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Training Concerns for Lazy, Unmotivated 3 y/o WB with lyme

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  • Training Concerns for Lazy, Unmotivated 3 y/o WB with lyme

    BACKGROUND: My clients bought a 3 y/o about 5 months ago (very nice horse) that had some basic training to walk, trot and canter. He was lazy when we went to try him a couple times and at that time, had recently been treated for lyme. I really liked the horse for my clients because he was so laid back. A full vetting ensued and everything checked out great. The vet himself has a horse with lyme and was not concerned with it because everything else had checked out so well.

    The horse has been in training with me ever since. I rode him with nubby spurs for a while and every time I rode him he just got better, and better, and better - finally moving forward! We have been working indoors the last couple of months (which I know can be boring and uninspiring to a horse) and it just seems like he is now going backwards (lazier, and lazier). I try to do circles and incorporate ground poles to keep it interesting, but it has made no difference. I was afraid we were numbing his sides so I decided to get rid of the spurs and carry a dressage whip. He is totally unphased. I have worked with plenty of lazy horses with great success but this one has me a little stumped and I don't want to get frustrated with him.

    The owners are eager to ride the horse, so on days that I am not, often one of them does (getting worked by me 3-4 times a week and ridden by them 2-3 times per week). He always has 1 or 2 days off each week. I have suggested that maybe his mind needs a break and that we should cut back his work load some (afterall, he is only 3 and doesn't need to be pushed IMO). Perhaps having different riders on him has also made him less eager.

    WHERE WE ARE TODAY: A long story short.... this is the laziest horse I have ever ridden and he has no work ethic. He has plenty of energy out in the pasture with his buds (daily turnout). He is given vitamin E, omega 3s, and a joint supplment, and has no lameness or back soreness. His teeth were just floated. As for training, I have reverted back to keeping it SUPER simple (i.e. I squeeze, he goes, I take my leg off as reward.... repeat and repeat... but he is always in slow motion, barely doing the minimum, yet I don't want to nag). I am a little disouraged and I know the owners are too (when he was improving so fast, they were thrilled). I have also been putting him into a bitting rig and doing ground work with him and he seems a little more eager so I thought I could keep it to just ground work for a while. It is very frustrating and I need some advice (trail rides and work outside a ring are not an option right now with the winter, though maybe we could truck him to another barn). Please help...
    Last edited by Culetose; Feb. 2, 2013, 05:12 PM.

  • #2
    Treat him for a week with gastrogard and see what happens. I had a horse in race training that was so lazy I was afraid he would forget to breathe. By day three of gastrogard he was bucking in the stall.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

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    • #3
      Well it is unfortunate that you can’t get outside at all, as my first piece of advice would be to get him out and have some fun on the trails.

      But, in lieu of that – can you try your best to get him to GALLOP a little? Really get after him to open up on the long sides, and hopefully it will click that, hey this is fun! Has worked for some lazy horses I have known. I would also try incorporating some jumps – just anything to get his interest up.

      If it is possible to trailer him out, and get him outdoors that would be my first priority. He is young, you want him to associate riding with fun, not boring drilling in the indoor.
      APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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      • #4
        As a person with lyme, I can assure you that it's EXHAUSTING.

        Run the titers on him again, and treat him again. Oftentimes Lyme is a reoccurring thing, unfortunately.

        That seems like the obvious solution in this case. If he's cleared for the Lyme, then you can investigate other options. I agree getting him out of the ring is a good idea.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have had a warmblood since birth, now 20, and he was late maturing both physically and mentally. I really did very little with him as a 3-yr-old or even 4-yr-old.
          If the horse checks out physically, I think you are just working with a big baby who has a short attention span and probably still some balance/coordination issues. If you are restricted to the indoor, I'd think it is fine to back off the structured training and give him a break.
          As a baby, you could do other stuff, such as de-sensitizing him (walk him on or under tarps, etc) or getting him used to trailering to another location for riding or even some free jumping over small jumps in the indoor. Or turn him out to pasture and not worry for a few weeks. Then bring him in and do as much outdoor hacking as possible, alone and with others.
          I would not use a bitting rig on a warmblood this young. I'd prefer they find their own balance.

          Comment


          • #6
            Sounds like at 3 he is bored to tears with being drilled 6 days a week with arena work. Let him have some time off for a month or two, then try something new once the trails and fields are safe to ride in. Could be he is suited for trails more than arena work.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for the replies so far... another vet check and the gastroguard sound like good options as well as getting him trailered out. I can get him to gallop pretty easily but as soon as he goes back to a trot or the walk, all forward impulsion totally disappears.

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              • #8
                6 days a week for a 3 year old? That is a lot.
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                "I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." --Vincent Van Gogh

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by lonewolf View Post
                  6 days a week for a 3 year old? That is a lot.
                  Exactly. It IS a lot. I have explained to the owners on many occasions that less is probably more at this point - though next thing I know they are out riding (and getting more discouraged). My preference is to get him worked 3 times a week by me and for them to free ride another horse in the meantime. My gut feeling is that he is bored bored bored and is being worked too hard too soon in a boring arena - even though the rides are fairly light. These folks are very persistent.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    He's a baby. Who is getting a lot of work.

                    Turn him out for a month & then come back in work 3-4x a week. They won't want to hear it, but he's 3 (or is he coming 4?). Either way he is probably bored. Overworked. Maybe a little sore from growing. Feels burnt out. Ask them what they do when they feel this way...probably take a vacation, right? The horse needs one too.
                    "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"

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                    • #11
                      If they keep working him this much him being lazy will be the least of their concerns in a few years ........
                      Draumr Hesta Farm
                      "Wenn Du denkst es geht nicht mehr, kommt von irgendwo ein kleines Licht daher"
                      Member of the COTH Ignorant Disrepectful F-bombs!*- 2Dogs Farm

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                      • #12
                        I had one like that, straight off the track I could see why he did not make a racehorse.

                        I agree to give him a month off.

                        But, what worked for me was to hand gallop first. After all, it is not written in stone that you have to trot first. I also started with trotting over a 6" high rails, scattered around the ring. It gave him something to look for and piqued his interest. That was fun for him so he would go forward.

                        I totally agree that nagging is NOT the soution. He will become dead sided and all he is learning is to ignore your leg. I rode with 2 dressage whips, so he couldn't bulge from one.
                        "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                        Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Culetose View Post
                          I squeeze, he goes, I take my leg off as reward.... repeat and repeat... but he is always in slow motion, barely doing the minimum, yet I don't want to nag).
                          This describes giving him a reward for giving you a good answer (which is great), but it does not describe any consequences for tuning your signal to blah.

                          So, if you squeeze lightly, and he sallies forth, great!

                          But if you squeeze lightly, and he says lalalaaaaazzzzzzzzzzz, crack him one with the dressage whip big enough that he does a little leap forward. Then keep your leg OFF for at least four strides at a time and if he slows on stride 2, WHAP! If you put your leg on and don't think you got "four strides of answer" from him in response, give your follow-up aid as if a MILLION DOLLARS depends upon him doing the next four strides on his own with no help from you.

                          Do that consistently and he'll go.
                          The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                          Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                          Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Giddy-up View Post
                            They won't want to hear it, but he's 3 (or is he coming 4?). Either way he is probably bored.
                            He is an early summer baby, coming 4.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                              This describes giving him a reward for giving you a good answer (which is great), but it does not describe any consequences for tuning your signal to blah.

                              So, if you squeeze lightly, and he sallies forth, great!

                              But if you squeeze lightly, and he says lalalaaaaazzzzzzzzzzz, crack him one with the dressage whip big enough that he does a little leap forward.
                              There have been a few rides where I have gotten so frustrated with him that that is exactly what I have done. I hated that that was the only way I could get him to say yes though. I told the owners that they MUST be firm and mean what they ask, but he definitely knows what he can and cannot get away with when they ride... and even with me now, a good spanking has very little effect and I felt I needed to reassess the situation so he doesn't turn sour on top of it.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Culetose View Post
                                Exactly. It IS a lot. I have explained to the owners on many occasions that less is probably more at this point - though next thing I know they are out riding (and getting more discouraged). My preference is to get him worked 3 times a week by me and for them to free ride another horse in the meantime. My gut feeling is that he is bored bored bored and is being worked too hard too soon in a boring arena - even though the rides are fairly light. These folks are very persistent.
                                As an owner, I can understand their eagerness. As others have said, the best bet is to take a month off ... like completely off. If that doesn't fly, maybe cut back on YOUR time riding him so at least he gets lighter work.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by sammicat View Post
                                  As an owner, I can understand their eagerness. As others have said, the best bet is to take a month off ... like completely off. If that doesn't fly, maybe cut back on YOUR time riding him so at least he gets lighter work.
                                  Tonight I discussed cutting back his work load - they seemed to understand. In the past when I have brought up the topic, they have expressed great concern that they were afraid he will forget what he has learned and all the training will be for naught. Nice people with great intentions but hopefully I got through this time!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I had one- not anything wrong other then just plain ignorant and lazy. Had been a pleasure horse (broke correctly for sport howeve) for a number of years before finding a career home and was just a lazy sot.

                                    Big trainer suggested Red Cell- although not something I'm sure would be the way to go in your instance due to age.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Definitely start by having him checked out again.
                                      Most babies regress at some point. Turning them out for a period of time works wonders. When they come back in usually all that's needed is a quick refresher and they are back on track and moving forward in their training again. It used to be that a horse would be lightly started then turned out for a few months, a lot of ranchers and some TB people still do.
                                      Sometimes you have to gently remind clients that you are the professional, you have the experience and knowledge, they brought the horse to you because they trust you. If the horse is given time off you would be making less money from him right? So even if its not in your wallet's best interest it is in the best interest of the horse and they should recognize this.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Dude. He's 3. If he's not having a recurrence of lyme, he's sick and tired of doing the same routine day in and day out. Fortunately for you (and your clients), he is reacting by shutting down instead of blowing up. What a good pony.

                                        Give the poor thing some time off, change up his routine, and remember that he is just THREE.
                                        Last edited by wanderlust; Jan. 31, 2013, 08:47 AM.

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