Anyone Else Having to do This?
 
 

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Anyone Else Having to do This?

This is a discussion on Anyone Else Having to do This? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

     
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        12-17-2009, 10:41 PM
      #1
    Yearling
    Anyone Else Having to do This?

    Well, since it's winter in Wisconsin, it's bitterly cold when I ride at night. Thumper is pretty fresh, I'm a little tired, and the cold isn't helping either of us. So Thumper is hunching his back, prancing about, doing his little half-rears, etc. Anyway, I've decided that I need to take a step back. I can't just expect Thumper to be his usual self when it's cold and he isn't being ridden as often; I'm just about the only consistent rider he gets right now. So I've decided that I need to take a step back, and conform my riding to his needs, instead of trying to carry on with our usual routine, asking him to be good when he isn't in the right mindset. I'm going to try and see more from his point of view, and try to engage his super-active mind in some activities that he'll enjoy .

    So... my question is: Has anyone else been having to change their riding and ride plans to better work WITH your horse, instead of against them?

    I was all set to do my whole no-stirrup/two-point ride today, but it ended up more as the difficult task of engaging Thumper's mind. Whenever I get frustrated, I just take a walking break, and think of how this is the same horse who probably has no ill-intent, and is just as frustrated with me as I may be with him. So, has anyone else had to do this, especially now that winter has come around?
         
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        12-17-2009, 11:23 PM
      #2
    Yearling
    I havent had the chance to go for a ride ...yet this winter.
    But I may give that ago.
    Probably not since I don't have access at the moment to an indoor arena and a stable at the moment.
    :)
         
        12-18-2009, 12:26 AM
      #3
    Yearling
    Oooh yes, I have had to change my game plan a lot now that it is winter, freezing cold and windy, ice sliding off the roof of the arena and scaring the devil out of both of us. Mostly what I've changed is spending more time on the ground before riding, getting Tanner into his "working mind set". I don't completely give up and say "it's cold, he's saucy, no ride today" but I do give him more time on the ground to get into the swing. I also turn him out in the arena and free lunge him to start, just to get the beans out and get him thinking about where he is and what is expected.

    Also, he is a bit more stiff in the winter so I give him extra warm up time to work that out and if it is really cold, we just walk and work on bending and flexing, moving off the leg (he has a chronic injury in his RH hamstring that acts up in the cold). The one thing I absolutely don't change is that I'm deciding what is going to happen and how it is going to go. Yes, I'm adapting the plan to suit where he is at on that day, but if I decide we're doing turn on the haunches than darn it, that is what we're doing. Most importantly we end every ride on a positive note- if it has really gone to hell then I regroup, ask him to do something he knows, make him do it well and call it a ride. Incidentally I think all the extra ground work is helping our riding a lot too, lots of gals at the barn have commented on how quiet and willing he seems lately when a lot of their horses are full of winter weather beans.
         
        12-18-2009, 05:17 AM
      #4
    Yearling
    I never have liked the idea of working a horse out of his energy. If we want real collection, and we know that this takes a lot of effort by the horse... why would we work off his excess energy? If you were going to play a soccer game, would you run around until you look tired before you even started the game?

    I teach my horses that despite them being wonky due to weather/wind/high energy/WHATEVER, they must put it to good use. I do not, will not, tolerate stupid, dangerous behavior just because they're fresh. My 1 and a half year old stud colt who is on 24/hr turnout will walk, stand, and wait to be let out into his pasture to play with the others on a cold day when he has been in a stall for the past two days. They ALL can learn, you just need to be consistent and have the skills to teach them.

    When your horse is fresh, put his mind and energy to good use. This does not mean circles and serpentines... I don't know who started the idea that this was 'work' for a horse, but if this is the extent of work your horse can do, he's not bending and he's not working!

    I do shoulders-in on a circle at a walk and trot--this is a GREAT warm up because it bends them gorgeously, gets those hindends active and gets their mind focused on where they need to put their legs. I do not tolerate bad behavior--this does not mean I punish, however! If the horse trys to rear/buck/what not, I push them right back into the exercise. Don't do ANYTHING else. If you make a big deal, they make a big deal. If you bring them back to a walk, they're going to learn that you WANT them to rear and be silly because you're REWARDING the bad behavior. Push them forward and just focus on getting the correct response by being soft, but as firm (NOT corrective or mean) as necessary to get the job done. Essentially, you are 'ignoring' the bad behavior. This has always, always worked for me.

    I want my horse to know that when the saddle is on, his energy will be put to WORK only. This works every time. ;) Once you graduate from shoulders in, I do haunches in, leg yielding, etc. as additional warm-ups... and they also help build topline and butt muscle for him to move and carry you better! :)

    Good luck!
         
        12-18-2009, 11:26 AM
      #5
    Started
    Quote:
    I never have liked the idea of working a horse out of his energy. If we want real collection, and we know that this takes a lot of effort by the horse... why would we work off his excess energy?
    Well when its down right dangerous for the horse or rider. I wont push a horse when the ground is frozen, he could get a concussion injury with too much work. I'd rather give my horse a little time to regroup instead of him getting frustrated and buck me off.

    Quote:
    When your horse is fresh, put his mind and energy to good use. This does not mean circles and serpentines... I don't know who started the idea that this was 'work' for a horse, but if this is the extent of work your horse can do, he's not bending and he's not working!
    Hmm, I always thought circles and serpentines were hard work, they require lots of flexion and bending. And I'm pretty sure every dressage test requires it.

    To answer the OP- ever winter we do things alittle differently then normal. I wouldnt expect my horse to do 3 foot courses on frozen ground. I don't canter my mare, she's a handful before I deal with swoshing winds. Id rather put her in a position were we can work on things, not were the whole ride is a nightmare. Its demotivating for you AND your horse. We do fun things like trail rides and hacks. We do alot of transitions between walking, stoping, backing, and thing to get her more responsive but not push her past what I feel she can handle. You are the best judge of what is good for your horse, no one else.
         
        12-18-2009, 11:34 AM
      #6
    Trained
    I personally lunge my mare before I get on =D not to work her down or anything, just getting her into a working mindset. I usually just send her around a few times at w/t/c, having her be very responsive to the cues. She would probably be fine to just get on, but I don't think that's fair to her, the horses around us are just standing about doing nothing in the pastures ! I would like to set her up for success =] its hard enough now that we have to share the indoor with no many nuts every night !
         
        12-18-2009, 11:53 AM
      #7
    Started
    Anrz,

    Title : Anyone else 'having' to do this?

    May I politely suggest:

    Title : Anyone else 'thinking and choosing' to do this?

    Seems to me that you are doing the right thing and adapting to what Mother Nature has sent you. That's a good plan to work by especially with horses.

    B G
         
        12-18-2009, 03:45 PM
      #8
    Yearling
    'Well when its down right dangerous for the horse or rider. I wont push a horse when the ground is frozen, he could get a concussion injury with too much work. I'd rather give my horse a little time to regroup instead of him getting frustrated and buck me off.'

    And how is a controlled trot more harmful to my horse's limbs then him w/t/c in a tight circle? Or him careening around an arena? If it's too cold to ride, it's too cold to ride OR lunge, period.

    'Hmm, I always thought circles and serpentines were hard work, they require lots of flexion and bending. And I'm pretty sure every dressage test requires it.'

    Of course they do, but your horse needs to be able to bend and flex CORRECTLY in able for these moves to be hard. If you can not manage a shoulders-in, then why would a circle be hard for a horse that does not use his body correctly?

    Like I said--I teach my horses to deal with the weather and put their energy to good use.
         
        12-18-2009, 04:19 PM
      #9
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
    Anrz,

    Title : Anyone else 'having' to do this?

    May I politely suggest:

    Title : Anyone else 'thinking and choosing' to do this?

    Seems to me that you are doing the right thing and adapting to what Mother Nature has sent you. That's a good plan to work by especially with horses.

    B G
    Very true! You definitely don't have to do this :). I agree that that would make more sense. I would feel bad expecting him to be absolutely perfect when he isn't worked as often as usual! I only part-lease him, and that means that when lessons are canceled on other days, he isn't ridden. He has more energy than usual and, while I don't want him to get away with bad behavior, I feel like I can't expect him to be perfect the first time around. That being said, though, I definitely expect him to work and give it his all! The weather is no excuse for being distracted for an entire ride, in my opinion. But I will change my agenda for the day if needed.
         
        12-18-2009, 09:16 PM
      #10
    Weanling
    Well im in wisconsin too so don't feel to bad!! Just give them that extra 5 mins of lunging or let him rip around in the indoor/outdoor to get him warmed up a little!! That's my plan...lol
         

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