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Cocoa 07-01-2011 09:58 AM

Mare wont move out under saddle?
Just lately (well the past month or so) my appaloosa mare has started a very annoying habbit.

She is an angel for tacking up and mounting but lately when I get on her she just stands there no matter how long I wait and no matter what cues I give her. If someone leads her she goes pretty happily but no matter what I do she wont really move out under saddle. Occasionally I can get her to amble around the arena a little but she usually stops pretty quickly.

I am usually a big believer in John Lyons so I have been going by some of his stuff. I have read 'Comunicating With Cues' like 6 times and have been using his method for a horse that wont move out or change speed. His idea is 'Im going to keep on bumping you from now until forever until you give me a definate, noticeable chance in leg speed.' I sat on my mare for an hour the other day and nothing but a few hesitant steps.

So what am I doing wrong? Are there different methods I could try?

Also I have had a vet out to see her (last week actually) and she is positive there is no medical reason she is acting up. I have also had her feet done recently so she is all set physically.

Is professional training my only hope?

Doe 07-01-2011 10:34 AM

Well I would be mostly interested as to why the change and look to solve the issue from there as I'm sure it stems from something else.

However if you want a 'quick fix' and one that's in line with the style of trainer you have been using (Lyons) then there are a couple of things you can do.

Firstly if you have a mecate rein or even just a thin strap to attach to your belt, you can slap YOU. Ie keep slapping it side to side across your thighs and seat. Most horses find the noise uncomfortable and because its so different they move. So ask normally if no response slap yourself.

The other way is to make standing uncomfortable. If you have taught her to yield her hindquarters, then ask her to move. If she doesn't then bend her head around and turn her, disengaging the hind. Then ask again and repeat if she refuses to move. Then do lots of stops and starts.

As I say though not my preferred methods but they should work but I'd still be concerned as to the why. For example it may just need a shift of your balance. Someone on my last yard couldn't move a giant warmblood for kicking or whipping. I couldn't stand watching anymore so I asked her to tip her weight into one leg and slightly bend his neck and he moved. Balance vs gravity won. It still didn't resolve the underlying issue however which surfaced in another way later.

Let us know how you get on.

Horsey and Holistic 07-01-2011 01:15 PM

Well, you either have a horse that bolts or doesn't move. Haha, I understand the frustration you must be going though. When I ride I always ride with a whip on one hand. No, I don't hurt my horses and almost never have to use it. But I do when I'm training and sometimes you need to go back into training mode to get a job done. I'm a dressage rider and hidden soft aids are what I love so all my horses are hyper sensitive to my thoughts and slight movements. What I suggest if finding a small whip and every time she doesn't answer give her no for an answer with a small tap on the rump. Its a big yes and no game sometimes. But training comes in threes.

That's the trainer in me, but I would have her checked out by an acupuncturist in case she is having a problem that vets don't acknowledge. Her front legs just might be too tight for her to take a step without it weighing a hundred pounds or maybe her hind is a bit off. A vet doesn't know everything. Do you find dried dirt spots in the same places? Does she scratch in the same ones? That indicates muscle tightness. Good luck!


farmpony84 07-01-2011 09:34 PM

have you always used the same saddle? could be the saddle fit...

Saddlebag 07-01-2011 09:44 PM

She's got your number. Use a stick or riding crop and start tapping her behind your leg as you lightly squeeze your calf muscles. Keep the tapping rhythmic and sooner or later she will start to move. Instantly stop tapping. She'll stop so resume tapping. It's like having that annoying little brother tapping your arm incessantly for attention when you are trying to read. You stop reading momentarily and he starts up again. The stopping is as important as the tapping as it is her reward. It usually takes a horse 3 x to figure out that it's action (or lack of) results in this action. Be patient and it will pay off.

PaintedFury 07-01-2011 10:59 PM

I would have to agree with farmpony, have the saddle checked for proper fit, and have her back checked by a chiropractor. If her saddle does not fit properly, it could be hurting her back enough that she figures if she doesn't move it won't hurt as much. That could also be the reason for the sudden change between lets go riding one day to I'm not moving the next. Any time you have a sudden change in a horse's attitude towards work, assume that it's something other than training. Check saddle, back, teeth, and so on until you are sure that it's not a physical thing, then move on to training issues. But that's just my opinion.

God Bless and good luck!

kevinshorses 07-02-2011 09:58 AM

If you irritate your horse into action don't be suprised if they appear irritated. If it were me I would grab a good hold with one hand and then wack the crap out of her with a crop until she moves. She probably will move suddenly so be prepared for that and don't jerk on the reins and stop her. When you first start she may move at a different speed than you want but just go with her. When you can get her to move freely and without working very hard at it THEN you can start to control her speed.

Scoutrider 07-02-2011 02:27 PM

Is this a new development? Did she used to move out under saddle well and recently start freezing up? If so, I would be first ferreting out what changed (tack, feed, turnout, anything that is now different).

Assuming that the behavior can't be linked to a physical issue, I'd say this is just a hole in the mare's training: something that either was never properly understood, or perhaps inadvertently taught through ineffective communication.

Always use the progression of seat, then leg, and then stick. Do not kick or spur for this, as that will only cause her to shorten her stride, not move out. Think about moving forward - that will automatically put your seat into use, but remember not to lean forward. If she doesn't move forward off of the thought, apply your legs in a firm squeeze. If she doesn't go off of the squeeze, maintain that leg pressure and give her a firm tap with something, whether it's a mecate, dressage whip, NH Stick du jour, or a sapling. I too would advise against irritating the horse into moving - ask, suggest, and tell. Don't nag about it, just get your point across, and then go right back to neutral once she responds. A well timed and consistent release will get the point across quickly and without stress. The most important thing to remember is to be effective in the saddle - I've witnessed the "irritation technique" make some darn near bombproof horses. :wink:

I have personally used the method of smacking my own leg to motivate a horse to go forward before, but I honestly can't recommend it. For all the more it helped, I had a wicked looking bruise on my thigh. Perhaps I was doing it wrong.:lol: If you go that route, I'd advise wearing a sturdy pair of chaps for the exercise.

Spirithorse 07-04-2011 05:49 PM

Can you post a video of your horse's behavior?

Cherie 07-04-2011 06:39 PM

Is this the older mare that you said was riding nicely when you first got her?

Or is this the green one?

There is a really big difference in my advice depending on which one it is.

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