Simple Yet Effective? - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-25-2009, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Simple Yet Effective?

An eight year old draft horse mix recently came into my hands. He's an awesome horse, very willing and everything. I'm not sure what he did for the first three years of his life, but after that my trainer's friend has had him. But she didn't do much with him. He's been on hundreds of miles of trails and roped cows, ect. For the past two years or so he's been at my trainer's friend's friends' feed lot doing this and that. Recently (the past month) he has been sitting out in a pasture. Doing nothing besides getting fat. Ugh.

Now he's about 150 pounds overweight. He came to me personally a week ago today, actually. When I got on he nearly took off, haha. First time in an English saddle, snapple bridle, and a decently busy indoor arena. Poor thing. Of course, I got off and lunged and such. He got calmer...Except when dirt hit the wall and he freaked out, causing another horse to freak out and his rider to fall off. Now everyone hates Clyde (my horse). It's so annoying. But that isn't my point.

He's doing very well. We're not yet using a martingale or anything because he's starting to streach down to try and find his balance. But what I mainly wanted to ask was this: Is there any good exercises out there for a horse like him? He needs to loose weight, and at the same time we're working on transforming him into a Dressage horse. His turns (coming off the walls and such) are already so much better; he learns very fast...Though he still hasn't quite got the leg yield down. He got his throat latch stuck on a letter on the side of the arena last Thursday.

Anyways. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-25-2009, 11:12 PM
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I would personally get him into some side reigns and do some trot work on the lounge line to help establish his top line and balance. Then stretching, bending and softening at the walk and trot in the area. That is where I would start any horse that is more than green broke, to be honest.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-26-2009, 02:14 PM
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Side reins are fine if you know how to use them effectively, if you've never used them get some instruction.

For a horse that's out of shape you need to start slowly to avoid injury. Purposeful walking for the first few days, then move up into the trot for a few minutes at a time for a total of 10 minutes. That can be upped slowly, a minute or two at a time over the course of several weeks.

Mystery is right, lots of long and low, bending and stretching.

We're not yet using a martingale or anything because he's starting to stretch down to try and find his balance

Why would you want to? It isn't a given just because the horse has an English saddle on it HAS to have a martingale. Leave it hanging in the tack room.....LOL
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-26-2009, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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My trainer doesn't want him in side reins yet for one reason or another...I do suppose that it's because he still isn't very good lunging, and adding side reins will just make him freak out. He has no idea what to do with much of anything yet.

And lol! I'm used to riding a horse who actually needed a martingale for him. I was the only person who didn't ride him in one...I'm just so used to it.

Lots of long and low bending and stretching? Stretching as in before you get on the horse, strech out his legs? Or...?
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-26-2009, 06:39 PM
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Work on more mental work then physical, serpentines, changing direction, circles. It will keep him focused and happy, plus help his balance. As he gets better, you can make the turns tighter, and if there are jump standards you can make random pstterns through them to help make a round bend.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-27-2009, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goosen View Post
My trainer doesn't want him in side reins yet for one reason or another...I do suppose that it's because he still isn't very good lunging, and adding side reins will just make him freak out. He has no idea what to do with much of anything yet.


Lots of long and low bending and stretching? Stretching as in before you get on the horse, strech out his legs? Or...?

If he doesn't lounge very well, that would be great place to start. Personally, if I get a new horse to ride, I make sure he lounges quietly because that is going to be where I check his mindset and way of going each day. Until a horse is well into the training I do and will go totally relaxed under saddle at some point in the ride, I lounge before I ever get on to make sure he is moves sound and is ready to work that day.

Long and low is the first frame your horse should get into for dressage. It stretches and engages his top line. Bending, circles and flexing and the like, will stretch and limber the rest of his muscles making it easier for him to work into your bridle and relax into contact. You need to have him going forward from you leg, reaching into the bridle and then breaking a the pole to truly engage his neck, back and hip. This is where his balance comes from and what you need to have to build on when you begin collection.
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