Softening up a board.... - The Horse Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 32 Old 02-17-2010, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
Banned
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tampa Bay area, FL
Posts: 1,901
• Horses: 1
Softening up a board....

The board is my horse. We're trying to get him into real working condition, and that of course means suppling him up. On his left side he's decent, he could use work, but he can turn his nose back to his shoulder no problem, and once he warms up, he yields his forequarter okay. Not fabulous, but he can do it. On his right side, he can't even turn his head around. He turns to the right by backing up to the left. He never ever picks up the right lead in the round pen or in turn out, probably because it's painful for him. We've had chiropractic work done before and he does have a lot of issues in his head/neck region, but really the only way that we're going to be able to work them out is having him worked on, and then following up with some consistent stretching exercises before each ride. He's already left sided enough as it is, so I want to do as much as I can to get him evened up muscularly, so we can move on in his training to working with his right side comfortably. What are some basic basic basic stretching/suppling exercises that we can do, either from the ground or in the saddle, or both?
justsambam08 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 32 Old 02-17-2010, 09:22 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,175
• Horses: 3
Refer to the dressage section, there are multitudes of good posts in there that refer to suppling.
A supple horse isn't necessarily one which can bend it's nose around to scratch it's backside! To have a supple horse under saddle your need engagement. Fullstop. No shortcuts. You need to get him working properly. So start getting him walking up and down hills, then trotting up and down hills. Go back to the arena and work on millions and millions of transitions and changes of rein. Keep everything even, so work him the same amount on his good side as his stiff side.
Kayty is offline  
post #3 of 32 Old 02-17-2010, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
Banned
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tampa Bay area, FL
Posts: 1,901
• Horses: 1
We're in Florida, so no hills! All we do is work in the arena as of right now. When I say supple, in this particular situation, thats exactly what I mean is a horse who can turn around to scratch his backside! lol If he can't bend that way, how can we even begin to do basic dressage work, or anything else other than trotting straight lines? We're strictly walk trot transitions right now, but I couldn't get him to pick up a right lead if I did it for him.
justsambam08 is offline  
post #4 of 32 Old 02-17-2010, 09:42 PM
Started
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,227
• Horses: 0
Well for what you want right now (seems you just want him to bend his neck?), here's what I do. I do carrot stretches every day with my boy. He actually does it now without any treats if I just wiggle my finger at his side, he'll reach around and touch where I ask him too. They learn it pretty quickly.

Stand on the side you want him to stretch (but i'd do it on both sides anyway). Get his attention to the treat in your hand. Slowly bring the treat to his side, and he *should* follow with his nose. May take a few tries, just go slowly, but don't treat unless he's trying. As soon as he brings his head around as far as you want it, treat him. Keep doing this until you can get him to touch his side, and then start moving the spot he needs to touch farther back. I find this helps as a stretch before a ride.

As for in the saddle work, you've got good advice so far.

Hope that's what you were looking for!
:]

I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it

Last edited by Gillian; 02-17-2010 at 09:44 PM.
Gillian is offline  
post #5 of 32 Old 02-17-2010, 09:46 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,175
• Horses: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by justsambam08 View Post
We're in Florida, so no hills! All we do is work in the arena as of right now. When I say supple, in this particular situation, thats exactly what I mean is a horse who can turn around to scratch his backside! lol If he can't bend that way, how can we even begin to do basic dressage work, or anything else other than trotting straight lines? We're strictly walk trot transitions right now, but I couldn't get him to pick up a right lead if I did it for him.
Yes, but bending that way will not do much to improve how he goes under saddle. Working on building muscles and strength under saddle, will then impact on his ability to bend his neck around left and right as those muscle will have loosened from the work rather than remaining 'stuck'.

it goes hand in hand.
Kayty is offline  
post #6 of 32 Old 02-17-2010, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
Banned
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tampa Bay area, FL
Posts: 1,901
• Horses: 1
Do you have a way without treats? He gets kind of impatient/nippy, and I don't want to confuse the crap out of him when he's bending but being grumpy about no treats.

Could I do something like the pressure-release method where I tie his head around? Of course I'd start gradually at first and then as he bends more on his own just shorten the tie a little bit at a time? That would take out two birds with one stone really, lol. Freshen up his pressure responses and then get him used to bending to the right xD

In response to Katy, I guess I should mention he's an OTTB, SUPER stiff and yucky...Even after an hour of riding around at an almost consistent trot he is unwilling to bend to the right. I may get him to bring his head around so I can see his eye before he jerks it back. (Ironically, thats exactly how he got away from me and I fell off the last time I fell) which is why I'm so stuck on this specifically.

Last edited by justsambam08; 02-17-2010 at 09:53 PM.
justsambam08 is offline  
post #7 of 32 Old 02-17-2010, 10:52 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,175
• Horses: 3
Yep, and I've had my fair share of ottbs and this is how I work on their stiffness issues. Thousands of transitions, changes of rein etc. I work them like any other stiff horse. Each and every one has come up supple as can be. Ottb's are no different to any green horse in regards to stiffness.
Kayty is offline  
post #8 of 32 Old 02-18-2010, 09:12 PM
Started
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,227
• Horses: 0
I do agree that the best way to loosen him up is undersaddle. And I suppose you could do the carrot stretches without treats. But you'd have to find something to motivate him.

I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it
Gillian is offline  
post #9 of 32 Old 02-18-2010, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
Banned
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tampa Bay area, FL
Posts: 1,901
• Horses: 1
Ironically, food motivates him, but he gets a little overexcited about it, lol. I went out and bought a copy of Equine Fitness: A Conditioning Program of Exercises & Routines for Your Horse by Jec Ballou. It should be suitable to improve his stretching and his overall suppleness on the ground and in the saddle.
justsambam08 is offline  
post #10 of 32 Old 02-18-2010, 10:18 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
Posts: 6,634
• Horses: 2
DO NOT tie your horses head around. It's appalling, and completely unnecessary.

Try lots of figure 8's and serpentine's at the walk first, and then the trot. Keep the inside rein light and fluffy, occasionally giving him featherlight tugs to encourage him to bend both ways. You can also do lots of different sized circles, a 20m, a 15m, a 10m, back to a 15m. You can also spiral [which is, in fact, different from different sized circles], making each circle a little smaller than the last. Just be careful not to make too many small circles.

As far as stretching, I stretch AFTER I ride, when her muscles are warm. Light stretching before a ride is okay, but it's not good for people to stretch cold muscles, and muscles are muscles, so I'm sure it's not good for horses either. I stretch to each side twice, between her legs with her right leg forward, then again with her left leg forward. I also hold a treat up for her to stretch up to, as well as stretching her neck forward. Just be careful not to let your horse "bounce" when he stretches, and try to convince him to hold the stretch for a few seconds.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
riccil0ve is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.



User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Softening and rounding angelsgrace Dressage 17 01-11-2010 11:44 PM
Softening New Leather? apc11196 Horse Tack and Equipment 26 01-05-2010 10:51 PM
Softening leather split reins ridesapaintedpony Horse Tack and Equipment 3 08-15-2009 04:48 PM
leather softening in oil?? horseyhmg27 Horse Tack and Equipment 13 08-15-2009 04:22 PM
Softening...? BluMagic Horse Training 17 04-05-2008 09:53 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome