Horse with more 'go' than 'whoa'

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Horse with more 'go' than 'whoa'

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  • How to train a horse that has more go than whoa
  • Horse has more go than woah

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    01-06-2012, 01:56 PM
Horse with more 'go' than 'whoa'

My mare is very forwards. Which is good. I've rode horses before that hurt to ride because you spend the entire time kicking them for more. I have no issues with her being forwards and willing. I'm grateful for her eagerness when we do more taxing stuff like pivoting or rollbacks or turning on the forehand because she gives everything her all.

She's goey, but she's usually pretty good about it. She always loves to go fast, but she generally is pretty good about keeping the pace I ask for, unless I'm doing something wrong, or unless we're in a really excited situation. But you can tell that she always wants to go faster. She often tries to push her speed, just to see if she can get away with it.

She has a pretty good stop; you can cue it mostly off your body position, but again, she just always would prefer to go, go, go.

So that is my first question. How can I collect and 'control' that forwards energy?

Next issue is...really hard to explain, unless you see it or mostly unless you ride her, but I'll try to explain it.. It feels like she's...overbent. All the time, she wants to bend or turn her body and/or head. It seems like she just can't go straight. To get her straight, you pretty much have to hold her there with your reins and legs and seat, and when you take away the aids, pretty soon she starts to drift again.

She is just so twisted up all the time, it seems like. Her head's going one way, her body's going another, or her front end is going one way and the back end another. When you put a leg on and she tries to respond to the pressure, she's so bendy and ridiculous that it feels like she'd bend herself inside out and over backwards if that's what alleviated the pressure.

I honestly don't know what I should be doing about that. I'm thinking she just needs to learn to go straight. So how can I teach her to do that? Or what else can I do to fix it?
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    01-06-2012, 02:21 PM
Green Broke
How old is she, and how much under saddle? I was alwys taught young horses=forwards. Making sure they're working from behind as much as they can, but pulling them back to slow them causes more problems- which is what I found with my mare. I didn't realise her pace wasn't forwards as I thought it was.

I would do excercises such as three loop serpentines, a 10m circle collected, then send her forwards when you come out of it, using your seat, outside rein and legs to keep tihe impulsion and collection, but not at the working trot you'd do whole school. That way you introduce it, without demanding it too much, until she gets used to the idea.
    01-06-2012, 04:48 PM
Subbing! My horse gets that same bendy feeling that yours does when I ride him in my yard...You might say he's ''hitching post sour''.
    01-06-2012, 05:30 PM
It sounds like your horse doesn't have a lot of balance because of low muscle mass. If she is a young horse she probably hasn't completely grown all the needed muscles yet. You can work on getting more muscle by lunging her in side reins, riding her uphill, lots of trot work. Ask her to do lots of transitions. Walk, trot, walk, trot, halt, walk. Things like that. It will help keep her attention on you and build up her muscles.

    01-06-2012, 06:07 PM
Green Broke
All great input for the checklist but before I started anything, I would spend the money on a chiropractor "just to be sure".

My first reaction in reading your description was that she's trying to get away from pain regardless of age.

When I first started riding my long 3 yr old TWH, he suddenly couldn't hold his gait. Turns out his Atlas bone (head/neck area) and sacrum (butt) were all out of whack just from playing in the pasture.

Also, sometimes teeth or a low palette to where the bit isn't comfortable can make them do different things. Not all horses get ugly when they hurt; they just behave in an odd way

Point-being, they can be young, in the middle, or old and still have something structurally wrong so I would want to eliminate any possible physical issues before I started the correction process
    01-06-2012, 10:08 PM
Half-halts, transitions, circles! You need to help her balance herself. She probably feels like she's rushing because she's on her forehand. You want to ride back to front and get her pushing from behind. Half-halts will help rein in that forward energy and create balance and impulsion. I would do some research on dressage basics and try some of those exercises with her.
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    01-06-2012, 10:54 PM
Super Moderator
I completely agree with the previous posters.
I also really want to second serpentines. They really get my, very hot+forward, mare thinking and calmed down. I like to, once my mare has her head in the game, try to see how far we can get with me just using my legs. I find that it helps her focus on me even more and it encourages me to think with my legs vs my arms (and for me, thinking with my arms is easy to do since my instinct is to pull back and go slower).

Another tidbit of advice that I've found to be true is that when riding a horse, any horse but this is especially helpful for a hot/forward horse, make your combined energy be a 10. So when she's being an 8 and very forward, you want to be a 2 and very low key. If she's being a 5, you're a 5, etc.

I've also found, after someone on this forum suggested it to me, that letting my mare run more was what she needed. She loves it if after our preliminary, warm-up walk, we don't walk again until she's breathing very hard. I've found that doing that has helped her learn to rate herself because she doesn't know if she's going to get a break soon, and it's helped her get more focused on the job at hand. I've found that she's so much more receptive to training if I allow her the speed she wants and then request the things I want. My inclination is to slow her down until I feel safe but what I'm learning is that running makes her safer for me!

I can't help with the other things (I'm dealing with some of the same currently) but just as a thought, I've found that trotting/cantering for long stretches on the trail with a completely loose rein has helped my horse build some great muscle all around. She's carrying herself better and she's much more receptive to contact than she was before. I like to choose a stretch where she can really run so I don't have to worry about her getting out of control or something due to the loose rein. If she does get too excited, I just push her on until she's begging to stop. That solved getting too excited pretty quickly.
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    01-06-2012, 11:11 PM
I wonder if the bendiness you are talking about is her coming behind the bit? Avoiding it and avoiding your leg, overreacting to pressure.?

It is really hard to train a horse that comes behind the bit to become honest to the bit. Too much ONe rein stop work and other "flexing" where the horse stands there with their neck flexed around but is leaning forward, unconnected to their hind end, takes away the connection of the rein to the hind end and can result in that kind of a "rubber" horse, especially a rubber necked horse.

Does any of this sound applicable to your situation?

As for her rushing, it might be balance issues. I would work on moving her enve faster , at times, and getting her used to accpeting a constant leg on her side, if she is squirreling away from it. Get her MORE forward and up to the bit, not sucking behind it but rushing ahead, unconnected to the rein/bit.
    01-07-2012, 12:14 AM
Tiny: I think by ''bendy'' she means that her horse is trying to anticipate her. It's hard to explain, but when I'm riding around in my back yard, my horse wants to be at his hitching post because its there. When I ride him in his pen, he's perfect. So, like..Hmm lemme explain this as best as I can: When I am riding him away from the hitching post (towards his pen) he gets all ''bendy'' and tries to anticipate a turn. He'll try and turn left and right, anything to go the other way. It's kinda like he's barn sour?
    01-07-2012, 05:38 AM
Originally Posted by xxGallopxx    
tiny: I think by ''bendy'' she means that her horse is trying to anticipate her. It's hard to explain, but when I'm riding around in my back yard, my horse wants to be at his hitching post because its there. When I ride him in his pen, he's perfect. So, like..Hmm lemme explain this as best as I can: When I am riding him away from the hitching post (towards his pen) he gets all ''bendy'' and tries to anticipate a turn. He'll try and turn left and right, anything to go the other way. It's kinda like he's barn sour?
Yup my horse does that too! Once I get about 1 km away from my house she stops and decides she is going to listen properly. All the way back though she is an angel. I can full out gallop her part way home and then slow her down again. The rest of the way she will walk calmly.
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