When I ride my horse, she always tries to run into this one corner when we pass it, and I have to pull her so hard. When there is another horse standing in it, I have no hope and she runs into them. If people get into a clump to talk when they are riding, I have know hope of doing a circle because Im trying to stop her from taking off. She always tries to run to other horses or into that corner, or for no reason off the rail. She gernerally has a soft mouth, I ride her in a racing dee copper. Any ideas to stop her from this?
First, when you are riding her dont think about it. I know it can be hard but now you are expecting it, so you may be subconcously giving her cues to do it. When you are nearing this corner make sure you have your eyes up and are looking to where you want her to go; start to turn her at the quarter line and don't drop your outside rein; keep it steady. You may want to carry a crop in case she starts to bulge her shoulder and you cannot get her straight (one good smack, to make her know you mean it).
Practice doing one-rein stops at all three gaits, so your horse knows what they are and so that you are comfortable doing them so that when she tries to run for that corner when there are people in it; you can turn her in that circle and show her it is not acceptable.
If you dont know how to do a one-rein stop; its simple:
Grab a hunk of mane with one hand, and pull back to your hip with the other, if you have short reins you can let it slide through the hand grabbing mane to make sure your horses head can get around. Doing this causes the horse to turn in a tight circle and slow down. When she has slowed let her head go and make her stand for 5 seconds. When doing the one-rein stop be sure to keep your eyes up, and sit up tall; it will help bring your center of gravity low.
If you don't understand anything, please feel free to ask me to clarify.
Stepher had some good advice. Additionally, you can make it so the corner, or near other horses is not a fun place to be. If she does manage to get away from you even when following the above advice, and she makes it to the corner, or near the other horses, begin to circle her left, then right, then left again, in small circles at the trot. Back her, sidepass her, do rollbacks, turns on the forehand, anything you can do to: 1.create work from her 2. make her forget why she wanted to come to that spot to begin with 3. get her focus on you, not the spot in the arena.
Also, be sure not to get off in the corner, or by other horses to end any of your sessions. And be sure not to relax and hang out with other horses in the arena too much until you work through this problem.
Horses aren't stupid, and they make clear associations between situations and getting to relax.
During my reining lessons this summer, I would take breaks at various points to discuss theory, and what we had just been doing or what we were about to do. While doing this, I would be sitting on my horse talking to my instructor on the ground. While we were talking, my horse would be standing relaxed with his head down. After a while, he began to drift toward my instructor when I was practicing a maneuver. I would just laugh and drive him on past (getting a bit close to my instructor a couple of times :) ). It was never a really big issue because for my boy, it just took a little focused drving, and he would move right on, but it was funny because you could see that he had formed a clear association with the instructor and relaxing.
Okay, please don't take this the wrong way, as it is not meant to be an insult of any kind.
It seems to me that your horse is trying to get away from you, as in she doesn't feel safe with you. Something that is happening, or something that has happened in the past, has made her feel unsafe. She runs to other horses becasue in her mind, that is where the safety and comfort are, not with you.
Take this one step at a time. First, you need to make her feel safe. When you mount up, walk her around on a loose rein and just rub her neck. Take a "passneger lesson." Basically all you do is tell her "You can go anywhere you want to as long as you stay in the walk" for instance. You do NOTHING. You are simply a passenger, not a driver. The purpose of this is to let your horse know that you can go where she goes, turn when she turns, etc. and be in harmony with her and not restrict her in any way. It's also a really good time to focus on how she moves, what it feels like when she stops, turns, etc. Here is the cool thing about this! If she goes to that corner ALLOW HER TO. Don't try to stop it. When she gets there and stops, rub her, stand a moment, then ask her to go again. This is not rewarding "bad behavior" it's simply letting her know that everything is okay and that she has nothing to worry about. Soon, if you are consistant with this for many sessions, she will start to think "Why did I want to go over there so bad anyway?" When you become just a passenger, the horse calms down, gets softer, etc because again, there is no fight and no restriction. It's reverse psychology. if you do this, it will really start to feel good to her, so she won't feel the need to race into the corner because riding isn't so bad after all. Slowly, you can start to take over again and start "driving" again.
One thing I should mention is that if she breaks gait at any time, like goes into a trot or faster then what you want, use one rein to slow her down. When she is good at the walk, try the trot, then eventually the canter, but don't be in a hurry. Take your time. Invest this time into your relationship with her. Also, if she stops at any time, allow it. Rub her, wait a moment, then ask her on again. Do what she does. Mirror her movements. If she looks left, you look left. If she turns, you turn. If she sticks her ribs out to one side, you do the same thing in your body. This is all about getting into harmony with your horse, and once she feels this, she will calm down because you will start to feel like one unit instead of 2 oppossing forces.
wow these are some great ideas. Im just a little confused about teh one rein stopping.
Basically the one rein stop is meant to stop the horse when they are running away; they cant go fast while turning a small circle or they will fall over.
So when you are doing them you want to make sure you sit up; and give with one rein while pulling her around with the other (if you dont give, she wont be able to turn her head and WILL fall over). When she stops (or if she is going fast and at least walks) give her her head back.
Okay, the one rein stop is very simple. :) If she goes faster then what you want, slide your hand down one rein and bend her head around to your toe. "Stab" your theigh with your rein, dont' pull it back to your hip. With your other hand, push your butt into the saddle by pushing on the saddle horn/pommel. This puts you in a power position and really anchors you to the saddle. When she slows and softens release the rein. Never, ever release on a brace.
When you bend her, don't jerk her around. Do it slowly, confidently, and gracefully. You don't need to be fast and jerky in order to get your point across. Now, if you are in a really dangerous situation, of course do what is necessary to protect yourself.
I had a mare do this to me before. What you need to do is start from the beginning. Which means you need to backtrack. Somewhere in your training, you skipped a step or overlooked something. go back to the round pen. ride in a smaller space and work on your aids. Make sure your horse understands you when you say turn now or trot here. If you don't have a trainer, you should look for one. They will be able to help you more than any of us can. I would also suggest that you ride in a regular snaffle bit. Nothing fancy.
I didnt have the time to read the other posts so I may repeat some info that was given.
Ive had/seen this problem before and yes its very irritating. Basically(from what I skimmed over) the idea to keep your mind off of her going into the corner is perfect. Keep your eyes exactly where you want her to go. Also the idea of carrying a crop is great as well. And yes give a good "smack" on her shoulder is she starts to buldge it towards the corner.
Are you able to lunge in this area? If so lunge her. Start away from the side with her "favorite" corner and slowly work your way towards it. Since she is on a restrained circle she will be unable to completely go into the corner. Keep lunging until she shows she is un interested in that corner.
Also does she have issues with running into people? barriers? Have someone stand at the corner. If she attempts to plow through them have the wave their arms or (if you are confident enough) allow them a dressage whip to tap her with if she decides she want to bulldoze people.
You can also put up some rope in that corner. make she its well marked so she can see it easily. It might not be the greatest idea though is she will plow through anything.
What I have been told at a stable I use to ride in is if she wants to go to that corner let her but make her work onces shes there. "Steer" her into the corner she pulls to and make her either do tight circles, backing up, flexing. Keep her busy. Just make sure YOU are the one asking her to go to that corner so make sure you steer her there.
Anyways I hope some of this advice helped.
Circling on the ground
I would go one step back and lunge / play circle games on the ground in that corner, then your horse will start to respect you in the corner, also if the horse over the fence is there you can start at the corner then move you and your horse away further and further still circling, so your horse learns to feel comfortable getting further away and start respecting you and listening to you. Don't forget to circle both ways, left and right... You can practise this daily soon your horse will get bored of challenging you there, starting on the ground will be safer for you as you build respect.
Let me know how this works for you, has it worked for anyone else looking at this page - it worked for me, have a look at my page to hear the story about my horse and how riding became fun.
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