Would like suggestions please!
Hi! Thank you in advance.
My mare is a pretty good mare, still a bit green, but has most of the basics down. There are 2 main issues that I have with her that I can't seem to over come, and other people haven't been able to overcome (She has seen a couple of professional trainers, and they haven't been able to get anywhere with these things either).
She's and Arabian X, about 6 now. She has no physical issues, is perfectly healthy.
FYI- I've tried various things, but I try to make them consistent. So, whatever I try, I try until I know it's going nowhere and then try something else, since I don't want to confused her with several different ways.
1) I can't loosen up her front end. She's very stiff, and doesn't flex very well (she turns her head to look at you, but her neck barely moves) When it comes to yielding her front end, it's more like falling sideways a little bit. Her back end is fine- she pivots decently, though not perfectly. She side passes decently (again, not perfectly, she broke my ankle and its just now getting to the point where I have the ability to work hard on my feet again, so she hasn't been worked with in awhile, so this stuff is relatively new to her). With this stiffness, she's resistant to steering, puts pressure on the bit. I ride with a long rein, relatively heavy so I can transfer my movements better to her before actually putting pressure on the bit (my reins are set up much like mecate reins).
I've tried the Clint Anderson approach with it, direct pressure only, tapping, having her "follow" me and "trick" her into it by following my motions (this way has worked the best, but still hasn't gotten me anywhere when I try to translate that), etc.
2) Back out of a step up trailer.
She won't do it, or anything else you have to "step down" from, backwards. She will back out of ramp trailer. (But I don't have one, and I'd rather her back out of any trailer).
She backs on the ground, and under saddle fine, she knows the command and does it willingly. I've had her back up over obstacles (little timbers to make her pick up her feet and feel where they are being planted) and she's fine. She has no problem going into any trailer- she's calm, not rushed, not hesitant. Will will leave in the same manner, just forward only. I've tried taking the trailer out of the equation, and have tried to back off an open, solid, platform about 6" off the ground, no go.
I can get her to back out with 3 feet in (front legs, one back leg) and that's good. No problem. As soon as that 4th leg gets off the ground (I have tried backing her mid-stride before the last back leg was planted) its like a switch goes off and she doesn't budge.
I've tried driving her out with long reins. I have even put her in a strait load trailer and secured it so her only option was to back out, figuring eventually shed get hungry and figure it out for herself. Nope, she stayed in there, for about 10 hours- until I was tired and went to bed. I've tried getting her to the edge and physically picking up her back feet and trying to set them on the ground.
The only time she ever got anywhere close to leaving a trailer backwards was when she decided to flip backwards, but even with that her front end was out before her back end (believe it or not, that incident did not seem to affect how she felt about trailers, she had no problem going back in) The only reason that happened was her back leg slipped (I thought breifly we may have had a breakthrough if that foot would have ever hit the ground, but instead her whole body came screaming out instead, she didn't give her back hoof the option of touching the ground). I have also tried using a different horse that backs out well, and try to get both of them to back out together. Nope.
I have tried the typical pushing and pulling, etc, as well (they never work, but I figured.. Hey, may as well give it a go, right?)
I've never had this much trouble, and I'm out of ideas.
I'm more concerned with the backing thing, as there seems to be a complete mental block- no try, no willingness, no trust, nothing. At least with the front end there seems to be a little bit of give, I just can't get it to progress beyond a seemingly accidental awkward step sideways on occasion.
So, any ideas?