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Frustrated with older mare

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  • Mare frustrasion
  • Oldermare still riding

 
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    04-11-2012, 09:33 PM
  #1
Foal
Frustrated with older mare

Warning: slightly longer post ahead.

Ok, so I don't usually post, mostly creepily stalking and learning from all of you. I am at my wits end. I have been working with the same mare for 2 years straight. At the beginning it was simply for fun, then we started to compete in lower level dressage. So now that we are coming up to the start of the season, I am expecting a bit more progress.

She is a heavier horse, trained originally in driving. She is so incredibly heavy in my hands. I started off with a simple snaffle, feels like 100 pounds in each hand. Thought I could fix that with more leg, no help. Also carry a whip, and ride with spurs, but I HATE using spurs for much other than finessing things. Decided to try the baucher, still no help.

Along with being very heavy in my hands no matter what, she also will not canter to save her life. Thought maybe it could be that she needed to canter on her own, tried lunging. Ya, that didn't work.

I guess what I am asking is, is she as far as she will go? Is walk/trot, lesson pony, driving horse, trail riding all she can do? Not that this is a bad thing.

Has this horse peaked and can go no farther?
     
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    04-11-2012, 09:58 PM
  #2
Trained
She's never cantered on her own or with you aboard?
     
    04-12-2012, 05:11 AM
  #3
Showing
We need a video of someone riding her. That will help us help you even more so than just assuming things and providing solutions to those assumptions.
     
    04-12-2012, 04:36 PM
  #4
Foal
I'd say that you need to get her to lunge. Some horses are alot harder to teach than others but I believe a horse needs to know. How big of a ring do you ride in?, I know with some of the horses at the barn I ride at, they are a heck of a lot harder to canter in the smaller indoor, then when you take them to the large outdoor, they feel so much better. I think if you get her to do it on the lunge line, it will come so much better undersaddle. Is this horse a gaited horse or....?
     
    04-12-2012, 05:22 PM
  #5
Weanling
Sounds like this could be a physical issue with her hind end - thus her wanting the rider to "hold her up" with the reins and why she doesn't want to canter.

How old is she?
How long has it been since she's seen a chiropractor?
How long has it been since she's seen an equine dentist?
Is she on any kind of joint supplement, like this:
5-in-1 H/A Med-Vet Pharmaceuticals (Equine - Supplements - Joint - Hyaluronic Acid)

Can you get a vet out to do a physical evaluation on her - asking about possible arthritis in her stifles/hocks and possible thinking of injecting them?
     
    04-12-2012, 08:18 PM
  #6
Foal
Hey, I certainly can get a video tomorrow.

The arena is a bit larger than a standard dressage ring, but we very regularly ride outside on hacks, as well as LSD training.

She has had a full physical about two months ago, I was also concerned there was something wrong with her hind end. The vet could see nothing wrong with her. He did say that she had a past hock injury, we did xrays and could not find any damage. He said that we could try injections, but I really want that to be kind of a last resort if training can solve that.

What about free lunging in a round pen? Would that help her learn to hold herself up? She is quite dependent even on a lunge rope, but some half halts and transitions usually help that.

Rode her today, did not even try to canter. Mostly worked on trying to get her on her hind end. By the end of it we were both sweaty and frustrated. We did, although, get some nice "moments".

She does canter on her own in a paddock. Never on a lunge or me on her. I did think that maybe she needed a break from the dressage saddle, maybe getting in her way? So tried the jumper saddle but still nothing.

Could her previous training in driving, improper maybe? Cause her to drive from the front end and not the hind? I do not know how her initial training was, or who did it.
     
    04-13-2012, 09:39 AM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skutterbotch    
...What about free lunging in a round pen? No - that won't help her learn to carry herself at all. Would that help her learn to hold herself up? She is quite dependent even on a lunge rope, but some half halts and transitions usually help that.

Rode her today, did not even try to canter. Mostly worked on trying to get her on her hind end. By the end of it we were both sweaty and frustrated. We did, although, get some nice "moments". Then you are on the correct track. At this point in time she lacks the muscle to "hold herself up" - so you have to re-build the muscle, and that takes even longer in an older horse. Think 6 months to a year before she can consistently hold herself up (and that's if you ride her consistently and correctly ALL the time).

She does canter on her own in a paddock. Never on a lunge or me on her. So this may indicate that the lunging "circle" is too small for her to balance herself at the canter. I did think that maybe she needed a break from the dressage saddle, maybe getting in her way? If the saddle fits her correctly dom't change it. Make certain you can get 1-2 fingers between the top of her shoulder and the dressage saddle. Most people place the saddle on top of the shoulder, restricting movement and aking the horse uncomfortable. So tried the jumper saddle but still nothing.

Could her previous training in driving, improper maybe? Cause her to drive from the front end and not the hind? Driving teaches them to pull not carry, so different muscles are used. I do not know how her initial training was, or who did it.
Don't forget when building up mucles to gives lots of "breaks" in-between. So since she needs to build her topline (carrying muscles) and stop using her under the neck muscles so much, be certain to intersperse asking her to carry herself with long and low. Long and Low meaning stretch head and neck down BUT nost still on the vertical (or slightly in front of the vertical) and maintaining contact, albeit on a longer rein. A bulge in the middle of the horses neck on BOTH sides indicates she's still working on the correct muscles. As she develops more of the correct muscles that bulge will get bigger (you'll probably barely see it now since she's developed the under neck muscles for years).
     

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