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DiDi - Whither goeth SHe?

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  • Why horse fidgets when put bridle on ok riding

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    01-31-2011, 10:59 AM
  #21
Yearling
I agree that a hot horse like that will probably never be a solid, steady trail horse and will require a rider who can deal with histrionics. So she may not, as you say, be that happy hacker who suits you. But it doesn't mean being exposed to it won't do her good. After all, the way to give her confidence in herself and her rider is expose her to scary things so she learns they are not scary. It just might take the most patient rider in the world with a velcro butt, who isn't phased by equine meltdowns, and who is willing to take as much time as it takes to do it.

If she will go on the trail and be kind of fine going behind another horse, then do that. It took one of my horses about three years of lots and lots of trail riding following other horses before she would take the lead willingly.

I think it's a good idea to expose her to an obstacle course, to a running car, in the arena or out of it. I doubt it will make her anxious about the arena, and even if she is going to be a dressage horse, she needs to be able to deal with stuff. Horse shows are not safe, controlled environments at all! There are flower boxes, signs, banners, flapping tarps, cars, people zipping about on quad bikes and golf carts, other horses going nuts, and more.

That's just my philosophy. Expose a horse to anything and everything. I've never met anything so hot that it didn't chill out even a wee bit after lots of desensitization work, unless it had some other underlying health issue. And it might take a lot of work. As an ID-Connemara X, however, she should have some sense buried in there.
     
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    01-31-2011, 02:00 PM
  #22
Started
Silver,
I made a decision after DiDi's first two wins, to leave her with Claire in order to see what she might acheive. She had lost her second string horse around that time. She rides her every day working on the paces etc for the next dressage test and DiDi is 'on the bit' from the very beginning of the lesson.
If I were to ride DiDi around the lanes then I would be riding her my way and in
Claire's eyes that would be too lax. A young woman and an old man are not the best couple to share a sensitive horse. But the bigger problem is that the immediate area around the stable yard is not condusive to hacking - whereas where she was kept previously is excellent hacking country.
The decision has been made for the time being - we shall see what happens.
     
    01-31-2011, 03:03 PM
  #23
Yearling
I'm just offering humble opinion. :) I wouldn't even ride an FEI dressage horse (if I rode FEI and if I owned such a horse) on the bit *all the time.* I don't think it's healthy for their mind or body. But that's just my philosophy.
     
    01-31-2011, 03:33 PM
  #24
Started
Silver - I started to ride in 1975 and until 3 years ago the position of my horse's nose was for my horse to decide and not me. I always rode with reins short enough for me to keep a steady but light contact with the horse's
Mouth and I followed through with my hands. When I rode across country I leant forwards and kept my weight over the horse's centre of gravity and my feet were firmly placed in the stirrup irons and my knees were rammed against the knee rolls. There are books ridden by Vladimir Littauer about 'Forward Riding' - as developed by a famous Italian called Caprilli.

But in the 10 years I had off from keeping my own horse in the '90s - a revolution took place in the horse world. Suddenly everyone deems it correct to ride 'Classically' with rounded necks and arched backs. So I bought a pretty horse which was schooled Classically - but I didn't know it at the time. And of course, I could not ride it 'properly'. If DiDi is ridden for more than a few paces on a loose rein she starts to fidget - her choice not mine.

What I should have bought was a horse of a breed which doesn't have a long neck. It I had my chance again I'd look for a Dales - then noone would have thought to train it for modern dressage. But I am too long in the tooth to take another horse on now - it's best I stand by and watch.

Watching DiDi, she goes on the bit of her own accord now. The Passoa has done its work
Mind you I got on OK doing it the old way
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    01-31-2011, 05:28 PM
  #25
Yearling
She looks like good fun to gallop on a beach.

I'm just saying that I see benefits to the horse's mind and body of being allowed off the bit. The dressage horse certainly benefits from stretching out and galloping along a beach! No reasonably successful human athlete does 100% of his or her training at their competitive sport of choice. They cross-train at other athletic activities, which increases fitness and strength and decreases injury. We should do the same for our equine athletes.

I only learned to ride in the 90s and had about twelve years of pretty continuous dressage training.
     
    02-06-2011, 05:08 PM
  #26
Started
Today was a big day for Girlie, she was doing her first test at Novice Level - that's not bad for a horse who has only just taken this dressage game up. It turned out to be a foul day weatherwise. The wind was gusting hard, it was freezing cold and there was rain in the air. It was one of those days you are better off indoors. We changed DiDi's routine, she was exercised early and then put back out until lunchtime. We thought that would be best.
When I went to get her to get her ready, she was fine and in a relaxed mood but she didn't like the cold wind especially on her closely clipped butt. She was to perform two tests, one prelim to warm her up then the biggie. We had allowed 45 minutes for warm up. DiDi then started to make it plain that she did not want to play today. She wasn't being bad - just uncooperative.

By the time she had got into the arena she was pretty well pi**ed off. There had been about a dozen horses going round and she was the last but one into the arena. Claire was beginning to have trouble with her. You cannot chastise DiDi - if you do you risk her switching off altogether. There was a struggle or two but finally it was her turn to perform and she did but she made a few mistakes. Prelim 7 did not go well - only 66.5%. The winner got 67.5%. The judges comments were "Stunning horse with good paces. Just coming against hand at times. Has lots of potential"
Half an hour later it was time for the Novice test. DiDi was still stroppy but I thought she behaved better in the test. This time her mark was 63.33% but let us remember this was her first test at Novice level. The judge's remarks were: "Lovely horse with three good paces, today was a little tense". (you could say that again).

We loaded her up and went home. Butter would not have melted in her mouth. Claire said that DiDi had known the test and could have easily done much better. I told her that DiDi is a complex horse whom you asked and when she felt like it, she would perform as well as she had been taught. But today she did not want to do it. There is no point in trying to force her, but it is necessary to try to find out just why some days she doesn't want to play.

I worry about DiDi. I understand her but I still don't yet know what dictates her moods. In a way she is too intelligent and too independent for her own good. Without me to watch over her I wonder how she would get on.
     
    02-06-2011, 06:11 PM
  #27
Started
Fun to see pics of you, Barry, galloping Didi, at that!

A polite question :): Please explain the reason that Didi has her mouth held shut with a flash noseband; is this temporary or is it intended to be a permanent part of her bridle?
     
    02-07-2011, 04:19 AM
  #28
Started
Northern, she has been ridden permanently in a flash band since we have owned her. Me, well, I once took it off but was then advised by the ladies that look over my shoulder to put it back. The bit is the mildest - a three link French type snaffle.
Claire fits a running martingale when she is ridden out from the yard rather than up the brakes through the bit. DiDi is a very powerful horse, remarkably so at times, with a neurotic streak especially when the wind is blowing. If she has a strop when out then she can be a difficult horse to stop, but I don't want to up the bit.

B G

PS This morning, whilst looking back over yesterday, I think that it is good for her that the pressure to win is off her. Maybe she has found her niche now at Novice level.
     
    02-07-2011, 06:00 AM
  #29
Started
I am often accused of assigning emotions felt by humans to horses. DiDi I credit with being very susceptible to a wide range of issues and when she feels ’slighted’ I know it will affect her performance. However it is her very sensitivity which makes her easy to teach a new response. Yesterday, other than a cold blustery wind, I could not sense what was bugging her - but something was and it showed in her performance. The mare either gives willingly or the rider goes without.

What troubled me more yesterday though was Sonnie - the little cob gelding owned by a stressed out business woman who is trying to juggle the demands of a big job, a husband and the needs of two children. She has owned Sonnie now for over a year and the little chap has been badly neglected. He is at the bottom of her priority list and it shows.

Every time I turn the corner into the parking area of the yard, there he will be a few hundred yards away looking up towards me. I feel his eyes calling out - “are you going to play with me today?”. I always wave back to him to say : ‘yes, if I have time‘. I ought to go down straight away and say hello, but then DiDi would see me and that might provoke problems later on with her. The other horses, including DiDi will be head down grazing their paddocks. Sonnie will always be up by the gate ready to go.

For a number of reasons I don’t ride him any more, but I do play with him in hand. He has from nature a thick coat and since he doesn’t compete he is not clipped out during the winter. Thick Dandruff forms in his hair and I am sure it irritates him so on most visits I try to make sure I have time at least to give him a good grooming. He doesn’t care what I do with him. All he wants is some Tender Loving Care. He watches the other horses receiving some attention and he is well aware that he might not get any. With other handlers he can be a difficult horse to lead. He fidgets when you try to fit a bridle. His trot is highly uncomfortable and on occasions he will try to dump his rider. However each of his bad behaviours are signs of neglect and probably could be dealt with.

A lot of people might think he is not a horse to chose to own, but in one respect he is a perfect companion in that he desperately needs to be needed and he will respond to affection. He knows I quite like him despite his little problems. However on our yard, he is safe and he lacks for nothing bar TLC.

I just wish some sensitive human would come along and give this little chap a role in life. He desperately seeks one.
     
    02-07-2011, 08:24 PM
  #30
Started
Barry, if I didn't live across the big pond, I'd be there for Sonnie! Sending him loving vibes! Shame on his owner!

Thanks for explanation on Didi's flash. Agreed that running m & flash are less harsh than a stronger bit.

However, they're not a permanent answer for her or any horse (regardless of your female back-seat drivers at the yard :)). Holding the mouth closed bars feedback from horse, etc. (I'm sure that you know this).

Barry, I love your "feel" of & for horses! Don't let "them" derail you!
     

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