very behind the leg
 
 

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very behind the leg

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  • My horse is so behind my leg
  • Behind the leg riding

 
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    09-19-2010, 03:56 AM
  #1
Yearling
very behind the leg

My TB is extremely behind the leg when in the arena. On trails he is very easy to get light and round but he is soooo lazy and I can't get him through when we're in an arena (even the outdoor which has no fencing). My trainer is working on this with me but I am looking for some additional advice on how to work on this. I have tried the "ask, tell, demand" approach as I know I tend to nag him instead of giving very clear corrections but even when I carry a whip I am constantly having to ask for more forward.

Actually he is a bit dead to the leg in general as he was a school horse for 7 years. I have only been riding for a little less than a year so my seat isn't that strong yet and I know this is part of the problem but how can I get him more sensitive? We do lots of work with transitions but things just aren't really moving along very much- help please!
     
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    09-19-2010, 09:51 PM
  #2
Trained
You said you carry the whip. Do you use it? Funny you should post this now. A few short days ago, I was riding my TB who also has beautiful floaty gaits when we're out in the fields, but then acts like I'm trying to kill him if I ask for any form of collection within the confines of a ring. I was asking for a nice working trot. He repeatedly refused to go forward on my leg cues, refused to bend despite my doing some circles, shoulder-fore and haunches-in to help loosen him up. He basically was acting like he was lame to the point where I almost bought into it. Instead I took a different approach. I put both my reins in one hand, grabbed a hunk of mane, asked again for forward with my leg and a split second later I gave him a single whack with the crop behind my leg. He shot forward and proceeded to produce a trot so beautiful that I couldn't believe it was coming from my horse. He never looked back and we spent the next 10 minutes changing direction, circling, doing serpentines and lengthenings without him so much as losing his balance. He was absolutely fantastic. I guess my point is, your horse is most likely calling your bluff. Answer loudly and see what the response is.
     
    09-19-2010, 11:56 PM
  #3
Yearling
MBP thanks for the response. I do use the whip. I use the heck out of it and for about 10 strides I get what I asked for. So when he slows again (and I try to catch it as soon as he takes one lazy stride) I will again give him another really good whack, lather rinse repeat. It is getting to the point where I'm going to start giving him welts if I continue in this vein which is why I'm looking for additional tools. I'm ok with using my whip, I am not ok with abusing my horse (ie. Leaving marks behind). I can get him to move a little more forward, but it is soooo much work. Almost to the point where I don't want to work in the arena any more and with winter coming on that won't be an option for us.

Incidentally if there are other horses in the arena, particularly one gelding of whom he is rather fond, he will be very forward and wonderful. I reward the heck out of him for this but still just can't figure out how to get it when he's not "feeling like it".

And before anyone brings it up I am absolutely 100% positive it is not a pain issue.
     
    09-20-2010, 05:21 AM
  #4
Yearling
Well, I don't know if this will help, but I was watching a movie a while back and it was talking about horse personalties. Pumpkin is a left brain extrovert. This type of personality loves something that has a point to it, trail riding, cutting ect. It takes a lot of treats and praise to get them to do anything enthusiasticallyin the arena. Just thinking that this may be a cause.

Anyway, good luck with your boy, and I hope you find a solution!
     
    09-20-2010, 06:46 PM
  #5
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by tealamutt    
MBP thanks for the response. I do use the whip. I use the heck out of it and for about 10 strides I get what I asked for. So when he slows again (and I try to catch it as soon as he takes one lazy stride) I will again give him another really good whack, lather rinse repeat. It is getting to the point where I'm going to start giving him welts if I continue in this vein which is why I'm looking for additional tools. I'm ok with using my whip, I am not ok with abusing my horse (ie. Leaving marks behind). I can get him to move a little more forward, but it is soooo much work. Almost to the point where I don't want to work in the arena any more and with winter coming on that won't be an option for us.

Incidentally if there are other horses in the arena, particularly one gelding of whom he is rather fond, he will be very forward and wonderful. I reward the heck out of him for this but still just can't figure out how to get it when he's not "feeling like it".

And before anyone brings it up I am absolutely 100% positive it is not a pain issue.
I'm certainly not advocating beating the snot out of the horse. My horse only needs one reminder before he's on board. Many people, myself included are waaaay too soft on their horses. If pain is not an issue, maybe it's just a matter of him not having enough muscle or energy or else he's just plain ring sour? Any chance you can just work him more outside of the ring for awhile so he can clear the cobwebs out?
     
    09-20-2010, 09:02 PM
  #6
Trained
You say you are doing ask, tell, demand. But are you releasing your aids in between?? If you leave the leg on all the time, or the spur then the aid becomes like the girth to the horse.
You must keep your leg hanging long by his sides and use a light, quick and decisive aid for "ask" and then immediately release. For tell I like to use this light, quick and decisive aid 5-6 times in quick progression like "aksaskaskaskask". Finally for "tell" you really only want to have to use tell once in the ride and you have to find what works best for your horse. With some of them, turning the spur in slightly and giving a kick is good, for others a tap with the whip is good. You MUST make sure however that you are giving in the hand or you will just be slamming them into a closed door, which is where a lot of resentment comes and just causes them to go slower and be more sour.

Every time you use an aid with your leg, you must soften the contact. Every single time. Also make sure that you are always using ask, tell, demand for every single leg aid. And each step gets a softening from the hand during and a release by the leg afterward.

Also, make sure you are balanced in the tack. Some horses, especially those that have been used as school horses, are prone to being slow when a rider is not balanced. It could be possible that the more you are trying to drive him forward, the more out of balance you are becoming and the slower he goes. You should be able to sit in a neutral seat and have the horse come forward from your leg aids.

Good luck!
     
    09-20-2010, 09:03 PM
  #7
Yearling
OH sorry MBP, I didn't mean to imply you were advocating beating him!! I was just trying to get the point across that I am being quite firm with him so I don't think it's simply that he has my number.

He's put on 200 lbs over the summer (was really a sorry case last winter, long story complete with BO drama) and he is wonderfully muscled. I do agree that I think he is ring sour and have been working him outside most of the summer. It is only now that we're starting to be forced back indoors and riding alone more often that I am noticing just how incredibly lazy he is.

As far as keeping him interested, we mix up what we do pretty frequently as he catches on pretty quickly and starts mentally checking out as soon as he figures out a pattern. Jumping is when he really comes alive but since he is an older gent (20) I only jump once a week. The rest of the week is trails and hill work, weather permitting, trot poles, starting some leg yielding, cantering, etc. I have lessons twice a week and my trainer is good about mixing things up too so neither one of us gets bored.

I don't know, maybe it is just that he had 7 years of beginners flopping around on his back and he's never going to be a very forward horse? I hate to think that because we've made huge leaps and bounds together but my gosh he's a LOT of work to ride now that I'm starting to ask for a little more advanced kinds of things from him.
     
    09-20-2010, 09:12 PM
  #8
Yearling
Ah, Anebel, I think you have given me a huge spark of insight. Yes, I am much more balanced and relaxed on the trail and he definitely slows down when he thinks I'm off balance. Also, I'm not "trying" to get him forward when we're out of the ring, he just is, so I think my hands are softer and more forgiving outside the ring. I think you're so right when you say the more I drive forward the more unbalanced I become. I get very tense the more I start to think about trying to get him forward and it gets worse and worse throughout the ride.

Also, the release is something that I have been working on with my trainer. My horse tells me right away when I get it right because he is very willing when I ask for something properly, he is a wonderful teacher in this regard- push button only when I do it right. I think my next ride I'm going to focus on being very clear with my aids/release and especially not "slamming him into the door."

Incidentally I have been having trouble with trying to get a more forward walk out of him because as I push him forward he wants to break into a trot. It is either slow walk sucked back behind the bit or nice forward trot in the bridle. Do you think it could be caused asking him forward and not giving enough with the hand? Out on the trail he has the most amazing swinging forward walk and he rounds up so nicely it is like riding an entirely different horse!
     
    09-21-2010, 10:08 PM
  #9
Yearling
An update- I tried making sure I was really releasing and quieting my leg after giving aids today and he was like a different horse. Very responsive and light. He did just get two days off and the cooler weather had him feeling pretty fresh but he wasn't just forward, he was very responsive to all the aids I gave. I think Anebel has really hit the nail on the head and now I feel like I have some very concrete things I can work on to fix this problem.

We still had a bit of the trotting forward when I asked for more walk though. What happens is he starts sucking behind the bit and when I push him forward he trots on. I try half halting and then letting him move forward but I am having trouble getting his nice relaxed free walk that I get, for example when I cool him out after the end of a jumping session. Just a nice forward swinging walk, can't seem to bring it out of him. At least I know he has it (as not all horses do) but it is frustrating. Any suggestions?
     
    09-22-2010, 10:11 AM
  #10
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by tealamutt    
an update- I tried making sure I was really releasing and quieting my leg after giving aids today and he was like a different horse. Very responsive and light. He did just get two days off and the cooler weather had him feeling pretty fresh but he wasn't just forward, he was very responsive to all the aids I gave. I think Anebel has really hit the nail on the head and now I feel like I have some very concrete things I can work on to fix this problem.

We still had a bit of the trotting forward when I asked for more walk though. What happens is he starts sucking behind the bit and when I push him forward he trots on. I try half halting and then letting him move forward but I am having trouble getting his nice relaxed free walk that I get, for example when I cool him out after the end of a jumping session. Just a nice forward swinging walk, can't seem to bring it out of him. At least I know he has it (as not all horses do) but it is frustrating. Any suggestions?
He has you very well trained. Ask and don't stop asking until he walk calmly forward. Bring him back to walk with the walk forward aid still on. He may get frustrated, but stay patient and explain it to him. Once he gets it really reward him.
Every time you ask and he trots and then you take the aid off, he thinks he's done it right and then gets annoyed at you for bringing him back to the walk because you just asked for trot, didn't you?
     

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