Training advice - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-23-2020, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Training advice

Hello all! I was wondering if anyone has any advice or could suggest any exercises I can do from the ground to build my OTTB's balance. I would ride him, but the farm we're at now doesn't have any flat spaces, and I've already gotten one concussion from his absolutely heinous balance. So far we've been lunging over poles and on the sides of hills, but is there anything else I can do with him without getting on? Any advice is helpful, thanks guys!
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post #2 of 19 Old 09-23-2020, 02:15 PM
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That sounds more like a health problem rather than a training problem. Most horses are fairly sure-footed. If they routinely have "heinous balance", it usually means that there is something wrong with their hooves, body, brain, et cetera. Or, that the rider is pulling/leaning/manipulating the horse out of balance.

Edit:
I actually want my horses out on uneven footing. It helps them teach them to mind their feet. Some of the most stumbly horses that I have ridden were only kept and worked on a 0 degree plane. They'd fall right over if they were ridden on the rough trails that I ride.
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-23-2020, 03:16 PM
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Inhand dressage work will help develop his balance, strength, and suppleness from the ground. If you google inhand dressage exercises, you should find several resources. Done right, these are a lot of effort and tiring for the horse until they get used to carrying themselves in balance.
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-23-2020, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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That's been a growing concern of mine, he never seems to balance himself out in the field like my other boys...I usually love riding on crazy footing, but since he slipped that one time and he's so out of shape I'm a little nervous about backing him for working on balance. He's definitely willing to let you do it for him, just isn't fond of doing it for himself.
I'm still giving him a shot though, at least to resell him. When I was working with him regularly his balance was improving, but unfortunately I've neglected his fitness so he's quite out of shape.
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-23-2020, 03:38 PM
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Have you had him vet checked to be sure this isn't more than just a lack of awareness? If not I would start there.

Next I would do poles but I would make them different heights and widths if possible and really ask him to slow down and be aware of where he is stepping. I would also continue working on the hills, if you can find large tires you can either fill with dirt to create a step up or if they are large enough you can ask him to step into/ out of it, try to do one foot at a time where he isn't just rushing through but waiting for your Que to continue. Work on pivots, maybe even find a trainer who will help you teach him to lead by his feet.

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post #6 of 19 Old 09-23-2020, 03:53 PM
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I have the same problem
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-23-2020, 05:14 PM
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Please explain what you mean by 'heinous balance'? Does he trip or stumble often? Does he not seem to know where his feet are? If he's a young, green boy still getting used to carrying someone that's one thing, but if you've taught him, he improved, then ime horses don't just lose balance again being unfit. I'd have a chiropractic vet out to him.
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-24-2020, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Please explain what you mean by 'heinous balance'? Does he trip or stumble often? Does he not seem to know where his feet are? If he's a young, green boy still getting used to carrying someone that's one thing, but if you've taught him, he improved, then ime horses don't just lose balance again being unfit. I'd have a chiropractic vet out to him.
He doesn't trip or stumble frequently and his awareness is normal, but he leans into turns, and doesn't regulate speed going up or down hills (even when he's just out in the field with his buddies). When I ride him he's completely content to let you balance him.
He is extremely out of shape. I bought him as a sound 3 y/o, he had only raced once and he bled pretty bad, so they retired him. He just turned 9 a few months ago, I've been working with him on and off since I got him (unfortunately up until now my schedule has had bouts of extreme craziness) but balance is always an issue with him. He does improve with regular work, it's just that leaning into turns is what got us into trouble the last time so until I improve his fitness and build his balance up a little more I'm not super into the idea of working on it from the saddle. Of all his bad track habits, letting the rider balance him is definitely the most persistent I think it's where most of the others stem from
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-24-2020, 06:30 PM
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leaning in might be more of an issue of inflexibility, which leads to him leaning.


If you are unable to ride him, I might look into carrot stretches ( watch a vid to make sure you are doing it right). And , in hand dressage work, lke turn on the haunches, backing up, etc.



his issue might be more unlocked by making sure that he is bending/flexing correctly at the poll. Unlocking things there can help to unlock things in the hind end, and release a brace throughout the whole body.



does he lean when turning without a rider? to move that way is pretty natural for horses on their own.
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-24-2020, 06:44 PM
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If it's a 'bad habit' that he relies on you to 'balance him' when you ride, realise that you have *trained* him to do this. In that case, teaching him to be ridden on a loose rein would be my suggestion.

But that doesn't sound like the whole issue, maybe that is not just training, but to do with whatever ails him. You say he is clumsy even in the paddock - no, again, that is nothing to do with training or fitness - something is physically wrong with him. Have you ever had him seen by a chiro vet or such?
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balance exercises , dismounted , dressage horse , horses balance , training advice

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