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Hot, nervous horse afraid of leg

4071 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Kaifyre
My rescue Paso Fino has a few issues under saddle. His groundwork has improved immensely. His saddle work, not so much.

He stands relaxed for mounting, but the moment you get in the seat he is ready to take off. He whoas for about 2 seconds. Usually I just let him go, as he is difficult to hold and I would rather that energy go somewhere. He will trot very rapidly in circles. He literally does not stop moving the entire ride.

I've been experimenting with riding on a loose rein instead of constantly trying to rate him. This usually results in an extended trot. He has not broken into the canter, although I do rate him if it feels like he might.

He will whoa if I pull pretty hard back. I've been using a one rein stop with slightly better results. He circles to a stop, but again does not want to hold it. The minute you release he wants to move forward. Which means I have to keep repeating the one rein stop.

Forget about adding leg. You can't even touch his sides. My attempts at even adding a turning aid, result in him spinning around in a circle. Now he is fine with dangling stirrups on the lunge and hand pressure on his side's. But with a rider up, no way!

I finally got a good whoa at the end of our ride tonight which I used as a good ending point. Of course, by that time he was covered in sweat and getting tired.

He does listen to voice somewhat, and he rates sometimes. He turns really well based on rein alone. But he has a long way to go.

I'm tempted to have someone bring out a bucket of grain and hand feed him while I sit up there. Something to build trust, as right now he is ready to jump out of his skin. He feels like a keg of dynamite.

I will say he really doesn't do anything bad. His attitude is pretty good. He does get annoyed with the one rein stop, but ears go up as soon as we move forward again.

He does not gait. He does a trot without the suspension.
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Hey there,
I had this with my mare, but it started with just putting your foot in the stirrup.

First thing I would do is have a vet out to check your horse for an injury. He could be in pain and that why he goes into flight mode.
Also makes sure your saddle fits properly.

I'm not sure if your horses past, but perhaps he had someone ride him that was really hard on his mouth so he panics.

I would start with groundwork. So much can be solved through this by letting your horse know you are in the lead roll so they are safe and can relax. Also builds their self esteem. While doing this I would just stick to groundwork and don't attempt to get on.

So with my mare once we got her to stand while I got on she would get anxiety and just want to go which is natural for a scared or anxious horse. If she went forward I would just back her up to where she took off from and once standing give her the rain and relax. If she went to the right I would cue her to side step to the left back where we started and again relax giving her rein. It it was a complete and total **** show I would just circle her back to where we started and again relax. Never get mad, but just stick with it.
Use lots of praise when they are relaxed both on and off them.
This was no over night success and it takes lots of patience.
Once she would stand relaxed for a few minutes I would pop off so she learns it's ok and she isn't trapped as soon as I get on. Then start increasing the time. Just do mounting and dismount as you need to do one step to move to the next steps in riding. If they are doing really good keep it short and end on a positive note. If it's just seems like nothing is going right that day go back to a task your horse knows well even if it's simple ground work. Never end on a bad note.
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Sorry though of something else.
Do you try to use your seat to slow him down a bit when he gets in an extended trot?
Not sure what you ride, but I'm English and I often use slowering my post down or sitting deep in my saddle while closing your hip.
Also what bit are you using? I know we tend to think the harder they are to stop the more of a stronger bit we need, but with my mare she is the softest in the softest bit. Also really depends on your hands. I struggle with my left land being hard and boy does my mare remind me when I'm doing it. She will take off if my hand gets too hard.
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