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Old 10th Jun 2008, 04:43 PM
dilaika dilaika is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: NJ (home), MD (school) USA
Posts: 216
Ground exercises for stiff horse

hi. I'm looking for some ideas for ground exercises to help loosen up a stiff horse (or some books with ideas for the same). My project horse, Abby, is a rescue who had some bad experiences, both physically and mentally. She is an incredibly willing and smart horse, but she is stiff in one of her hind legs, likes to go around with her head in the air, and keep herself bent in one direction/counter bend a lot of the time. (She actually usually looks much more sound at the trot than she does at the walk) She has been like this since they had her (around 3-4 years), has been checked by a vet and is not in pain. Since I have been working her (since November) she has gotten much sounder and definitely moves much easier when she is in constant work.

Anyway, I did a centered riding clinic with her a couple of months ago and the woman gave me some ground exercises to do before riding to help loosen her up. They seem to really help her, so I am looking for some more exercises to do before/after riding to help loosen her muscles. I am particularly trying to get her to stretch out her hind leg, bend, and carry herself with her head down, so any exercises to loosen her and help with those will help me.
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Old 10th Jun 2008, 05:45 PM
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pedilia pedilia is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Cambridge
Posts: 2,561
Sorry if this is asking the obvious but have you had her saddle checked? Storm was very stiff and this was compounded by a poorly fitting saddle, he did what we called the 'banana bend' carrying himself to one side and with nose in the air.
I changed his saddle and started him on Devils Claw, he is like a different horse. I did a lot of groundwork with him whie he was off ridden work, leg stretches,long-reining, in-hand walks etc just no tight circle work.
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Old 11th Jun 2008, 04:10 PM
dilaika dilaika is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: NJ (home), MD (school) USA
Posts: 216
yes, its not saddle or rider or anything b/c if she is lunged with just a halter on she acts the same way.
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Old 11th Jun 2008, 05:24 PM
BabyBear BabyBear is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Scotland
Posts: 4,306
I use clicker training to work my boy on the ground (he gets bored otherwise)

We do stretches - I ask him to stretch round and touch his flank or put his head between his front legs or under his tummy. I also ask for turn on the forehand or turn on the quarters to get him moving more and will hopefully advance to shoulder in.
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