bouncing forward briskly, somewhat indignant or not, depending on their temperament. At which point (I am careful to not have caught them in the mouth as I was the one applying the correction) they get a pat on the neck, a "good boy/girl" (since they obeyed the stronger FORWARD aid) and we try once more with a normal leg aid.

                        ALL of mine have had this enforced and re-inforced periodically through their lives. It does not take long for them to get it, at which point the corrections are few and far between. FAR better, IMO, to install and insist upon response to light and subtle aids than to resort to kicking and thumping on them all the time. I rarely use (or need) spurs and only occasionally carry a whip, since my horses know that LEG MEANS GO OR GOD HELP YOU.
                        Click here before you buy.


                        • Original Poster

                          And yes, I am pissy at times.

                          Last edited by lorilu; Dec. 17, 2012, 06:00 PM.


                          • #14
                            Who is treating anyone like an idiot? This is standard, basic horse training. Leg means go forward. A horse that ignores the aids is punished, assuming the aid is understood in the first place. What does she do when you put your leg on? No whip, no spurs--just leg? If to her whip and spurs are normal aids, then you've already got a horse that's so dead to the aids that the leg means nothing. She won't respond to less than whatever it is you're using. Pretty sure most of us here live in the real world, too. And have been through this from time to time with a variety of horses. This method is (IME) 100% effective. Sounds like the horse has your number. Do you have a trainer?
                            Click here before you buy.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lorilu View Post
                              My 5yo Lip mare is lazy, there is no getting around it. While she is getting a bit more forward, she really would rather not.

                              She currently gets SafeChoice (Original). She has no metabolic issues that I know of (I bred her, so I know her whole history).

                              Is there such a thing as a "hot" feed?

                              Wow, never thought I would ask about this!!

                              If you didn't want people to suggest the obvious you should have mentioned what you are trying/have tried previously in your original post..

                              That being said I understand where you are coming from would not suggest using 'weapons'. I 2nd going back to lunge line over trying to beat it out of her. I always go back to the lunge line when I start having problems in the saddle and it has always worked for me, especially with younger horses.

                              It usually not in a horses nature to be that lazy unless they are hurting or really out of shape. It doesn't sound like the 2nd of the two. If you don't start seeing a difference on the lunge line then there is probably something going on physically. I wish you the best of luck with your young mare!


                              • #16
                                When I bought my TB she was the laziest, least forward, TB I had ever met (and I have met a fair few TBs!). Previous owners/riders had to use spurs and she was still not what I consider forward, and it was not for lack of proper aid application and back-up as appropriate. She was slightly underweight (needed her teeth done and isn't an easy keeper), but not ridiculously so. She became a whole new, forward horse with very high quality hay (30lbs/day) and higher fat and protein feed (rice bran pellets and alfalfa pellets) and a properly balanced diet (I used FeedXL to find the best balance with feed and supplements available in my area). Obviously, I also had her teeth done (so she could use the food I was feeding her!) and made sure I continued to be clear with my aids, didn't restrict forward when she offered, and backed the aids up appropriately.

                                A previous young horse I had also became not as forward as she had been previously and it proved to be a magnesium deficiency. Three days on a magnesium supplement (I used SmartCalm), and she was a happy, forward horse again.


                                • #17
                                  OP I feel your pain. Don't panic.. sometimes they grow out of it. I understand the use of artificial aids, and I also know that if you "use up all your bullets" then you will have a horse that needs to be re-started. You won't be able to sell the horse until it is "fixed", so take your time and don't give up.. and look for some open fields. Some of these horses are just waiting for us to pick a fight. Do something that you know the horse can do and then make a huge deal about rewarding them. Now I just need to take some of my own advice!


                                  • #18
                                    Corn Oil


                                    • #19
                                      Lorilu I have a suggestion for you.
                                      It's a test actually. Get a helper and arm him/ her with a bucket filled with several handfuls of her favorite grain. Do your normal workout with her and once she has been warmed up and is listening, have your helper come and give her a little grain treat. Have your helper walk forward and while you follow and feed a few treats. Once your mare understands that the bucket of goodies is there for her, send your helper to the other side of the arena and have her shake the bucket once or twice to get your mares attention. This is where you should move your mare out and strongly ask her to go toward your helper. Be aware that you may get a lot of horse and be prepared to go with her. If she doesn't go strongly toward your helper, you should start to investigate other issues that may be affecting her. I have tried this a few times with my guys as a test....I always got more horse than I could ride I hope this gives you some ideas. Best of luck!


                                      • #20
                                        A clinician explained it like this: when you ask for something on a horse like her, make it like a lightening crack from God (spurs & whip) & expect a response. Yes, eventually you want quieter cues, but start with the strong ones, then reward the response. Then you can tone it down once she figures it out.
                                        This is EXACTLY how our trainer explained this method to us...We put it into play, and my daughters horse detested being cracked so "unexpectedly" that she would never ever again ask, "awww, do i HAVE to"...It worked like a charm, AND she was spared the "weaponry" MUCH less than if we had started with "love taps" and progressed from there...She would have learned to shut out the artificial aids.

                                        And also agree with Deltawave ALL the way! We are asking of our horses only what we KNOW they can give us. If asked, and ignored...a sharp reprimand is in order...No different than raising kids (not using physical discipline with children obviously)...but its no different than discipling them....other than the only way to discipline your horse is through quick and precise application of an artificial aid...You can not punish your horse any other way...I mean, you could try and stand them in the corner, or take away their treats, but I don't think they'd get the picture.