Now, don't shoot me but I normally have trained all my horses myself and I've had many over the years usually for ranch work and trails. I don't do dressage, but every horse I own has in the past been ridable and driveable. I am by no means an expert though, far from it... I pretty much know nothing technical (unless you count going through parreli and john lyons but not all their stuff meshes well with me) as far as I can tell. However, everything's worked out and I've trail rode and done ranch work for years both as a young girl and now as an older adult with no issues.
However, an arab has me stumped. Now, let me say I have had drafts and draft crosses and quarterhorses and morgans. I've even had warmbloods. But I'm a larger woman and never ever had arabs because I feel like being 6'4"/250 I'm too large to ride one.
But in comes my husband and a 'gift horse' from a friend who needed to thin down her herd. She gave us a lovely 8 year old arab mare for nothing who has absolutely nothing wrong with her other than she's been a brood mare for her whole life and never been under saddle. I've done all the ground work for her and her saddle fit is great so is her bridle fit which is just a plain straight snaffle - nice and comfy no twists or harsh woahs involved.
So.. here's the issue. I can't actually ride her because she's like maybe 15 hands, delicate as a flower, and really is the opposite of what I consider the high-strung arab (after owning lots of drafts and draft crosses) in that nothing excites her (except the thought of having to be out of the barn in rain) and she loves bathing, loading, and doing all her ground work. Now, when I get my husband on her or a neighbor girl who's happy to help on her under saddle as an additional piece of tack, we've gotten to one point and then we've came to a screaming standstill.
I totally get that this is my fault. I'll put all the blame on my shoulders, but here it is... don't laugh.
She'll do anyting I ask her as long as I'm right there beside her on the ground. She'll walk forward, trot, canter, etc... she'll do it on and off the lunge and with a rider. But she absolutely won't listen to the rider or look at them or follow their leg cues or desires whatsoever. Because she's used (and more importantly I have) used the rider as an additional piece of tack she just doesn't even acknowledge them being on her. When I walk away she just stops confused. I've started getting the rider to move her away from me - which she listens too - but its like there's an invisible tether in her mind and when they reach that point her brain has assigned she yoyo's back to me on the ground or will not walk out faster than I can walk or run, etc.
Now, this is great exercise for me, but its getting ridiculous. Weve stalled and she just won't transfer her attention and affection to the rider. She's not nervous without me. She just 'shuts down' and yawns and drifts off to sleep and will stand in a pasture forever. The rider can't get her to turn in a circle or anything though she will flex her head and lay it along the rider's knee and respond to the reins that way.. .she just won't walk on and get on with life as a saddle horse at all.
Obviously this has to change.. I can't keep up her lessons on the ground etc.
Anyone ever had this problem? Anyone know how to take it further? I know I should haul her butt to a trainer but everyone around here is $500 a month or more for thirty days and I just don't have that cash in todays economy. I'd rather solve this issue and learn from it myself, but I'm afraid this horse has been ruined by my hand already. I've even tried getting others to work her with me away and she does the same thing with them.. which tells me she's trained to obey the ground person not the rider and I need to fix this fast.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Things to try?
Thanks in advance.
Read more: Moving Foward in a newly started horse...