Over horsed or just a youngster? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 12-01-2011, 04:08 AM Thread Starter
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Over horsed or just a youngster?

Had a lesson last night, and I don't know what to think. She wasn't bad in any way, but she wasn't particularly good either.

My trainer has said she's had a good three/four months build up now, she's fit, fat, healthy. Well, not fat, but fatter ;)

Last night in my lesson she wouldn't flex to the left, so I was told to bring my inside hand across my leg, inside leg on, when she relaxes and flexes to the inside give, then gently take inside rein till she balances herself. She wouldn't do it. My trainer stopped me, and told me to turn my toe out, put my leg and spur on until she listened. She wouldn't. She just did what she wanted.

So, my trainer said she thinks its high time Duffy was ridden with a schooling whip. Our previous experiences with a whip include bucking for an hour round the school until I got off. So, I picked up a kiddies little whip, brough my inside hand across my leg, and when she didn't listen to my inside leg, tapped her, ever so gently, behind my leg.

Not run away, but woosh. Boy, did she work. The POWER in her is unbelievable. I was shocked, and admittedly a bit nervous. It didn't feel out of control exactly, but it didn't seem far off. She was round, flexed brilliantly, working from behind and listening.

Canter. Oh my. Every time I asked it was STRAIGHT away, no stopping on the left like she tries to do, and she was sitting on her hind more, about 70% there, rather than cantering in to the floor. We did at one point have a control issue when we were supposed to trot at B...circle point.. M... C we got halt, my arms were shaking.

A couple of times she tried her head tossing which she seems to do when she's asked to do something she doesn't like, or doesn't want to do (thank the lord I had a martingale on) so I pushed her on. My trainer believes this may be the result of someone giving up on her through fright or something so Duffy thinks if she throws her head up and really sits on her hind legs so she can go up (only done twice when we started leg yielding and not high, but she got pushed on) so I pushed her on and on, and at one point booted her with my outside leg and she seemed to stop it.

Afterwards my guts felt jumbled from exhaustion and moving so fast.

Have I overhorsed myself with this 18.1hh machine, or is it youngsters testing and I need to be firmer with my riding?

Any thoughts appreciated!
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post #2 of 16 Old 12-01-2011, 04:56 AM
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well I think considering the size of her, of course she has a lot of power.. But you managed to handle her in the end did you not? I think you will be fine, Mitchell was like that when I first got him (A year ago next Thursday) and now he **** well does what he is told and he knows what happens if he doesn't. It just takes time, patience and commitment, you have a trainer to help you along the way and Duffy should give up the act after a while, but with the not bending to the left thing, is it possible she is sore? Mitch is doing that at the moment, as well as pulling like a steam train to get his left-hand circles bigger, and I found out today that is a result of having a sore back and a knot in the muscle behind one shoulder.

Good luck, and I say keep on it

R.I.P ~ Bubbles - 25yo tb mare - 13.04.2011 ~ 8:30am ~ passed away naturally and peacefully in my arms
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post #3 of 16 Old 12-01-2011, 06:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks hollybubbles- I'm just worried that we're going to spiral out of control and she's going to be doing all the laughing. I know she's a big horse and all... but I was not expecting that much motor from behind!

I've recently had her teeth checksed, end of Oct think it was, and her saddle has been refitted and her back was checked the same day so its not pain, its resistance to what I'm asking. There have been times where she has been stiff perhaps from a good work out the previous day, or when her saddle didnt fit properly and I noticed, but this is her saying nope, for sure!
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post #4 of 16 Old 12-01-2011, 06:18 AM
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If you keep feeling like that, it is a self fulfilling prophesy. You will translate that to her. That feeling will go away with time and confidence but you are doing the right thing by pushing her - and you. Rightfully so that you should rule out pain or discomfort but 90% of the time it is the rider.

Ever notice a horse that acts up for a rider but not when the trainer climes on board? That is the difference and the horse knows it.

I acquired my trail horse, Bonnie, because her past owner broke her wrist when she bailed off because she couldn't control her. Bonnie has been a fantastic trail horse for me mainly becasue I don't even think about the way she tries her rider at first and she has come to understand that tactics like that are not going to be tolerated.

A big horse can be intimidating but they don't know their size.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.
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post #5 of 16 Old 12-01-2011, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thats what I think it is- she's my first youngster and I NEED to be out of my comfort zone a bit, but then get control of my nerves and do it right.

My trainer has never ridden her- she can't due to old injuries. I'm hoping over Christmas leav he rother half will hop on her after I've warmed her up but he can't rise as his foot is built up with plates and screws.

I know it is me and the way I probably ride her, but it may be something I have taught her wrong as well. I think last night was just a shock.. it feels like I've built her up, but we've only been playing at riding and working, and now.. now she's better and can do better, work her hind off and move better that we can go further- I just don't know yet if I'm her right rider. I didn't post this last night because I thought I'll sleep on it and think about it in the morning- and maybe I should give it a couple of months. We've managed to tackle every issue so far, but the head tossing was BAD last night, I don't like it, but I can't let her know that... will keep you updated on how we go over the next couple of weeks...
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post #6 of 16 Old 12-01-2011, 07:44 AM
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I wouldn't think of your ride last night as a negative - more of a positive. You've been able to tap into a new gear - that next gear is always a bit nerve wracking at first, when you're getting comfortable pottering around a little, but you will get used to it and learn to ride it. She doesn't need to go full throttle all the time, but it is definitely nice to know that you have that gear there when you need it - in front of a judge is particularly useful ;)

I'd say you'll feel a little over horsed and nervous for a few more rides, until you can learn to tap in and control that gear. But enjoy it - having a horse that WILL go up a gear is nothing to be worried about, just shows you've got a great engine behind the saddle!
Good to hear that you got such a good response from the whip, it won't take long and you won't even need to tough her with it, just having it there is enough to make her think about listening to you. I like having them so you can just tap the whip against your boot without actually touching them, to get a reaction ;)

And remember, a horse doesn't know how much potential it has, it doesn't care if its rider will utilise its potential and bring it to international grand prix, or if its rider will potter around at pony club with an upside down neck. So don't beat yourself up about not doing her justice, from what I've seen of you riding her, you have NOTHING to be ashamed or worried about. As riders, we ruin each horse we have a little less than the last. We never stop learning, and unfortunately sometimes we look back and think 'oh that horse I had 5 years ago had so much potential, if only I'd know this method of training when I had her!' but then you can use that new knowledge on the next horse and so on.

Good smiling, keep working horse - I want to see some new photo's of you guys as I think Duffy is a wonderful mare!
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post #7 of 16 Old 12-01-2011, 02:10 PM
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Duffy if it was always fun and easy everyone would do it, and do it very well. Some days you are the bug and some days you are the windshield!

I don't think this sounds like an issue of over-horsing or youngter problems at all. I agree with the above posts so won't duplicate efforts, just wanted to voice that we all (at least I) have frustrating rides too.
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post #8 of 16 Old 12-01-2011, 02:22 PM
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cheer up , it seems we are both doubting our skills at the moment :( but lets not do that anymore!!! :) we are strong and very capable of figuring out our crazy horses who like to have their own mind ...sometimes for better or worse lol keep me posted on how you guys are doing ... i love hearing about your lessons with duffy :)
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-01-2011, 02:37 PM
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So far, Duffy, it justs sounds as if she is afraid of whips. Why don't you work her on the ground with the whip you intend to use? After years of lessons, my string of horses would respond when the rider--ANYBODY--flipped the whip up before they used it, bc they use their peripheral vision, and confidently understood what it was meant to do.
You must have GREAT ABS!!! Every time I ride a tall horse I feel as if I just did 100 crunches!! =b
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post #10 of 16 Old 12-01-2011, 04:32 PM
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My horse is 16hh and I have felt overhorsed when he was young - and even now sometimes I can create so much energy in him we are verging on out of control.
I am a firm beleiver that if you want to improve you have to scare yourself and if you stay in your comfort zone you don't progress. You just have to decide how much scared is too much. Edward Gal was afraid Totilas would be too much horse for him when they first got him.... It is the mark of a good horse, YOU just have to learn how are you going to deal with it.

When she is being sticky on that left side, instead of crossing the rein over or pulling back (both of which are incorrect) think about sitting up tall, driving your right hand down and forward and driving your elbow into your hip and using that to lever your left hand up. Don't pull back, don't cross the hand over, just position the hand and ride through.

The other thing that you have to remember with these horses is that, despite what everyone says, they are different from other breeds. Warmbloods are hot, quick tempered, sensitive and late to mature (the good ones at least). You are going to have battle royales with this horse. Not out of anger, not out of frustration, but out of shear will. She will not understand something, get mad and you will have to push the point with her that it is not alright to get mad. She will get more mad, and you will just have to sit there in your position, re applying the aid. You will feel angry, frustrated, defeated, but you must stay calm, thoughtful and stay in "training mode". This will happen every time you "bump up". Happened to me last month when introducing half steps. Ever ridden a capriole?? :P

It is important to remember that you are teaching the horse new things, introducing new positions and muscles to the horse and they don't understand why or how. You have to stay calm, correct them and never do anything from a bad frame of mind. Forgive their mistakes, praise loudly and do whatever makes you calm. People at my barn thing I am NUTSO because I talk myself the whole way through my ride and basically yell praise at my horse when he is understanding, or even trying to understand.

As long as you are able to stay in position and remain thoughtful about WHY you are teaching something WHAT is the main goal and HOW are you going to break it down into what the horse can understand. When teaching the leg yeild the number one thing to maintain is the forward. If she takes 2 steps sideways and loses impulsion, go forward and then try again from a forward trot, etc... Keep your immediate goal for each exercise in mind always.

Good luck!
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