She can't walk!
Ok i recently got a sour horse to ride for a friend. The last 2weeks iv just been lunging etc to get her in shape as she has basically done nothing all winter.
So yesterday was my first day actually riding and her walk is AWFUL. she is long and very unresponsive off my outside leg, she falls in on corners. Basically she just cant walk.
I was wondering what kind of exercises would you guys do to improve her walk but also to actually make her work?
You said you lunged her? Well could she walk then? Then I think it's obvious where the problem lies...
She was constantly hanging on the side reins like trying to support herself but if they were off her she kept her head basically paralell to her body but she didnt have a decent powerful walk by any means. She is 100% healthy as she was vetted before she came to my yard. But how can you get a decent work out in walk, cause i dont want to move on to anything else without actually being able to work her decently.
I have recently been using the Pessoa Training System with my big guy *that is until his hind right hock flarred up due to arthritus and we aren't allowed to lunge* and I love it! It belongs to a friend of mine who boards at the same barn as I, and she uses it on her horses as well, and I can't say anything negative about it.
We all did an Eventing Clinic recently and the Instructor *who short listed for the U.S Olympic Team* highly encouraged the use of the Pessoa on our horses.
I was using it to aid my guy to use his back and strengthen his back without the weight of a rider on him, and my friend uses hers on her young green TB mare to help her balance and develop physically, evenly. *meaning all parts working to develop at once*
Look into it - this may help the horse you are riding. Sounds like she is very unbalanced. If she is leaning into the side reins to support herself, she is obviously unbalanced and very much on her forehand *Just like horses who lean into their riders hands - for balance*
I dont know if it could help, but it certainly wouldnt hurt. I do hills. Lots of walking hills. It builds muscling and balance and in my opinion, a hill trumps a riding ring hands down. It sounds like she is a bit 'wonky' and is maybe just out of shape.
Corino and MIE are sort of on the right track.
Without having a video ( it would help) I would say that while the obvious is a poor walk it really seems that the horse is just not on the aids or ignoring them.
As trainers we can only do so much with the walk and too many time direct work at the walk does more harm than good.
Corino's thought process with muscle build up is a good direction to go but there is also a balance issue here. MIE using the Pessoa system is also along a good track but I am not a fan of the system. The idea of something like it using just what you have in hand may be more workable for you.
So here is what I would do. Put the side reins on if you wish or use the bridle reins and work in hand with the horse. Your whip will take the place of the Pessoa hind end strap and I would be doing a lot of work LATERALLY on this horse. I would not be working directly at the walk but move the horse laterally... (shoulder in--leg yields- turns on the fore and hind). The thinking is that you will be able to drive better on the ground with the whip, get the balance issue worked on and you will over time build up muscle power. This will also help in the obedience area also.
After each lateral session I would encourage the horse to move forward vigorously after the lateral work and I would also aim the horse towards the exit door when you do this. Nothing like some incentive to walk more forward.
I would then (when the response gets better) do exactly the same when you are on her and again aim all your forward walks towards the exit door.
I dont have access to a pessoa but i do have a lungee bungee but aids like that get so much negative coverage im almost reluctant to use it?
Thank you for the help tomorrow we are going to head off up the moutains try get her butt in gear!
I will definitely try to do lateral work with her. I dont have an arena in use currently so its all field work!
I will try get a video of her both in sode reins and out of them but im not usre when someone will be around to help video her.
Yeah I wouldn't use a bungee, they just pull the horse's head down, where as the pessoa encourages them to use their hind end. However as Spider said, direct work in walk and do far more harm than good and I'd be worried if you extensively walked her in the pessoa that the walk may become lateral, and that is a hell of a problem to try and resolve.
I have found that the best solution to horses with walking issues, is to get them out in a trail. Let your reins out onto the buckle. Don't let her dawdle, that will achieve nothing. You want a forward marching walk. Try to get her out on a trail a few times a week initially. I have found every horse I've known with walk issues to become so much better after a few rides out. They're more willing to go forward and have found that 4 beat movement that is much more comfortable.
I am having a few walk issues with my TB boy, he's recently ott and I've found he has a lovely walk, but if he gets tense it very nearly becomes lateral. So at the moment I'm not even worrying about having him on the bit in walk, if he's jig jogging and tense, falling all over the place I just let my reins right out, put my leg on and make him walk until he is reaching forwards and down, and tracking up.
I very rarely touch him in walk, I do all my serious work in trot, and from that he usually picks it up in walk quite quickly. I think your mare may be similar to my Hugo, so I'd certainly give a few trails a go and then every time you ride her for the next month, let your reins right out in walk and make her go forward. If she trots a little, just politely ask her to come back to walk. She'll figure out that it's easier to walk and you'll soon lose the jig jogging.
thank you kayty i will definnitely try that!
Its something she definitely needs work on!
Would you think it ok to do trot and canter work on her instead of just focussing on her non existent walk?
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