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Helping a horse relax

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        02-13-2013, 05:02 AM
      #11
    Green Broke
    I usually do give him a good scratch on the wither and tell him he is good when he relaxs and does what I want.

    I have been thinking about getting the chiro out again, its just been a problem of finding some time.
         
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        02-13-2013, 11:23 AM
      #12
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by apachewhitesox    
    I might have to do trails with a lot more walking. He does generally seem a lot more relaxed and happier on trails then in the paddock.


    Thanks Tiny

    I have noticed a huge imoprovement over the years. Now I can walk and trot on a loose rein, which I most definitely couldn't do when I first got him. So I know I have taken some big steps forward with him, I just kind of felt like I got stuck recently.

    I did think of pain too but he has been checked and I know its not that.

    We are still working on relaxing, bending and disengaging etc, though he still resorts to tensing and becoming some what like a stick that just can't bend.

    Thanks for the encouragement.
    My percheron HATES the arena. She sees the arena in her sights, as she is being lead toward it and she gets tense and breathes heavily lol. She seems to rush everything, like she is saying, "OK, let's get this over, this is sooooo boring". She is a horse that hasn't even had a lot of work in the arena asking her to do a lot. She really seems to enjoy it much more going somewhere on trails. It took about two weeks of going out, hand walking her to get the bugs out. I had to deal with her being buddy sour too and had to teach the two of mine to know that they would both be fine whether I took them out together or by themselves. We would go on long walks consistently, probably at least four days a week, where there was no rush.....a nice leisurely walk with no expectations except her just relaxing and having a good time getting out. It was great having other people hike with us for her and I. Then, I started riding her on the trails, same concept. It helped having an extra person to where she didn't have to be in the 'total' leadership role herself. Then I went to riding with other confident horses. Finally, she goes out by herself as the leader. I wouldn't rush any of the steps. I'd move to the next step once she seemed fine with the current exercise. But, if we still have to go into that arena now?.....she still hates it, but is a leader on the trails just fine.
         
        02-13-2013, 01:54 PM
      #13
    Foal
    No one has suggested the best work there is - working at trot at a steady, steady rhythm. This means ring work, and I know you said you did mostly trails. You can do this best where you can do large circles and big easy changes of direction. The goal to start with is to get a steady rhythm at whatever speed your horse offers. Then you "shape" what you've got, asking the horse to slow down by gradually making the circles smaller. Lots of very shallow serpentines come next. The general effect is like a tranquilizer. When your horse shows relaxation, stop and give him a break. Lots of transitions too close apart, tight circles, anything that asks for lots of changes of balance fire a horse up. You want to avoid that kind of work until the horse knows how to relax.
    Skyseternalangel likes this.
         
        02-13-2013, 02:17 PM
      #14
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by longride    
    No one has suggested the best work there is - working at trot at a steady, steady rhythm. This means ring work, and I know you said you did mostly trails. You can do this best where you can do large circles and big easy changes of direction. The goal to start with is to get a steady rhythm at whatever speed your horse offers. Then you "shape" what you've got, asking the horse to slow down by gradually making the circles smaller. Lots of very shallow serpentines come next. The general effect is like a tranquilizer. When your horse shows relaxation, stop and give him a break. Lots of transitions too close apart, tight circles, anything that asks for lots of changes of balance fire a horse up. You want to avoid that kind of work until the horse knows how to relax.


    I MEANT what you said when I posted this:

    "
    At least you can let him go if he needs to, right? And after he has trotted out vigorously, you can start to work on him stretching his head and neck further downward, which helps loosen the back and allow it to swing through the trot. All those physical movements can ease out the tension tht a nervous "

    But, I did not write it out like you did, which you did perfectly!
         
        02-13-2013, 03:11 PM
      #15
    Green Broke
    Thanks everyone.

    Yes you described it well longride that is what I found works best for sammy I just always found it hard when he just wanted to go straight or sharply turn. We have improved slowly and he is starting to do that much less.
         
        02-13-2013, 05:11 PM
      #16
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Oldhorselady    
    Assuming that it is just his nervous personality, and nothing else....I would just keep taking him out and showing him that everything always turns out fine in the end. Little by little, he will feel better and trust you. Make sure you are relaxed as well! Loose rein for sure. I would massage my crazy QH's wither and talk softly to her...I heard that massaging the wither lower's their blood pressure...not sure if it's actually true. I also used rhythm/calming beads....it is a horse sized necklace that has beads and bells on it. The horse is supposed to focus on the rhythm of the beads/bells, instead of all of the other crazy sounds around them.
    I was always told the spot directly infront of the withers was considered a "mother touch" that when rubbed it released endorphorines to the brain which is why you will see horses standing out in the pasture grooming each other they will rub on that spot. I use this spot when I get stuck in a tight or intense position where the stress of the situation is going to be overwhelming to the horse.
    Attached Images
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        02-13-2013, 05:13 PM
      #17
    Yearling
    BTW the two horses in that pictures 99% are trying to kill each other.
         
        02-14-2013, 07:04 AM
      #18
    Green Broke
    Well I think I had some success this afternoon when I went for a casual bareback ride.

    He felt a lot less tense when I did ask for a trot and when he did tense up it didn't last long. He also felt less lazy when relaxed.

    I also got really excited when I rode him on a loose rein walking and he really got a swing in his step. I could really feel his back swinging with every step he took. It was wierd how different it was to ride compared to the short steps. It felt so much smoother and more flowing, and every step he took seemed kind of exaggerated. Its hard to describe but it was awesome to ride, a great afternoon.
    tinyliny and Phura like this.
         
        02-14-2013, 03:25 PM
      #19
    Foal
    I have a horse who struggles with many of the same things. I have had her for a year and a half and it seems to be taking awhile for her to trust me. We do ground work but she still respects/trusts the herd leader sometimes more than she respects/trusts me. I'm learning that I need to expect more out of her more quickly/firmly since she has learned what's expected, and that will help so we're working on that. My trainer who has been firm with her gets more relaxed rides out of her and I really believe that's largely due to the respect/trust they've developed.

    I have also found that my relaxing is imperative. Riding her on a loose rein helps her, but often times I have to keep some contact with the reins to help reduce her anxiety. Sometimes too when I give her work to do to keep her focused on me instead, she becomes overly sensitive to my aids and has a fit, despite how softly I'm asking.

    I know you mentioned sitting back instead of leaning forward is a bad habit for you that you're working on. If you're leaning forward that encourages the horse to speed up and if the mindset you described toward the barrel racing is true, that would increase the nervousness.

    With my mare, the biggest thing I try to remember is to give her a huge reward for relaxing. Often times that means getting off her. This is very hard to do since I'm finally enjoying riding her more, but we know the release of pressure is what teaches the horse, and this helps her tremendously.
    apachewhitesox likes this.
         
        02-14-2013, 03:44 PM
      #20
    Weanling
    If its not pain related.
    Some may say I am crazy, but you said at one point he was relaxed and you felt he was being lazy. "FOR A TIME" if he his being lazy but relaxed let him be lazy. If you are working on teaching him to relax then let him relax, let it be lazy ugly. Once he find its much easier to relax and stay relaxed you can always pick up other things. But for awhile, if relaxation is what you want then let him relax if his head set is off, let it, if he is not collected,let it go, if your posting on the "wrong" diagonal leave it, if he's not going in a strait line leave it. Remember, we are working on relax, worry about head set and collection later. One thing at a time. If you get him relaxed but he feels lazy or not collected and you ask him to collected or to speed up, you just ask him not to relax, than you release the pressure because he collected or speed up, you just rewarded you horse to NOT be relaxed. Reward what you want, at this point we're not working perfection we are working one issue. Hope I was a help, good luck
    apachewhitesox likes this.
         

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