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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So i bought this young 3 1/2 year old appaloosa x welsh pony as a jumper prospect :runninghorse2: she has been sent away to be broken professionally for 6 weeks and came back a few weeks ago. She was good to start with. Really responsive and alert but recently she has been becoming quite slow. She would be good to tack up and walk up the the school fine and when i get on her for the first 1/2 hour she is good and does what i ask. We have been trying to increase her work to build up muscle and fitness but after about 1/2 hour - 45 mins now she just plants her feet and refused to move:runninghorse2:ive tried squeesing with my leg, how she responds most of the time and kicking but its like she just switches off and just falls asleep. On a hack she planted her feed on a road an the only way i got her moving again was nudge kick bigger kick and whip on her rump. :runninghorse2: she got a bit annoyed stomped her feet and bucked and then walked on fine and seemed to enjoy the rest of the hack. She is on plenty of feed ( 2 scoops sugarbeet, 1 scoop apple chaff, 1 scoop pony nuts// twice a day) <<that was becuase she was a bit underweight we have changed it a few days ago because she had got up to the right weight. Any thing i can do the make her more responsive again? I thought maybe she didnt enjoy being ridden anymore so how can i make it interesting and fun for her again?:sad::cowboy:
 

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She's still very young and might not have the mental capacity to work for that long yet. Young ones don't need tons of work, they need it short and sweet so that they don't get sour. Also, at this age nice trails are much better than drilling arena work - she might be getting bored out of her mind.

Inreasing cues until she somewhat moves will only make her dull and resistant... Do you have a trainer to help you with timing? Your situation would really benefit from some eyes on the ground. How much experience do you have yourself with young horses? The problems you describe are typical rider errors, if all potential health problems have been checked and dismissed.

I would also advise that you rething her feeding plan. An underweight youngster needs only unlimited access to quality hay and grass, maybe a little chaff or beet pulp, but she def. doesn't need the sweet feed and that much of all of it. Too much additional feeding can make a youngster to grow too fast, causing stressed joints, and also risking compromised GI health.

What I'd do right now with her would be ditching riding for a short while and doing some groundwork with poles, cones, interesting obstacles (jumping not necessary) and taking her on in-hand hacks. When riding, I'd keep it much shorter and increase the workload only when she's completely comfortable and willing to do more, and keep away from drilling any exercises. Add fun and challenging things like trail obstacles, getting to know what she finds rewarding, patterns with clear goal and result.

Sorry, this might be very vague, but it's very early in the morning here. :D

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^^ Great advice there!
 

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Agree with Saranda - short & sweet & I'd be aiming at quitting before she did. Half an hour is a good enough workout for a young horse too. If you're out & about on the trails, you can intersperse your short riding 'sessions' with getting off & walking, leading or driving her too, get her better at those things in the meantime, as well as groundwork at home.

Also remember though, that if you accept a behaviour, you are reinforcing it, so it's also important to do what it takes to be effective at the time.

Also consider pain/discomfort. Always consider that first actually, as a reason for 'misbehaviour'. Saddle fit, back pain, hoof pain, etc are some common reasons for horses to be reluctant/resistant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Update: We have changed her feed so it is 1scoop sugarbeet 1 1/2 scoop chaff and 1 scoop conditioning mix.

I've been going on hacks more often now and haven't been in the school for almost 2 weeks. She always stops at the entrance to the stables, and refuses to go forward. When I get her going forward it is literally 10 steps forward 20 steps backwards until I get so far along the path and then she will walk forward no problem.

I've also done some in hand hacks but she is the same. We will get so far and she will just plant her feet and refuse to move. I was stood with pressure on her leadrope for 10 minutes before she moved (I think this is called the patience game I read it somewhere) and then released the pressure. It was a few steps the she would stop again.

Im not saying this isn't my fault because it probably is but she also has a loaner who I've never seen ride because my friend has but she is not as experienced and hasn't been riding as long. Also my Friend is helping pay her bills so she said the loaner can help. But apparently she rides quite heavy handed with a lot of contact and I thought maybe her riding. Is also affecting it?

I was stood trying to get her even out of her stable for 10 minutes because she would refuse to go out of the door!

The saddle fitter came out a few weeks ago to give us a saddle that fitted and is coming out next week to check it. She has had her feet and teeth done and doesn't have any other health problems.

Thanks for ally our helpful advice but I still don't know what to do! This is the first youngster I have owned, I've watched others handle them and break them in but never done it myself. My trainer is taking us to a show at the end of the month and will hopefully give me a lesson there but she works as a riding instructor so doesn't always have time.

What am I doing wrong!!
 

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You definitely need to watch the loaner ride as that could definitely be affecting your horse's behavior if they ride dramatically different than you do.

I would recheck saddle fit as it sounds like you are planning to do as young horses can change body shape quickly especially if they are under/overweight and get into proper shape. You could also try a few different bits or even something like a sidepull. Some horses are very opinionated about what types of bits or comfortable or are not comfortable. For example, I have one now who due to his fat tongue and comparatively small mouth hates anything single jointed, but goes beautifully in any double jointed option I've tried.

If everything with her physical health and tack check out ok, it might be time to take a few steps back and go back to short lunging sessions for a while. You can pair the forward aid (whip) with another cue, like making a clicking/clucking sound. Eventually she will learn to move forward from that sound and that will help you encourage her to move forward in other situations.

Are you also quite sure she understands your cues mean to go forward undersaddle? One of my ponies took quite a while to figure that out. He'd done quite a bit of ground work and understood that a little tap/tickle with the dressage whip meant to move so for about the first two weeks of riding, I always used a small whip aid in combination with my leg aid. I gradually phased the whip aid out until he was moving just from my leg.
 
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