Help for a wiggly horse!
   

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Help for a wiggly horse!

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  • How to train a wiggly horse
  • Horse that feels like gumby

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    11-06-2012, 01:39 PM
  #1
Foal
Help for a wiggly horse!

16 yo Long-backed TB type QH gelding. He was trail ridden bitless all his life. At 13 he was slightly trained for walk-trot WP which I showed some over that summer. Now I'd like to take him English, since he's more that style. After riding a few other horses and progressing with them, now coming back to him, I can't believe how wiggly he is. It's like his body is serpentining from nose to tail. I will "own" that this may have been caused possibly by rushing his training and forcing him into a frame trying to get him to give to the bit, which he really had never worn. BUT I DIDN'T KNOW AT THE TIME. I have learned a lot in the last few years and feel badly about hanging on his face until he would give, which resulted in a really archy neck.

He is an over-thinker, over-try-er. He will actually start to pitch a little when you know he is just thinking about doing something "bad" like he is already reacting to getting in trouble, before he does the "bad" thing, like suck to the gate. So I don't know if he's being mincing and unconfident and overthinking how to trot? He is moving in a straight line with forwardness, not leaning or wandering, but the best word I can think of is WIGGLY. I'd like to help him or I'll have to rename him Gumby.
     
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    11-06-2012, 02:08 PM
  #2
Showing
Are you sure the wiggly isn't his back swinging side to side? That's usually when a horse is relaxed. TB's are forward thinking horses and get bored easily. That is why they make good jumpers.
     
    11-06-2012, 03:51 PM
  #3
Foal
No, he is seriously wiggling. Not looking back and forth, but head, neck, ribs, hips, all moving in opposite directions, feels like he's trying to trot over debris and trying to feel his steps. If I would try to correct him it would be like, left hand squeeze, right hand squeeze, left leg, right leg -- Yikes! I try to sit still and look forward and relax. I have a feel but not a HOLD, and he is actually going in a line but it's like he's concentrating on each part of his body.
     
    11-12-2012, 11:07 PM
  #4
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinco    
No, he is seriously wiggling. Not looking back and forth, but head, neck, ribs, hips, all moving in opposite directions, feels like he's trying to trot over debris and trying to feel his steps. If I would try to correct him it would be like, left hand squeeze, right hand squeeze, left leg, right leg -- Yikes! I try to sit still and look forward and relax. I have a feel but not a HOLD, and he is actually going in a line but it's like he's concentrating on each part of his body.
Wiggly means he's got a lot more to work with than he knows what to do with anymore!

Do you both know how to lunge? Get him workin his body without a rider on him. Start with letting him extend himself out. Do spirals on the lunge line and do transition work. This will help him flex his muscles on the circle, therefore rounding and balancing himself (BOTH directions) creating his own natural frame. Once he develops this, continue working him so it becomes a workout. Praise him by transitioning down. Reverse and repeat. Don't get monotonous with 100 circles each way all at once, 5 laps, 5 laps, 3 laps, 4... rotate it, get him really moving different.

Once you take this under the saddle, incorporate the continuous movement forward. Serpentine's, transitions, circles, bend, counter-bend, extend, collect.
Try out some of these exercises throughout the week, and watch for muscles getting more prominent, and your horse becoming more steady with the next step he takes.

Also, depending on your level, feel comfortable adding ground poles, or cavalettis around your arena to focus a bend on, or change of transition. This gets your horse noticing where to place his feet and what rhythm to get into.

Once you both start getting a closer feel for eachother, you'll be back and better than before!
     
    11-13-2012, 09:43 PM
  #5
Foal
Help for a wiggly horse

ThankS so much! It made me realize how much I'm picking on trying to go straight! Just got my in-hand book to help me with lungework. I mean, I've lunged and shown in yearling and round-penned, but don't feel Competent to diagnose/correct problems. I'm good at creating them, though.

This problem is mainly -- okay, only at the trot. I think it's from his crash course preparing for walk-trot class, too much forcing/holding his head down (like I say I have learned a lot since). I can see the difference in the architecture of his back and got the in-hand book to help me learn to help him.

Thank you!
     
    11-13-2012, 09:51 PM
  #6
Foal
Help for a wiggly horse

Mbaron - could you explain "ground poles or cavellitis to focus a bend" if I'm remembering that right? I have them, would like to use them more effectively. Thanks so much!
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    11-13-2012, 11:19 PM
  #7
Weanling
Good for you for knowing your own limits and abilities :)

You could work on simple things. Pick a pylon and ride to it. Stare at it and focus completly on it and ride to it. Then just ride over the center or poles on the ground.

That's how I fixed my super wiggly bendy TB.
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    11-15-2012, 12:50 AM
  #8
Foal
Yea, the ground poles I used were just regular wooden 8-10ft long poles, and pvc pipes are good too (2in radius I think). Just lay them on the ground apx 6 ft (3 big steps) apart from one another. Begin with a straight line. Adjust the space between the poles with the length of your horses desired stride.
If you want to elevate these poles and make them 'cavalettis' there are plastic blocks you can buy, or just prop up the poles slightly so the horse learns to pick his toes up.
Once your horse understands more where his feet are being placed, then you can angle the poles so they curve. Advance it up a little by working on your bend and holding your horses and your own position over the poles.
Once your horse is comfortable with small steps as said^
Have your line of poles elevated each time you use them. Work your way up to a trot pole, small verticle jump (18"), another ground/trot pole /cavaletti (whatever you choose). Just alternate them. Get your horse picking his feet up.
This will definitely help you with achieving a nice rhythm. Small practices like this can turn a wiggly horse into the most fine tuned sport that's jumped the course!
Let me find you a good video to check out!
     
    11-15-2012, 12:58 AM
  #9
Foal
Here you go Cinco :)
     
    11-16-2012, 08:57 AM
  #10
Foal
Thanks! I think I have eight Blocks and elevating one end sure would let them go farther. Cowboy really got put on the back burner when I got into reining, have a 4 yo, 2 yo, and two weanlings. Now officially the crazy horse lady, as didn't even include the ponies. Started driving this year! But first love is dressage and Cowboy is my first horse, just wish I could make myself ride more everyday so I could do justice to my varied interests. You have been so helpful.
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