Critique Donna please!!!--long and lots of pictures!
I just bought Donna back in October of 2008. She is a QH/Morgan cross, 14.2hh and is 8 years old. Before I got her she hadn't been rode in over a year and when she was rode before that, it was with a VERY bad fitting saddle(there is a decent sized white spot up by her withers where a saddle must've rubbed her)with a young boy and was just taken out to fields and was ran and not really trained or worked with right. You know how young boys just want to go go go. The first time I rode her she was tossing her head so high that it was literally a few inches from my nose and wouldnt stop doing that jig or anything. She was also VERY over weight. Now, she is a big pony, built big, but her stomach was huge. Haha Also, her feet hadn't been done in over a year, she didn't have shots, and she needed her teeth done. When I got her, her name was blossom but I changed it to Donna Pazzesca which is Italian for Crazy Woman. I paid $500 for her, but I shouldn't have even paid that much, she was just too cute to pass up!
The first 5 pictures are of her the day I brought her to the barn where I take lessons to try her out for a week. She looks wet because I also rode her that day and from her going crazy she got lathered in sweat. I guess I am the only crazy one to even try to control a horse like her and retrain her into hunter/jumper. Hahaha
All of the rest of the pictures are everything past that first day of riding her until December 2008. I haven't been able to get any really recent pictures of her. I keep forgetting to take the camera when I go. I will try to get the newest pictures of her asap! Let me know what you think!! GOOD AND BAD. Also, in the third picture I know it looks like her knee is off, but that is just because she was just about to take a step, she wouldnt stand still. You can also critique my riding if you want, just remember that she is green and some of the stuff my trainer had me do to help keep her calm and collected and everything kind of messes up my position. I have been riding for 8 years, almost 9 years now.
Is she hotblooded or something? She looks very high strong and unwilling. Alot of times horses who are hurt, will toss their head. Like for instance, my horse when he is hurt in his withers because he has a sensitive back and wither area, he tosses his head.
Yeah, I was at a show once and the judge said that she is a high spirited horse, or atleast looks like one. I also have a bit that she seems to like. I tried about 5 diff. Bits on her before settling on this one. It's the Stubben EZ control. She looks wild in a bunch of those pictures but when she is calm she actually puts her head down nice and engages her hind end. I still have to longe her before every ride though. The hardest thing to teach her so far is for her to stand still for me to get on her. I normally have to put her face front into a corner for me to get on her. She always starts to back up as soon as I start getting onto the mounting block. She has gotten a lot better though. We have also been working on a little bit of flying lead changes lately which she is really good at and does them on the straight when I don't want her to. =/ but thanks!!
Have you tried riding her without a standing martingale?
My mare when I first got her did the same thing (I later figured out it was because of the bit) but I rode her in a standing martingale and as soon as I took it off, she was better.
I do like the bit you have. I was going to ask if you use a single jointed bit, but I like the fact that you're using a double jointed (My mare was flipping her head because of a single jointed bit, as as soon as I put a double jointed in her mouth, she quit doing it)
If she's giving you trouble with letting you mount, I would spend about 30 min-1 hour just dedicated on that. If she moves when you try to get on, don't GET ON! Just get your foot out of the stirrup and repeat. Even back her up (or make her move her feet) when she doesn't stand still. And make sure once when you do get up, she doesn't move until you say she can.
Yeah normally I try to get on and off of her atleast 5 times before I actually start riding her but sometimes that isn't possible when I have a lesson and it sometimes takes me atleast 10min. To get one her one time. Whenever she does move, she moves backwards though, not forwards so I don't think backing her up would help with getting her to stand still. She has been getting a lot better though.
I do ride her without the martingale every once in a while. Like if I had already rode her 2 days in a row or if im just going to be messing around in the ring, I won't use it. Other than that, I normally do. I HAVE to use it on trails though. She is just absolutely horrible on trails. Her only paces on a trail are walk, try to run and prance(since I don't let her just run off). Haha I need to work on that with her but since its so cold and I normally don't get out to the barn until it's dark, it is hard to really work with her on trails.
I started out with a copper D-ring snaffle and she liked that a little bit, then I tried just regular D-ring snaffle and then went to a full cheek snaffle and she was a completely different pony then(in a very good way) but it was my trainers and I wanted one of my own but the girl at the store recommended the EZ control bit so I bought it and she was even better with that! She is just so smart though. I mean I have only had her for 4 months and if you saw her the day I got her and didn't see her until now, you wouldn't be able to recognize her or her personality. Haha She is such a sweetheart, even though she looks crazy she has the BEST ground manners. When I go to pick her feet, she picks up her back feet before I even touch her leg, I love it!
Also! Does anyone know any CHEAP way to help manes grow?? She had part of hers pulled out (probably by another horse) at the place I bought her at and it is still WAY shorter than the rest of her mane and I want it to all be even ASAP. You can kind of see it in the pics.
I just recently got a Back On Track/Thinline Contender Pad The Contender II By ThinLine and Back on Track - Horse Rider Performance Saddle Pads - ThinLine
It is a little pricey but I've seen a GREAT improvement in my horse.
He's a thoroughbred and has the tallest withers and he has a very sensitive back and with that, it makes him not move forward like i'd want him to. And sometimes he looks like how your pony is. Short strided and unwilling to move.
With this pad, it has thermal heat that comes from the Back on track part, and free movement, and closer feel on the horse from the Thinline part of the pad.
And now, the sensitive part of his back/withers do not bother him. It allows blood to flow throughout his whole back and makes him move more freely.
Maybe you can try and invest in this.
I HIGHLY recommend it.
Wow! That pad and blanket and everything look like they are VERY useful. I will talk to my mom and my trainer about it and see what they think. We were thinking that I just needed a wider tree in my saddle but I used a saddle with a wider tree and she acted worse! So maybe she does just have a sensitive back. I also need to start working on getting more muscle on her. Now that she doesn't have nearly as much fat on her, her back is starting to narrow out. Gotta get that top line back on her! Haha It was funny when she was fat though because I could jiggle some of the fat right behind her shoulder and all of the skin and fat around her barrel would shake. Hahaha But here are some more pictures I just found on my computer that I forgot I had. They are a little older than the ones of me riding her in the first set, as you can see she isn't clipped in these. Also, in the first picture I noticed I don't have my thumbs up. Woopsies! The last few pics of me jumping are on the Standardbred that I trained from October 2007-October 2008. He is 17 years old almost 18 now and did the sulky races. It took me FOREVER to get him to canter nicely, but he LOVES to jump. Haha In the last picture we were getting ready to do a paperchase. They are sooo much fun!!
Looks like you're doing fine with her. I agree about the martingale though... However, I'm not a fan or too many straps in the first place. I've ridden lots of high-spirited horses in the past and never had a martingale available even if I had wanted it. We all learned how to control our horses without it and in the end had great rides with all the horses. Just keep her head down as you are working on. You'll be fine.