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"those days" and trusting your horse again- WWYD?

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  • "those days" and trusting your horse again- WWYD?

    I've had my mare for about 8 months now. She came from a barn where she was basically being ridden exclusively by a pro. I'm an ammy by all accounts and for the first 5 months or so had my trainer ride her a few days a week supplemental to my riding. Her jumping was never an issue until maybe 4 months ago when she started to refuse things. Some days she's just about perfect and goes around calmly, is forgiving, and we school solid 2'9+ courses. Other days we can't even trot over a cross rail because she just will not go over certain jumps. She has become super dirty in her refusals and while I can usually sit them, she does get me off a few times a month it seems. It's gotten to the point where i'm extremely frustrated at the lack of consistency and cannot trust her to get over the fence. I ride her to the base of the fences to the best of my abilities and employ all the tactics I have in my arsenal so its not like i'm sitting pretty hoping to get to the other side. We've ruled out health issues and i'm honestly just trying to come up with a good long and short term solution, whatever that may be. TY!

  • #2
    Does she still jump for the pro?
    Originally posted by tidy rabbit
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.

    Comment


    • #3
      Might be time for a vet check- maybe your horse's hocks or back (or any number of other areas) are causing some pain?
      Originally posted by Martha Drum
      ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by ExJumper View Post
        Does she still jump for the pro?
        Yep, for the most part. I mean she still does the same sorts of things for her sometimes but obviously since she's been riding longer than iv'e been alive she can usually work through them a bit better than me.

        RTB: Thanks for the suggestion. Like I said in the original post, we've already had the vet out and she's fine health-wise. Its more of an internal/psychological issue I think.

        Comment


        • #5
          Some horses are just SO careful that they can't handle jumping something if it's not perfect. They'd rather refuse than jump it "wrong" or in bad form. I always considered there to be two kinds of stops: stopping because they are afraid of the *fence* and stopping because they are afraid of the *distance*. The fence part is easier to fix, can't you can kind of beat them over in (just using the phrase to mean ride aggressive, not implying that you actually beat them). When they are afraid of the distance it's much harder.

          I'll be honest, although this probably isn't what you want to hear. I had a horse like this and he had to be retired as a long stirrup horse. He just couldn't handle the stress of potentially jumping wrong. He went around better with a pro, but even then he would worry worry worry and sometimes shut down anyway.

          Comment


          • #6
            Go back to the regular pro ride one or two times a week. My horse is really intolerant of any kind of tension in the rider. (She rushes vs. stopping). Some horses you just need to not get flustered no matter what and when you do "ride them" they just get annoyed.

            It gets old, because you know what you are doing is not inherently bad or wrong. It also gets annoying because some days they are really tolerant and you think you have it licked.

            But for my horse, the regular pro ride helps, as has me changing my riding to suit her.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ovarian cyst.

              Comment


              • #8
                Are her nasty episodes related to her cycles? I have a 4 yo that is the sweetest thing in the world until she's in season. Mine won't stop, but she will land off a jump with her nose between her front ankles and try to unload me.

                There have been discussions lately in the Horse Care forum about using magnesium supplements to help horses focus. Maybe read those and discuss options with your pro.

                It is hard to trust one that is being dirty with you, but she may be having a hard time trusting you as well, mares are sensitive. A mare is only as confident as her rider. Sounds like you've ruled out pain/soundness issues, I'd explore the behavioral ones.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. I don't really have any great advice. I just know that sometimes it's worse to keep riding/jumping that type of horse for an ammy because you start anticipating a problem (with good reason) and ride defensively, or start to hate riding at all. It's easy to lose confidence as a rider. Maybe she's just not cut out for jumping. Like others have said, I'd work with the trainer and ask for her/his opinion. Maybe give her a break from jumping and just do flat or dressage-type work and see if that helps. Good luck.
                  “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                  ¯ Oscar Wilde

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A friend has a mare that started stopping, seemingly out of the blue. She would jump better for a pro but would occasionally stop. She had a complete vet work up which found nothing but some age related stiffness (minor).

                    My friend is now working with a trainer that has identified the problem in *her* case as her upper body position. If she gets even the tiniest bit ahead, the mare will stop and will stop dirty. If she rides correctly, the mare jumps just fine.

                    Maybe look at if you are doing something (even very small) that is upsetting your horse. Some horses are very, very sensitive to rider position.
                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would have the pro put a month on her and see if the problem disapears. If it does maybe consider selling her. If the two of you just don't click it might be better off for both of you to move on. Having the wrong horse is just no fun and life is too short.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Why does your professional say she is stopping with you?
                        It sounds like you took her out of the program that was working for her.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In trying to ride to the base of the jumps, are you riding backwards? This was always my biggest issue. It will always be my natural tendency to want to ride slower. Even when I'm just hacking around, I have to remind myself to ride forward and stop crawling. I had quite a long period of frustrating lessons because I would pickpickpick in front of the jump, trying to find that quieter distance. My NON-stopper started getting fed up with me and stopping. It felt ugly and unnatural to me to let go and ride forward but I did get much better.

                          Course, now I haven't jumped much in a few years. I'm sure if/when I get back to jumping regularly, that issue will come screaming back!

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
                            Why does your professional say she is stopping with you?
                            It sounds like you took her out of the program that was working for her.
                            Scary jumps. It's actually one particular jump that she really has issues with. First time over other jumps she jumps it super huge and looks at it, but goes over with little problem. I'm not sure it's the program so much. She goes around fine for a professional basically. So she could go along perfectly for one person and not for another. I think it's more so me needing to have a relationship with her and figure out how to get her over the scary fences.

                            Thanks for the input guys! I really appreciate it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm not sure it's the program so much. She goes around fine for a professional basically. So she could go along perfectly for one person and not for another. I think it's more so me needing to have a relationship with her and figure out how to get her over the scary fences.
                              If that were the case, presumably you would have been having trouble before now, when she was still in the program. Unless you've gotten a whole new course of jumps in the meantime. If she goes around fine for a professional, the reason she's stopping is not the "scary jumps". Each horse has a level of confidence which they need in order to perform. If someone, ie your professional, is constantly adding that confidence in with regular rides, then the amateur has a sort of safety margin of confidence which they can take out, and that gets them through when the going gets rough. That long spot, the chip, those super huge jumps in particular, those are all taking confidence out that doesn't get put back in, and leaves you with a level that doesn't get her over the jump when she's unsure.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
                                If that were the case, presumably you would have been having trouble before now, when she was still in the program. Unless you've gotten a whole new course of jumps in the meantime. If she goes around fine for a professional, the reason she's stopping is not the "scary jumps". Each horse has a level of confidence which they need in order to perform. If someone, ie your professional, is constantly adding that confidence in with regular rides, then the amateur has a sort of safety margin of confidence which they can take out, and that gets them through when the going gets rough. That long spot, the chip, those super huge jumps in particular, those are all taking confidence out that doesn't get put back in, and leaves you with a level that doesn't get her over the jump when she's unsure.
                                She started having stopping issues while she was still being ridden by a pro 4 days a week. The pro still rides her about once a week.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  So she was fine right when you bought her and has no history of stopping.

                                  Then she started stopping with the pro even though the pro was riding her 4 days a week.

                                  Now she's stopping even more although the pro is only riding her once a week.
                                  http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    So I'm confused. Does she go around for the pro, or not?

                                    And you said she'll quit at crossrails. So it isn't just one fence? Is she afraid of the FENCE or at the DISTANCE you're getting her to?

                                    She may just not be the sort of horse you can ride. There's no shame in that. There are some horses that just don't get along with a particular type of ride, and aren't forgiving enough to put up with what they don't like. In that case, I think you need to stop riding her, get the pro back up 4 times a week until she's evened out again, and then sell her to an ammy who naturally rides how she likes to be ridden.
                                    Originally posted by tidy rabbit
                                    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                                      So she was fine right when you bought her and has no history of stopping.

                                      Then she started stopping with the pro even though the pro was riding her 4 days a week.

                                      Now she's stopping even more although the pro is only riding her once a week.
                                      Is this correct?

                                      I think it's important that an ammy buy a horse whose "default" matches their "default." For example, when I get nervous or something I default to slowing down. When I had a horse that took me a little to the jumps, that "default" worked. When I had a horse who naturally backed off to the jumps, it just made things worse. He goes much better for someone whose default is to sit down and squeeze, not half seat and whoa. But put someone whose default is sit down and squeeze on a horse whoes default is to get a little too fast and you're in just as much trouble.

                                      Does that make any sense?

                                      When everything is going well you can ride however you need -- soft or forward or whatever. But when you get in over your head, you're going to end up doing what is most natural for you. For me that's slowing down. For others that may be speeding up. So you need a horse who isn't going to compound your errors when things get dicey.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                                        So she was fine right when you bought her and has no history of stopping.

                                        Then she started stopping with the pro even though the pro was riding her 4 days a week.

                                        Now she's stopping even more although the pro is only riding her once a week.
                                        As far as I am aware of she had no history of stopping but she had essentially been ridden only by a pro since being started.

                                        Originally posted by ExJumper View Post
                                        So I'm confused. Does she go around for the pro, or not?

                                        And you said she'll quit at crossrails. So it isn't just one fence? Is she afraid of the FENCE or at the DISTANCE you're getting her to?

                                        She may just not be the sort of horse you can ride. There's no shame in that. There are some horses that just don't get along with a particular type of ride, and aren't forgiving enough to put up with what they don't like. In that case, I think you need to stop riding her, get the pro back up 4 times a week until she's evened out again, and then sell her to an ammy who naturally rides how she likes to be ridden.
                                        She does the same type of things with the pro but the pro can generally handle them in a more effective way than I can.

                                        Its one or two fences over the past 5 months. If we skip that one jump shes totally fine to do courses and stuff with much higher and in my mind "scarier" fences. Sorry if this wasn't clear. Its only been a few jumps. Our distances are pretty solid and keep in mind we are just trotting this one fence. Its easily walkable and we do walk it if it gets to that point. After she walks over it shes fine. My concern is that we're not always going to be in the position to spend an hour on one cross rail and eventually she's going to have to get over this habit/fear/whatever.

                                        She's a suuuuuper good citizen otherwise. I mean, she'll take any distance, help you out whenever she can, etc. Thats the really confusing part for me because besides these few issues she's been a really really great horse for me to learn with.

                                        Originally posted by AmmyByNature View Post
                                        Is this correct?

                                        I think it's important that an ammy buy a horse whose "default" matches their "default." For example, when I get nervous or something I default to slowing down. When I had a horse that took me a little to the jumps, that "default" worked. When I had a horse who naturally backed off to the jumps, it just made things worse. He goes much better for someone whose default is to sit down and squeeze, not half seat and whoa. But put someone whose default is sit down and squeeze on a horse whoes default is to get a little too fast and you're in just as much trouble.

                                        Does that make any sense?

                                        When everything is going well you can ride however you need -- soft or forward or whatever. But when you get in over your head, you're going to end up doing what is most natural for you. For me that's slowing down. For others that may be speeding up. So you need a horse who isn't going to compound your errors when things get dicey.
                                        I honestly wouldn't be able to pick one. Sometimes she's "kick-along-quiet" and other times you really need to sit back and half halt. It depends.

                                        Sorry for the confusion guys.

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