Need help with "lazy" horse
   

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Need help with "lazy" horse

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  • I ride a lazy lesson horse
  • My new horse is being lazy

 
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    08-04-2009, 11:40 AM
  #1
Foal
Need help with "lazy" horse

Hi there! I'm a bit of a lurker and first time poster. I've just started riding again after a 4 year break. Before that, I rode jumpers for 10 years and polo for a year. It's definitely different getting back into it as an adult! My sense of self-preservation has definitely kicked in and all of the jumps look so high now!

I've started lessons again at a fantastic barn and have been riding a gorgeous Irish Sport Horse. He definitely knows what he's doing and has done it all, but he's also quite lazy and I feel like I'm having to work way too hard at everything. I know part of it is my lack of riding muscles which he can probably sense, and those will come with time. But it doesn't feel very elegant or effective to always be getting after him to move on.

For now, what should I be doing to create more impulsion? Specifically, I seem to get him to a good pace and lose any impulsion around turns (or circles, serpentines, etc). The indoor arena is small (too muddy outside lately) so I feel like I barely get any good strides on the long side before he's just dying on the corners. I'm using a crop and small spurs (which my instructor is confident I can use, so my legs and position must not be that far off after 4 years), but I think there is more I could be doing with my seat to really get him moving. Any specific suggestions? His lack of impulsion really affects our jumping as well because he has a habit of stopping (occasionally) or inserting strides (much more often; which on a horse his size is pretty awkward ) if he lacks the impulsion going into the line.

Thank you for your help!
     
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    08-04-2009, 12:01 PM
  #2
Showing
Welcome to the forum!

My new horse, Boomer, has a lazy streak. When we are out on the trail with other horses he is fine but when it's just the two of us, he thinks he can plod along.

What has worked for me is two things. First is to exaggerate my upper body rhythm to his walk and the second is to use my spurs and bump him on the opposite side of his lead leg. As he is extending with his left front leg, I'll bump him on the right side and conversely when he extends with his right leg I'll bump his left side. If he gets real slow, I'll move him into a trot to wake him up then back to a walk.

I've had him for just short of 2 months and there is a marked improvement - but I ride several times per week so that helps.
     
    08-04-2009, 12:36 PM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by iridehorses    
Welcome to the forum!

My new horse, Boomer, has a lazy streak. When we are out on the trail with other horses he is fine but when it's just the two of us, he thinks he can plod along.

What has worked for me is two things. First is to exaggerate my upper body rhythm to his walk and the second is to use my spurs and bump him on the opposite side of his lead leg. As he is extending with his left front leg, I'll bump him on the right side and conversely when he extends with his right leg I'll bump his left side. If he gets real slow, I'll move him into a trot to wake him up then back to a walk.

I've had him for just short of 2 months and there is a marked improvement - but I ride several times per week so that helps.

Thanks for the welcome! I actually remember doing that back when I was riding lazy lesson horses long ago, but totally didn't think of it in this situation. Thanks for the tip. I'll try it this week.
     
    08-04-2009, 03:25 PM
  #4
Foal
You've already had really good advice but I thought I would mention an exercise my instructor had us do. I had a lesson a while ago about lowering the pressure bar. Basically, my instructor was saying that most of the time we always end up pushing the horses more than we should have to, especially on the lazy ones. You can lower the pressure bar in three places - seat, leg and rein. Next time you go out riding, try and gauge where you are on the pressure bar in these areas. Then try and lower it. For instance, on the horse I was riding who was rather lazy, I was using maybe a 5 or 6 in my leg to urge him into a trot. I should have been using maybe a 2 or 3. If he does not respond to 2 or 3, use your crop on him. You can use the same principle for leg and rein as well. I think you'll find he will begin to listen better.. good luck!

I hope that works for you and makes sense! Good for you getting back into riding.
     
    08-05-2009, 11:45 AM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pekoe    
You've already had really good advice but I thought I would mention an exercise my instructor had us do. I had a lesson a while ago about lowering the pressure bar. Basically, my instructor was saying that most of the time we always end up pushing the horses more than we should have to, especially on the lazy ones. You can lower the pressure bar in three places - seat, leg and rein. Next time you go out riding, try and gauge where you are on the pressure bar in these areas. Then try and lower it. For instance, on the horse I was riding who was rather lazy, I was using maybe a 5 or 6 in my leg to urge him into a trot. I should have been using maybe a 2 or 3. If he does not respond to 2 or 3, use your crop on him. You can use the same principle for leg and rein as well. I think you'll find he will begin to listen better.. good luck!

I hope that works for you and makes sense! Good for you getting back into riding.
Thanks! I think at first I was a bit afraid of using the crop too hard because you never know with a new horse, new trainer, etc. I think I need to get him listening more at the beginning of the lesson to lighter pressure. I've never been the best with lazy horses, and it's been so hot and humid lately that the poor guy is probably thinking "Do we have to do this again?" Haha
     
    08-06-2009, 08:40 PM
  #6
Foal
Anyone else?

Bump
     
    08-06-2009, 08:51 PM
  #7
Weanling
Well my horse can be super lazy in the arena. The only way I can get him to be 'focused' on his work is to get some sort of change in the routine. I don't know what you can do with the horse... but to get some laziness out of mine I take it for a trail ride, or just a random play day with him. It gives him a different 'spark' to his day haha.
     
    08-08-2009, 09:08 PM
  #8
Started
I agree with Pekoe: you should not have to work that hard. Once you rule out things like discomfort, tiredness, or elements in your riding that might by too restraining, concentrate on giving a clear escalation of your aids. If you are consistent, his responses should improve.

Some of it depends on the individual horse too: maybe he does just need a "wake up" before you start to work. For example I've been riding a very low-energy quarter horse recently. Good-natured and reasonably fit, but veeery laid-back, doesn't like the heat either. I've found it best to do some canter work with him immediately after warm-up: he is always more energetic for the rest of the session when I do this.
     
    08-08-2009, 10:48 PM
  #9
Trained
I guess it depends on what your horse listens to, but the solution for me is a little different. I'm in the school of thought that if you ask too loudly, eventually the horse will get used to it and tune that out too. I would try to get rid of any static you may be causing, and only apply a correction when he starts to slow down. It can be anything from a squeeze to a kick, whatever works for the situation. Once you get a response, go back to riding quietly until he slows down again. Don't nag him. You'll get tired, but it's the most effective way I know to get a horse to understand the whole cause/affect thing. When you do start getting responses, move on to asking with less and less until finally he's working harder than you are. Good luck. Finding the "go" button on a lazy horse can be tricky.
     

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