need help with bouncy gaits! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 16 Old 11-13-2011, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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need help with bouncy gaits!

okay I have an arabian gelding named Zahir. He is a great horse. He was trained in dressage long before I got him. He is 14 now. He would need refreshers lol. I am getting people to give me lessons for correct seat and everything. But his gaits are so uncomfortable!!! He has a bouncy trot and his canter is near impossible to sit in! He is completely sound. I had him checked. It is just the way he moves. He has a lot of action in his trot. It is like he hops with every step. His canter isn't fast. It is just not pleasant lol. Pretty, but not pleasant since I am the one on his back. He is the bounciest horse I have ever been on. I have had him for over 2 years. He has always been like this. Is there any way to make his gaits smoother? Someone told me to put weights on his legs, but I can't find any. I would love to go out on the trail and just enjoy a nice trot and canter with my friends. Plus I really want to get him in shape but it is hard to trot and canter for long periods of time. Is there anything I can do???
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-13-2011, 06:34 PM
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When a horse is moving correctly over his back, from the hind end his gaits will become easier to sit. It is likely his prior Dressage training was not entirely correct and he has been pulled into a frame with weighted front legs for action and his hind legs are trailing. Often this encourages the horse to bounce with his front end and provides an uncomfortable ride.
I would advise going back to basics and encouraging the horse to stretch his neck low into the contact in a simple trot. Lunging in side reins (in some cases using the German bungee reins cab also help but I al reluctant to recommend these without seeing the horse) can help this, as well as Dressage lessons with a qualified instructor outside of the breed show circuit.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 16 Old 11-13-2011, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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that makes sense lol. I am looking for a surcingle and side reins. He came from El Camino ranch in California and I know their horses are lunged with surcingles and side reins. So I guess the person who had him afterwards didnt train him too well :(
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-14-2011, 05:29 PM
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For many horses and inexperienced trainers, traditional side reins can do more damage than good. Unless they reach for the contact it can just encourage them to further hollow out.

I'd look into a system like running reins that encourages the horse to stretch down.
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-14-2011, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
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can you lunge with running reins
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post #6 of 16 Old 11-18-2011, 11:37 AM
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In agreement with anebel. Try to get him moving forwards more to counteract the upwards movement by encouraging him to stretch his neck long and low and by doing lots of quick transitions to get him using his quarters more, but be careful not to push him too much otherwise he'll fall onto his forehand. Little and often should do the trick because you're asking him to use muscles he obviously hasn't been using or using properly.

My mare also has a bouncy trot and canter so when I rise to the trot I have to ensure I rise, then push my pelvis forwards before coming back down otherwise I could easily 'bump' back into the saddle. Trying to sit and ride 'lightly' also helps and allows her to use her quarters and when warming up I spend a bit of time in the forward seat in both trot and canter to allow her to move freely and loosen up her back and shoulders.

Good luck with Zahir. He sounds lovely and what a great project to work on!
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post #7 of 16 Old 11-18-2011, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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that makes sense too. Okay I will definitely try that too. Anything to make riding more enjoyable for the both of us :) lol. Any tips on how to get him to make contact? He is pretty upright in his movement but I think he really needs more exercise too. He hasnt been worked consistently. Would that help loosen him up?

my best friend is my arabian. People always tell me that he's the calmest horse they've ever seen. i tell them he's an arabian. and they are surprised :)
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post #8 of 16 Old 11-18-2011, 12:58 PM
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To achieve the contact you will first have to get him working from behind and then take up a contact which doesn't either allow the energy to escape through the front end nor restrict his forwards movement. Not an easy one! Lol. It's a case of doing little experiments to find just the right amount of contact that will get him seeking the bit, at which point he should then start to stretch a little.
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post #9 of 16 Old 11-18-2011, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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okay so I will basically have to find out just how much contact he needs. Lol. Some tinkering. He really is a fun horse. Just bouncy haha. I am trying to ride everyday at least

my best friend is my arabian. People always tell me that he's the calmest horse they've ever seen. i tell them he's an arabian. and they are surprised :)
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post #10 of 16 Old 11-18-2011, 01:19 PM
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Haha, I'm afraid so. My friend had an arab a few years ago and with a lot of work he worked beautifully. They did a lot of showjumping, cross country and some dressage and did really well. I'm sure you'll get there too. Have fun!
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