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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Background:
I have always been riding for fun for 15 years - I got lessons when I was six in Western moved up to English did a few hunter shows.
I stopped riding in highschool and throughout college - once I got my first house and a job I found a woman in the area I moved to who needed a person to help break her TB/Belgian.
I took the challenge even though I havent rode in years - Me and this horse clicked. The woman ended up selling her and got a push button lesson horse for her and her son to ride - I got extremely bored.

I figured while I have the money and time its now or never to get my own horse.
Thats where I went on a big search - I ended up finding Hero on craigslist - he was skin and bones. I took things a little fast with him and never really took the time to train him right (I was doing everything out of having fun)
Now we moved to a new barn I havent had a chance to ride so this spring I want to do it right and get him moving out correctly.
Just wondering by next year if we could compete in some small competitions in Eventing.
He is on the smaller side at 15h but has the TB heart to work.

My training plan with him (withouth a trainer :()
Get him moving into the bit and improve his hind for tracking up
Work on his roundness and consitancy
Grid work his jumping is slopping hence why we dont do it often


These are some photos but he is very out of shape (off for 3 months with weather) so he wasnt tracking up at all (I also need help with that!! advice would be great)





His horrible jumping that needs work (from March)


A crappy screen shot of him actually jumping


Thanks for the help!


Oh here is a photo to reference his ugly confirmation before
 

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Look at him tuck those little legs! I think he will be a great jumper! That jump is a bit big if he is as out of shape as you say. So be careful with that. Don't want to bust those legs before you even get to a show!

I think you could get him to an event by yourself in a year. The beginner levels (at least at the single eventing show I went to) were very very low. Barely a foot. And it doesnt even matter how you get over the jump, just that you get over it. I mean, you could walk over if you needed to. So keep working on your dressage and getting that guy some muscle and you'll be fine.

When you are ready to do more, you might want to find a trainer. I was training my TB myself and then I hit a wall. There were just somethings I couldnt do myself. I needed someone on the ground to tell me what I was doing wrong and where I could improve. Plus it is always wise, in any discipline, to have a smart and knowledgable grounds person. A trainer is excellent for that!!

Good Luck!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Look at him tuck those little legs! I think he will be a great jumper! That jump is a bit big if he is as out of shape as you say. So be careful with that. Don't want to bust those legs before you even get to a show!

I think you could get him to an event by yourself in a year. The beginner levels (at least at the single eventing show I went to) were very very low. Barely a foot. And it doesnt even matter how you get over the jump, just that you get over it. I mean, you could walk over if you needed to. So keep working on your dressage and getting that guy some muscle and you'll be fine.

When you are ready to do more, you might want to find a trainer. I was training my TB myself and then I hit a wall. There were just somethings I couldnt do myself. I needed someone on the ground to tell me what I was doing wrong and where I could improve. Plus it is always wise, in any discipline, to have a smart and knowledgable grounds person. A trainer is excellent for that!!

Good Luck!!!
Thanks!! I really do want to get a trainer I love getting help but I just don't have the extra funds. I am trying to find a second job to help pay for my horse expenses! That jumping still shot was last summer he was still underweight but in very good shape from riding often. He is just out of shape now from the winter months so no jumping.
I want to start slow and back to the basics.
 

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He could absolutely Event!! :) He looks very willing! Like HeartMyOTTB said, the low levels of the schooling mini events are a great way to intro him to the Eventing world. Intro level (at least in my area) only has jumps of 6-12" so they really can be walked over...my mare and I just learned to jump last year together and we did last season at the Intro level and ended up third in the field for the series! So you and your gelding could definitely get there!

Just focus on your dressage a LOT because in Eventing it basically makes or breaks your score. As long as you jump clear on stadium and xc, it all comes down to your dressage score.

I think it's great that you rescued him and are getting him back in shape...just make sure to take it slow, do more slow trotting than anything to build up his muscles and maybe only jump once a week at first, and only over little 12" jumps at the highest...just to make sure he doesn't injure himself and you guys will be in the best of shape in no time!

Best of luck and welcome to the fun!!! :-D
 

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Personally, I would never, ever step foot on a XC course without another knowledgeable pair of eyes, whether they be a trainer or a person that is already there. It's totally reasonable to ask someone in advance that is going to be there to watch you just so you don't get into trouble that you can't get out of. You just don't want to start something that you can't fix right then, you know?

This being said, I think Hero would make a good eventing candidate. He looks like he has a nice tuck and would totally be suitable for lower level eventing. Height doesn't play a factor in it until you get into the higher levels (hey, Theodore O'Connor was a pony!). My Novice level eventer is 14.3-15hh and she's just fine :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks for the advice guys! I'll def think about having my friends instructor to come out a few times and help me with the jumping parts. Just wish this darn snow would go away and day light savings time would take affect to start riding daily again :)
 

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He's definitly got the potential to be an eventer but I most definitly would not try XC without a trainer. You can really mess up a horse if you don't have someone who knows their stuff and can coach you along the way. It makes things a lot easier!!!
 

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First of all, your gelding is absolutely adorable - I love his face! :D

I think he would make a very nice little eventing horse! Although it would certainly be ideal to get yourself a trainer, I don't think that you need a trainer to do lower-level eventing. From the pictures you posted (I'd love to see more BTW) you look like a very competent rider. Obviously, as with all disciplines, it is important to approach eventing with caution and common sense (and a safety vest, splint boots, and bell boots!). If, at any time, you plan to show above Beginner Novice, that's where you'll need a trainer. But I believe it is possible to easily show Starter and even Beginner Novice without one. Sure, that's not a good idea for some people, who are beginner riders, but you actually have quite a bit of experience with horses, if not eventing. So yes, I think you can do it without a trainer for now.

Training-wise, I do have some suggestions. You said that since he is out of shape, he is not jumping very high. I would hesitate to school him primarily over jumps the size of the one in your second picture - as you pointed out, his form is not the greatest over that. I find that those jumps under 1 foot(?) tend to encourage bad form as the horses don't really have to JUMP them. I would tend to go for higher fences (around 18", definitely not over 2' if he's out of shape), and jumping him less in each session - and don't jump him more than every other day at most. It's good to keep it varied.

Good luck, have fun, and be safe! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanks for the advice! Yes we haven't jumped in a long time!! We have so much snow so who knows when I'll be able to ride again - hoping to ride 4/5 times a week.

Not sure how to get a horse back into shape - this is my first horse. I took lessons on many many horses in the past but they were all ready to go horses.

Not sure how long to work on dressage till I feel he can jump etc. I rode him the other week b4 all this snow he just is lazy on tracking up. My friend helped me with it and its like I have to go 400 miles an hour till he learns to track up. She told me to just go at this pace for a few weeks till it comes naturally for him. Others told me to trot slow to build up muscles - so which is right?

I see everyone on here with the horses and riding and looking great I'm loosing patience as my horse sits in the snow for months.
 

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well it can be hard for an out of shape horse to properly use himself no matter what you are trying to acomplish...and as for being out of shape this goes for a to fat or to skinny horse or one that is just undermuscled.

You need to build up his muscles so he can use them properly. Try hill work for his hind end. Lots of long low collected trotting to help his topline and do alot of flexation to help his neck. Once you have him built up a bit i bet he tracks better.

Also as for a XC course, which i am by no means an expert an this is just a personal opinion, perhaps map out a short section of trails and ride it at a fast pace to help his stamina. Then you can add jumps an hazards to it to form a XC course. This way you build your horse up to it slowly. You would be surprised how similar a XC course is to a trail...its just done at a higher speed with more obstacles.

But im by no means an eventing person...I just know how to help build a horse up muscle wise...these are just ideas...they might be totally whack to someone who has done actual eventing.
 

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My friend helped me with it and its like I have to go 400 miles an hour till he learns to track up.
This is not a technique I would recommend using. All that really does is rush the horse out of his natural rhythm, thus losing the expression of the gaits. Generally speaking, rushing the horse is also going to cause him to become tense. When he is relaxed over his topline and using his back properly, he will be able to track up.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
well what she has me doing and it seems to work is give my reins push with my calves or squeeze close my stomach then i feel him track up i slowly take my reins back and he drops his head while tracking up but we are going fast.

Maybe he is just out of shape - will he track better when he gets more work??

My friends tb tracks naturally after 3 months off - I'm jealous
 

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It's typically harder for a horse to trot slowly than quickly, so slow trotting will build up the muscles more than rushing along will. Also, when they're rushing they're usually on the forehand and not using their rear...has your trainer/friend taught you about getting the horse on the rear yet? This helps immensely, but it's sometimes difficult for an out of shape horse to use their rear properly until the muscles are more built up.

Slow trotting is always helpful though, Sandie and I did a LOT of that when I first got her and she was really out of shape...it's been a year and we're only now really focusing on getting her back on her rear now that she has the muscle toned back end to do it more easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
guess im in a catch 22 then he is on the forehand when we are slow and he doesnt track up
he actually likes going at a slow pace - it feels nice when he is slow and bundled up compared to a fast trot
my friend says he is weak in the rear so when we speed up the trot and push him forward he drops his head and lifts his back and uses his rear more - i dont know how else i should do this


I guess work at exercises at a slow trot - help him build up the muscles in his butt first before asking him to track up? I'd like him to track up at a slower trot but maybe that just comes in time
 

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I've never seen your horse so I can't really say how he moves, all I know is what I've been taught from trainers and seen in my own experience. So I may be wrong here :) But normally when a horse is already out of shape and on the forehand, and you push the pace faster and faster they kind of "fall forward" onto the forehand more. I was always taught not to go TOO slow, but to maintain a steady pace and not get quick at the trot. If he needs to build up his back end he's probably going to carry himself on the forehand for awhile just because he lacks the balance to really be on his hind without having the muscle built up.

So I guess the best advice I can give without actually seeing him myself and how he moves, is to try to get a nice forward pace but one that isn't too rushed. If you feel like you're on a "pacer", you're probably moving too quickly! ;-)

Do you have any videos you could post of him working on the flat?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Nothing recently - I think I took my videos all down from youtube because my riding was HORRIBLE at the time lol...

I'll try and get a video if I can get a working video camera. I'm not sure if I suscribed to your videos or not on youtube. I'll have to check when I get home- Thanks for your advice!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Funny picture I thought I'd share - he likes to jump the creek!

Shortly after this I caught him and was walking him back to the gate and he jumped a puddle in hand with me lol..
 

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I'm not sure if I suscribed to your videos or not on youtube. I'll have to check when I get home- Thanks for your advice!!
Well don't use advice from some of the earlier ones haha!! I was just learning and Sandie used to be REEEALLY on the forehand and rush at everything (and my form is most of the jump videos is bad because I just started last summer haha!) :) It's still quite a challenge to get Sandie to carry herself more on the rear, because she is built so downhill, but in the moments I get it, it's awesome!!

How are things coming with your horse? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Lol its okay I understand you guys have really come far!!
I think I have the same problem with the down hill stuff I cant get hero to use his hind at all...

We just moved to a new place - long story but I wasnt riding at all because I was so discourage by the BO..
I'll hopefully get started soon here with riding!!
 
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