Helping Romance balance?
OK, back story first.
Romance is a 10 year old Standardbred mare.
I bought Romance in March of 2010, supposedly in foal. I was told she had only been a broodmare for the 4 years previously, going on 5 years now.
I was told that she had been a pony club horse as well. Having done my research, I found out that her last race was in 2006 and her first foal hit the ground in 2007, so I am not sure whether or not she ever did do pony club. In fact, I am not sure she has been ridden before now.
She has quite nice movement when she is loose in the paddock, when she's not pacing at least! However, as soon as I am working with her and asking her to move she quickly becomes unbalanced. I can get a steady walk and a half way decent trot from her with just a halter and rope on. As soon as I saddle her though she seems to lose it at the trot. I can still get a decent walk, but she struggles to maintain a trot for more than a few strides.
Yesterday evening we saddled her up and Mum jumped on her. We didn't ask much of her, not knowing whether she has in fact been ridden before, but we did get her walking around the round yard quite nicely. She is responsive to the bit and not nervous under saddle, which leads me to believe she had someone on her back before.
Now I would like to have her working more balanced on the ground before asking for more than a walk under saddle. So basically what my long winded rambling boils down to is this.
What exercises would YOU recommend for helping her to find her feet at faster gaits? I know that consistent work will help her out, but just wondering whether there are any specific exercises you do to help with balance in particular.
Sorry that this got so long winded! Here's a picture of our pretty girl for your troubles!
Does she lunge? Lunging will help her find her feet on a circle without anyone interfering as well as buil some muscle, try lunging with the saddle. She may not be muscled in the right places right now to carry a rider and stay balanced. As she gets stronger you can try lunging in side reins. You could also try trotting on a straight line, turns are harder when they are unbalanced and unfit with a rider, so that she gets used to carrying your weight. Make sure you are center on her and not throwing her balance off and the saddle is sitting correctly. Good luck!
I have just started lunging her. She will do it, but not willingly. Am I better off keeping her lunging at a walk for now, until she can maintain a proper steady rhythm there? She is pretty decent at the walk with the saddle and no rider, on the circle, it's just the trot that she can't maintain for more than a few strides.
When we add in the rider, it is difficult for her to maintain a steady pace even at the walk, so we are taking it very slowly there. Long straights and gentle turns until she gets her feet under her.
Thanks for the advice!
Probably best to stick to the walk for now, then slowly move up.
I'm with you I don't think she could of been a PC mount, unless they just jumped on and pushed her or something.
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