Moving Moe Forward!
My horse Moe is probably the definition of lazy. On trails he sort of pokes around no matter how much I ask him to move. My cue is squeezing with my legs then releasing when he walks off. But then sometimes I am left squeezing for a long time. The only time he hussles a bit was when we were heading home. I always have a rope tied to the saddle horn that I could motivate him with. (It is essentially a leadrope without a clip.) But if I do tick him with the rope I am slightly afraid he will jump into a walk rather than ease into it. I never tick him right away, I make the noise on my jacket then the saddle then get his butt. Then also I will release the moment he begins to move forward, but then he stops moving once I release. I finally built up the confidence to ride him out in the field and Don't want to ruin it by boring him or with him tossing me. I don't give him enough credit because he has come a long way and didn't even bite too much. Plus the way he is now he never really hints on going into a faster gait or throwing me, I am just a tad tenative; so I don't really want some one suggesting I gallop him across the field. If he gets good with walking I would be somewhat excited to trot him because his trot is almost as smooth as glass. But one step at a time.
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Well ButtInTheDirt you probably aren't going to like my answer on this but it is my honest assessment of the situation. You say you want this horse to move forward but it sounds like inside you are afraid for him to do so and the horse KNOWS this. He is doing what he "feels" like is the safest for you. If you climb up there and have the mind set of go, go, go and you are really comfortable with that idea I think your horse will move out a lot better. I don't think he is being lazy, he is just be very observant of what is REALLY going on inside of you. By saying you don't want him to jump off into a walk...I can tell you are uncomfortable with the idea of even moving...if I know it...so does this animal you are sitting on.
I am not at all suprised that would be the case, as he is a very opportunistic horse. I finally got the confidence to be outside of the arena. Inside the arena he would get bored real quick and started acting up and just would not go. Yesterday I lunged him, then ground drove him for about 15 minutes and didn't even plan on getting on him. But if I plan on riding I usually get so worked up that I can't even bring myself to do it. So I thought I would just sit on him, then decided to ride around a little bit. But I was even more tenative because I wasn't wearing a helmet. (Which if I did fall off I could still hurt myself whether wearing a helmet or not, but it just gives me that little extra push to get on.)
But after fixing my own mindset how should I get him going? Or would you think that simply fixing my own attitude would fix most of the problem?
He knows you are afraid. You fix your mindset and he will improve his behavior...a lot. Being nervous to a horse signals a couple of thing...number one it can tell them that they should be fearful....if you are afraid he is too. And it also tells them that you lack the "leadership" to move him. The leader makes the others move...if he feels you are inferior in the pecking order to him you are not going to make him move. He is not really being opportunistic in this case...he is being perseptive and that is just the way a horse is. Do not be ashamed or feal bad about feeling afraid of him either....many many people have horses they won't even get on. I want you to always wear a helmet...and I want you to start playing with him...get to know him. Lots of groundwork if you have the time but please do it correctly so you are not asserting your inferiority to him...get comfortable with your horse...gain some confidence. And if you have a buddy or someone even have them lead you around on the horse if it makes you feel safer. Don't be embarrassed of this...again I say MANY people are uncomfortable with their horses...getting over that awkwardness is what you need to do FIRST and the only way to do that is build up your confidence with your horse. Being lead around for a little bit isn't a bad thing, it will make you feel safer and let you start to feel your horse out. It also gives you the feeling of being safe on the horse because someone else is helping you control it. After you feel comfortable ask to be set free, and take it slow if you have too. Baby step it at your pace...and when you feel confident and comfortable push yourself to do something a little past what you feel 100% comfortable with...it is ok to be honest with yourself and your horse. See how he already knows that you aren't ready to move out just yet, amazing how they take care of us isn't it. He knows and when you are ready...he will know that too :)
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