Bored Mare - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-13-2012, 06:34 AM Thread Starter
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Bored Mare

I have a 4yo TB mare. I want to event her, so we've been working on dressage a lot. We have to do a lot of circles to get her bending and un-tense. I think she gets bored when we do this because she will start tossing her head or pulling or being disracted. I know she can do it because the first week I had her, when everything was new and exciting, she could do it.

I was wondering what exersizes I could do with her to make her relax, on the bit, and bending without going in circles for an hour.

I don't blame her for being bored- I would be too! I jump her every other time I ride her. When we jump, I dont work on roundness- just on an even tempo/rhythm.
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-13-2012, 07:55 AM
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Have you had a vet/dentist get her mouth and teeth out? It doesnt really sound like shes bored, more of some type of pain issue. Does her saddle fit appropriately as well?
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-13-2012, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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We had the saddle fitted when we first got her. She had her teeth done 2 weeks before we bought her, so like 2 months ago. It feels like she is bored to me. We only do circles and serpentines trying to get her to use her back and be round, so that would bore lots of horses. Also, when I ride outside she is round more often, even though she is really distracted. Are there exersizes or patterns I can do to help in the indoor without making her bored? Winter is coming and soon we will have to ride in the indoor all the time.
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-13-2012, 02:57 PM
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You're in Maryland, not the Arctic tundra. There will be plenty of times you can ride outside during the winter.

What else do you do with her, besides ring work? She may very well be bored and sour.

Do you take her out for hacks or relaxing trail rides? If not, you should start. Horses need a break from boring work just like people. Helps them to destress, so they can go back to work with a fresh mind.
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-13-2012, 02:57 PM
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Put down some trot poles and get her working over those - raise the ends to make her really engage over them. Transitions, transitions, transitions!! Spirals, leg yields, shoulder/haunches in, turn on forehand/hindquarters.
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-13-2012, 02:59 PM
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i would do work with cavalettis or poles.

do you really jump her every other time you ride her ?

i also second trail riding !

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post #7 of 13 Old 09-13-2012, 03:02 PM
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I would look into ground training her and mixing up lots of lots of exercises. The ground training will teach her what the movements are so that she is familiar with them before you ask for them under saddle. Circles, spirals, serpentines, transitions between gaits, and transitions within gaits. All sound horses should be able to perform 3 distinct speeds at the walk, trot and canter, collected, free and extended--use those, along with turns on the forehand and the haunches and side-passing. Walk, trot and canter over poles, making sure that you go over in a straight line, but it doesn't have to be perpendicular. BE SURE TO SECURE THE POLE OR USE A CAVALETTI SO IT DOESN'T ROLL AND TRIP YOUR HORSE! Canter on the outside lead and counter-cantering, plus change of leads on cue. Backing as many steps as you want, even all the way around the arena backing. And, of course, work her for a good couple of hours, then go trail-riding with a friend. Hope this helps. =D

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post #8 of 13 Old 09-13-2012, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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In the winter the ground gets so hard that we can only ride out after the snow melts and softens the ground. We are working on trail rides, but for her- she gets scared and nervous on the trail. I was able to go half way around our hacking field with no spooking/bolting/rearing/bucking/spinning a few days ago which is a HUGE accomplishment. I have tried trot poles, but she jumps them. I had 3 set out and she jumped 12' wide over the poles. We've been working on it, but I'm not seeing a ton of improvement.

Starting 2 weeks ago, I've jumped her almost every other time I ride because she really loves it, and it helps get her out of the racing mentality. Some days it's like she has it locked in her brain that she is just supposed to run. If we jump it's like "Oh, we don't do this at the track" and she settles down. I don't jump big courses for hours, just little stuff that helps with her flatting.

Corporal- We almost have a 100% success rate with the right lead, but she still has a tough time sometimes. I don't really want to re-enforce the left lead going right untill I'm completely sure she will pick up the right lead every time I ask. She also does flying changes, so it's not like we could go across the diagonal.

I will try collected/extended and the half passes tomorrow when I ride. Any tips on turn on the haunches? She will happily move her butt, but not her shoulders (not even on the ground). I will also keep trying long lines of trot poles, so she can't jump them all (although she is usually doing bounces by the end of the line). Funny thing is, she does trot poles if I rin with her on the ground, but not when I'm riding.

Soon I will be able to take her corss country schooling and showing, so maybe that will help. Thanks for the ideas :)
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-17-2012, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Ashsunnyeventer View Post
She will happily move her butt, but not her shoulders (not even on the ground).
If she's not even doing it for you on the ground then there's no point in asking for it under saddle yet. You need to get her giving to the pressure on the ground and moving her shoulders over. Just keep working on it. As soon as she gives to the pressure and moves her front end, release the pressure, tell her she's a good girl, then go to the other side and do the same thing.

As for keeping her on point, I suggest LOTS of transitions. And get her out of the arena as much as possible. One of my favorite exercises involves lots of transitions. I start at the walk, get it nice, forward and supple, then pick up the trot. After 5 (or 6) trot steps, as quietly for the walk. Walk for 5 or 6 steps, pick the trot back up. Slowly you're going to shorten the time in either (or both) of the gaits until it's something like trot, trot, trot walk two steps, back to trot. You can do it between any of the gaits. Walk-canter, canter-trot, etc. and it's great for getting a horse to use their back end and listen to your aids.
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-17-2012, 10:47 AM
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If she's jumping the poles they might be too close together. Play with the distances and see if you can handwalk her through the poles. If she handwalks through them then try not letting her collect herself for a jump but instead try half halting her or even taking her at an angle until she figures it out.

Think of turn on the haunches as a forward movement. Get her walking forward then introduce tighter and tighter circles until she's just moving her shoulders over.
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