Just bought an old QH and now personality comes out - Page 2

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Just bought an old QH and now personality comes out

This is a discussion on Just bought an old QH and now personality comes out within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    10-02-2011, 11:33 PM
Well, now that I have had a reality check from everyone, my expectations are much lower and I must say that my mare is doing better lately. Slow is the key.

I've been doing little things like: having her stand still when mounting, lots of walk and halt transitions. Lunging. Today we did a total of 2 medium circles each way at the trot. Her tempo is nice and even. And she didn't have her usual barn sour halts at a particular corner today. Nothing more than 20 minutes sessions at this point. Including the walk to ring.

I know she has some training in her...she has that super slow QH jog, when she wants to. I can just picture her with the weighted western reins and curb bit when she was in her prime.

I'm trying to find a bit she likes. Doesn't like a hollow eggbutt snaffle. Nor a D-ring with copper rollers.

She likes to grab the bit and stretch her head down A LOT. It seems the saddle fits nice. I wonder if she is just balking at the bit or her back is sore. Her teeth were floated about 9 months ago. The vet checked just this week and feels they are okay now.

Basically, if she wanted, she could totally bite the bit and take off. Luckily she hasn't. Any advise about the neck stretch would be appreciated.
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    10-03-2011, 05:04 AM
Green Broke
Are you sure the bit is fitted correctly? Many people inadvertently have the wrong size bit or it adjusted incorrectly. Stretching down isn't generally such a bad thing. People tend to look for long and low and then build up to more collected frame. My standard go to bit is a KK Training bit. I find it works well with most horses. I guess the way I would cope with stretching down is to hold the contact but put a lot more leg on, driving the horse forward.

I wouldn't really work with lunging unless you have running reins or something to suggest a better way for her to carry herself.
    10-03-2011, 07:33 AM
I don't use eggbutt or D-rings on my paint who has similar habit of grabbing the bit given an chance. Loose rings work much much better on her. Also oval mouth is my favorite mouthpiece.
    10-03-2011, 08:27 AM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by kateortamar    
Thanks for the replies. I needed that feedback. Never having been in this position before I had a feeling that I needed to go much much slower. The previous owners said they would go trail riding on her and advertised her as a "easy going family horse". I see them periodically because they also have a few horses at the new barn my horse is at. Every time I see them I get a few more comments that elude to her not actually really being ridden all that much.

Typical.....I suspect they greatly inflated her training and experience.

On the other hand, I really don't know much about her history at all so I worry that she must have behavior issues that have keeping her bouncing from owner to owner. I have learned that what I was told when I saw her the first time isn't all that accurate.
Welcome to the world of horse trading. Don't give up, though. If she had behavioral issues, her time off may be the best thing. It may have given her time to diffuse bad previous handling. I would start her completely from scratch and forget that she has had any previous training.

I tried to see how she lunges the other day. She goes counterclockwise okay...doesn't hardly listen to voice commands and either she just doesn't know what a lunge whip is or doesn't care. Going clockwise was impossible. Every time I would try to get her going she would just stop, turn and look at me. She must have been lunged at some point in her life because she can do it okay in one direction.
This behavior on the lunge is common. Horses, like humans, are either "right handed" or "left handed"...meaning they are prone to prefer moving balanced on one side over the other. Usually, like us, they prefer the right side. That means that they will balance by leaning heavily on their right shoulder making it herd to bend going clockwise. When they are going counterclockwise, putting weight on the right shoulder (now on the outside) actually helps the horse bend. Clockwise, they will tend to counterbend throwing even MORE weight on the inside shoulder. They will often collapse in making the circle smaller and smaller. All very common. Lunge circles are very small when a horse is so unbalanced and they will often not want to do it at all. Be petient and ask very little on the lunge until they start learning to balance going in that small circle.

I don't know how effective I am going to be with reconditioning her. I can only get to the barn about twice a week.
Just make the time you have with her quality time. It would really help to have a professional give you a hand with her. Not only will that give her knowledgable and systematic work, you can watch and learn how to approach her training, too. It is often money WELL spent if you find a patient trainer.

Good luck and don't give up. BTW, keep her in that snaffle. Don't succomb to the desire to gain more control by putting a tougher bit on her. What she is doing is common to an untrained horse. She will learn to accept and use the bit with good training.

Hope this helps.
    10-03-2011, 11:29 AM
Thanks for all the replies. I guess I'll be acruing a stash of snaffles. Will try the loose ring.

I've been debating moving her to a different barn that I'd be able to get to more than 2x per week and has an indoor. It's just so expensive.

But, I suppose it isn't really in my nature to not have something to work on though.
    10-03-2011, 11:35 AM
Super Moderator
Can you move to the barn with the indoor for just the winter...then move back to the other when weather allows more outdoor work? It might save you some money.
    10-03-2011, 11:37 AM
Originally Posted by kateortamar    
I've been debating moving her to a different barn that I'd be able to get to more than 2x per week and has an indoor. It's just so expensive.
Tell me about it! :( I keep horse in my own place and usually don't ride 2-3 months in winter (when we have ice on ground).

Good luck with loose rings! :)
    10-04-2011, 04:21 PM
Have fun with your new-"old" horse! What I mean is, for now, work on your own riding performance, and let your horse be more or less comfortable with the work. Keep mares happy, they say. I'm pretty sure things will keep improving.

Her back may well be feeling the effects of riding, but putting her head down is good, as it usually lifts the back. You sound like a good owner for her, very aware.
    10-25-2011, 12:17 AM
I've definitely seen improvement just after going out 2x per week to ride. She was definitely more relaxed and listening at least.

Of course, my standards are way, way lower. I am so happy when she can do figure eights (at the walk) without distracting bit chewing or neck stretching.

Because of weather and work I missed going out for 10 days to see her. She certainly lapsed. When I went out yesterday, she often seemed on the "verge" of putting her head down and bucking, bolting or head shaking. But she never did. Either because she knows better and/or I am successful with distracting her with circles.

It seems that when she is like this she is nervous and rushing. Doesn't stand when mounting. Doesn't like to stand when halted. I'm not sure that focusing on mounting and dismounting and stopping/starting makes her more impatient or less. I can't tell yet. I might never be able to tell if I can only ride her so little.

I am going to enlist the help of a dressage trainer though soon. I just didn't want to do it so early and pay $50-$75 a pop, when my mare can't even walk in a circle and listen to basic aids like whoa and walk.
    10-25-2011, 04:36 AM
Have you had the norms checked out for her? Back, teeth, saddle? If the saddle came with her, and she's just had a foal, it might not fit!

I agree with the others, too much too soon and she wil sour. I would suggest gentle lunge work outs in a bridle, let her get to know you, and then build up from that after a couple of weeks to lunging one day, riding the next, after that, do more riding then lunging, and wean the lunging out to once a week.

You've got a horse that has been out of work for a long time, and not only that, she's an older girl. I'd say roughly 5-6 months to get her in fit condition for everything you want. Don't rush her, you'll sour her even more.

Try and vary the things you do with her as well, hack out, lunge, pole work on foot and what not, keep her mind interested.

Hope this helps!

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