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LoveTheSaddlebreds 10-04-2010 02:20 PM

Flighty Horse With NO Breaks
So I recently started riding with my friend at her barn where they have this beautiful black and white paint mare named China. She's the sweetest horse in the world, but no one but me likes riding her. She's got a few quirks from her last rider that have made her very difficult to ride. When doing flat work, the first few minutes she'll be pretty excited and you have to slowly give her the reins, if you start out with loose reins she'll bolt, but if you keep them tight the whole time, she'll never relax. So I figured out how to keep her nice on the flat, I just keep relaxed, sit deep in the saddle and ease up on the reins when I feel her starting to calm down. after five minutes, I can ride with normal contact (havent tried pleasure reins past walking) with cantering, you have to canter a lap collected so she knows you want her slow before you can give her the reins.

When she gets near a jump, even if she's not jumping, she gets excited and speeds up and her head shoots up. If you jump her without really holding her head and sitting back as much as you can, she'll take off like a bullet. And thats REALLY not an exaggeration. She will launch herself at full gallop if she feels the slightest release. At first, I thought maybe it was because I was collecting her so much and it was making her pissy, but she's sooo much worse if you ride with a normal rein. And sometimes she'll over jump then dig her head down and take off afterwards.

I've only ridden her three times (twice at shows and once at an interschool practice) and from what I've heard she's never been properly taught how to jump. She was a team penning horse, then whoever bought her would run her at jumps to get her over them, and her most recent rider would tighten the reins as much as possible, and dig her legs into her before a jump. (apparently she wasn't too bad until the last rider, who, so I'm told, totally screwed her up)

I was thinking she needs to just start from the beginning, like pole work and all that. but she's not my horse and I'll probably only be able to do actual jumps with her. The last time I rode her, I practiced going over a jump and stopping and ended the 'lesson' when she stopped when I told her to. But when I had to do a course (it was at a show) she was fine for some lines, but at the very end, she dug her head down and took off for my hunter circle.

Any advice on how to help her? by the end of each ride on her, she shows improvement and the BO thinks all she needs is a good rider, and says I ride her better than most people, but I could really use some other opinions. She's a nice horse with a lot of potential, but is seriously screwed up.

Thanks if you read it all :)

Just some pictures of the beastie:

Speed Racer 10-04-2010 02:27 PM

Brakes, not breaks.

If the horse's owner isn't willing to cough up for professional training, are your parents aware that you're riding such a potentially dangerous animal?

MaggiStar 10-04-2010 02:40 PM

Hmmm do you feel comfortable on her? ask your trainer for extra hours to work on her you cant be expected to compete s mare you cant control its a bit ridicuous

LoveTheSaddlebreds 10-04-2010 02:42 PM

Ew, stupid word mix-up there. XP

And my mom isn't really involved with my riding, and the BO believes I can handle her.. I've been successful so far, with little slip ups here and there. The actual owner of the horse hasn't been around for a few years, the owner of the barn used to use her for lessons until one girl started leasing her from the actual owner and messed her up. then, when the girl went off to college, the owner let the barn owner use her in lessons again, but only advanced riders were allowed and even then no one wanted to ride her.

LoveTheSaddlebreds 10-04-2010 02:45 PM


Originally Posted by MaggiStar (Post 770738)
Hmmm do you feel comfortable on her? ask your trainer for extra hours to work on her you cant be expected to compete s mare you cant control its a bit ridicuous

I feel completely comfortable riding her. The Barn Owner isn't my trainer, or isn't normally. She's the coach for our Interschool Riding team so I've only just recently started riding with her. My original trainer is sort of stopping her business because her kids are gone (grown up and at college) and she is selling all the horses that arent personally hers. I've ridden worse horses, she just wont slow down sometimes. She doesn't buck and her steering is fine, just the brakes. And she stops perfectly on the flat, the jumps are what gets her icky.

flamingauburnmustang 10-05-2010 06:11 AM

Since she goes so nicely for you, I suggest you carry on riding her as long as you realize the risks (which I'm pretty sure you do). I'm sure with consistent training and hard work she will come around nicely. :smile:

This is also kind of how I got together with Night Heat. She was just this horse at my barn that belonged to my one instructor, and no one rode her because she was too hot. When my instructor saw how well I managed crazy fast horses (which is almost all I've been riding), he decided to put me on her. Now I'm leasing her and busy training her for interschools next year. :wink:

Anyway, I say go ahead and see what you can do with this mare. Keep us posted on how things go. :grin:

LoveTheSaddlebreds 10-05-2010 06:23 AM


Originally Posted by RolyRolo (Post 771621)
A horse is an animal. It wants to walk and feed. You cant put two casts on a horse and ask him to lay still for 2 months. It's worse to try and save the horse then put it to sleep.

What? Not sure exactly what you're trying to say...

And flamingauburnmustang: Thats the exact same situation I'm in. She's not crazy, she just gets excited and thinks I want her to go fast. And she'll stop with persistent asking, I just want some tips to make her better faster.

flamingauburnmustang 10-05-2010 06:39 AM

^^ Gridwork can help for calming them down. It gives them something to think about so they will usually take it more carefully (unless they are stupid and try to jump the whole thing - coughNightHeatcoughcough - :roll:)

Another thing I can think of that may stop her from going off like a bullet at jumps is when you feel her doing that, turn her away from the jump and take her around the arena until she feels calm again, then take her towards the jump again. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of space before the jump to turn away, because you don't want to go teaching her to refuse. :wink:

The one time when Night Heat went completely berserk at the sight of a jump, my instructor told me to build a small cross jump on a corner, and take her over and over and over and over until I felt her relax. As soon as she started to relax, I would slow her down and praise her and then take her for a cool down. I did this for a few sessions and soon she learnt that the quicker she relaxed over jumps, the quicker we get to end the session.

LoveTheSaddlebreds 10-05-2010 05:16 PM

Those all sound really good! I'll try that :) I did a lot of stopping after and between jumps and she seems to improve little by little. I have faith in her and believe that she can get better :)

mom2pride 10-05-2010 11:08 PM

Have you tried simply 'cruising' around the arena? ie, putting her into a gait and just cruising around until she starts relaxing...on a 'loose' rein. I think she needs to learn how to self rate, before she will learn how to rate when you ask her. If she bolts, or rushes into the next gait just put her into a smaller circle, so she will drop back down to the desired gait and continue on. Essentially just stay out of her mouth, and off of her with your legs, just let her figure out that the gait you want is the gait you'll get, she may just have to work herself into a sweat before she figures it out. I've been doing this alot with my mare, who tends to get rushy in gaits, and it is helping alot! When she is consistantly going well from the time you get on, til the end of a lesson, THEN start adding ground poles, or small jumps, and do the same sort of thing, with just a little more direction. Again, don't take up the reins a ton, just get her to calmly go at the trot or canter, then point her at the jump and if she goes nicely, let her keep going, if she gets rushy, take her away from the jump and continue cruising around. When she calms down, try again. Eventually she will stop anticipating the jumps and focus on the gaits you are asking of her. It WILL take more flat work for a while, but it will pay off in the end. And the more you stay out of her mouth, considering all the confusion she has faced, the quicker, I think she will get it. Again, I think you need to really teach her to self rate at all gaits, more than you need to focus on jumping right now, especially if she is so anticipatory over them.

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