Hello there. :) I'm new here, so I hope I'm putting this on the correct forum!
I've been leasing and taking lessons on a thoroughbred quarter horse cross mare. She's five years old, and is still pretty green, but is a people pleaser and tries to do almost anything you ask her.
Unfortunately, one major issue she has is that she is very herd-bound in the arena. I take lessons with three other girls, and when we do exercises as a group she's fine, but as soon as we do things one at a time, we run into some problems.
Today we worked on figure eights at the canter using the entire arena, and while the three other girls stood in one end, I cantered around them, but as I neared my turn to the middle of the arena, she veered in towards the herd. This is what happens every time. I have tried using my leg to push her out, putting more weight in my outside stirrup so she has to adjust her weight, and I've even tried using a stick as a correction, but nothing seems to work.
I hope I don't sound like I'm a bad rider or anything, I'm just looking for something I can do to get her away from her friends during lessons. She's great otherwise, but this is quite a problem because I ride three times a week with the others. Any suggestions are highly appreciated! Thank you so much!! :D
Are there any times when you don't ride in a group lesson? If not, then maybe try taking a few private lessons. She needs to learn that while you are with her, she has to listen to you. You are the boss! Don't be harsh with her, she is still young. But don't let her get away with it either. If she turns in to her friends. Turn her around and do it all over again. Eventually she'll get the idea that if she wants a break from work, shes going to have to stop. Or maybe ask your group lesson-ers to step out of the ring or in a different area so she won't be so tempted? All I can really suggest is that because she is a lesson horse.
My green horse does not want to leave the rest of the herd and ride out alone, and what I tried is circles- small mounted circles as well as dismounting and lunging her around me at the length of the reins. That worked okay, but it might not work well for you, as you're paying for lessons by the hour, and all those circles became very time consuming! Good luck, and I'm looking forward to hearing other people's suggestions as well!
Payette, if you own your horse or are not riding her in lessons, I find what really helps is keeping them busy. And keep yourself concentrated as well. Work on something new with her like trying a pattern or something. Make her bend all the way around the arena as practice, maybe in each corner do a big circle and a small circle inside it. Switch directions often to keep her busy and I find talking or singing to them keeps their attention on you. You may look a little goofy doing it but hey! It works :)
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