is my horse Ruined?: changing gates, natural gates, pulling on the me.
so got this horse when he was very young, he was the most beautiful, smartest, talented horse i've ever had the pleasure to meet. he was an amazing mover. he was naturally forward, balanced and graceful. he was going to be a beautiful dressage horse.
there was a barn fire and all my tack got torched. the only other tack i had was a bunch of old western tack i got as gifts afterwords. so yeah, yay western.
some few empty pockets later, I'm back at an english barn. hooray! but its been years. i've only been trail riding him and now all of his beautiful natural english showmanship is gone! i don't know how to get it back! his head is all up in the air and won't go on the bit. he's got great reach with his trot but no propulsion. its only every other day his gates are consistent and such.
i do really need help, techniques, or something.
and another problem
he doesn't bend on the right lead. he will if i push him a bit. he'll drop his head for a few seconds and be a good boy. but then rank it back up again and just move his but around corners. i think he has some vision loss in that eye or something. because he's a perfect bender on the left lead.
I would absolutely lOVE help. I'm getting quite distressed and sad on those days when he decides to be super bad and distracted.
oh and I'm trying to get use to english saddles again. its semi difficult.
sorry that was a lot to take in
im not quite sure how this forum thing works. so i'll need as much help as i can get! i really appreciate it if anyone comments on this!
Welcome to the forum!!
I am not English person, but I can tell you he is probably out of practice, and has lost the necessary muscles needed to perform correctly. If it has been years since he has done it, then he may be rusty. I would get a trainer to put 30 days on him, and have them evaluate him under saddle.
Do not worry too much. He probably just needs to be reconditioned and put back into "English mode"
Changes like this point to a physical change in your horse. I would most definitely have him seen by a chiropractor.
If the tack fits well a horse doesn't care what it looks like ie: english or western. Sounds like you both have just been out hacking and haven't schooled on the movements and precision you now want. So, if you want them, you'll have to get to work on them by either getting some training for you and your horse or if you're going to do it yourself... read, watch, learn, do.
Not having the skills to help the horse will certainly delay your progress, but you can't expect your horse to give you something you're not asking for and you can't expect him to perform when he hasn't been suppled and muscled up. If he doesn't bend well to the right, he's not going to unless someone asks him to start. If isn't his job to offer.
Both of you merely need lessons/training to get back into the way you'd like to ride!
hey thanks guys! well, i don't have money for a trainer, but i am very confident in my skills as a rider. if i had a teacher i wouldn't probably be on this forum. lol. i have been working him well, he's a strong healthy shiny looking horse, i get complements on him all the time. what I'm having problems with is good consistent results. keeping him on the bit, impulsion, things like that.
a chiropractor actually sounds like a good idea! thanks !
but how do i get him to relax and on the bit?
The muscles used to collect and perform properly in a frame are different to those used hacking out. Sounds to me like he just needs to build those muscles. However if he's consistently stiff to the right then look at a chiropractor.
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Firstly, Welcome to the Forum!! :wave:
You said you were given the western tack that you've been using - was it properly fitted to your horse? Logging miles even in "It Fits Okay" tack can start to adversely affect muscle development. I'll jump on the wagon for having a chiro or an equine massage therapist take a look at him as well.
As far as helping him start to loosen up and relax into consistent and rhythmic gaits, you need to first make sure that you are relaxed. If you aren't relaxed, he can't be either. Try riding to music - I recommend a battery-operated boom box on the rail over ear buds; you still want to hear what's going on around you. The music will give both of you some rhythmic structure to relax to. Work on stretching long and low, to help those muscles from his poll to his croup to stretch and round. There are tons of threads on these kinds of topics all over the Training and the Dressage forums.
I highly recommend taking lessons. Riding lessons, at least in my area, are generally cheaper than "having the horse trained", and IME, most riding instructors allow/encourage pupils to take lessons on their own horses unless there's a reason not to (i.e., need a lungeline lesson and the student's personal horse doesn't know how to lunge, etc.). Even if you can't afford weekly lessons, monthly or every-other-month quality lessons with "homework" between or emailed questions can keep you and your horse on track and moving forward. I'm not saying it's impossible to do alone, just that you and your horse will come back to form much quicker with some pro eyes on the ground, even if its just a few of times a year. :wink:
Get some good books--cheaper than a trainer, and you can go back and reread stuff. Here is one of my particular favorites:
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