This Time I Want to be Prepared - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 37 Old 08-20-2010, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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This Time I Want to be Prepared

At the start of the summer, I made a pact with myself that if I didn't see improvements between Tango and myself, and get her to a...decent..point by summer's end, then I would seriously consider looking for another horse. Well, as must be expected, something happened that totally threw that plan out of whack; two weeks in she went completely lame. After several vet visits, x-rays, accupuncture and diagnostic medication, the vet determined that nothing was structurally wrong, that it was probably a soft tissue issue (rhyme not intended, lol) and to keep her inside for a couple months, with no riding at all.

Well. Summer's ending, and...obviously, I have no results to show for it. I could go off what I saw during our first couple weeks, and what I saw at the end of hours and hours of hard riding and trails was the beginnings of Tango starting to settle down and be a really really nice horse who was capable of keeping a slow jog without trying to run off, and who was obedient and responsive.

What can I do but extend the date where I make the final decision. It'll be a month or two yet before I can do anything with her, and even then a while before we're back to real, hard work. This time, I want to know what I'm doing right off the bat. I did...fairly well with her earlier on, in the sense that we had no real spats or freak-outs, but I really never was in control-I was more of a passenger. The reason for that is she's such a high-energy horse, that I think I was afraid to "trigger" her, so to speak, and add any more fuel to the fire. As a result, she didn't regard me as the boss, and she didn't really listen, was resentful when I told her to do something, and was always trying to undermine my authority.

I guess the real point I'm trying to get at: how can I get her quiet and responsive, and settle her down without getting her more wound up? And believe me, I've tried circles, serpentines, backing up etc; my seat is as deep as I can make it...she's really headstrong, and when she's hyper and full of energy she fights me for everything. She's so gogogogogorunrunrunrunrunrunrun! and whenever you start giving her cues and telling her to do stuff when she's in that sort of mindset it just fires her up more. Usually (usually, not always) she's fine at the walk and doesn't get it in to her head that we need to go faster, but at the trot and faster her Thoroughbred racehorse mindset kicks in. She needs to get her energy out and then she'll settle down, I know, but the only way you can spend the energy on this horse is to gallop her for like 5 minutes straight, but obviously I don't want to push her like that when she's just coming off an injury. You could trot her all day long and she'd still be ready to run a 50-mile endurance race.

*Sigh* I really am sorry it's so long..I always write too much. If anyone can help, thanks in advance. I just want to be ready this time around and get it right from the start.


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post #2 of 37 Old 08-20-2010, 05:58 PM
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Is she on a high energy feed?

You NEED to establish that YOU are the herd leader, that should make things a lot easier.

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #3 of 37 Old 08-20-2010, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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No way no way! This horse does NOT need any kind of energy feed. She gets hay, and grass when I hand graze her.

But how do I establish I'm leader? It's annoying because she's so quiet and sweet and respectful on the ground, but as soon as I'm up on her she does a complete 180 and is a little firecracker. I know I need to be a more assertive rider, but I don't know how to do that without getting her more riled up and triggering a big fight..


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post #4 of 37 Old 08-20-2010, 06:12 PM
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My horse was similar to yours in someway and the only thing you can do is persevere. My horse used to do tremendous bucks - and I mean huge! I learnt to sit to them but I did get nervous knowing we would have at least one buck a session. Nowadays his bucks are few and far between. I havent done anything magnificant, I just sat to the bucks and used my voice after with a sharp dig of my heels to tell him that was allowed. Now when I feel him tense ready to buck I use my voice and he tends to not do it?!?

My horse can't be on any feed either cos he would go nuts.

Have you tried lunging before you ride?
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post #5 of 37 Old 08-20-2010, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Tango doesn't buck or rear or anything, and not often does she just completely take off bolting...she just really really really wants to go and it's really difficult and frustrating having to hold her back all the time.

I have tried lunging, and it does help quite a bit, but I'm not sure I should run her in such tight circles so soon after lameness. Would it hurt to lunge after a lay-off?


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post #6 of 37 Old 08-20-2010, 06:20 PM
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That would depend on the injury and how long she's been coming back into work I suppose.

With horses that pull you have to try the reverse (and its very difficult to do). If she pulls - give her the reins - don't hold back. If she wants to run encourage her. She will soon get bored. Don't fizz her up but just let her push on and see what happens. I know from experience that if I pull on Flint if he's in a mood Ill more than likely end up on the floor. The best thing I did was go 'ok heres the reins - what you going to do with em' and just see the reaction. Eventually she'll realise that pulling is boring.
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post #7 of 37 Old 08-20-2010, 06:28 PM
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You're right to be concerned about longeing especially after a lameness! I'd build her up doing other things till she was fit as a fiddle, then just longe for respect/minimally as a usual practice. Hardpack not advised, either!

This horse was born for endurance/speed events & if that's not what you want, she'd be so much happier with a rider who does. What did you want to be doing with her?
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post #8 of 37 Old 08-20-2010, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flintybaby View Post
With horses that pull you have to try the reverse (and its very difficult to do). If she pulls - give her the reins - don't hold back. If she wants to run encourage her. She will soon get bored. Don't fizz her up but just let her push on and see what happens. I know from experience that if I pull on Flint if he's in a mood Ill more than likely end up on the floor. The best thing I did was go 'ok heres the reins - what you going to do with em' and just see the reaction. Eventually she'll realise that pulling is boring.
That's an idea...I'm just more concerned that if I give her her head and just let her go that she'll learn she can run whenever she feels like it. I will keep in mind that the less I fight the more it bores her, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable just letting her do her own thing. Not that I don't trust her; I don't think she'd hurt me; she would just get nasty ideas in her head.


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post #9 of 37 Old 08-20-2010, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern View Post
This horse was born for endurance/speed events & if that's not what you want, she'd be so much happier with a rider who does. What did you want to be doing with her?
Honestly, at this point I just want to get to a point where I'm in control 100% of the time. I love gaming and speed and long rides as much as she does, so yes, if we get to that point then I'd love to game and do endurance maybe, but I want the speed part to be my idea, not hers. Actually we won the grand champion title in the gaming division at a show, so I know we can do it. I understand that she'll never be a plodding old nag, but there's still a lot of room for improvement to get to a happy and comfortable point.


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post #10 of 37 Old 08-21-2010, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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*Bump* Anyone? How can I get more assertive in the saddle?


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