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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so my horse Frazier is lazy. He just does not want to move any faster than he has to. Seriously. We spooked once, while cantering, and he jumped sideways and stood still.

But that doesn't matter. Well it sort of does.

My problem is this: he's so slow that I have to beat him every other stride with a firm squeeze, sometimes a kick, and sometimes with a crop and by the time our hacking is done, I'm dead (due in part to the last few years of riding horses who need barely any leg whatsoever) So then we get to jumping and he goes nicely over the smaller stuff and he's done upwards of 3' (I haven't, darn confidence) but I'm trying to get us ready for Children's Hunter this summer (2'6") but if he has to heave himself over every jump bigger than 2', how pretty are we seriously going to look?

So all that boils down to this: is there another way to get Frazier to perk up rather than squeezing, kicking, or beating? (I don't want him to become immune to simple cues... :/ )

If you understood all that randomness that actually says something, you deserve a cookie.

On a sidenote, I should get to bed. Night!
 

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My very first horse, an Arabian of all things, was as slow as you described. We only did trail riding, but man, he could get you so tired by the end of a ride. I found he did best if I carried a crop and threatened him with it, he pretty well ignored spurs.

I never did find a cure for the pokie-ness. He was a slow poke until the day he died. The only time he rarely got energy is if he sat for a couple of weeks or a beginner got on him. He would run off with beginners! Sigh! I miss him so much!

Sorry I don't have better advice for you, but I just felt like sharing my story.
 

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Have you tried spurs? I use a small "roller" spur, that way it rolls along the horse, my horses like them much much more than the regular spurs that just poke. Try working on extending and collecting? Big walk, little walk. Sounds like hes just very behind your leg. Or, it could also be a medical issue, lyme etc. Maybe hes also lacking something in his diet? Had a pony once with a thyroid issue, made her very very slow. I have a big dopey wb and I know when I am just hacking he can be super lazy. I do alot of engaging exercises; trotting poles, leg yields, shoulder in, etc etc. But my guy perks up a ton after he has cantered, the first time I usually have to drop my stirrups and get him really cantering, I use my seat alot also and he was started in dressage so he knows all that fancy stuff. He was a jumper, but now he will literally land a 3ft jump and if Im not squeezing him enough, he will stop literally a stride after. But I would suggest having the vet look at him, then possibly investing in some small spurs.
 

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hey what a coincidence ! i went to a jumping clinic yesterday & worked on just that with one of the horses i ride ! he sounds a lot like the horse i was riding yesterday, just doesnt give a sh!t.

so a lot of people dont really like the cowboying/hit them til they gallop method, but if they have an attitude like that i really think its the only way that works. your just gonna have to get him going & if he doesnt respond to your leg the first time you ask, give him a good pop behind your leg. remember to hold mane so if/when he jumps forward you dont pop him in the mouth & punish him for responding correctly. also remember to get off of his back to him some more freedom & make it easier for him to get going.

my issue was i was giving him 3 chances before going to the crop & he just didnt deserve them. i have trouble really getting him going in the ring because there are always so many people riding & this horse has a bad reputation bc he used to be 100xs worse than he is now.

if youre the type of person who feels bad when you have to hit your horse, remember that the more insistent you are now, the less you are going to have to hit him in the future =]
 

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There is, but you have to be 100% absolutely consistent to make it work.

You need to reschool him to pay attention to a small squeeze or tap with your leg. This is simple. Carry a big stick. Ask him once to move forward with your voice and a little squeeze. Nothing else. No leaning forward, no clucking, no squeezing his guts out. Ask a second time with voice and a little tap with your leg. Ask a third time, and immediately after your leg aid, put your reins in one hand and use your stick, *hard* behind your leg until he shoots forward. Praise him, and repeat. Then do lots and lots of transitions with the same method. Little tiny ask, medium ask, then use the stick until he shoots forward. Pretty soon he'll be listening for the little ask.

You have to be very consistent and disciplined for this to work. You can't get sucked back in to thumping with your whole leg or squeezing and holding the squeeze for 5 - 10 seconds. It's voice-squeeze, voice-tap, then all heck breaks loose, make him gallop forward. You want him to absolutely know down to his bones that if he hasn't responded by the third ask, things are going to get hot, no exceptions.

AND, as gypsygirl mentioned above, you can't grab the reins when he shoots forward. ANY forward is good at the beginning of the process when you're trying to get him to wake up and pay attention to your leg. You'll refine what forward means once he's responding consistently.

A good test for whether or not he's listening and in front of your leg is the transition between walk/lenghtened walk and trot/lenghtened trot. If you don't get an immediate response for lenghthened walk, even when walking away from the mounting block, you need to go back to the exercises above.
 

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I would also do what gypsygirl suggested. And maura! Ninja posting! Haha

I used to ride a horse that was exactly like you're describing: dead to your leg and completely unmotivated. What I started doing was squeezing very gently ONCE and then if the horse didn't response I'd start kicking him like crazy, super hard, until he responded. Of course if he hadn't responded immediately to the kicking, I would have smacked him way harder than necessary with a crop (to wake him up, he needs to start wondering "what the heck is going on?" for this to be really effective) but he was so shocked by my sudden change of attitude that he did exactly what I wanted. Eventually, after a few lessons (I only rode this horse once a week for lessons) he started being significantly more responsive to my leg. He got so sensitive that I could have him canter off from a stand still with just a light tap with my calf, no kicking or excessive force necessary. =D

The important thing is to be consistent. If you only get on his case 8 out of 10 times he's lazy, those 2 times are enough to train him to be lazy. So don't give up, keep at it, once he figures out that you can't be pushed around, you most likely won't see a hair of this problem again and that will be so rewarding for you. =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Trailhorserider - hey, stories are good! Just don't overtake this thread ;)

RedTree - good luck with your own slow poke :D

ohsareee - oh no, I refuse to wear spurs. They'd be a last chance resort if it comes to. My sister wears spurs for her pony, but only for shows. And he's about 100x slower! And its not an illness or anything. Bunny (the name of the girl we got him from) told us he's always been lazy. And he dies after we canter. I did get him moving a couple of days ago and boy, we were truckin it! But my legs were dead after that xD

gypsygirl - hmm, I guess. I just don't want to have to beat him now and have him completely unresponsive later on (which I've seen done :/ ) and he's a completely forgiving jumper if I get him by accident. I give a pat on the beck and say "sorry" if I do pop him. Although, I haven't lately. Most of the time, my reins slide through my grasp and then I recollect a stride later (I figure that loosing my reins is better than hurting his mouth)

maura - I've actually heard that at a western camp once. I guess I forgot about that and I shall definetely utilize the three and go thinger. Thanks!

wallaby - well he's not completely dead... He just dies after the hack. And I think might be do in part to my lack of calf muscle (see previous horses :D )

But thank you all for your advice. It is much appreciated <3
 

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you can dull them if you keep beating them endlessly, that is why [like maura said] you have to be really consistent. if hes going forward nicely off of your leg right away there is no reason to beat him around. if hes dull or sucking back he needs to know that that is way wrong & totally unacceptable. he basically needs a come to jesus that you are going to have to have more than one time. jumping with a horse that is behind your leg is dangerous

i also strongly suggest holding mane, there is no harm in it & your horses wont put patting his neck after the fact together with a pop in the mouth from going forward like he was asked. even if you give him a pop with the crop behind your leg & he takes the wrong lead, he still has the right idea & you should keep going with it.
 

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My gelding Bishop has become like that... I rode him on monday, and had to almost beat him senseless. But my coach is helping me retrain him, so all is good :)
 

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I had a horse who was sooooo lazy! I could not for my life get him to even go away from home troting, or riding in the arena or anything! He was just a little lazy guy. I used spurs and a crop for about a month just working on geting him to move forward. Now I dont need either! We could probably ride in a halter and gum boots and he would do anything i asked.
 

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You could also try the supplement (Red Cell) I think its just called Red C now lol not to much of a difference. It is a vitiman supplement and it can help give a little more energy for a lazy horse.

My guy is super lazy too he will stop and not want to move.. at first we thought It might be pain.. but my coach and vet figured out he was just being lazy and an ***...so i started wearing spurs just Tiny ones.. and it really helps and once you can get them to start moving alot more foward they start to do it all the time.. well thats how it worked for me..and my guy.

anyway here is a link to look at

Red Cell - Horse Health Red Cell Liquid Vitamin Mineral Supplement For Horses @ Kyhorse.com

hope this helps :)
 

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Well, spurs shouldn't be an issue unless used incorrectly(ex: poking them every step and getting them dull to the spur). When riding with a spur correctly, the toe should be in enough that when you squeeze or kick, you don't jab them in the spur. The "roller" spurs are wonderful, not painful to the horse unless you stab them in, they just roll along their side. Im NOT talking about rowel spurs, these just roll along with the horses body. I only school my horse with them once a week just to keep him sharp cuz he makes a big deal about the visual of a crop.

Sketter had a good suggestion, the pony who had the thyroid problem(before being properly diagnosed) was put on red cell and really perked up.

But although you say the previous owner says he has always been lazy, he could have always had a problem. Your best bet is to ask a vet, they are trained to properly and medically diagnose a horse. Ive bought and sold plenty of horses and you can never trust a seller.
 

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Couple of other points to consider -

If you have to use the stick frequently, you're using it incorrectly. Two mistakes I commonly see: first, if you put your 'ask' on a ten point scale, the first ask should be a 1, the second a 4 - 5 and the third should be an 11. Most people start at 4, go to 5, then to 6. This teaches the horse to wait for the 6 or 7 ask. There needs to be a big difference in the size of each ask to give the horse the incentive to listen for the first, little ask.

The stick behind your leg, in this schooling scenario, is saying "HEY!!!!!!!!!YOU!!!!! I just gave a leg aid and you weren't listening!!!!!!!!!" What most people have the stick say is "Ummm, Excuse me? Are you there? Would you mind listening to my leg now, okay??"

The mistake is nagging the horse with the stick, and then settling for a half hearted or mediocre response.

You've used the stick correctly in this schooling scenario when the horse shoots across the arena in surprise. The other poster who mentioned holding the mane so you don't inadvertantly grab at the horse's mouth when this happens was spot on. Praising the horse effusively for the forward motion, whatever it was, is critically important as well.

To the OP, when you're beginning this process, it's a great idea to have an instructor or knowledgable friend on the ground to help and keep you honest. We all make excuses for our horses, more excuses for the ones we're fond of. Someone on the ground who can gauge the size of the ask and give you feedback is very helpful.

Better still would be an experienced rider or instructor to do a little 15 minute school of your lazy boy first, then have you get on, but I understand that may not be an option for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Okay, a few things:

1) Frazier does move off my leg, its keeping him going that is the biggest issue. He responds very well for upwards transitions its just I have to squeeze every stride.
2) I am horribley frightened to wear spurs, so I don't, and would prefer to never wear them, because my eq is kinda shoddy and don't want to stab him by accident.
3) He was not "bought". Bunny is someone my entire family trusts and she goes and rides at Goucher College. She is head of the equestrian department and Frazier was "given" to us under the same circumstances as a rescue horse, that is, should we ever not want him, he gets sent back to Goucher.
4) He has passed the vetting and there is nothing wrong with him. He is just lazy and does not want to move.
5) I don't constantly beat him with the stick. Only when he's constantly not listening. Like yesterday, wheneve we passed Mac in the corner, Frazier would try to break his canter. I would give him a good thwack and send him forward.

I'll talk to my mom about Red C/ell but what I'm mostl looking for is exercises to get him to perk up when jumping so he's just slightly closer to the speed jumpers have. I can deal with his hacking, its building up my calf muscles. And he's getting better about it, he's beginning to learn that I don't let him get away with stuff like breaking our speed.
 
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