Lazy horse, suggestions? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-04-2009, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Lazy horse, suggestions?

Hey everyone,
I am seeking some advice from fellow riders, I have been showing and training hunter/ jumper horses for over 15 years, and I have ridden some lazy horses, but this one takes the cake. I have had the vet out, no health problems, farrier, no problems again, checked his feed with an equine nutritionist, no issues.
So here is the problem, I was sought out to train a 10 year old 16.2 ex- reiner quarter horse. I have been riding this horse for about 6 weeks now and I notice small improvements in responsiveness to aids and slight improvements to forwardness, but he still refuses to track up. I usually ride with 1/4 inch solid spurs and have even gone out and purchased 3/4 inch spurs that did not help. I never ride with a whip but have started to to increase motivation. One would think this would work, but it does not, he rather does small bucks to show his disapproval. I have tried transitions walk-trot, halt-trot, even thrown in some dressage to get him sitting on his behind to build muscle (thought out-of-shape may be the issue). Getting this gelding to canter is beyond tricky.

I am out of ideas... Can anyone shed some light on my problem?

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post #2 of 8 Old 06-04-2009, 03:06 PM
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Take him for trail rides. Do some outside hill work, he'll want to canter after he's made to walk up a few steep ones. Sounds like he's burnt out.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-04-2009, 05:50 PM
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Along with the above, which I agree with, use A LOT of variety in his training. Don't just drill drill drill. "Lazy" horses really only need motivation and incentive, which comes in the form of rest, a good scratch in an itchy place and food rewards. You can not force the horse's body, you have to get into his mind. Using spurs for forward movement is a form of forcing the body, and these kinds of horses will buck if you get forceful. Getting stronger will not work. You need to make things worthwhile to him. Make things fun and interesting. If you do, he will OFFER you things.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-04-2009, 05:57 PM
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1. is he lazy or is he just slow?

2. is he dull/insensitive to your aids or is he non responsive?

3. is he this way all the time (personality) or just in the ring?
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-05-2009, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that tip I actually rode him again last night, I thought I should try and toss it up a bit, set up a small X with some trot poles, he did it but didn't trigger any energy. Took him for a tour around the pond about a 30 minute ride, he does however seem more active in the trail ride, picking up nice flowy trots.
I have had him off spurs and whip lately and I have been going right back to basics with kissing noises, this actually does work.
I had my coach watch me ride him last night and he refuses to engage his hind end when asked to canter, he rather just pulls onto the forehand.

His personality is actually pretty lively, though put food in front of him and he will run a marathon it seems :P
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-05-2009, 11:19 AM
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Tie it to a ferrari , that will make it go fast !
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-05-2009, 09:15 PM
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Have you had him checked by a chiropractor? Maybe it's something physical.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-05-2009, 09:28 PM
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He sounds to me like a reining horse with an english rider. The reason that I say that is because he responded to your kissing noise.
If he was truly used for reining, he knows how to engage his hind end. A reining horse is nothing unless they're working off their haunches.

I would attempt to collect him in, make him work real hard at a jog practically in place. Then push him out and ask for a lope.

Another trick may be barrels. It perks up my guy (trained in WP and reining) for whatever reason. I set up a barrel pattern and run it totally out of position making him gallop on 'home'. Then I put him on the rail and he's a charm. Go figure.

It sounds to me that he needs something to engage his mind, and once you have that (whatever it may be) I think you'll be set.

Also- if you're sitting to hard and too deep, he may have been trained to slow down. On my horse, if I squeeze my lower leg at a jog, he's to slow it down and collect up a bit. Same at a lope, the tighter my legs and deeper my seat, the slower he goes. I know that if a rider who I hadn't advised just hopped up on him, he wouldn't do much for them squeezing forward.

Find out exactly what his cues were while doing reining. My guess is that he was taught completely opposite cues.

Good luck! Keep us posted!


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