View Full Version : Please help, my horse is really strange, need tips!
7th Apr 2001, 07:15 PM
I bought my mare 6 months ago, I fell in love with her, even though she was very moody, she bite, nipped, kicked, head butt, barged, and was generally naughty I bought her convincing myself I could get rid of theses problems. Well 6 months down the line and I have she is so good now I feel this is because she was stabled 24 hours a day and fed only hay, she now lives in 10 acres with friends, and is fed hay and concentrates. Although riding has improved (when I first got on her she ran backwards and refused to move) I am having problems.
Due to Foot and Mouth I can not ride out, so she is stroopy, it was the only thing she enjoyed, except for jumping. Other wise she is not enthusiastic about lunging, lose schooling, or schooling, I want to keep her fit, but the only time she is enthusiastic is about 5 strides from a jump. When we are not jumping she walks very slowly, drags along often tripping, her trot is like a slow jog, and her canter is disunited and so slow that I wonder sometime if we are trotting!
I need some help to get her moving without over jumping her, canít hack, and exercises only make her more moody, and I like to keep her sweet. She doesnít respond to a whip, nor spurs. Please help, any ideas appreciated.
7th Apr 2001, 08:08 PM
Congratulations on getting rid of the worst of her problems!!! :) She sounds like a lovely horse. Have you tried incorporating jumping into your flatwork? You could school her (not heavy schooling, just walk, trot and some canter) in an arena where there are jumps set up. If she doesnít behave, donít jump her. If she does, you can use jumping as praise. For example, you could do five minutes of walk-halt transitions, and five minutes of walk-trot transitions (remembering to work on both reins), then take her over some jumps. [b]Schooling should be fun and rewarding for both you and the horse,[b] so take small bursts and reward any good behaviour, and she will learn to associate working the way you want to with fun and happiness. GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY LANDINGS!!!! :p ps. Donít jump big all the time Ė small jumps are just as beneficial and will run less risk of over-facing her!
7th Apr 2001, 09:32 PM
sounds like a horse i know..lives for jumping and hacking but if you even attempt to school it the horse gets bored VERY quickly and moves at snail pace..the owner has starting taking the hrose every thursday to play polo and apparently loves it!
and this foot and mouth business is a pain for you poor people in old blighty!i feel for you!
what about some pole work and cavellti?
7th Apr 2001, 10:02 PM
You could try doing leg stretches with her - won't do an awful lot to keep her fit but will supple her up a bit.
How about trying some ground work with her? You could try the Parelli seven games?
How old is your mare? Has she had any form of schooling in the past? The only thing I could suggest you try to improve her flat work is to start from scratch. Get the walk sorted first - try using Heather's suggestion of using alternate leg aids with the movement of her hindlegs - squeeze with the left leg when the left hind leg is about to come under the body and vice versa. Do lots of walk-halt transitions and insists she moves forward when you ask. Another one of Heather's suggestions with lazy horses is to have someone on the ground with a lunge whip trailing round her back legs - don't touch her with it though - and if she doesn't respond, give the lunge whip a small crack (presuming she's not scared of whips of course).
Hope this helps!
8th Apr 2001, 12:27 AM
What concentrate feed is she getting? Maybe you could get away with just hay.
Though I know some horses object to lunging/schooling I've usually found its down to what they've been allowed to get away with in the past and to much unspent energy, normally down to too much feed.
You have already made a huge impression on the way your horse behaves, so you know that bad behaviour is not carved in stone. Its finding the way to work round her objections and achieve your goals.
Try inhand work, start with the basics, walk on halt, work over poles, you can make a labyrinth with poles (an s design enclosed in poles) teach her to walk around the s without touching the poles, then use the labrinth but over the length of it as walkin/trotting poles. Teach her to walk away from you (the begining of lunging) do all of these on both reins. Get a tyre and put 3 or 4 poles resting on the tyre making a type of star and begin leading around the outer end of the poles closing in as her accuracy improves. When you have introduced these exercises inhand, get on and ride her through them all. These are all great at teaching your horse where her feet are and making her more supple. They should also keep her interested in her work.
Set up little assault courses with poles and cones/markers. Plan ahead in your mind what you want to do, you can even put jumps in, choose where you want to walk, trot, halt etc. Mix the work up so that she doesn't know what to expect next and try not to let her anticipate what you're going to ask next. Another thing I find interesting is to put out 3 or 4 poles in a line at equal distances and try and see how many long strides it takes from pole to pole, then how many short strides.
Schooling need not be just going round in circles, experiment, its grreat fun and its not only the horse that learns.
Hope this helps I'm in the same position re F & M but at the moment until the ground drys up I have no where to work my horse and am absolutely gagging to something more than groom and pick out her feet. Wish you lots of luck, and if you think you can cut down the hard feed I would, you can always give her more if you think she's losing condition, but it could be the key to her being stroppy.
8th Apr 2001, 08:21 AM
thanx for the help, i will try out some of these, i have nearly cut out her hard feed as she has just gone on to summer grazing so actually she doesn't get hay often, but i still give her a little bit of feed so that i can give her coddlivine supple joint and cider apple, as she is getting on she is 17, i have done jumping in her flat work, in a school there is no improvement if i am in a field there is a little improvement, odd right?
i only jump small at the moment as she has not been jumped properly or even ridden properly for 8 years and had no muscle when she first came to me. but from the way she can move and the way she is always calm and her head position, i am sure she has been properly trained in the past.
8th Apr 2001, 03:06 PM
Have you anyone that you could practise gymkhana games with? She might find that fun to do and you can practice all sorts of things when doing them.
26th Apr 2001, 07:41 PM
i have the oppsoite problem with my mare but the same aswell if you get me!! she also loves jumping and hacking but when i school her she gets stroppy + faster! she gets very stressed if i ask for too much at once and explodes by bucking, rearing + even jumping out of the arena! what i find works with her is sort of persuading her to work, do a little of what you want then give her a little of what she wants. So in your case it could be taking her over a jump then aiming to keep her going afterwards and maybe doing a circle if she is going forwards well, then back over the jump. if she is enthusiastic about going over the jump she could become more willing to work.
2.i understand that if you are reluctant to try this because of your horses previous behaviour and please dont attempt it if she does act violently - id hate to destroy your past achievments with her. But this did work with a friends horse who acted in much the same way as you describe your mare, however when she was 'challenged' and instead of asking her rider 'told' her what to do she started to play up and did temporarily (for a matter of minutes) revert back to her mad ways but when she soon realised her rider meant business, she went forward much better. it is a good idea to keep your mare in as best a mood as possible if she is prone to be violent but dont be afraid to confront her or give her an excuse not to work.
27th Apr 2001, 08:49 AM
Thanx for that reply, it made me smile, because most people don't have problems in the school, there are no horses up at our yard that act up in the school, so i feel awful when schooling mine, so i only school her when we are alone. we do have many confrontations, she hasn't one won, because you don't want to go down that road, i have seen how bad the horse becomes. i will try what you say, but i have jumped her in there before and she has little enthusiasm, i think it's just the manage that turns her into a grouche
27th Apr 2001, 09:39 PM
i really do sympathise with you because it seems like your mare is very set in her ways (as mares like to be!) what you mentioned earlier about her having no turnout before you got her will almost certainly of had a very negative effect on her, she probably accossiated being ridden in the arena with her only chance of freedom and that was where her 'mad' behaviour came from. but she has clearly already built a strong level of trust in you and as you have managed to overcome the major (as in life threatening!) problems so you are already most of the way there. i dont think that there is an obvious solution to your mares behaviour but just keep on persavearing (although its very tempting to give up hope i know!) and soon enough you should find the thing that 'clicks' with her. i dont know if you sed how long youd had her (pls. excuse my observaton skills!) but it may hapen that once she gets into a routine and realises how she will get turnout and hacks (one day anyway...) then she might be a lot happier to work for you instead of having to be so concerned for herself (though i sometimes wonder if there is any hope of persuading mares they arent the centre of the world - though my attempts cant be much sed 4 as my mare quickly realised that she was the centre of my world at least!) anyway enough of me babbling on and i hope that it works out for you. + you shouldnt be worried about riding her infront of other people at your yard - any 'true'(?!?!) horseperson has seen (+ probably owned!) enough 'problem' horses!! - someone might even have experienced something similar and be able to help you. and maybe you could talk to some of these owners with such wonderful horses and see if us here at the yard could get some tips, everyone's become well used to seeing me dissapearing over the horizon hanging from a small grey figure............ iv even been 'banned' from joining in on lessons because of her 'disruptive behaviour'!! (though they soon got bored without our regular rodeo show!)oops this is v.long - sorry! + good luck!!!!!!!!!!!
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