Did I break my favourite mare? Trouble turning in the canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-18-2015, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Did I break my favourite mare? Trouble turning in the canter

I ride (amongst others) a great OTTB mare which has given me immense confidence and finally thought me to canter after two years of lessons (I'm not very talented).

She is very responsive and has a VERY soft mouth. Also, she is newish to the riding school. She used to be a brood mare up until 3 months ago when my instructor bought her and she is currently 4 months in foal.

So basically, what happened is that I distinctly remember being able to turn with ease in the canter, and I mean I would just lean in the seat a bit and close my fist slightly and she would turn. I even jumped a whole course of jumps from the canter which implies that I knew how to turn her. And I could always get her to jump in the middle of the jump easily. I even rode her bitless and I turned just fine.

Something went wrong in my last lesson. I just could not get her off the rail. I had to use very harsh aids and even then it was a struggle and I missed some turns. What am I doing wrong? She kept popping her shoulder and just cantering on straight. If I tried to tighten the outside rein, she would lift and twist her head.

She had her teeth floated two weeks ago so I know that's not it.

Only students riding her are more experienced than me and my instructor fine tunes her at least once a week.

I really, really don't want to break this mare. I would rather stop riding her for a while, until my riding is better. So, is it me causing this behavior and should I stop riding her until I can get my act together?
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-18-2015, 10:54 AM
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Sometimes horses just have bad days. Like humans do.

It could have been a mixture of your bad day and hers. Who knows. I wouldn't stop riding her after one bad lesson, though.
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post #3 of 17 Old 08-18-2015, 11:18 AM
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What does your instructor say? Seem like he/she would be better suited to guide you through this?
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-18-2015, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Chasin Ponies View Post
What does your instructor say? Seem like he/she would be better suited to guide you through this?
She told me to insist and increase the strength of aids until I get a desired response. By the end of it I was so frazzled, I just lost the plot and kept putting my hands too low. My instructor had other lessons after me so I didn't get a chance to speak to her in detail, but from what I gathered she wasn't overly concerned.

I do value her opinion a lot, and I will ask her during my next lesson but I would also like to get an outsiders view. I know it's difficult to judge something like this without seeing it, but maybe one of you came across such a regression in riding/horse behavior before.
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post #5 of 17 Old 08-18-2015, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DuffyDuck View Post
Sometimes horses just have bad days. Like humans do.

It could have been a mixture of your bad day and hers. Who knows. I wouldn't stop riding her after one bad lesson, though.
I hope so!
Thank you
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post #6 of 17 Old 08-18-2015, 12:53 PM
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It could have been any number of things going on here:

1. Wrong lead -- its hard for all put the properly collected and well trained horses to do a turn (essentially a counter canter). To fix that, just make sure you're on the correct lead next time before you ask for a turn.

2. There's some sort of physical soreness that bothers the mare when doing that type of turn hence trying to avoid turning. To fix that, its a closer look at her (and the tack for that matter) by someone in the know and follow up with the appropriate 'cure'.

3. The mare is starting to burn out or sour from ring work and is getting resistant for this movement which may in turn transfer to anything she is asked to do. To fix that, give her some time off or start riding her outside on the trails more to give her some variety in her work load.

4. Your cues were a little muddled and she didn't get what you were asking. To fix that, its a conversation with your instructor.

5. It was a one-of-just-a-bad-day situation. To fix that, chalk it up to experience and keep riding.
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post #7 of 17 Old 08-18-2015, 02:20 PM
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Wow, chevaux, that was so well spoken even *I* understood it, lol!
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-18-2015, 04:52 PM
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She's only been ridden for 3 months & is already doing lessons?
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-18-2015, 05:23 PM
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If this is unusual for her maybe she needs a Chiro adjustment.
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-18-2015, 05:31 PM
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I'm with Natisha on this one. According to what I gathered from reading your first post this is an off track mare that was then only used as a broodmare and now for the last 3 months has being used for lessons including jumping and she's currently 4 months pregnant? I really have to question the mare's current owner on these decisions. While riding a broodmare who's in condition while pregnant is fine, starting one on a very physical regimen when they are out of condition is not.

So the problem you're having may very well be a physical one on mare's part. Muscle soreness or the pregnancy is starting to advance enough that it's making the maneuvers uncomfortable for the mare are two of the major physical reasons I can come up with.

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