Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Won't Walk/Trot Under Saddle
My friend and I are working at a small farm that does pony rides for the summer. The owners have asked us to get their horses working under saddle so they could possibly start doing some lessons.
There are 5 horses we are training, so the two of us have our hands full, although most of the horses are coming along nicely and turning into perfect mounts.
Except Sunshine. She is a palomino Arab X (I'm thinking either Welsh or QH), stands probably 13.2. I'm thinking she is probably around 8-10 yrs old. Has been doing pony rides at carnivals and fairs for the past year and is an angel. She is one of the sweetest horses I have met. Has perfect ground manners.
Now the problem:
She will not walk under saddle. As soon as I get on her and give her the cue to move forward, she breaks into a really uncomfortable trot. I can't post, because she takes that as a cue to canter. I can feel that she is waiting for me to loosen the reins just a tiny bit so she can canter/gallop. I am always putting pressure on the reins so she doesn't break away from me.
I spoke with her owners and I guess her last owner rode her like a 'cowboy'? Meaning he got on her and they went as fast as she could for as long as she could. She has been trained to explode as soon as someone is on her back.
I want to know how, or if, I can undo this.
Now she has not been ridden (besides pony rides) for over 2 years, so I understand that a little part of her behaviour under saddle is because she is green. She is in an O-ring snaffle right now, I don't know if changing to a harsher bit would make any difference, but I really don't think that would be fixing the problem, just covering it up.
I keep a really tight rein on her the whole time, because if I don't, she runs. I don't think it is to try to get the rider off her back either, as she has never bucked/reared, I believe she was just trained to be like this.
I have tried keeping a lot of leg on her, and very little, and she doesn't respond to either.
She is proving herself to be a very promising little hunter/jumper as she has a super cute jump, if only she would slow down and listen.
When my friend/partner rides her, she just lets her go, and then jumps her until she is dripping sweat to 'make her to listen since she has no energy', which I don't agree with, since that is pretty much letting Sunshine have her way.
When I get on her I try to get her to walk the whole time, and we will usually get a step or two before she breaks into the trot again.
Sorry for the novel, cookies to you if you read this far!
Any advice on how to get her to walk and trot under saddle like a normal horse and not feel like she has to 'go' as soon as you get on her?
Sonya ~ 5 yr old Appaloosa/Welsh mare