My horse has been out of work for 2 months and we're back to square 1. Help! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-15-2015, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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My horse has been out of work for 2 months and we're back to square 1. Help!

Hello, friends.

My horse was out of work during breeding season for two months and now she's back, NOT pregnant, so I'm putting her to work as my lesson and trail riding horse. Yesterday was our first day.

It was so frustrating! She's back to square 1, it seems. She can't pick up the correct lead in a canter, can't canter for more than 4 steps, can't canter in a circle. Her trot is crazy, rushed, super bouncy. She's tossing her head all over the place (part of her arab history, but it was exaggerated).

I know a lot of this is just being back her first day and being full of energy after a big storm, but I also know she's lost some muscle tone and is out of shape. She stood in a paddock for two months doing nothing but eating.

I'd like to come up with a plan to get her back into shape. I use her for lessons 3-4 times a week and maybe a couple times a month take her on trail rides.

What kind of exercises would you do if this were your horse? How frequently? For what length of time? What signs should I look for that she's ready to move on to the next part of her training (meaning, the next more difficult thing)?

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-15-2015, 04:02 PM
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Long walk warmup, if you have ground poles use them, and then trot her pants off. I'd wait a couple weeks before cantering.

Work on transitions, especially downward into halt.

Make sure you aren't tense in your riding, try and do things smoothly.

Do you know how to two point? I'd incorporate that into your warm up and to use if she's getting bouncy and jagged

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-15-2015, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Yep, I do 2-point a lot. Kind of necessary when you have a horse that trots as bouncy as she does. :)

Thanks for the tips!

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-15-2015, 09:20 PM
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First exercises I'd do would be to check her out/treated by a chiropractic vet or such, esp if she's just had a foal or been mounted repeatedly. Then check her out at various paces on the ground, get her fit before riding. First exercise re riding would be to ensure the saddle is comfortable for her. Then I'd think more about training.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-17-2015, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
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She was never mounted, nor has she ever had a foal. Her back and saddle are great. So now I need a training program, hence my post. Any ideas? Yesterday I just did round-pen work, getting her moving at a good pace, transitioning up and down by body language and voice commands. I noticed she's extra sensitive to the whip (I was dragging it behind me, just as a motivator), so I dropped it to the ground and just used a lead rope in my hand as a motivator. Worked great!

I also did some re-reading of my Sean Patrick Countdown to Broke book (love that thing!) and I'm going to start on lesson 33 and work my way down to 1, even though she already knows all this stuff. Can't hurt, right?

But I'm open to specific ideas regarding her trotting and cantering issues, so if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to read them!

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-18-2015, 09:38 AM
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I would long line( aka double lunging) her for a week or so to help her get her balance back. Work on her getting consistent contact on both lines, then use them to get her to step to the outside wth her inside hind leg. This will help her canter a LOT.

I am sorry she is not pregnant.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-18-2015, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by greentree View Post
I would long line( aka double lunging) her for a week or so to help her get her balance back. Work on her getting consistent contact on both lines, then use them to get her to step to the outside wth her inside hind leg. This will help her canter a LOT.

I am sorry she is not pregnant.

Thanks. It's the way life goes sometimes.

I wish I were capable of doing the double longe lines with her, but I've never done anything but watch videos on it. I do know someone at the barn who does it, so maybe she can help me....

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-18-2015, 06:07 PM
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She sounds a lot like Willow - I always spend a week just lunging her in her tack when she's had time off work. She spins her head around like a windmill and broncs every time she goes into canter for reasons best known to herself but a week of lunging and she gets over it. I used to be tougher and ride her through it but I'm all for the easy safer life these days!!!
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-18-2015, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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I did two good sessions of roundpen work, had two really experienced riders work her for 30 minutes each, and had a short lesson on her today. It went just fine. She's not loving the canter, but it's better than it was the first day, and so is her trot. We just need to put some miles in together, I think. And lots of trotting trotting trotting.

Oh, and I rode her bareback for the first time today (first time ever riding a horse bareback except for a very short trip into a river), and wonder of wonders ... her bareback trot is waaaay easier to sit than a saddled trot. What the heck is that all about??? :)

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-18-2015, 10:42 PM
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Do you have any hills? Trotting and loping uphill helps develop balance, and it feels safer too.

My mare also has a nicer trot bareback. What IS that about?
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