When you realise you aren't as good a rider as you thought you were :?. I have just 'ugraded' from the schoolmaster horse to a very green 8yo. She was just cured of her bucking issue, but she still needs to be whammied in the sides and hit rather hard with a whip to go into a trot. Well, I was told to do a 10m half circle, to a diagonal up the arena, over and over until I could get her to the end of the arena (She didn't like the end of the arena). It was a manuever I had never done, and if I applied pressure the wrong way, she would start shaking her head, and sidestepping like she wants to buck again. I couldn't do the pattern :?. My trainer was yelling at me(What are you DOING?) and had me do circles trotting instead. I had a horrible time getting her into a trot- she sidestepped all the way across the arena before I got her to trot a few steps. I never felt like I was in control, and I never felt like I was 'getting it'. I don't know if I was doing it wrong or what. I know I'm not going to quit, but it's going to be a lot harder here on out.
Anyone else ever felt like this?
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Is there something else I should be doing? I know the horse can trot/canter- she does it all the time in pasture, and she ran with me once. I don't think I'm too heavy either. I'm 115lb and 5'6" and she is 13.3hh.
Your trainer sounds rather unprofessional.
A number of things could be contributing to your problem, but don't feel bad about it. :-) Happens to everyone.
Your trainer probably wanted to challenge you with this green horse. Does this horse normally have such an issue with forward movement and transitions? Can you make this horse walk fast versus slow? Do you have a lot of leg on your horse even while you're not asking for anything?
If your trainer can make this horse trot perfectly on cue, and assuming this horse is not in pain (coughcough), I'd be inclined to think that (1) you are tense, and (2) maybe your cue is a little muddled. Are you blocking the horse's forward movement with your hands? Is your cue very definitive, and do you maybe have a preparation cue (like exhaling, or something verbal)?
When I ask for a trot, I first ask my horse for a swinging, energetic walk where his hind end is as engaged as I can get it (still working on that...:-|). I might do this by "pushing" his barrel side to side with one leg and then the other to ask him for more energy. This will make the transition easier. If your horse is lazing along on his forehand and you suddenly ask for a trot, he isn't prepared and will probably move along at an agitated, faster walk or shuffle into some semblance of a sloppy trot.
When my horse is swinging along at the walk, I will start to think about my trot cue. Before the cue, I will count in my head "one, two, three" or say outloud "aaand trot," and give my cue which is a very distinct squeeze with both legs. If you need more refinement, you can use the edge of your heel or a tiny pair of nub spurs (if you are capable of riding with them) to give that squeeze some more specificity so that your horse can say "okay, this is different from what I've been feeling all along."
If your horse doesn't listen after this point, then your instructor absolutely needs to weigh-in. But keep in mind... transitions are all about preparation! If your horse is prepared and you are relaxed, that transition can be smooth and timely.
I also wanted to say... regardless of what anyone is saying to you, if you feel that your horse is falling apart, that you are losing control, or that you're just a "mess," get back to a place of relaxation before you ask for anything else! If you ask for a trot and your horse starts rushing,, sidestepping, pinning her ears--she didn't get it. Take a deep breath, stop trying for the trot and focus on bringing her back into a controlled, forward, relaxed & happy walk. *Then* ask again. :-)
I feel yah but IMO when you say she needs to be hit hard to get in to a trot and that she is side stepping I would look in to the horses health or training. Like mentioned already your cues need to be accurate. Also if your not calm the horse knows and will show it.
A softer hand means a softer horse, from my experience when you are hard on a horse they are going to be hard on you.
I think we all have those days, my horse is wonderful im blessed to have her. I know with a better rider she would excel faster but that doesn't mean I wont get there someday with her. I hope you dont give up and take the advice of existentialpony she explained it very nicely. Im sure your an amazing rider, we all have our off days. :)
The reason I had posted this was because, even though I am very 'horsey', I had thought myself capable of training a foal. I realized today that if I did that, there would be another uncontrollable horse out there. It crushed my dreams in a way, but I'm glad it did. I just need to step up my game :-).
You sound like you have the right attitude about this.
I've had several of those moments over the years. When faced with a challenge that seemed to come out of nowhere, or became surprised at how difficult something that others made look easy actually was. They were all good learning experiences and helped in the future. I'm sure I will have more.
If you are having trouble getting an engaged and active walk the trot is not going to work. Work first on getting really good halt to walk transitions, she should move off with you barely having to think walk and stop with just a slight shift in your weight. Once you have that down pat start practicing walk to trot transitions. You have to have an active walk with her weight back off her forehand before you can ask for a trot. Squeeze and cluck and if she doesn't move right away increase the pressure. The first few might be sloppy but just bring her back to a nice walk and try again. Once you get your transitions good start adding in more strides of trot. Do lots of transitions and insist on good balanced ones. Don't settle for a half assed transition. If its not good bring her back down and try again.
Would doing groundwork help? I was thinking of hand trotting, back to a walk, and making her do a fast walk. I was thinking it would make her see she has to listen to me, but I'm not 100%. I can do groundwork anytime, but I need my trainer there to ride for now.
I'm also going to do one or two of those Parelli games.
This is just so wierd, because we click pretty good on the ground. She makes those little wicker noises for me, and tries to mutual groom me when I scratch her neck. Once I'm in the saddle, it's like she says "Your just like THEM!" but she hasn't bucked me off like she has everyone else.
Groundwork may help to build up respect but the only thing that is going to fix issues in the saddle is time in the saddle. I see so many people go back to groundwork for days and never get anywhere with the issue they were having while riding. I am a big advocate of doing groundwork and brushing up on it once in a while but if you are having an issue riding groundwork won't fix it.
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