View Full Version : How can I get my horse to enjoy
26th Jul 2002, 11:47 AM
Doing dressage in the school? She loves being lunged, but she gets really fed up after 15minutes of being ridden in the school. Any ideas?
26th Jul 2002, 12:36 PM
i'd br thrilled if petal could manage to pay attention for 15 minutes at a time in the school! we usually school for half an hour max, with at least 2 "chill out" breaks when she goes and admires herself in the mirror.
seriously, i don't think there's a need to school a 4 year old for any length of time unless you have serious dressage goals. they're still mentally and physically very immature, and too much work in the school will put stress on her legs and brain, and could result in her getting sour. especially since she already has tendencies to try things on - i've found that they start plotting when they're bored. can you give us a rundown of a typical schooling session? what exercises you do, how long you spend doing one thing? then we could suggest things.
26th Jul 2002, 01:04 PM
how does your 15 mins break down ? How long is the warm up and what do you include ?
What sort of goals are you working towards inside the main working part of the session ?
What do you do to finish off ?
For example, I will do loose rein walk on both reins, building in 20m circles and changes of rein, then a little trot, loose rein, and big circles, moving up to serpentines. My horse gets very tense about canter so that is something I work on through exercises rather than including in every warm up. Another pony I rode would just go dead if you spent too long in walk, so we would be quite quickly into trot work.
Then in my main part I am working on suppleness and also those cnater transitions. I vary the exercise depending on what I am feeling in the horse e.g. I might do figure eights in canter with a simple change through the middle if she is feeling relaxed and happy, but not if she is feeling a bit uptight. Or shallow loops in canter to help with balance and suppleness. Some lateral work, with lots of half halts. Transitions between paces and within a pace.
We haven't really got far enough to involve ground poles yet, but that is what I am working up to. e.g. canter on a circle with poles at regular intervals to help with rhythm and controlling the length of stride.
Then I will always try to finish in a good note. So if she is doing really well we may only have a short session. Or finish on something the horse likes doing. Then do some cool down - either loose rein again or I'll go for a little wander in the woods.
If you are only schooling for 15 mins - if you have 5 mins warm up and 5 mins cool down, you are only actually working for 5 mins !
26th Jul 2002, 02:12 PM
With some of our youngtsers, we have introduced poles - if you feel your horse is ready.
We make up grids, like a maze, and ride them through the grids and try to get them doing this without touching the poles. Its good fun, keeps them interested and helps keep them supple. You can do this ridden or in hand.
You can then get them walking over poles from different angles - make a square and walk your horse from one corner to the other, across the straight parts of the poles etc. You can then try this in trot.
I personally wouldn't push her - if she's getting bored after 15 minutes, leave on a good note - like the others have said. Take her out of the school and just walk her out for five minutes - round the yard, down the lane, whatever.
Young horses (like children) have a short attention span - concentrating for too long is harder work than the physical aspect of the training!
26th Jul 2002, 04:31 PM
(she's 5) ;)
I usually start off with 5 minutes of lunging each way to voice commands as it helps her warm her back up and switches her attention span on. The I get on we do 5 minutes of walk and trot transitions, 5 minutes of figures of eight and 15 metre circles on each rein at trot interspersed with walk and halt. Sometimes trotting poles and halt to trot too. She's been a little funny with canter at the moment, so we only do a circuit on each rein - if we manage that without a buck or trotting in between I'm happy. She doesn't seem to like outside leg too far back when I ask for canter - makes her buck - is this because she's young and not used to it? The school is a bit deep in places with sand at the moment, so I don't like doing too much cantering as she gets a fright when she stumbles. She also hates going on the left rein at times and can object quite strongly (I am looking into girths and saddles at the moment). However on other occassions she is fine. Depends on the flies how she behaves sometimes......
26th Jul 2002, 05:22 PM
The only way that I can keep my pony interested in schooling is to have jumps in the school. I pop him over the jump every 5 minutes and it keeps him concentrating.
29th Jul 2002, 11:38 AM
Could it be that your horse has got bored of a constant routine when being schooled - eg lunging then walk and trot, then figures of 8, etc. Can you try and vay what you do a bit - work on getting good accurate transitions for one circuit of the school (mixing up walk to trot and halt to trot so that she has to listen to you and not jsut do the same transition you did before), then a bit of leg yield, then maybe circles and serpentines.
With some hores if you switch what you are doing a lot it can keep them forward thinking (mind you with others it can wind them up!).
With regard to her not liking canter transitions and work on teh left rein, would it be worth getting an osteopath or physio out to look at her, just in case?
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