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Underfire05 08-18-2009 03:36 PM

Back to the Beginning?
Hey guys! I just got a new project horse a few weeks ago and am looking to gt some advice on her!

Let's give you some background info on her:

Jazzy is an ASB/Morgan cross (maybe?) who came from AC4H a few years back. Her former owners did not have the funds to put her into training, and I think that is where a few of her issues may have come from.

Now, she has great ground manners which actually surprises me compared to her under saddle behavior. She is the most nervous horse under saddle that I have EVER owned before! SHe used to be afraid of the mounting block and anything to do with it. We have gotten over the "horse eating block" and can stand next to it until I get on now...but she just gets so nervous and spazzy when you are ion ehr back it sad. She does nothign malicous or mean, no buck rear or anythign like that. Just she doesn't knwo how to flat walk and is afraid to ride with just one rein (I have to ride with draw reins in order for her to calm down,...which is odd to me). She was trained in Saddleseat and I have plenty of experience in that field as that is what I used to train and ride...but she was obviously handled roughly or beat or somethign along those lines under saddle.

The previous owners had her checked out by a chiropractor and vet and there are no back issues or feet issues or anything else like that. She gets her teeth done and all. She gets so worked up that even if we just try to walk and stop the whole ride and she will chew and chomp on her bit like no tomorrow! She is ridden in just a plain french link d-ring, very soft bit. But no matter what you do to her she works herself up and drips in sweat after her ride. You can ride with or without other horses and she does the asme thing. SHe has a steady trot, even tough she does the saddleseat crane neck and has saddleseat movement,. Her canter is slow and controlled, though she has a little trouble picking up her right lead under saddle.

Does anyone have any advice for me? This horse has incredible potential and I am hoping to do some dressage with her to help calm her down and teach her to give, etc.

I will post some pictures later so you guys can see her :)

But any suggestions as to excercises or anything else that i can try would be GREATLY appreciated!!!!!!!!!

I can ride her in any saddle and it doesnt cahnge it, its just the way she is right now. All tack fits correctly, etc.

Thank you!

kevinshorses 08-18-2009 04:05 PM

Thank you for stating the tack fits and she has been seen by a vet. That will stop the "her back must hurt" series of posts. My only advice is to get her out of the arena and just ride her for a while and don't try to teach her anything. Take a few aspirin before you ride so your back won't hurt from the jigging and just see if she doesn't calm down when she gets used to you. Also she probably doesn't have as many rides as you have been told. I have found that people exagerate how much training if they have been trying to do it themselves. Good luck.

Scoutrider 08-18-2009 04:17 PM

Yep, just try to put some miles under her. Quiet, happy, pleasant rides. Talk to her the whole time, and if you feel like you have enough control to do so, rub her withers/neck. Help her understand that carrying a rider is not that stressful of a thing, and can be a fun and pleasant experience. Then think about accomplishing new things when she acts like she's ready.

Best of luck!

MyBoyPuck 08-18-2009 04:18 PM

I cannot in anyway put all Morgans into this category, but the three I have known were all like your mare when they had too much time off. All of them were very smart, easily bored and needed and very much liked to be put to work. I'm sure that regular work would go very far in calming her down.

If she has been mishandled in the past, the only thing you can do is what you are already doing, working with her slowly and not taking her past her comfort level. Dressage sounds like an excellent idea. Since it involves clear communication, it will provide her with a sense of safety that she'll always know what to expect from you. Basic suppling exercises at the walk are great for settling down a nervous horse. If she starts getting frustrated from learning a new movement, break it down for her to something she understands so she knows you're looking out for her.

From the ground, maybe some desensitizing work. Lead her around and expose to horse eating objects like mounting blocks, tractors, tree stumps, etc. Let her see them from a distance and gradually bring her closer to them so she can stay in her comfort zone but still experience the object.

She sounds great and just needs a little time to settle in. I'd also check her diet to make sure there's nothing pumping her up like sweet feed, carbs, alfalfa (makes some horses loopy). Slow and steady with this girl. She'll come around. I'd love to see some pics.

kevinshorses 08-18-2009 05:19 PM

If you can help it don't pull on both reins at the same time. Pulling on both reins gives her something to brace against and makes it easier to jig and dance around. A horse can't rear or buck if it's neck is even a little laterally bent but they can sure get softer changing directions.

Underfire05 08-18-2009 10:01 PM

Thanks for the advice guys :) I appreciate it.

She is on a 10% pellet w/ T&A Hay and grass turnout during the day, so I don't think the feed has anything to do with it...I think she just needs ALOT of patience :)

Here are some pictures of her...none of these are me riding her, I havent been able to get any of me on her yet...the one with her on the ground with the red lead rope is me lol.

For a cross I think she's pretty well put together IMO.

*note* she does NOT get ridden in a pelham any longer, it is what her old owners chose to ride her in. You can see the saddleseat training and attitude in her lol. This girl can trot...but I am also attaching a picture which shows WHY i want to do dressage with her also...look at the extension! Now...just to have her do it with her head down lol.

What do you guys think?



Alicia 08-18-2009 10:17 PM

She is an absolute beauty. I can see why you see so much potential in her.

I agree with above posts, just easy rideing until she's comfortable and confident with you on her back, in my experience miles (and patience) makes a horse. Enjoy working with her - the end result will be well worth the work.

mom2pride 08-18-2009 11:48 PM

She appears to have a pretty high natural head set, so I'm not sure how "low" she will be able to go physically. However, that does not mean she can't do dressage, even with a naturally higher head set; she will still be able to collect.

I think she's a very lovely girl, and once you get her to relax, she will look even better, because she will look happier. Just keep doing what you are doing with her; desensitizing her on the ground, working slowly on relaxing undersaddle. One thing that helped my guy relax was to take him on walks, just to let him graze; after few regular walks in which I lead him, I started climbing on, and still, just let him graze. After a while I would ask him to go a few yards, ask for a halt, give him a cue word 'okay', and let him graze some more. A horse who is too nervous will not eat, so if you can get her to a point where she will, you are getting somewhere. I don't have to graze my guy anymore, as he now is pretty relaxed undersaddle, but occasionally, I will stop and let him eat, just to remind him that being ridden is still a 'pleasant' thing. Because I have 'controlled' when he eats, he doesn't try to on his own, either.

MN Tigerstripes 08-19-2009 12:15 PM

^^^ I was going to suggest the same thing. :-) Pretty girl by the way!

kevinshorses 08-19-2009 04:23 PM

She can put her head all the way to the ground or she would have starved to death. It may take some time to get her head where you want it but don't think her muscles and carriage can't change to get her head wherever you want it. Shes got good feet and nice straight legs some pretty nice withers. She ought to do for what you want.

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