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ReiningGirl 10-05-2011 10:24 PM

LAZY, DEAD SIDED Pleasure Horse. HELP!!
I was asked today by a horse owner to hop on their new horse. She's a 3 and a half year old pleasure mare that they have in training with another trainer at my ranch. She has an awesome trot, very flat footed, slow pace and level head. However, its an absolute FIGHT to get her to lope. She takes almost a half lap to convince her to go (leg pressure, voice, spurs...etc) and she will only take about four strides at a lope and then trot or break down to a dead stop. It's then, again, a fight to get her to lope. She was checked out by the vet about two weeks ago to see if it was a pain issue and he found nothing.

Part of the problem I believe, is that the trainer that rides her, only does so twice a week for half an hour. He kicks her butt then throws her back in her stall for two days. I think she's learning that even if she's difficult and lazy, she gets left alone for a few days.

I eventually got her, after getting after her and not letting her to break down, to lope almost a full circle. I volunteered after the ride, to exercise her the days the trainer isn't riding to help keep her from falling into the cycle of stubborn fighting and then idleness for a few days.

My question is - can anyone give me a hint or trick to help get this dead sided, lazy horse moving? I don't want to keep using spurs as she's already numb to them based on my ride experience. I was thinking it may have to do with a lack of respect and groundwork would help. But I WOULD LOVE ADVICE!! THANKS!!

Sahara 10-05-2011 10:29 PM

Over and under her with a rein or carry a crop. I never use spurs for forward work.

I always teach my horses a verbal precue so they know that I am about to ask for a lope. This always starts with longe line work and translates really well for the undersaddle work. Will she lope on a longe line?

You can also get off the circle and try to lope on straight lines out in a field, too. She may not have the balance and coordination yet to lope with a rider on circles.

hennisntacanibal 10-05-2011 10:36 PM

I'd definitely suggest a crop as well. It's really hard for them to ignore a good snap from one, and usually they only need to see it to behave better.
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ReiningGirl 10-05-2011 10:39 PM

I'll be sure to try some longe work with her. She's got the training and the ability to lope in the western pleasure style, and our arena has long sides so she gets two straightaways. I was also thinking about carrying a crop with me next time to tap her the hip. Thanks!! Maybe a change in scenery may help her too.

christopher 10-05-2011 11:20 PM

other than equipment (crop/overunder/spur or whatever), ride straight lines, and don't stop the horse or let the horse stop unless you've been traveling a straight line.

if you have an arena or something similar try riding to a corner and stopping in the corner. turn and go to the next corner then stop in the corner again, and repeat many times.

horses are inherently lazy animals, but they are determined too find that laziness. frequently stopping while riding a straight line teaches them that "laziness" is in front of them. so it's an effective way of getting a horse to willingly travel forward.

ReiningGirl 10-05-2011 11:36 PM

I've never heard of that, but it sounds like it will be effective on this particular horse. I'll give that a try the next time I can get on her! Thanks!

ReiningGirl 10-05-2011 11:51 PM

Also - would changing bits get more control/discipline? She rides in a simple snaffle. She steers poorly in it and though she gives her head but not easily.

haleylvsshammy 10-06-2011 12:15 AM

At 3 1/2 I think she should stay in a snaffle. In any case she needs to learn to give and steer in a snaffle before moving to a different bit.

christopher 10-06-2011 12:49 AM

i'd work on getting her nice and forward first. for safeties sake she has to have some idea of steering but it doesn't have to be very good yet, so work on that after she's a bit more motivated.

ReiningGirl 10-06-2011 01:01 AM

Thanks for the advice! I will wait on graduating her to a different bit or suggesting it to her owners until she's moving forward willingly and easily :-) keep the tips and tricks coming! I love to hear them!

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