How do you keep your horse busy?
 
 

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How do you keep your horse busy?

This is a discussion on How do you keep your horse busy? within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • How to keep a horse when you are busy
  • How to keep on top of exercising your horse when busy

 
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    03-11-2010, 06:38 PM
  #1
Green Broke
How do you keep your horse busy?

Majic gets bored with circles and working on moving off the leg and collection really easy. Next time I ride I think I am going to put out some poles, but just curious how other dressage riders keep their horses focused and fresh while schooling.
     
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    03-11-2010, 07:46 PM
  #2
Trained
Two days a week we jump and at least one day a week we leave the ring completely and go for a trail ride. It clears the cobwebs out for both of us and we both work better with variety.
     
    03-12-2010, 12:56 AM
  #3
Foal
On friends horse I do all different exercises everytime I ride.

Circles one day, shoulder in another, picking up canter on a straight line another... and of course the odd trail ride as a bit of fun.

Also helps to find problems in my riding and the horses schooling and the horse never excepts what is coming.
     
    03-12-2010, 02:00 AM
  #4
Foal
All of the above and more: free lunging, line lunging, more advanced in-hand work, ground training (bombproofing) and games, cavalletti, jumps, trails, mix up the work as much as possible (get books of exercises for ideas, and do lots of transitions both within and between gaits), different arenas, trailer out to another place, shows, days off for just hanging out together while cleaning tack or grazing. And do some stuff with other people/horses, not just by yourselves.
     
    03-12-2010, 10:52 AM
  #5
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by QHDragon    
Majic gets bored with circles and working on moving off the leg and collection really easy. Next time I ride I think I am going to put out some poles, but just curious how other dressage riders keep their horses focused and fresh while schooling.

The horse is not bored, the rider is and has confined their mind to a box.

Change your thinking and you change your ride. Dressage is NOT about doing endless circles but about riding the horse in every manner and way you can. Unstructure your mind and it becomes so much better.
     
    03-13-2010, 03:59 PM
  #6
Green Broke
I don't know about that, after a while he starts to get fidgety with his head, and starts looking for things to spook at. I would call that getting bored.

Since I am riding him progressively more (would like to get up to 5 days a week) as he gets back into shape I will see about adding one or two days of pole and jumping work. Trails are out of the question right now unless my friend moves back to the barn like she has been talking about. Majic doesn't go out by himself very well.
     
    03-13-2010, 06:57 PM
  #7
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by QHDragon    
I don't know about that, after a while he starts to get fidgety with his head, and starts looking for things to spook at. I would call that getting bored.
No I would call that losing focus. You stimulate him to do something more interesting and any fidgets will be forgotten.

Just to give you an example of a rider that is likely to lose their horse's attention is one I had.

I asked her to do a shoulder in. Very simple and if you know how to do it shouldn't take you long to set up the horse. Well she was about 7 strides from the end of the long side so she rode the rest of the way along that side, along the short side and proceeded to do it about 1/4 way into the following long side of the arena.

I asked her why it took so long....answer? I was waiting for the next long side as we always do it there. THAT is thinking within the confines of a box. It could have been done in so many places but her brain just didn't operate to think that it could have been done on the short side or even in the middle of the arena. This is a rider that will get into trouble in a test if anything goes wrong for they cannot "fix" anything because the "fix" is done only at certain spots.

This is a rider that can't just ride around and "see" a travers, or leg yield, or pirouette or half pass developing because of the position they put the horse and will lose the one moment in time when all is aligned correctly.

A good rider becomes a trainer and sees these spacial shapes coming together and seizes the moment even if it was not planned. This is the kind of rider that keeps its horse focused upon what the they are asking for and it becomes too busy complying to do much else.
     
    03-14-2010, 04:56 PM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by QHDragon    
I don't know about that, after a while he starts to get fidgety with his head, and starts looking for things to spook at. I would call that getting bored.
I agree with Spyder. I would also replace the word bored with unfocused. I was a clinic last year where the clinician was working with horses who were habitually spooky according to their riders. She first had them ride around for the first 10 minutes to show their horse's "problems". Sure enough, as the riders plodded around on circles, the horse's spooked all over the place. The clinician then had them all halt and suggested that the horses were just loosing their attention on their riders since the rider was not doing anything to keep their minds engaged. She then had them go back out onto the rail and instructed them to do something different every 6 strides. Different gaits, movements, tempos, etc. She said the only rules are change every 6 strides and straighten one stride before making the change. Every horse quickly became engaged with their riders. There were a few minor spooks in the beginning, but by the end there were 3 horses floating beautifully around the ring.

Once you use the 6 stride game to get your horse's attention back, you can go back to what you were working on for that day, but I saw first hand what a great exercise it is. To be able to take either a bored or nervous horse and harness that energy into something productive makes for a really great day.
     

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