Sluggish Horse = Frustrated Rider - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By maggiesshowjumping
  • 2 Post By smrobs
  • 1 Post By verona1016
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Sluggish Horse = Frustrated Rider

I have an 9 year old QH who is absolutely the sweetest boy in the world - but he has a very annoying issue with speed. As in, lack thereof. After a little while of patience on my part, I start getting naggy, and of course he isn't going to listen to me then, so I just end up frustrated and stuck at this agonizing slow pace.
I've heard of several remedies for this, such as trotting poles, squeezing with alternating legs, carrying a crop, ect. Is there something that has worked well for any of you?
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 06:40 PM
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My childhood pony was (and still is) the same way. And she bucks on top of it haha.

What really worked for me was to carry a crop or even a stick if I couldn't find a crop. I would rarely tap her, most of the time just raising the crop slightly or tap my leg with it. She would get the message almost instantly and pick up pace.
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 07:11 PM
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I have the same problem with the horse I ride for lessons. My trainer has me use a crop and it helps a lot. I only have to give her a few taps and she gets the message.
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I'll give that a try. :)
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 08:02 PM
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well, sounds like you got a true QH! lol yes all the things you said are good. like the first comment- carrying a crop you may not need it but often it helps. you can also try spurs if you are expieranced and can use them as a training aid, not relying on them because your horse may get unresponsive to them if they are relied on instead of used to train. you may also try another bit? but it is generally as simple as you must be a very active and engaging rider. I am not sure what you do with him, but there are some different things I have done to get a horses motor goin... like I had one horse we would go around and walk and bend and sidepass and legyield and then I would take my right hand and start at his poll with my thumb on one side of his crest and my fingers on the other and press down hard and rub all the way down his neck and scratch his upper neck and then go and trot and bend lots and get him really moving and working and he would really move forward then. he was a jumper. Natalie, an 18yo reining mare, can have her rater dead days.... but if I want to get her awake and ready to do something I just run her down the center once or twice, she gets so excited about the prospect of REALLY doing REINING and stopping etc that she immieaditly is ready to go up and move forward when I ask her to. another thing is taking a horse out and cantering it in a field.... the down side to some of these things with some horses is that some horses will get wound up and will stay wound up, then you have the opposite problem.
however, one of the best easiest things I would suggest to try first is to ride him somewhere else. I know our hunter horses would get this way or sour... because all they did was the same thing- go in the arena- walk trot canter- change directions and repeat- etc. one of the best things I think you can do for your horses mind regarding to riding is to change things up, change location. go left first instead of right. take a lesson in a different ring or go on a trail or ride in a field... just the change of scenery often brings them back a little bit fresher and willing to work. it is simple but it has worked for me a lot and is included with my above methods!
also, you could try and feed him some oats or alfalfa... both have tons of energy, so much I knew one half arab that would get high if he got too many oats.... I have never tried an energy supplement because I have never needed to use one, more needed calming than anything! haha, but it may be worth a try. maybe smartpack has something that will get his energy level up?
hope it helps!
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 08:22 PM
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Best suggestion I can give is that he simply needs to be more responsive to your cues...which means that you need to be more assertive in your demands. When you want him to speed up, give him a very light squeeze with your legs, if he doesn't, then give him a firm bump, if he still doesn't, then have a crop/whip/bridle rein ready and give him a good solid pop on the rump...and keep popping him until he reaches the speed you want.

When he speeds up to where you want him, stop pushing him and let him just continue on. If he starts to slow down, then start all over with the use of force progression. Be consistent and firm in what you're doing and soon enough, he'll go forward to the speed you ask at the slightest touch and maintain it until you tell him otherwise.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-04-2013, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys so much! Cheesy as it may sound, I feel much better having someone else's opinion on this. Thanks! :)
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-05-2013, 01:11 PM
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My horse is a bit on the lazy side as well. I always carry a dressage whip when I'm riding him. The key is to not get yourself into the habit of "nagging" by squeezing your legs or lightly tapping over and over with the whip. When you ask him up to the trot, give your horse a good solid squeeze, and if he doesn't more or less immediately move to the trot, then use the whip and MEAN it. After a few strides, bring him back down to a walk, then ask him back up into the trot nicely. You may very well have to be loud and ugly for several transitions before he gets it, but once he understands that you mean business he should start responding to your leg without you having to use the whip. Do the same with trot to canter transitions, and for changes of pace within the same gait as needed.

It's easy to get into the habit of doing a lot of the work for your horse- don't let him fool you into doing it
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slow , speed up , trot , trotting

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