View Full Version : Encouraging the correct outline with a grumpy horse!
4th Mar 2002, 03:55 PM
I wonder if anyone can help me with my horse.I have had him since he was 2 yrs old-he is now rising 7yrs.The problem I have with him is taht he is not very giving on the flat-he would rather be a camel than a dressage horse!!He can work beautifully but teh problem I have is that he is the type of horse you have to 'PUT' in an outline rather than the horse just taking himself into an outline-he works from behind which he finds easy as he is short coupled and he can do lenghthen strides ect-anything he wants to do he does well other wise forget it!!I havetried lunging in side reins or the pessoa and he goes like a dream but when it comes to flatwork he is really unhelpful.It is quite difficult to back up your leg with a stick as he is very whip shy-I can carry it but he goes very tense if you use it and you have to put it down (just a gentle tap to a hard smack!!-he has never been smacked hard with a stick so can't explain this phobia-I broke him in!!)He is not scared of the lungewwhip though when you lunge him.
I have ridden him in draw reins and he goes well.I am an experienced rider and have been taught to use these correctly but I would rather solve the problem not hide it.
He has got very nice paces and could do a lovley dressage test if he would just let go and enjoy himself!!But he doesn't he would rather put his ears back and stick his head up-my other horse is the complete opposite thank goodness.
I have had his back,teeth,saddle ect checked so its nothing to do with anything physical.He likes to jump but I have to be careful with this as he has just recovered from a foot problem(he has been sound for approx 6 months now however).
I aim to do elementary dressage with him eventually and want to take him in the wembley search for a star r/c show horse class this year so I need an improvement-any ideas???
4th Mar 2002, 05:55 PM
Could you describe a 'typical schooling session' for us? I'd be interested to know what you do in your training. I will catch up with this thread tomorrow as I'm only on-line at work and about to leave:)
4th Mar 2002, 05:57 PM
Have you thought that he might no like dressage and flat work. Maybe he's a giddy soul that prefers jumping. Different presonalities suit different disciplines for both riders and horses!
Dinky (a pony I ride) is absolutely fantastic on the flat but absolutely hates jumping and goes to pieces. We simply don't jump him!
4th Mar 2002, 06:00 PM
can you have lessons in a double bridle? then you would be able to ride mostly off the snaffle bit and only bring the curb into play when he needs a reminder.
other than that, a market harborough might be helpful, i've used one sometimes and i've found that unlike draw reins, they don't revert instantly to their old ways when it comes off. although that could just be petal, she's not very bright, and probably never noticed it wasn't on! i had a similar problem - she worked well from behind and all the rest of it, but poked her nose and didn't round at all.
interestingly, she's also very whipshy, i've had her since she was a foal (now 9) and have never given her more than a dirty look.
5th Mar 2002, 08:48 AM
Its very difficult to encourage the horse to work correctly when they are whip shy as you have no way of backing up the leg(what makes a horse that has never been smaked whip shy????)
When I school my horse I let him walk on a long rein for approx 5-10 mins and the same in trot,I then cante him in forward seat and come back to walk with him,I usually start with circles and turns to get him to flex his jaw-he finds left bend and lateral work quite difficult.I then do some trot work-mostly I do rising trot as he can tense in sitting and again do circle and loops to try to get him more supple and lower his head-don't get me wrong-he can go in an outline and has one several prelim and novice tests but its such hard work to keep him looking intrested.I do lots of transtions with him.I can ride him in a double bridle and he goes quite well with it by I think the problem is the lack of going forward from my leg.
Unfortunatley he can't do to much jumping as he has had a foot problem and I am introducing teh jumping slolwy.
Hope that helps??
5th Mar 2002, 10:34 AM
how responsive is he to your voice? a sharp "move it" is my whip equivalent with petal. or short blunt spurs to help the respnse to the leg maybe. other than that, the only thing i can think of is doing plenty of work that he does enjoy, like hacking and cantering, to get him fitter so he finds the schooling easier. you said he's recently had a foot problem - maybe he's finding it hard to work properly?
5th Mar 2002, 04:58 PM
Well, assuming that he's OK in the back, teeth and saddle departments where do we go from here?!!
Well, reading your thread, your schooling sessions sound fine to me, although I'd be inclined to perhaps add some 'spiraling circles' both in and out in there as well so that he learns to listen to your leg and outside rein a little more. I'd also give him a breather 'mid session' and have a stretch down for three or four minutes to give him chance to relax and stretch down. I usually put a couple of these in when I'm schooling, I find you get more relaxed and supple work from them. BUT FIRST, I'd want to make sure we were: Going Forward from the leg, We were STRAIGHT, We were RHYTHMICAL AND BALANCED, before going on to other levels of schooling.
Is he heavy in your hands copper? Do you feel like you're constantly having to 'organise him' all the time when your schooling?
You say that he finds lateral work quite difficult and is stiff on the left. If he were mine, I'd be inclined to take him right back to basics.....In walk, I'd have a contact on a long rein and encourage him to walk INTO the bridle, try lowering your hands down towards your knees and 'showing him the way down... When you come to the corners really concentrate on having enough support in that outside rein and enough inside leg on him Copper so that he uses your inside leg as a 'support or a pillar' in which to bend around, but at the same time your outside rein is control the degree of bend so that you don't lose him through his outside shoulder,...does that make sense? Make sure you keep a light but constant contact with him. Keep your shoulders with his shoulders, check that you are sat centrally in the saddle on both of your seat bones (close your eyes and really feel that you are sat centrally, it's amazing sometimes that you can be a little to the left or the right! - which as you'll know will inhibit his balance and rhythm. I'm always shutting my eyes periodically to check myself!). I'd be concentrating on forward and INTO THE BRIDLE for now Copper, don't make it an issue where his head is for the moment, forget about it.... concentrate on him listening to your leg, if he doesn't listen first time, then tell him again with more pressure, if he doesn't listen a second time, I'd be inclined to have a pair of 'comb spurs' on when riding and apply these if he's not good with a whip (although perhaps you could carry a show cane and try to de-sensitise him over time by carrying it when you school, even if you don't use it for now). I know how this feels, my first horse was frightened to death of a whip and must have had a bad time of it somewhere in his past. We overame this by carrying a whip with us EVERY SINGLE TIME we went out, and....in time...he did accept it, but it wasn't overnight. I eventually just had to touch his shoulder with the cane if I needed to get his attention back if it had waivered!!
I know you say that he's moving through behind, however there must be a 'block' somewhere because this energy is not getting through to the front and he's not rounding through his back and into the bridle for you. It sound's as though it's start's when it get to you and forward from you!! - Sorry I don't mean to offend I'm just trying to read into what you've written (without actually seeing you both working it's pretty difficult to put an opinion across and you may chose to ignore every work if you wish to!).
Do you have lessons Copper? If you do, what does your Instructor say? How is he/she working on this with you? Could he/she sit on him for you and see what they feel is happening underneath, sometimes another person can feel something different than we can.
What kind of bit are you in Copper? - Well not YOU, the horse!!! Is it time for a change perhaps or do you not think it's the bit? You say he's 7, maybe if you've been in the same bit for ohh, say 3/4 years, his mouth and teeth will have changed shape to a degree and perhaps the bit is causing some discomfort somewhere/catching/rattling against his wolf teeth/tushes? or his bit is a little sharp round the edges somewhere maybe - Just trying to look at all the different angles for you!!!
I would stay away from a double bridle, that my opinion anyhow, as if he's not happy in a snaffle, then the answer is most certainly NOT in a double!! - that's how I feel, for what it's worth!
Well, I hope I've been on some help Copper,;) ;)
6th Mar 2002, 01:16 PM
Thankyou with the info that you have given me-I wasn't offended about the statment that it might be me as I often wonder this.I will give the comb spurs a try as I do ride him sometimes in normal spurs without much reaction.
I am currenly riding him in a Copper Mouth French link which is also a loosering-could you suggest anything else?I feel I need more movement in his mouth as he can be a bit 'fixed' in his way of going.
I have a problem with him mostly ( I think) due to the fact he is actually quite a sharp a horse to ride in his own way-he just chooses when he wants to co-operate!He is a bit of a worrier and if you get after him he just goes to pieces and it takes ages to settle him back down-I therefore don't put to much pressure on him.P'haps its about time I did?????
If anyone has any more advice then it will gratfully recieved!
6th Mar 2002, 01:38 PM
Hi,sorry to bother you again,I noticed that you show workers and ridden hunters,what level do you show them at?I am asking because as well as the dressage I share the exact same intrests-I have another horse,he is a 17.2hh idxtb who is rising 7 yrsold,I have just started to show him in ridden hunters and workers and aim to start showing him at county level in both theses classes this year,being a big horse he has taken longer to mature.The horse who is being difficult is also aimed for hunters this year-I was open to do county workers on him but I'm not sure about jumping him yet due to the foot balance problem he had-but we will see!The bigger horse was sucsessful at local level this year in open ridden hunter and open workers so I feel it is time to move him up the level.
The bigger horse is much more straight forward to ride but the difficult one has fantastic confirmation!!Typical!
I would love to know what you do and what horses you have!
Its quite intresting in the field where my boys get turned out during the day as they are all quite big-they share the field with a show hunter called Henry Tudor who came from Jeff Osbourne originally-he is 16.2hh and Kings Warrior who was Robert Olivers show hunter-very sucsessful who at 17.3hh/18.hh is huge but a saint to ride and deal with-I'm hoping my 2 will chat to the older,more experienced horses and pick up a few tips!!
Looking forward to hearing from you!!
7th Mar 2002, 12:28 AM
You said that part of the problem is that he tenses up if you go after him. I've always ridden TB's off the track; they have that problem for a long while after coming off the track. Generally what we do is work them slow & easy to calm them down, then start to work them back up to real stuff.
You may want to just hack around for a while. Give the guy a break from serious work....ride bareback and just enjoy yourselves, then when you're relaxed ask for real stuff. :)
(I had to ride my current mare bareback for 2-3 months to get her to start to relax while being "worked." Ooooh, the TB spine is a PAIN!)
7th Mar 2002, 02:16 AM
It sounds like you have simalar problems to me.
I own a 14 year old 3/4 tb x ID ex showjumper headstrong mare.
I ride her in a hanging cheek frenchlink snaffle. It doesn't do wonders but it is better than an ordinary snaffle. I also find that i need to be very firm with her. (Not bad tempered or nasty just tell her exactly what I want and get my word in first)
Please let me know how you get on. As at the moment my mare is very hard work and takes an awfull lot of concentration and energy on my behalf to get her going in a correect outline. She is unpredicatable and can be both lazy, bad tempered, spooky and nappy at times but she can also work like a star at other times.
Like you said about your gelding, only seems to work properly when they feel like it and not at other times. My instructor said to me on her last visit don't let her get away with it, and after four years of trying various methods and getiing everything checked and double checked I think she is right. My mare prefers to set the pace and take control of all sitiations and objects if anyone decides otherwise. So after giving her all benefits of the doubt it is me who is now taking control, wheter she likes it or not, but I have found that giving her frequent stretches on a long rein in schooling sessions helps and a bit of polo mint bribery too when she does well.
Good luck and please let me know how you get on.
7th Mar 2002, 12:38 PM
Will answer you when I get a spare few minutes....., a bit mad at the office today!!;)
Speak to you Soon.
11th Mar 2002, 01:11 PM
Have you tried a pelham at all? That can help them to relax a bit more. If the horse goes fine with the pessoa training aid then it is probably not a physical problem. ....just a thought
12th Mar 2002, 01:09 AM
Before I went any further, I would address his fear of the whip. If he's frightened of the whip, he doesn't totally trust you.
Teach him that the whip is just an extension of your hand, stroke him with it, do inhand work with a schooling whip.
My namesake Dizzy was bought from an auction, and was scared of people as well as whips, if you put your hand up to stroke her she shyed. I eventually got into TTeam, with this method a schooling whip is used for the inhand work. I spent alot of time just using the whip as I've already said, as an extension of my hand. I stroked her firmly starting with the kneck at first, and eventually worked up until I could stroke/touch her anywhere with it.
Alot of the inhand work involves using the whip/wand as a gate - if you want to halt you bring the wand infront of the horse to act like a gate. She found this pretty hard to accept, it took ages, but in the end it was water off a ducks back. Once she learned to trust me, our progress came along in leaps and bounds.
Personally I hate having skeletons in the cupboard, if the horse is unhappy about something, and its in my power to help them, I will, you'll be surprized at how quickly these fears can be put to rest, with a bit of kind, persistant, reassuring and gentle handling.
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