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You are in... Forums > Riding and Training > General > Riding Issues

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EmilyVictoria

Joined:

Mar 12

Posts: 3

Riding Issues

My horse was previously owned by a friend but was always in our care since he was about 11 months old.  He's a Welsh x Arab and is now 6 rising 7.  He was given to me when my friend left to go work in a polo yard. He is still in my care but it on a permanent loan to a man who has been helping me with my horses for six years, he doesnt ride him, but he helps out and pays bills etc, this decission was made as my mum couldnt cope by herself as I am now at uni.

The owner has found riders for him and he has been ridden on and off for a number of years and hasnt had enough consistency and soon I will be on a break from university and will be living from home next year and would like to get him finally going.  He has always been quite flighty and due to his owners being novice does have some bad manners like barging... Anyway I have ridden him a couple of times over the last few days and at the moment when being ridden he is poking his head in the air, whilst taking short kind of stompy steps that feel very unco-ordinated and sometimes threatens to rear, I feel as if he wants to canter but I have always kept him in a trot until an hour later when he gave me a few minutes of a nice trot.  He has been put in a martingale and would like to try him without it, but apparently he gets worse.  He was badly treated before I had him, like he was hit in the face etc and I feel like he is being anti rider but oddly I dont feel like he is trying to get me off. I have tried different approaches like just riding him through it and when he gets really bad sometimes tapping him with a jumping whip once on the shoulder and he usually holts and then when I ask again does the same thing as well as really praising him when he is good but he seems as if he is doing this to be ignorant he has no reason to behave this way, he is all fine in terms of bit and back etc I just want to know whether I am doing the right thing or if there is something I can do to help as his owner wants to send him away to be schooled which I honestly think for him would make him worse and push him further back, as reacts badly to changes in his environment.  Im not sure whether its his age and lack of riding but I would like to explore some options so any advice would be great! :)

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Cobsandshire

Joined:

Dec 09

Posts: 245

Cobsandshire says:

Riding Issues

I'm sure you've had his back and teeth checked but if not, I would just to be on the safe side.

If that's all fine, perhaps try some ground work for a while to remind him that while you're not going to belt him one, you're not going to let him push you around either.  Have you tried long reining him?  It would be interesting to see if he behaves the same way when you do.

Good luck!

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lydiarose

Joined:

Oct 10

Posts: 783

lydiarose says:

Re: Riding Issues

 The head up in the air sounds to me like something is out? Maybe check his back checked over again, its vital that you get that sorted. Maybe try a very soft bit as if his head is in the air he may be trying to evade the bit. What bit have you got him in? I'd say try him without the martingale, it may be too tight and is upsetting him? Just strip tack back to basics I'd say and work from there. 

It sounds like you'll just need lots and lots of patience. You've said that you waited till an hour later before cantering, if he hasn't been regularly ridden then more than an hour will be exhausting for him. You need to start in small sessions and keep things simple, simply walking and trotting until he is nice and relaxed, then maybe put down some trotting poles as it will give him something to focus on. Try going in and out of cones to encourage him to loosen up through his neck. Sounds a bit like my horse, he needs something to think about to keep him working, else he gets too easily distracted and starts messing about with rearing and bucking. 

Also try lunging him, may be a better way of getting him back into the swing of things and also to work by voice. If he is relaxed enough on the lunge then maybe try side reins but if he's still very flighty and sensitive then they might make him upset. 


Anyway, I'm sure you will gets lots of replies! So good luck!

Woodhouse JT <3

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EmilyVictoria

Joined:

Mar 12

Posts: 3

Re: Riding Issues

Its definately not his back and teeth and the martingale was adjusted before i rode it was really loose, but Im gonna try him without it. He's in a snaffle even though he can be strong if he wants to be. Its a meiler (cant remember the spelling) so it is meant to be very gentle. About year and a half a go I did parelli with him and used to do lunging and he would buck and get very wound up. It sounds silly but it is almost as if he winds himself up, whilst Im being 100% calm, Im not sure if I should be tougher on him, I am a quite rider, but of course I would tell him off if he did just become too silly. He's quite a complex pony, I think its psychological with him, if only horses could speak lol

 

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Rio186

Joined:

Jan 11

Posts: 99

Rio186 says:

Re: Riding Issues

A martingale may hold his head down a little, but it's not going to help him relax.  I'm guessing you don't have access to an arena, but you could try hacking him in company to help him settle,  so long as the other horse is laid back.  Just keep him at a loose rein and usually they always decide to stay with the company rather than go off on their own.

Until he is relaxed, I wouldn't go faster than a walk ever.  In-hand work can really help you build a relationship with him (Perfect Manners, Kelly Marks is a really useful book).  Pole work is also a really good idea, as it helps them use their abdominals and lengthen their back.  With his head up all the time, his back will be shortened with all the muscles along the top contracted, and his abs loose, so it'll be very exhausting (and maybe even sore) to carry a person after a while.  When he relaxes and lowers his head, it will be much easier for him.  But until then, I would only ride for 1/2 an hr (or maybe an hour max) until he is fitter.

 

The more boring and chilled you can make the hacks, the faster he should calm down and the more confident he will become.  Desensitising can also help speed this up a bit (and groundwork also gives them a little mental exercise too!).  Oh, and when you say you think you should get tougher with him, with all my horses so far (not that I have heaps of experience, just a couple!) ignoring the behaviour can sometimes be a really effective way to stop it, because when you react, you only make them focus even more on whatever they were doing.  Of course it may not work for all horses, but I usually give it a go for a week or so and see what happens - with quite a lot of things is actually works!

 

Good luck with him!  I hope this helps at all

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BA0890

Joined:

Apr 12

Posts: 16

BA0890 says:

re:riding issues

i would say just keep being calm on him, and keep pushing him through it with your seat, the head in the air thing could be a sign of teeth.. i had an ISH who used to do that and she had the bit pushing on her wisdom tooth that was causing her pain... the dentist said he couldnt see anything untill a friend had to point it out! also she could not have any sugar, no carrots, apples, grapes, nothing! she was too barmy and would just go mad in the school.

or it could be that hes just trying to get out of work hard, maybe loose school him?-get all of his energy out for about 5 - 10 minutes and then maybe get on him with tack and saftey gear?

or lunge him with training aids, pessoa harbirdge or side reins on a roller? -he may not know how to carry himself and relax. if he is contantly springy and out of conrtol after two weeks of training maybe try a calmer in his feed? or maybe he cant be fed sugary treats... theres alot to consider with behaviour like that im afriad. good luck though!
 

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EmilyVictoria

Joined:

Mar 12

Posts: 3

Re: Riding Issues

Well he's only given a handful of nuts and chaff once a day and a haynet and is in a field with grass. I used to do parelli him a year or so ago and started doing some with him yesterday, I get the feeling he is confused and there is a lack of trust. I think this may just take time, but he does confuse me with what I can do to help him! I just want to do the best by him, so any suggestions or adivice would be great and thank you for everything you guys have said so far, its enouraged me to doa more ground work with him :)

Just concerned as last year he was going fantastically but he seems to have taken 20 steps back this summer

 

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