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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've spent the last 3 frozen months riding my horse mostly at the walk due to the ground conditions. Since the cold weather and lack of consistent exercise has resulted in a "goofy" horse to put it nicely, (more like a ticking bomb ready to go off at the slightest sign of movement) I've been doing lots of lateral work and suppling at the walk to keep his attention on me instead on all the monsters in the woods. We've done leg yeild, shoulder-in, haunches-in, reinback and turn on haunches to death. Today I attempted to ride the poor boy around the ring on the rail and he just couldn't walk straight. He's become so sensitive to my lateral aids, the slightest shift of my seat or unintended leg cue sends a shoulder left or a butt right. While I'm happy he's so responsive, I need some exercises for dead straight. I tried riding to a fixed point and taking my legs completely off his sides, but he still scoots around like he's expecting me to ask for a lateral movement at some point. He rides more like a slinky than a horse. Any ideas? We've got some early dressage shows coming up and the trot down the centerline will currently score us a -1.
 

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wow, my horse would respond like that if i had huge spurs on!! hhaahah
try setting up a runway, tyres with poles ina straigh line that's narrow together so that u have something to focus on, use both legs evenly and alot of legs, have him in frame of course. use a fence like if u need to but it seems u need a guide set out to concentract on :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Your problem is that he's not forward.
Fair enough, but care to offer a suggestion on how to fix it? For now, when I ask for forward, every time I apply my legs on each side to ask for more walk, he goes side to side instead. He's not doing it to be a butt. He just seems confused of what I want. How do I get "sideways" back out of his head? I swear they should call it a training see-saw instead of training scale. Whenever you teach them one thing, they forget something else.

I will try to guide poles. Never even thought of that and it's so simple!
 

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Fair enough, but care to offer a suggestion on how to fix it? For now, when I ask for forward, every time I apply my legs on each side to ask for more walk, he goes side to side instead.

Take a look at the thread I started here on just this subject and the basic flaws most commonly done.
 

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Fair enough, but care to offer a suggestion on how to fix it? For now, when I ask for forward, every time I apply my legs on each side to ask for more walk, he goes side to side instead.
He can't go sideways if you block with the opposing rein and/or leg.

It sounds as if you changed the meaning of the 'go forward' aids, into 'go sideways aids', instead of creating *new* aids for 'go sideways'. Just putting your leg at the girth shouldn't tell the horse leg yield for example.

That leg at the girth is only ONE component of the aids for leg yield. Or ONE component of the aids for canter depart. Or ONE component of the aids for shoulder-in.

So the error lies in not being sophisticated enough in your training.

Regardless of that, to fix it I'd advise you work mainly in trot and canter and reintroduce a ton of transition work, getting him back in front of the leg and responsive to that. Then get him back on the circle and confirm inside leg to outside rein. If you can't drop that inside rein and ride him on a circle with just the outside rein, he's not ready for lateral work, imo.

I swear they should call it a training see-saw instead of training scale. Whenever you teach them one thing, they forget something else.
I don't believe he's forgotten anything. He's doing exactly what you've taught him to do with your body.
 

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Lots of trot and canter work. Like someone already said, this is a forward problem. Think forward, forward, forward, even if it feels like he's going a little faster than you would like, that's ok. Sometimes you need to exaggerate to teach. Variety with consistency is the key to training a horse. That was your problem during the cold months, you had a ton of consistency but not enough variety. Now he thinks that all you want him to do is lateral work. I know you said you have already done post to post, but keep with it, it can be a big help. Also do a lot of riding along the fence. It's important that you don't abandon lateral work at this point though. Work on straightness, then do some bending circles or leg yields and then go back to straightness. If your horse gives you the wrong answer then just keep asking till he gets it right. Carry a whip if you have to. Use more opposing aids if he keeps giving you lateral work. But trust me, going forward is the key to this problem. Now that he has learned the lateral work he is trying to use it as an avoidance method to get out of work (that's my best guess without having seen him in person).

Good luck, keep us posted.

Jubilee
 

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I had this problem with my andalusian stallion but i fixed it - first to get things straight [ hehe small joke] , may i ask what bit you ride him in .
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had this problem with my andalusian stallion but i fixed it - first to get things straight [ hehe small joke] , may i ask what bit you ride him in .
We're using a D-ring french link.

Trust me everyone, I can't wait to go forward. I've been wanting to do anything but walk around in little patterns for the past 4 months. If the weather would just cooperate, I'd be happy to ask for forward, and at this point, I'm sure Puck wants to go forward too. He isn't a lazy horse, but he will use new things he's learned to mess with my head and get out of working. He's a bit silly that way. Guess we have one of those rider/horse "conversations" coming up. (hee hee).
 

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We're using a D-ring french link.

Trust me everyone, I can't wait to go forward. I've been wanting to do anything but walk around in little patterns for the past 4 months. If the weather would just cooperate, I'd be happy to ask for forward, and at this point, I'm sure Puck wants to go forward too. He isn't a lazy horse, but he will use new things he's learned to mess with my head and get out of working. He's a bit silly that way. Guess we have one of those rider/horse "conversations" coming up. (hee hee).
I'll say it again... LAZY. All horses are essentially lazy animals, that doesn't mean they are slow pokes, it means they want to get out of work and will express this fact in different ways. I'm saying this not to get onto your horse, I'm saying this because you need to be aware of it when you are working with him. Once the weather gets better and you can work with him more consistently them I am sure that things will get much better.

Good luck,

Jubilee
 

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I'll say it again... LAZY. All horses are essentially lazy animals, that doesn't mean they are slow pokes, it means they want to get out of work and will express this fact in different ways.
People just love to label, don't they?

Horse's aren't lazy. Never met one, never owned one, and I've been involved in thousands of horses over the years, of various ages, breeds, etc...

They can 'appear' lazy when they don't understand what's being ask of them. When they're sore, lame and in pain. When they're being asked to do something they can't physically do. When the relationship between them and their human is lacking. When they're turned into automatons with mind-numbing repetition. When there's inconsistency in training/riding. When they're being managed poorly.

But it's only an appearance. It's not real. But it's a fine excuse for the people to use.

I assure you, not one of my horses wants to get out of work. They thrive on it, the stimulation of mind, body and soul. To have a purpose, a motivation, and a rewarding partnership where the utmost respect and trust is demonstrated.
 

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He isn't a lazy horse, but he will use new things he's learned to mess with my head and get out of working. He's a bit silly that way. Guess we have one of those rider/horse "conversations" coming up. (hee hee).
He's not messing with your head, nor trying to get out of work. He's simply responding to the environment you've provided. Change it, and he will change too.
 

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I would say there are lazy horses, just as there are lazy people....but definitely most are NOT lazy...although we can make them that way i.e. lesson horses who are sick of the same boring routine day after day....horses who are being overworked....etc.

Those ones who ARE lazy....fine...they're lazy. But that doesn't mean all horses are!!! I know some lazy horse people...but certainly most of us are not! I know lazy kids and lazy women and lazy men too, but that doesn't mean they all are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Please ladies, this isn't about a lazy horse. It's just a horse that had to go sideways for 3 long months. Today we finally got a mild day and nice dry ring. We went FORWARD!!! We just kept trotting and cantering around like a pair of idiots. Both me and horsey went perfectly straight with plenty of impulsion and had a blast. Problem solved. Lesson learned, too much of anything is not productive.
 

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Haha, you're right....I just felt the need to point out that we shouldn't assume a horse is lazy. :p Good to hear things have improved!
 

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A couple of things:
1.) Mercedes (I think?) stated your problem is forward. They are correct. If he "bulges" when you apply leg aides for forward you can try one of 2 things: either use your SEAT to push him forward (pulse it like your legs being careful NOT to keep it "on" all the time) OR a whip behind your leg. When I ride less experienced horses into he arena I ask for a "mini" trot lengthening going towards "X" so horse stays straight.
2.) Taking your legs off creates a problem - instead BOTH legs needs to rest along his side equally and act like "walls". If he tries to move his butt left your left leg is hanging there "preventing" him from moving his barrel/butt left, NOT pushing, just blocking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Valentina, but as I said in an above post, the problem is long gone. If anything, it translated into a fabulous conversation between me and Puck. Now that we're back to regular riding complete with trotting, cantering and jumping, the forward is back big time, and he's become so sensitive to my seat, I can straighten or tweak his path with the most minimal adjustments in my weight and seat. It's fantastic.
 
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