So Glad You're Feeling Better, But What Happened To First Gear?
 
 

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So Glad You're Feeling Better, But What Happened To First Gear?

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    05-22-2010, 01:34 AM
  #1
Weanling
So Glad You're Feeling Better, But What Happened To First Gear?

Gunner is feeling better. He has a new saddle, new bit, everything fits great, so he's feeling his oats. Problem is, he wants to show me how good he feels.

We were doing a little arena last week, and every time I asked for a trot, I got a speedy canter. He almost had me off the saddle the first time, there was no transition. It was walk to canter. I ask vocally with a kiss, followed by a light squeeze with my thighs if he doesn't shift gears. The thing I particularly don't like is how much I have to haul on him to get him to drop gears or stop. It's a gradual pressure, I'm not yanking his mouth, but I feel like I'm really pulling back. It could just be that I'm used to Hoover and the other horses who stop on dollars at the ranch. I use a full cheek, btw.

How should I go about getting him to slow down? I'm so excited he feels this good, and I feel like I'm giving him wrong cues...but I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. It seems like he's trying to do what I ask, not acting up, but I guess I don't understand what I'm asking him, and we're both getting confused.
     
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    05-22-2010, 06:26 AM
  #2
Yearling
Was he previously very thin/malnourished?
     
    05-22-2010, 06:43 AM
  #3
Started
How much training has he had?

I wouldn't work on the canter until you can get him to listen to your seat cues at the walk and the trot.

When you're at the walk make sure you have his full attention and ask him to bend alot. At the walk make him stop, give him plenty of warning; Sit back deep, pick up with one rein (not both) and say "whoaaa". The reason why I say one is because horses can brace against both reins. Once he stops say good boy and go on. Keep doing this. One problem I see is people will say "whoa" and either not give them enough warning and they surprise him or they make the mistake of making a horse that has alot of energy stop for awhile when he doesn't want to. When you think the horse is going to walk off squeeze your legs and "beat him to the punch" so to speak. The point is so the horse knows that it was your idea, not his.

All of this work is important when you move up in gaits. And sooner or later the horse will figure out that slower is better. Then after you have practiced that so many times at the walk whenever you even start to pick up on the rein the horse will slow down expecting to stop you move to the trot.

At the trot do the same thing as the walk. Once he speeds up you pick up on your rein and make him stop. Keep doing this until he realizes that whenever you pick up on that one rein you're asking him to slow down. He will expect to stop so he will automatically slow his feet down.

And if it doesn't take much for him to go then I wouldn't put your legs on him, or I wouldn't kiss. Most horses I know are trained to canter when they hear the kissing noise. So you're giving him mixed signals.

I really wish I could show you how to use one rein to slow down and stop it makes life so simple. Make the horse bend alot. Don't even work at the trot until your walk is so smooth and good. I'm guessing you never trust him and just let the reins go (so to speak). If the horse is used to you being in his face and never rewarding him by the release of pressure then you are going to need to pull harder and harder every time. All it's doing is teaching the horse to brace against it because you're not giving him the "correct answer" by releasing the pressure.
     
    05-22-2010, 08:30 AM
  #4
Weanling
To me it sounds like he may be a little spunky because he is feeling so good. Try lunging him a little bit before you ride next time. You don't want to stop until he is listening to you and going through all 3 gaits when asked. Once he works out some of the energy then you should be able to go back to not having to lung him before riding.

I know when my guy was gelded it took a while for him to heal up. Once he was healed it took a few days of lunging before riding. He did go back to his normal calm self but he needed that time to get some of the extra energy out.
     
    05-22-2010, 09:17 AM
  #5
Yearling
I agree with Silvera. Spike had a hock injury last summer, and took quite a few months to heal completely. So when he was fully sound again, he was also quite pumped. My 20 year old gelding suddenly had as much pent up energy as he did when he was 6 or 7. I hadn't seen him like that in a long time.
What worked for him was just letting him get it all out. I took him out on the trail, let him get into a good trot for 10 or 15 minutes, then had him canter for 5, trot more, then a good gallop down the laneway. Cooled him out, then did it again the next day. 3 days of this and he was settled back down.
     
    05-22-2010, 06:11 PM
  #6
Weanling
May- Yes, he was. He had a horrible case of strongyles. He's back up over 1000 now.

White- He's 15, and I think did dressage before. He's extremely obedient, turns and flexes with very little pressure. He will walk fine, it's once I ask him for the next gait he takes off. I can ride him at the walk with a very relaxed Western style rein, one handed. I only stay in his mouth when I'm trying to make him maintain a speed, if he's steady I relax the reins. But even at a walk the stopping is a problem. I'll try doing more walk work with him, and work the seat. I do some bareback with him, too, but he's actually -worse- at bareback in terms of jumping gaits and stopping. The slightest shift on my part in my legs makes him trot, even just me balancing for a turn.

Silva- I've never lunged him except a little free movement in the roundpen. He's very respective and responsive to body language, tho, so he should get it easily. We'll give that a shot before I saddle him up again.
     
    05-22-2010, 08:00 PM
  #7
Weanling
Using a round pen works also. It can actually be better in some ways. If you have access to a round pen I would suggest working there as it's easier for both of you. It's mainly to get some of the spunk off before riding. Good luck with it and keep us up dated. I would love to hear how he does :)
     
    05-24-2010, 12:51 PM
  #8
Yearling
Sounds like you just need to figure out his buttons. If he is trained in dressage then he is very sensitive to weight and leg cues. So you squeezing and kissing is probably overkill. Next time you ride him, ask him to trot by just flexing both your calves a little. Generally if you use one leg to send a horse forward it's a canter cue, if you gently close both legs on them it's a trot cue. It wouldn't hurt to get lessons from someone that can ride him, figure out his buttons and then teach them to you. It will be worth every penny =)
     
    05-24-2010, 12:55 PM
  #9
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by NittanyEquestrian    
Sounds like you just need to figure out his buttons. If he is trained in dressage then he is very sensitive to weight and leg cues. So you squeezing and kissing is probably overkill. Next time you ride him, ask him to trot by just flexing both your calves a little. Generally if you use one leg to send a horse forward it's a canter cue, if you gently close both legs on them it's a trot cue. It wouldn't hurt to get lessons from someone that can ride him, figure out his buttons and then teach them to you. It will be worth every penny =)
ITA - he may very well be giving you exactly what you ask for, you just don't realize you are asking for it. Now, think how confusing that must be for him - to do exactly what you ask him to do and then be getting the negative feedback. Getting on the same page will be great for both of you.
     

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