Sour is definitely past the 'just getting the hang of it' stage of her driving training, and its time to start working on HOW she's pulling. She accepts the normal 1 lb or so of contact transition from halt-walk, walk-trot- halt- trot, trot-walk etc, and she's very light on the bit, but I'm having a hard time getting her to round out and push with her but as well as pull with her shoulders.
Right now she just seems to be pulling with the shoulders, which is making her a bit 'front heavy' when it comes to muscles and I know its not correct. Honestly though I'm not sure how to get her using her butt as the motor though. With a riding horse I can use my seat and legs as well as well timed half halts to get them going correctly, but I only have a pair of lines and a whip to get a driving horse moving. She's very unbalanced as it is when going faster than a 'la-di-da' trot and I'd really like to get her moving more actively and using the motor God gave her ;)
How do I go about that? My guess would be that we need to take a step backwards and start on the lunge? I've only heard bad about using sidelines and such so I'm advoiding those like the plauge...I lunge in a curcingle but with nothing attached to it, and her half-cheek bit and bridle. Shes fairly unbalanced on the lunge, but again, I don't know how to fix that without having my legs and seat as aids. She walks and trots well, but is too unbalanced to canter on the lunge and will just go into a rediculous trot that I immediately stop when I ask for a canter. In a LAAARGE circle ( 30m plus, in the round pen) she can canter, but anything smaller and she quickly dives onto her forehand and starts tripping and hollowing out.
Obviously I need to balance her at the trot before cantering, so I'm doing no canter work with her right now. She's just coming off of maternity (unplanned >.>) leave right now as well, and is even more out of shape than usual. What do I do to balance her a) on the lunge and b) driving? How do I achieve roundess in the cart? I don't worry about headset at all as long as she takes contact from me because I know that comes with time as she developes her ring of muscles, but I dont know how to develope the ring without other aids o.o She rounds out and uses herself nicely when grounddriving and pulling at a walk, but anything more and she's more strung out than a slinky.
For those who don't know, Sour is a four year old miniature horse. She's be 5 in April, and was lightly started as a 3 1/2 year old.
You use your whip and voice to get them to move up under them self. If the load is too heavy that might be causing her trouble. Half halts are used when driving also. If she is having that much trouble cantering she may benefit from some chiropractic care.
I was actually thinking about a chiro. She needed re-adjusted back when she was two so she could easily need it again. Having as steep of a croup and as straight of a back as she does, I'm sure that its harder for her to pull than it is for our others. Money for me is super tight right now but I'm sure I can figure something out to get a chiro to her in the next few months. Thanks for the suggestion.
I doubt I'm asking her to pull to much, but you never know. She's about 230 pounds (maybe a bit more, she's a little pudgy right now) and she's pulling an easy entry aluminum miniature horse cart, with me as her driver, and I barely weigh 90 lbs. When I first started out my trainer (who has since moved, sadly) drove her to get her started and she was nearer to 150 lbs though. Sound like too much? Her harness fits correctly as far as I know.
So how would I use my whip and voice? I would assume that with my whip, I would be giving her a light tap forewards but not giving her any extra rein to move out, so that she moves up into the bridle and starts pushing. Maybe give her a brief half halt just to 'gather' her back up as well? Or is that wrong? I honestly have no clue about how I would use my voice though. She knows her verbal commands beautifully so maybe theres another one I should be adding into her vocabulary that I don't know about? Right now she knows walk, trot, canter (just on the lunge for canter, but like I said, she's having issues with that and always had so I really only taught her enough that she recognizes the word), left, right, woah, back (rarely used except on the ground), easy (slow down the gait she's at) and 'hup' to speed up within that gait.
Almost forgot, I'm also doing some large figure eights and serpentines with her in our arena, but thats a bit hard to do since the arena isn't very large. Are those ok to be doing (I was hoping it would help her balance and shift her weight back) or should I be holding off on that? I dont know if I'm doing more harm that good o.o
Here's a picture of her conformation to reference what I was talking about. The picture is before I owned her, so please pardon the horrifying feet. Her feet look much better now and correct hoof angles has helped the straightness of her legs thankfully.
And cantering: maybe she looks sore in the picture? She's very short strided at a canter, but that may just be from her confo. She has a pretty decent trot.
So being trimmer will help. Hers also had a professional message and he moved much freer after that.
I hate typing so this is going to be the short version.You should practice at a walk half halting on the outside rein when the inside back leg comes off the ground. This will help to step under to the midline and pressing with the whip (not tapping but press and hold on the back strap) to step longer. If the rein is too tight they can't step longer and that will cause a short stride.
You can do this driving or walking behind. To get a nice free walk she will need some rein but do not through her away you need to soften and follow her forward. If she speeds up say easy and maybe pull back slightly if needed.
You kind of work them like an accordian. She will need to follow the bit to understand how to stretch forward. I could help more with pictures or video of her being worked to see what is actually going on. I also would not have her loose with blinders. She can't see to the side and could easily bump into something and then she may lose her confidence and you will have new issues.
Thanks for the fast replies.
Our ground is firm but can be a bit rocky. She has nice, firm feet though and hasn't ever gone lame on it. I don't drive when its muddy or wet outside, and I keep the cart wheels aired properly to reduce strain. Yeah...we're trying to get her trimmed up a bit xD after just coming off of nursing she's got a bit of a pot belly going on (no worms, she just had a fecal, and good hay so I don't know whats up with that) but I think its just from lack of muscle. I'm hoping that as I increase her work load she'll be able to suck her belly up better, drop a few pounds, and over all look better. That first picture of her that I posted though, is her about 8 months pregnant so she's actually not quite that 'big' around.
I'll try the exercises you mentioned at a walk while ground driving her first, then go to the cart. Thanks. I'm assuming I'd do the same with a trot once she improves at a walk? Its going to be hard to time things perfectly though, for sure xD her strides are so small and fast that catching her inside back leg right as its lifting off won't be easy, but I'm sure I'll manage. Should I let her pick her speed at first (within the gait, not which gait she wants to do) or should I pick it for her?
As of right now I dont have a camera or video camera so unfortunately I can't get either of those for you, but hopefully once I do have one I can link some.
Yeah...I thought about those blinders AFTER the fact. Heh. One of my dumber moments for sure, not sure what I was thinking. I usually just lunge her in a headstall with the same bit but I'd put that on for a photoshoot xD silly me. Glad she didnt hurt herself!
If you are using an over check or side check I would not as you are trying to change her frame.
hiya you both need to step back a little as your lungeing she might find it a little hard going on soft ground but she should enguage her self more.
when you lunge her in her bridle do you buckle the lunge line on the left then pass it over her head and back through the bit and to you and you have moor controle.
it also sounds like she is not collected as well.
all ways rember your wip is your lower leg so you can apply contact to get her going.
comformation she looks ok tammy was simmalar she was boxy to and stanley is the same as well aloth he is settleing down and is enjoying his work.
going back to lunging how old is she as it sounds like a balance problem which it will sort its self out.
going back to lunging talk to her ask her to walk out a 20 meter (60 foot) circle on a lunge line is more than than enough for a mini as the weight of the rein will be to much and that could hold her back as well.
you can use your harness to lunge in as well the left hand rein passes through the pad and goes round her hind quaters and the rein on the inside comes to you so that keeps her going on the circle and you can ground drive lunge like that.
the other thing is to reward her what you put in is what you get out i usealey give an apple cut in four as a reward and thay soon learn.
rember make your verble commands clear woah walk trot and if she is troting fast half halt her gentley and ask her to work on slowing the trot right down so she is joging and enguageing her hind quaters work her like that and she should improve and eventualy lengthen her stride.
when you drive her does her head and neck come up and does she slightley hollow her back.
i could make a film of me and tricky but i dont know how to get it on here so it would give you an idear and on how to deal with situations as i can borrow an arena here and it will show you a lot of tips as well.
just be pacent and it will all fall into place and there is no need for an over check work on her lunging inforce with the wip just make it crack thats enougth to get them going and talk to her and after she has gone well for you reward her and do 30 minuit schooling secions dont over do it.
when you think she is going ok put her to and drive her and make observations.
have you a camra to take a film of you driveing so you can see how she is going.
also is her hind foot falls falling were her fore foot falls are going so you can tell how she is enguageing her self.
im sorry that your trainers gone but youll be your horses trainer from now on it will save you $, think posative and watch and observe what she is doing and youll teach other.
i hope this helps michael, im sorry im here or i could help you out and sort out your problems.
if you have a camra that can take 40 pictures you can analise frame by frame of her in canter to give your self a better idear on how she is doing i have a fuji film camra that i can take 40 shots of a horse in motion so you can see clearley how she is doing in the comfort of your own home.
its posable that her hocks are makeing her stand upright but im just looking at one picture whilst she is resting so i have looked at sevrel picture of my own so i could be wroung there as i think thats were the problem is in canter her hinds are not enguageing enouth to make her collected but you said she goes well in trot how does her hind legs inguage in that gate.
and how are the foot falls as well i think with working her and lungeing her you can over come the problems.
you say your harness is ok is it a breast collar and have you a swimgle tree and is the collar rubbing and is it low enough as not to pipe her its a few check points to look at.
You guys are being so very helpful. Thank you.
Just to clarify, I do not use an overcheck, side check, side reins, or anything similar, and I never have. I believe that a horse's frame carries through, starting at the butt and traveling up into its head. Its just a matter of getting her to that point that is the problem xD
Stepping into her footprints. That sounds like a great way to measure how well she's using herself. As of right now, I'm not sure that she's even doing that at a free walk, much less at a trot. She seems to have a rather weak hind end so I'll definitely talk a step back and do quite a bit of lunge work and ground driving with her before we try any of them in the cart.
Yes, I usually attach the lungeline to the outer buckle, over her poll, and through the bit on the inside when I lunge her, though there have been times when I was lazy and just clipped it to the inside bit. Not a good idea since it weighed down her mouth on one side and made her lean in too far. I also have tried lunging her harnessed and having her lines attached to the saddle. Lunge to the left walk-trot, then when I ask for a turn instead of spinning on her haunches asking her to make a small trot circle and loop around ground-driving to lunge to the right around me. Figure eights and back into circles as well. Somedays she is balanced enough to do it, some days she isn't. :/
Michael- yes, sometimes her head comes up but she usually hollows her back first then her neck and head naturally rise up. When she's using herself she does much better. I've found that ground driving her over calvettis and ground poles helps her pay attention better and lift her back. Is that a good exercise to be using?
Also you asked how old she is. She's a coming five year old, so 4 years and 10 months. She'll be 5 in April. She's always been badly balanced but she has improved some. I would have thought by now though that she'd be able to use herself a bit better. I guess thats where I come in though xD
She drives in a single tree saddle, breast collar, breeching, and her blinder bridle. I think they fit but I could be incorrect...I've readjusted multiple times. The breast collar sits straight across above her point of shoulder but below her neck, her saddle is right behind the withers and sits perpendicular to the breast collar, and the breaching sits above her loins , pretty much following a single line with the breast collar. The breaching is a tad bit big for her but we have flat land so I didnt bother to buy a new one.
These are some bad examples since she was in her driving bridle (again, dumb idea >.> I'll definitely make sure she's in an open bridle next time) and these are kids who don't know how to lunge so she's responding to their mixed signals by turning around or slowing sometimes, but its the only real footage I have of her. This was about 7 months ago when she first went into cart. Pardon my blabbering at the kids.
I cant get them to embed, sorry. Just click.
trotting photo, same day as that canter picture.
ground driving at a walk. This isn't me, its a friend who wanted to try ground driving, so the reins are being held quite correctly but hopefully you get the idea.
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