"Ridng the brakes" fixes?
 
 

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"Ridng the brakes" fixes?

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        01-05-2011, 08:37 PM
      #1
    Super Moderator
    "Ridng the brakes" fixes?

    So, I finally got Lacey some joint supplement-ness and she's feeling GREAT.


    There's only one problem: lil miss "I'm a bonkers poneh" is back. She's not being nearly as bad as she used to be, but I'm remembering why I used to lunge her before every ride. However, now I'm not at a place where lunging is very logical (there's nowhere flat except for my front lawn and my parents aren't fans of the whole "grass ripped up by horse hooves" look I wonder why!! Haha) and I could lunge in her field but with all the rain we get here, I worry about her getting too frisky and hurting herself by slipping. When it's drier, that's not an issue, but when it's wet, she basically slides around like she's wearing ice-skates.

    Basically, the main issue is that she's decided that she doesn't need to walk on trail rides, anymore, ever. Today on our trail ride we probably spent ten minutes cantering or galloping (after thoroughly warming up, of course, and only on the way out) and she was still raring to go and she was probably more excited after we ran than before.
    Basically, she sticks her head up in the air and prances, going a walking speed for the most part until she gets a hair up her posterior and decides that it's time to "frolic" all over the trail.
    It would be one thing if the trail was flat, but for the most part, it's really very steep going up and down and I really worry about her taking a tumble down a hill with all her antics. The trail itself is well drained so it's unlikely that we would happen upon a sudden slippery muddy patch, but it could happen.
    Today, I ended up keeping a pretty tight hold on her the entire ride, just to keep her from taking off, which really isn't any good at all. I really want to keep her light and responsive, but when she won't listen, that's kind of difficult.

    I've tried one rein stops when she gets above a walk without permission, and she stops fine and will stay standing, but as soon as I release her, she's back to prancing all over. I've tried just making her stop every time and she stops great, but then I release her and prancing missy is back. I've also tried little, what I would call, half-halts (I don't know if they're technically half-halts or not...) and she just completely ignores them, she'll give to them but there's no change in her behavior.

    It probably didn't help that I haven't ridden her since last Thursday and she hadn't been fed yet, but still. She needs to behave herself whether she's hungry (which she wasn't really, she hadn't even touched her grass hay from her last feeding, just the alfalfa) or not.

    I also tried relaxing myself and that worked a little bit but only maybe at most 25%.

    I just don't know what to do. I tried everything I could think of and nothing really worked. I'm sure part of it is that she just needs a schooling session where we don't go on the trail and we just practice what we know. However, the only place that's flat enough is, again, my front yard, and my parent's objections still stand. :(

    Also, for the record, I ride her in an "Indian Bosal". She can't be ridden in a bit because of some issues she has with her mouth (she has melanoma type growths inside the corners of her mouth so basically she cannot feel a bit until it starts messing around in her mouth, so she's much much more agitated in a bit).
    I so happened to have a halter on her today with a lead rope and she actually listened to that MUCH better than the "bosal". However, I want her soft in the "bosal" and I don't want to ruin her response to the halter...


    Thoughts, suggestions, hugs?
         
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        01-05-2011, 08:41 PM
      #2
    Trained
    Is she a nut in both directions, or just coming home?
         
        01-05-2011, 08:47 PM
      #3
    Super Moderator
    Both directions, she's actually worse going out. A lot of the time she settles down at some point and I immediately get off her case, but then after a few minutes of calm, we're back to CRAZY. She's always been "bad" (a little overexcited) about going out, but this is a whole new level. She used to be really pretty good about coming home too, but those were much shorter rides which may have been a factor.

    Also, I think I mangled the title about as much as possible, it was supposed to read "'Riding the brakes'? Fixes?" Haha
         
        01-05-2011, 08:50 PM
      #4
    Weanling
    Subbing, though I'm really sorry I don't have any help for you....that's why I'm subscribing.
         
        01-05-2011, 08:57 PM
      #5
    Trained
    I currently have similar issue with my horse being a bit "up" lately in open spaces. What I'm doing is working his freakin' butt off in the ring and then taking him out into the fields as a reward. If he acts up, we got back into the ring and work again. I know you just have an open space to work with. Maybe you could try a similar thing except substitute the open space for the ring. Just designate one space as the work area and make her take every single step on the bit, work her butt off and reward with the trail ride. That's about all I can think of. Shutting her down with the one rein stop doesn't seem to be creating any lasting effect for you.

    I know how frustrating it is, and on uneven ground that can get dangerous. Hopefully someone with more training experience will weigh in.
         
        01-05-2011, 09:02 PM
      #6
    Weanling
    You've got a lot of the right ideas, but did you try it that one ride and say "it's not working"? It's going to take a little time, she's feeling good, and it'll take her a bit to calm down and get back to her job. Two ways I've used when a horse speeds up out of the gait you want:

    1. Start out with half halting and vocal command, increase the half halts, one-rein stop if she doesn't listen. Eventually...and believe me...EVENTUALLY...she'll slow at the half halt to avoid the one-rein stop that she knows is coming. It'll take at least a few rides.

    2. Every time she breaks the gait have her come to a complete stop, back her up, and try again.

    Anyway, as far as "keeping a constant hold on her" do remember that pulling steady is a tug-of-war that you'll never win. Give+take with your hands will be more effective. (although maybe you just meant that you were keeping contact?) I also think a HUGE thing you just said is that you only relaxed 25%....isn't your mare an Arabian?? Arabians (in my experience) feed off of others' energy even more than other breeds. She was probably feeding off your nervous energy quite a bit...just remember to stay calm, be patient, and be consistent. You'll be okay!

    ***hugs*** ....I feel for you, my mare did nothing but run away with me when I got her in Sept but has learned a lot since then and is much better.
         
        01-05-2011, 09:05 PM
      #7
    Super Moderator
    Wallaby,
    Lacey reminds me SOOOOOO much of my friend's 24 year old Arab mare. They even look nearly identical. Mocha was like that; could run at top speed for hours. Jigged, very competitive on trail rides and sometimes had no brakes. I hate to say it, but it's only in the last two years that she has started to slow down and mellow. She just IS that way and will NOT be changed.

    Her owner uses lots of bending and disengaging of the hindquarters to keep Mocha with her, but she, too goes right back to high speed as soon as she is straightened out. There is nothing for it but to do this bending and disengaging the hind, over and over and over again.
    It will get better in the summer, you know.
         
        01-06-2011, 01:32 AM
      #8
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Amlalriiee    
    You've got a lot of the right ideas, but did you try it that one ride and say "it's not working"? It's going to take a little time, she's feeling good, and it'll take her a bit to calm down and get back to her job. Two ways I've used when a horse speeds up out of the gait you want:

    1. Start out with half halting and vocal command, increase the half halts, one-rein stop if she doesn't listen. Eventually...and believe me...EVENTUALLY...she'll slow at the half halt to avoid the one-rein stop that she knows is coming. It'll take at least a few rides.

    2. Every time she breaks the gait have her come to a complete stop, back her up, and try again.

    Anyway, as far as "keeping a constant hold on her" do remember that pulling steady is a tug-of-war that you'll never win. Give+take with your hands will be more effective. (although maybe you just meant that you were keeping contact?) I also think a HUGE thing you just said is that you only relaxed 25%....isn't your mare an Arabian?? Arabians (in my experience) feed off of others' energy even more than other breeds. She was probably feeding off your nervous energy quite a bit...just remember to stay calm, be patient, and be consistent. You'll be okay!

    ***hugs*** ....I feel for you, my mare did nothing but run away with me when I got her in Sept but has learned a lot since then and is much better.
    I should have said that this has been an issue for some time, not to this degree, but she's always been like this. She's just been better in the last few months and I had hoped that she finally made the connection and these issues were "fixed" however, that is apparently not the case. And then, when I think about it, her "better" behavior also coincided with when her hocks started not feeling so great and now I'm wondering if her "better" behavior was really just a by-product of pain... :(

    I said that when I relaxed, her behavior only improved by no more than 25%. I do make a very extreme effort to stay really loose and relaxed with her and not get excited because I know that that excites her. But it's a little hard when she's going bonkers. Haha But yeah, I was refering to the times during our ride today where I realized I was tense and "de-tensified" myself. Usually it seems to work better than it did today... Which worries me a little since she was worse than she's been in quite a while and the usual tricks weren't working...


    Someone basically ruined her in the past on the halting and backing up thing, I think. It's taken me literally years (it's only this last summer where she stopped doing this consistently, some days when she's feeling extra nutty, she does like to break it out still) to get her to move forward after stopping, or just stop on the trail. She used to have two modes of travel on the trail: backwards at 20mph or forwards. Thankfully, now we have: forward (which is now too fast, haha), stop, and go diagonally forward. I'm scared to reintroduce backing up on the trail, I feel like it might backfire.

    I'll give the half-halt then one rein stop a try. I've never tried them together like that. My one concern is that she may start immediately turning in for a ORS as soon as I half-halt, but it sure wouldn't hurt to try!

    I do have a solid stop with a word "installed" in her mind so that's pretty good, imo. She'll stop for it even if I drop the reins and whisper it. She doesn't like doing that, but she will.

    Thank you for your thoughts and tips!

    Tinylily-
    I guess I just want so badly for her to be able to be slow and calm! I guess, if I really think about her behavior objectively, she's not really un-calm when she's behaving like this. She's not spooking at things and since she only spooks when she's really shot through the roof mind-wise, I guess it could be worse. And I guess I did choose an Arab with a history of being "up" and she is much better than she used to be... I guess it's just disappointing to see her being like this after she's been so good for quite a while.
    I'm just scared that she's going to hurt herself, and maybe me, in amongst her antics. However, I should remind myself that I have never fallen off this horse. My body has tried to remove me from her back but she's never let it happen. She really is trustworthy, I suppose. I'm just worry that someday, she's going to make the wrong judgment call and we're both going to die. :P
    And yeah, she was totally better in the summer. However, in the summer, she was being ridden everyday for hours and she was still lunged beforehand!
    And, I do suppose that I DID ride her in the summer, on multiple occasions, with her only wearing a halter/leadrope and me on bareback, over some pretty tricky trail, and I still didn't fall off and she behaved really well... And I did take her away from her dinner to hop on bareback in a halter to lead an unexpected trail ride and she totally wowed me...

    I just want her to be that amazing on a regular basis!
    It would probably also be good if I tried to ride her more often/find somewhere, anywhere, to lunge her so that her jollies are all out.

    I love her, she's just tricksy.

    And, please forgive any horrendous typos, it's late, my cat is angry at me because I'm late feeding him and he is therefore laying smack in front of my laptop so I can barely see over his mound of angry black furriness. Haha!
         
        01-07-2011, 07:13 PM
      #9
    Super Moderator
    As an update, I think I realized what I was doing wrong. I realized that most of the time when she was so great at camp, she was being ridden with hardly any gear. And then, I also thought about what was going on, on Tuesday specifically, and I remembered that I had wondered if the saddle was too far forward but I thought it was probably ok so I didn't attempt to fix it.

    So, today when we went out I stuck her halter on (no bridle), since on Tuesday she reminded me of how well she does in just a halter, and made sure that the tree of her saddle was fully behind her shoulders.

    Yknow what? She was pretty perfect. I had forgotten how her behavior seems to improve, almost exponentially, when the person riding her has less and less physical control. I bet she'd be an absolute angel ridden bridle-less (however, I'm too afraid to try it, haha).

    But anyway, she was really great and she was really listening to me. I think maybe she thinks she doesn't have to listen when I have so much control since I can physically force her to do whatever, but when I have less control she realizes that she should listen better. I don't particularly like that trait, but I can live with it.

    We worked on our diagonal walking (don't remember what that's actually called) and I basically stayed out of her way. I chose to not take any pictures since that would involve her having to stop and possibly causing her to get more and more antsy, I figured that once we have a few really great rides under our belts, I can reintroduce that.
    I also decided to pick my battles, we only went on a pretty short trail because the longer one tests her patience and I wanted us to have success this time.


    Funny story though: when we got back, she was really pretty sweaty! And we had only been walking for about 30 minutes! I guess her brain was really out to work!
         
        01-07-2011, 08:03 PM
      #10
    Super Moderator
    Lacey is lucky to have a human who is so intune with her. She sounds so engrossingly complicated. If she had an ounce of meanness in her, she would be scarey (too smart).

    It IS amazing how horses will often be their best when the rider is the least capable of controlling them, such as little kids, or teens riding bareback and bridleless. I just can't bring myself to trust my horse that much. Therein lies my problem, I guess.

    My cat lies on my arms as I type all the time. He INSISTS on being with me nonstop. His name is Elvis, but I call him "Lumpy" because he has doublt paws.
         

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