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post #11 of 81 Old 10-07-2012, 01:27 PM
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I have a horse that when amped with do the same sort of rears. I am not a fan of them because practice makes perfect and I don't want him to practice that behavior. I noticed with my guy that if I work to much in the ring he gets hot. Its like he expects a job and for him that translates to going fast. So, I worked on going slow. Do you ever just go for a ride in the ring thats a walk? Do you ever walk on the trail? I admit going for a walking ride in the riding arena is deadly dull. It was interesting because I found that after two circles my horse was like "and now we trot". I had inadvertently trained him that we go two circles at a walk and then we trot. I had to do we do two circles at a walk and then we wonder off on a hack. He might be expecting to go gallop on the trail and is pissy when he can't. He now feels really good (which is good) but he expressing that in an inappropriate way. In the end you fixed his body and now you have to fix his brain.
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post #12 of 81 Old 10-07-2012, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Kayty. I'll look for suppling and bending exercises.

Thanks Elana.
Yes the photo is awful, I find it painful to look at it.

You are right about lunging, I will certainly start doing a lot more of that with him, we have done very little. I've been stubbornly trying to ride him through it, and that obviously isn't working.

Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
Do you ever do cavaletti work? Or as westerners often refer to them as ground poles. Cavaletti are adjustable and teach the horse to lower his head, elevate the back and mind where he's putting his feet.
No I haven't, good thinking - I can do that.

Rookie, I was exclusively an arena rider, but trying to get out of that since his chiro so he is not expecting pain every ride. So now every ride we go out on the trail and only sometimes ride in the arena.

Since creating the monster by allowing him to gallop it, we regularly ride at a walking pace, but often in a trot or canter gait as he is wanting to go.

Just working him in the walk is a good idea to get him to chill out a little. I can start doing that more with him.
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post #13 of 81 Old 10-07-2012, 07:29 PM
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Grabbing at straws here, since everyone else already "took" the good suggestions - lol lol

Are his teeth ok? What about palette height and tongue thickness? The bit you're using sure doesn't look like it could affect either but it's still something to wonder about.

Regarding the 45 degree coming up -- there are different ways to approach breaking him of that. Even though his Atlas bone has just been worked on, if you can hold your seat to reach down and pull his head to your knee that might keep him from coming up.

My neighbor whaps his stallion between the ears with the reins when he does that. Not very hard - just a light tap witha "NAH!".

Have you tried changing bits? Maybe a low port curb with shanks and chain chin strap?

That's it for me - except I hope he stays in place after his chiro adjustments
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post #14 of 81 Old 10-07-2012, 09:05 PM
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I suspect that he is just getting too excited when out on the trail. Trail riding is not something that horses automatically take to. They have to be trained for it just like any other discipline. If he is going psycho on the trail, I would keep him at a walk while trail riding until he gets that right. Then I would do just a little bit of trotting. I would not canter on the trail for a long time. Weeks. Maybe months. If he thinks the trail is a place to go psycho and run wild, he will get worse rather than better.

Carpe Diem!
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post #15 of 81 Old 10-07-2012, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Celeste View Post
I suspect that he is just getting too excited when out on the trail. Trail riding is not something that horses automatically take to. They have to be trained for it just like any other discipline. If he is going psycho on the trail, I would keep him at a walk while trail riding until he gets that right. Then I would do just a little bit of trotting. I would not canter on the trail for a long time. Weeks. Maybe months. If he thinks the trail is a place to go psycho and run wild, he will get worse rather than better.
I forgot about that --- it's a good point.

I once rescued a 5-gaited ASB that would hyperventilate out on the trail - even with other horses. He had been a winning show horse and only knew the ring. I ended up with him because of divorce and nobody was paying his board bill.

I also passed on a drop-dead gorgeous registered Morgan who had never known anything but the show ring and went ballistic when I tried to ride her down the Seller's tractor lane between the corn fields full of rustling stalks.

Thennnn on the other side of that coin, was the inky blue-black Morab mare, that had become very ring sour. She thought she had gone to heaven the first time I took her on a trail. She said "I've been waiting for this for a long time" and never looked back.

More food for thought
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post #16 of 81 Old 10-07-2012, 09:47 PM
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Sorry I haven't read all the responses, but the first thing that pops out at me is that you mentioned you changed his feed. It sounds like he's always had pain, so I don't think he'd be reacting in anticipation to pain, as he didn't react when there actually was pain. My thoughts are two good things combined for him - higher energy food and feeling good enough to use that energy.

What are you feeding him now? Could ulcers be a possibilty? Maybe a magnesium supplement would be useful.

Also, is he new to trails? If so keep it slow at first, perhaps try ponying him the first couple times if he ponies well. Or have someone ride with you for a few times, he'll be less likely to want to gallop off if his friend is just walking. Is there any clearing you can work him in? Not a trail but just an unfenced outdoor area? Ride him as if you were in the ring, but not. This will help be a middle ground between riding out and in.

You'll probably have to bring him back to the beginning of being supple, if he's completely resistng you so thoroughly he'll rear or fight you - regardless of if he's anticipating pain or not, he needs to be taught that you aren't going to hurt him and he still has to listen. So I'd start from the ground, practice having him give to the bit left and right and backing up off it. Apply a tiny amount of pressure to the rein you're using, wait, let him figet with it until he turns toward the pressure. Repeat this process in every direction until he's touching his nose to his girth area or backing up with just a tiny amount of pressure. Then practice these skills mounted but stationary, then mounted and walking and so on. Once he's readily giving to the bit without real pressure or fear or too much pressure, he'll be ready to try collecting. At this point he may anticipate pain, so it will take time AND you need to be SURE he's not in any pain at all before you ask him. If he is, the more you ask him the more you're proving to him that collection hurts.

So- check feed, make sure it's not too high energy, practice flexing, and make trails relaxing not exciting :)

ETA: I'd also suggest looking into line-driving rather than lunging. It's not as fast paced or as strenuous on the horse's joints, but works their mind plenty and shows off any little naughtiness they may have once you're mounted. If you get good at it with him you could even try ground driving him out on the trails, this whole change may help him look at trails differently and not anticipate the speed, it may also give you greater ability to stop him, as you can just turn him around and lead him in hand back and forth. Obviously don't try this unless you're very confident ground driving and feel you can control him if he gets feisty. Just a lunging alternative to look into.

Last edited by PunksTank; 10-07-2012 at 09:51 PM.
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post #17 of 81 Old 10-08-2012, 12:15 AM
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Sorry, took a while to get back to you.

With a horse like this that has learned to carry a rider incorrectly because of misalignment issues, I would, as I said, work him long and low. This means encouraging him to lower his head even if it is peanut rolling but, you keep him working from behind so he is going forward freely.
When doing this keep light in the saddle and no sitting trot until he strengthens and when cantering keep your weight on your knees.
If his head is on the ground so much the better! As he strengthens so he will bring it up and then you can take more contact and ask him to come on the bit. You have to become very adept at lengthening your reins when he wants to go down and shortening as he comes up as he should be on a contact.

I know you did not put the picture up for criticism but you are going to get it!

First thing, when in the arena take the martingale off and loosen it by three or four holes. Your hands are correct but it is still coming into play giving a downward pressure on the lower bars.

Your position is basically good but you are griping up with your lower leg, this will encourage you to tilt forward on you forks.
When you first get on and several times during the ride, place a hand under your thigh from behind and pull all the muscle to the back, this will put your thigh flat against the saddle and knee and toe pointing forward and the inside of your calf against his side.

Lunging him tacked up would be good, If you can do it with two reins so that one is over his hocks encourages them to bring the hocks under him this encouraging him to lower his head and use his back.

As for riding him out, keep doing it. You can practise bending and transitions out on the rides. I would not just walk him but would make sure that it I cantered from A to B then next time I would walk or trot it. That way he is not anticipating charging off and get over excited.

Good luck.
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post #18 of 81 Old 10-08-2012, 12:18 AM
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Foxhunter, I still can't agree with the long and low sorry mate!
Biomechanically, it is SO much easier for a horse to engage the hind legs and carry the back, in a neutral head and neck position, than high in a collected position or low in a long and low position.
By putting the horse's head on the ground, you are effectively loading the shoulders (forehand) making it even harder for the horse to engage the hind legs and lift its back.
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post #19 of 81 Old 10-08-2012, 01:19 AM
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Kayty, I think I understand what you are trying to say there, but I disagree. Getting a horse to stretch his head and neck forward and down into your hand, so long as he is forward from your leg, should not unbalance a horse. Stretching the top line in the long and low frame encourages the horse to lift his back. Also, the value of stretching the back muscles is immeasurable.

Collection, as I was taught, is the process of stretching a horses top line, getting him over his hind quarters, then lifting the top line by bringing up first his shoulder then his neck and head. As such, you cannot achieve true collection without getting the horse stretched, ie long and low. (That may be an over simplified way of what I am trying to say, but it is late here now and I should have gone to bed hours ago.)
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post #20 of 81 Old 10-08-2012, 01:29 AM
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You still want the horse to stretch, yes, but you don't want their nose on the ground for long periods of time when they are still green.
They can stretch without having their nose on the ground, long and forward until they are stronger is so much easier on them.
I don't know else to describe just how hard it is for a horse to carry TRUE long and low (not just dropping its head to the ground and plodding around) for more than a few strides at a time, for a green horse. It take a huge amount of strengh and balance, to keep the hind legs engaged and under the horse's centre of gravity, with the head and neck in that position. The horse naturally wants to drop onto his front legs and the hind legs fall behind. You can then put your leg on and ride as forward as you like, but the horse will be on the forehand. It may stretch the back, but it won't swing, and you'll build up undermuscle of the neck as the horse tries to balance itself with these muscles.
Long and low is a brilliant exercise, for the more experienced horses that can carry it. If it was easy, if would be introduced in walk/trot level tests. Riding the young horse out and long from the wither, with the head at wither height, is going to make them much more confident to engage the hind legs and swing the back.
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