Training T-Man, First Fall Under Saddle
This will by my attempt to organize my thoughts and training of Tungsten this Fall/Winter.
Tungsten is a 4 year old Friesian/Morgan. I will post some pictures in the next post. This is his first fall under saddle. He was progressing well through the summer. Working on leg yields, canter, bending, yielding, rhythm. However, with the cool fall weather his demon side has come out.
Where do the tricks begin? Let's see he has been bolting, spooking, bucking, biting at the reins, going behind the bit, even tried a rear once. That didn't go over well for him and has not happened since. What is all of this telling me? Ground work, ground work, ground work.
And that is what we have been doing. I was lunging him with side reins to try to get him to feel more comfortable with contact with the bit. However, he even got bitter toward that and started biting those. So now my plan is to lunge ~20 minutes, ground work(moving off pressure, etc.), then 10 minutes of riding at a walk working on relaxing and giving.
It is very frustrating feeling we took 20 steps forward this summer and are now taking 50 steps back. But that is the way with babies. I would rather to take the time now to back track and have a solid horse 10 years down the line than one who falls apart under pressure.
This blog will mainly serve for me to reflect: what I can be doing better, where to go next? Anyone may feel free to chime in any advice.
I will be going out tomorrow to ride. An update will follow over the next few days. Below you can see pictures of Tungsten.
I will be subbing to this thread! I am in the same boat as you, my young 5 year old trekahner/tb cross is coming on 8 months understand saddle, and when I got him three months ago I pretty much had to restart him! I'm sure we will be able to help each other out on here! Ur boy is so pretty and looks a lot like Oliver!! Check out our training thread!
Post lots of pictures and video! Have fun!
So tonight was my night for feeding at the barn. I got done early and had a little time to mess with Tungsten.
I was only focusing on lead manners: starting, stopping, backing up, trotting when I say to. Also, worked a bit on moving away from pressure. He was not terrible. However, he did seem very off tempo almost pessimistic about work and grumpy.
When I asked him to trot in hand he would bite at the air a few times then comply. When he did this I would send him out around me to work in a circle. Once when I was moving him off of my "leg" (the butt of the dressage whip) he did a small kick toward his stomach. This is probably because he was annoyed at the pressure. But I did not give until he responded. The next time I asked he was much more responsive.
Overall he seemed uninterested almost lethargic. Even considering his temper tantrums lately, today he seemed out of character.
I have a few theories as to why this might be, and, generally, why his change in attitude lately.
Weather - With all the rain the horses have been in a lot lately. Tungsten hates being in. He will sit with his butt to the door all day and sulk. Also, because of his temper tantrum/spooky behavior lately I have been bottling him up. Riding him only inside with all the arena doors closed to prevent as much bolting/spooking as possible. Sigh, I miss riding outside in the summer.
Physical problems - Tungsten has a condition call String Halt. Very little is known about it. However, he has had it since birth. Basically, he has weakened tendons in his hind end. Not only does this weaken his hind end in general, it puts additional strain on his front end. His right front is most effected. When he stands it is hard for him to support himself. It almost collapses in on him, like if someone knocks your knee out from behind you. This is only an issue when he is standing. He is entirely sound. Anyway, the increased work load he was getting could have been putting too much stress on him. He could be sore/bitter from doing "hard" work.
New Supplement - Due to the string halt, we have put Tungsten on Cosequin with MSM to help support his joints and tendons. He has been on it for two weeks now. For the first week it seemed to have helped immensely. However, this past week it have seemed worse than ever before. This could be an effect of the medicine or possibly due to the change in weather. But, I have never heard of any side effects from Cosequin. The temps have been fluctuating a lot lately. His string halt may flare up with drastic weather changes.
Plain old Defiance - Lastly, the issue simply could be that he does not want to work. That he realized "Hey shrimp, I don't have to take orders from you." He is generally aggressive toward other horses/animals. However, have never presented any problems toward people. He has pretty great ground training at this point and I feel I am redundantly beating him with it as a way around these riding issues. My main issue with this theory is it just seems against his character. And my instincts are telling me something more is going on.
His previous owners had started him last fall and given him the winter off. They said because he had a growth spurt. This may be true. However, part of me wonders if he started up this behavior and was given the time off.
So through the course of this journal/training I will be looking into these above theories in hopes of getting back my wonderful, willing, green baby.
The vet is coming this Wednesday for Fall shots and Tungsten is getting his teeth done. We are also going to have the vet give Tungsten a once over to look for any issues as well as ask about the supplement.
Anyway, I am back out tomorrow to ride. My game plan is to free lunge him. Lay out some ground poles and see how he is looking/moving/feeling. I will try to take some video, no promises. Depending on how he seems from the ground I may get on to walk for ten minutes or so. Hope you enjoyed the novel :?
I was given a horse with stringhalt. He was abused bc his previous owners thought he was being difficult to ride and was just acting up. When he was given to me, both his back legs locked up and when they released they would snap forward . I decided to try the surgery on both his back legs. In his case it was a success. He became a new horse and is 100% sound and a good trail horse. Before his surgery he was spooking, bucked and the farrier found it extremely difficult to trim or shoe his back legs. I think a lot of his problems was due to his stringhalt condition. Best of luck to both of you.Try not to stall him up.
Thank you for your response Hobby! His string halt is very mild. He never gets locked up. It is only noticeable in the walk where his gait is slightly exaggerated. He is boarded at a stable with quick dry paddocks and spends normally 12+ hours a day out. If it is warm enough he stays out at night as well, but those nights will not be here for much longer.
I will try to post some video when I lunge him today.
Oh and a question Hobby. Did you notice if your horse's condition got worse when the weather started to get colder or change drastically?
loyalty09, no it was hard for him to be stalled and taken out and asked to move freely. The stringhalt condition prevents their back legs to move normally. Training under saddle was hard for him. He was asked to walk. He could walk but then his back leg would lock. He'd stop until it released, but the rider thought he was being lazy and would kick him with spurs or whip him. The horse was stuck and couldn't go forward fast enough so he 'd go the only way his body would let him which caused him to buck his rider off. His first owner would beat him. This same owner thought he was being defiante when he tried to trim his back hooves. When asked the horse did pick his back leg up, but the stringhalt made his back legs more like a rubber band and it jerk the leg out of the farriers hand again they thought he was being bad so they would put a rope around his leg and tie the other end of the rope to a tree. This horse was made to stand on three legs for hours. They named him Tanto, which means "Stupid" in spanish. They ended up putting him in a stall and didn't feed him for months. Owner #2 bought him after witnessing his treatment. She kept him almost a year, but his stringhalt seemed to get worse. She didn't work with him. The other boarders told her he was dangerous and she should put him to sleep. She gave him to me instead. So do you think his behavior could be related to the stringhalt condition?
It could be. However, due to the lack of severity most likely not. If anything he might not want to work because it is harder because his hind end is weaker. I will attach an older video.
This is just a few months after we got him and I believe our first ride outside. He is fighting with contact and goes back and forth from being behind the bit, so just ignore that. But you can get a general idea of his movement.
Lets see if I remember how to upload video...
I would suggest clicking on the title to see it larger. But his mild string halt does not interfere with his gait.
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