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ilovelucy91 04-10-2009 07:07 PM

Sensitive horse
Hey! I was wondering what types of exercises/games people used to help sensitive and fast :-) horses get used to leg contact...I have been doing circles,serpentines, some lateral movement (can't remember what it is called) and a few other things, but I didn't know if there was anything that really worked for other people or any books I could check out. Thanks!

Wallaby 04-10-2009 10:25 PM

My horse Lacey was really like that when I first got her and she still has her moments so I totally can relate to having a sensitive, fast horse. I had been just trying to ride it out whenever she was being a poo, doing serpentines and circles and stuff, basically the same stuff as you and that totally wasn't working for her. Over the winter I decided to give up on trying to ride and just get her to a place where she listens to me no matter what's going on. So basically all I did all winter was lunge (with tons of direction and gait changes) her twice a week over poles and get her to canter as much as possible (so that she's tired and happy, since she loves running, but no more than she can handle). I also have been working on teaching her to ground tie lately because she's not very patient and I figure that'll help. I do ride her once or twice a month but I don't ask for more than a few steps at the trot, just to keep her brain cool since she gets excited and faster and faster if I trot her and am not careful. I usually do lateral work and walk-halts, serpentines, circles, all that, when I ride. Basically I'm just trying to get her to where she enjoys her times with me, feels like she has a routine and relies on me to be her leader. It's been working really well for me and she's really started calming down (she still can flip a switch and be crazy but the switch isn't always or even half of the time flipped). She understands the routine and she actually looks forward to being lunged (she nickered for the lunge line today. O.o ). I still wouldn't trust her with a young rider, or to be ridden without being lunged first but she's come a long long way from the horse that would buck and rear as soon as you got on and ran me over becuase she was being separated from her friends. Good luck, and sorry for the novel. =)

ilovelucy91 04-10-2009 11:07 PM

lol it was a good novel...and my response might be the sequel :D
Okay here it goes...She is the first fast/sensitive horse I have ridden (there was one before but I didn't know what I was doing so it doesn't count lol) and when I first got her 3 months ago I still really didn't know what I should be working on O.O not good anyways to cut a long a long story slightly shorter I will skip all the stupid things I did to keep from putting any leg/rein pressure on her (bbbbbbbbbaaaaaaaaaadddd) so it has only really been about a month (my instructor caught on to me thank goodness! she would have caught on sooner but I wasn't riding her in lessons) since I have been researching and asking tons of questions (much to the dismay of everyone at the barn lol) for the best way to ride her....she is ridable (it might also make a difference that I work her 4/5 days a week) so I don't think I need to completely stop riding her (she has been responding really well to the circles and the stuff I have been doing with her) but I have been adding in alot of groundwork and I will be starting long lining her so hopefully that will also help ^.^ but I was hoping someone might have some "new" exercises (my instructor got on her today and told me I needed to really work on getting her to yield to my leg and gave me some good exercises to do) Lucy also likes routine lol she used to be a total spazz on the ground but we got that pretty much worked out but anyways like I said I haven't been working on what we are really supposed to be working until recently wow that was long ...The sequel lol ..Thanks! p.s sounds like she has come a long way awesome!

Wallaby 04-10-2009 11:30 PM

Well, here's a three-quel! Heehee. I'm glad she's actually responding to you! That's a start! You know, speaking of not putting any pressure on her at all, I actually read an article in the "help" section of horse illustrated a few years ago and basically the rider was not using any leg or rein contact if at all possible, the person responding made a great analogy about it. She said that when you throw out your leg contact and rein contact it's comparable to knowing you're gonna be tickled but not knowing when or where. The horse then starts freaking out more when you actually do use any contact becuase you're "tickling" them. Anyway, I just thought of something more that helped me. =D I got all (..well, both) the Centered Riding books (by Sally Swift) out of the library and read them and took notes. She has some really great suggestions for how to make yourself a better rider which is pretty important becuase a rider's style really influences the horse. They've helped me keep calmer when Lacey freaks out about something or I think she might becuase I feel more confident in my seat and my ability to "fix" the situation before I die. =P

ilovelucy91 04-10-2009 11:42 PM

lol I think I will just leave it at a three-quel...thanks! and that does make sense (boy did I feel stupid when my instructor told me basically the same thing lol) I am still working on getting out of that mindset (I got rrrrrrreeeaallly good at the WRONG way to ride lol) I will definitely check out those books lol, I am really interested in the riding style aspect of yeah not dying when she freaks is one of my hobbies :lol:

Spirithorse 04-11-2009 12:15 PM

One thing I like to do with any horse, but especially horses who are hyper-sensitive, is to sit on them (bareback is best) and just rub them with my legs. Rub them on the sides, by the flank, etc. and do that until the horse is completely relaxed. This will help build confidence. And when I do start asking the horse to do things with my legs I take things VERY slowly and see how little it takes. I go through my "phases" of asking them to go very slowly and I reward the slightest try. This is not tip-toeing around the horse, this is just making sure I'm taking care of his emotional needs, and he needs me to go slow, be very clear and have unlimited patience.

ilovelucy91 04-11-2009 08:15 PM

I didn't even think about desensitizing her like that...I wonder if it would help her? I don't see any harm in trying :D ....I have starting going very slow lol I have almost cut out all canter work (I am going to cut it out completely and just work on walk/trot) I think I started out expecting to much to fast (which didn't help with the problems I was causing *see above post* lol) and I really liked the results I had today and yesterday when I did almost all walk and trot I definitely agree with the going slow (and as clear as I can make it ) and I pray for the unlimited patience lol (I have actually been a lot more patient then I ever thought I could be) anyways I will try it out and see how it goes!

ilovelucy91 04-11-2009 08:58 PM

also I forgot to ask but what did you mean by building confidence?

Spirithorse 04-12-2009 12:10 AM

Horses like yours that are hyper-sensitive to leg probably means they are unconfident with that kind of pressure. These horses can also tend to be claustrophobic. So by building confidence I mean first help her build confidence in your legs....they don't always mean go and they don't always have pressure involved. They can be 'neutral,' if you will, and be a friendly thing, not something to be afraid of. So by rubbing her with your legs you let her know things are okay. You also help her build confidnece by going VERY slowly and giving her time to think and rewarding the slightest try. Oh, and also not pushing her more than she is ready for. SHE controls the time frame, give her as much time as she needs. If you do, she will eventually offer you the world because she trusts you :)

ilovelucy91 04-12-2009 01:30 PM

I get it now thanks! I will try the leg thing the next time I go see her and see if it works for her (hopefully today) and I will definitely take your advice on slowing down I don't think my version of going slow was the correct one O.O ....Thanks!

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