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I have no brakes!

(35 Posts)
chocolatecakeystuff Mon 21-Apr-14 21:00:24

I've had to hoss for a while, but she'd been unsound pretty much since I got her - she's now sound and in work, I have her in a eggbutt snaffle, however the fitter she's getting - the less brakes I have. I know she's excitable at the best of times, but it's really starting to effect our schooling. I daren't do anything more than walking on hacks because I know we wont be able to stop. Any ideas? I've got my first lesson booked on her for next week, do I try a stronger bit or just more schooling? She's been back in work for a few months so its not just being fresh iyswim

Zazzles007 Tue 22-Apr-14 00:02:40

She needs to relearn that whoa means whoa, and not to just brush you off when she is excited. Explain this to your instructor when you have lessons and she/he will help you to address it there.

You will have to be much, much firmer with her for some time until she learns that you certainly mean stop or slow down when you say it. Many horses have learned the command 'whoa' while on the lunge, so you could try this and see if it has any effect. Most horses have the intellectual development of a 4 yr old child, so imagine she is exactly that, and you are disciplining her to stop/slow down. Otherwise make sure that this is addressed in lessons, as it is no fun riding a horse with no brakes.

Flexiblefriend Tue 22-Apr-14 09:54:03

What does she do exactly when she goes? Is she evading the bit, or just taking hold and going?

Sunnydaysablazeinhope Tue 22-Apr-14 09:59:38

I would suggest more schooling. Lunge, walking in hand, and also drill riding. Change it up - a lot. Does she spend much time in fields or stable? Might want to let her out say while you muck out and tidy for an hour then ride out?

I'd also suggest playing. Let her loose in the school with a collar and try football? It can work although might feel strange . Depends on the horse.

I'd keep rides short but more frequent. Including all the above and pole work/jumping. Your instructor can help. You possibly also need instruction in calming her, position and techniques. It might not all be her....

Finally, her tack fits ok doesn't it?

Sunnydaysablazeinhope Tue 22-Apr-14 10:24:01

Thought if something else...

Vary routes and locations of cantering/trotting when out. If she is anticipating a certain speed at a point it won't help brakes issue. As she's saying yippee we canter at this bush....NOW! And shooting off in exuberance. They rarely spot where they stop ;)

Try road work? Lots of long fast trots?

chocolatecakeystuff Tue 22-Apr-14 20:39:00

OK - braking problem is in the school, at the moment on hacks I don't do anything more than walking for those very reasons.
I'm a bit limited in terms of lunging, the reason she's been off work is because she did have inflammation around her navicular bone (the soft tissue) and while she's sound now with a huge amount of time being turned away, corrective shoeing etc lunging isn't a great idea. She's good as gold 90% of the time in hand, and we're not allowed to lose school at our yard.

Atm, she is turned out all night, I bring her in for 1pm (she thrives on routine) groom her, and pick out her feet etc, then she goes on our horse walker for 20 mins, 10 mins each way. I tack her up - I ride simples - she's not fresh, just the excitable sort.

In walk our breaks are sort of ok - it's as soon as we do anything faster or more exciting than walk they become a problem. I've had a few people ride her, and they've all had exactly the same problem so I don't think it can be just me iyswim.

today, I was attempting to do walk - halt - walk - trot - walk - halt etc at each letter, she got it, she knew what was being asked, started off excellently, however after she got the gist of it I think the third go that was it, she was trotting & it was taking me three or for letters round to bring her back to walk. she'd just decided she preferred trotting and that was that (not to mention a few strides of canter in each corner) jogging sideways and anything she could to avoid stopping.

chocolatecakeystuff Tue 22-Apr-14 20:43:10

Oh and yes, tack all fits - had it checked recently - as well as her back & teeth (actually now I think about it this breaking problem has got worse since she had her teeth done they had to take quite a lot off)

She's not eveading the bit, or really taking hold of it, it's just like she doesn;t' feel it - she's very genuine when ridden, so in all honesty I think when she does do as she's asked it's because she wants to not because I've asked lol. She was in a riding school for a short period of time before I got her - was deemed unsuitable though...

Flexiblefriend Wed 23-Apr-14 10:36:22

If she is ignoring the bit, have you tried using your seat to slow her down? If you are trotting, slow your rise, when you are preparing to do a transition to walk, then when you ask for walk, sit in the saddle, and set your thigh against the movement. Also don't keep a continuous pressure on the reins, check and release. I hope that makes sense, my instructor explains it a lot better! If all else fails, maybe you do need to speak to the instructor about trying her in a slightly stronger bit.

chocolatecakeystuff Wed 23-Apr-14 20:41:09

Yup to all the above flexible. Always use my seat to ask for a downward transitions - and lots of half halting during trot (and walk for that matter)

Sunnydaysablazeinhope Wed 23-Apr-14 21:39:19

Ok might be worth getting teeth checked... Tbh unsure but if all else fails...

Sounds like your trying a lot of options. Great. Certainly clears the obvious.
Look, off thought but have you tried opposite? Rather than walk halt walk trot.... Try working her mostly at a canter? Or trot? Lots of changing reins at odd letters, short diagonals? Shallow leg reining? Circles? Long letters up the school?

Just wondering if your hitting a cycle. Mum wants to stop, so tensing up. If you planned a ride where the idea is to canter/trot how might she accept it? Might have to do a couple of times before it works. Equally pole work? So she had to watch her feet?

Sunnydaysablazeinhope Wed 23-Apr-14 21:41:50

Final one at the moment, when you sit and half holt where are your lower legs? I've seen and been victim of asking to stop but in fear and nerves tense up lower leg and unconsciously squeezing on more tightly than I knew! Could you be saying go on one hand but stop on the other?

Sunnydaysablazeinhope Wed 23-Apr-14 21:43:18

Re reading unsure cantering possible.... I'll have another think....

chocolatecakeystuff Wed 23-Apr-14 22:01:01

Yeah I think you're right cantering may be a push, we've only just started any canter work at all (and have the same breaking problem as in trot) Have had a few different people ride her & have the same issue so I don't think it's me tensing up, but I guess it could be - however she's a good girl and I feel safe even without brakes so don't think I am..
We have the same issue with poles, she's unfortunately such a pro she doesn't even seem to think about where to put her feet, just kind of glides over them (and then takes off hahah)
Just looking forward to our first lesson next week maybe my instructor will be able to shed some light on it all.

Pixel Wed 23-Apr-14 23:49:32

So tack, teeth, back etc all ok, and she's the same whoever rides her so it's probably not you... How about feed? Is she having hard feed or lots of spring grass? Have you thought about trying a calming supplement of some kind?

Zazzles007 Thu 24-Apr-14 00:37:08

OP it sounds like you have a forward/hot horse, which makes you a bit nervous, and therefore want to apply the brakes. And when you try to do a schooling exercise, she does it a few times, but then tries to evade by running out from under you, which exacerbates the situation, and becomes a vicious circle. Does this sound familiar?

The thing is, you are going to have to learn how to ride a hot/forward horse, and I would suggest getting instruction to help you with that. The first things to work on with a hot and sensitive horse are relaxation and rhythm. Often a horse is tense because the rider is tense. Even though you may feel calm outwardly, any muscle tension you have is transferred through the saddle to the horse, and a sensitive horse will pick up on that. So as you ride, do a mental check on your muscles, and relax them. Rhythmic breathing while you ride also helps.

On the rhythm side, she needs to learn that you want a steady pace in trot and canter. I would suggest riding in a large area where you can change direction occasionally. Start in trot, and this might make you feel silly, but sing or hum quietly to her. She won't be able to help herself, she will trot to the rhythm of your humming. If she starts to speed up, give her a vocal command "Uh uh, aaaanndddd wwhooooaaaaaaa" in a deep and calm voice. This works if you are calm, clear and consistent with your aids. With time and repetition, you will find that you get the 'whoa' when you want it, and she won't be running away from your leg.


Flexiblefriend Thu 24-Apr-14 13:09:17

Sorry, I didn't mean to try to teach you to suck eggs. I hope the instructor can come up with some suggestion. It sounds like you've tried pretty much everything!

chocolatecakeystuff Thu 24-Apr-14 19:43:10

She is forward going - but that's not the issue. Controlling speed of walk/trot & canter isn't an issue it's just the downward transitions that piss me off rather than frighten me. I don't want it to constantly be a battle. I guess it might jusy be one of those things & I just have to put up with it, but obviously in terms of hacking out we do need to have breaks to a degree or we could find ourselves in a dangerous situation.

chocolatecakeystuff Thu 24-Apr-14 20:28:41

Pixel guess I could use a calmer, but she's not excitable on the ground & the chances are I'd have to hard feed to get it in her - which I don't want to do - she's in a paddock with not much grass & I strip graze her (she's had a lot of weight to lose after all that time off) No hard feed at all. Will let you all know how we get on for our lesson Wednesday

gelati3 Thu 24-Apr-14 20:41:52

Agree with Pixel. We had a nutty chestnut mare and a magnesium supplement certainly seemed to calm her down. I also used to find that doing plenty of transitions (including rein back) and changes of rein, circling etc in the schooling sessions got her paying attention.

ThePrisonerOfAzkaban Thu 24-Apr-14 20:49:59

What noseband ate you using? More often then not a change in noseband works better then changing the bit. But most change the bit first

FlockOfTwats Fri 25-Apr-14 12:55:14

Re calmers; My section D wasn't allowed hard feed becausepretty much anything made him loopy and we had plenty of grazing anyway, if i had togive him anything it was witha handful of easy rider.

Could it be that she is getting bored? Both of the ponies that ive done (One mine one a friends) that had no brakes seemed more bored. I had to constantly be one step ahead, and never ever just slack off and tootle along as that's when the issues started - I found lots of circles, serpintines, transitions, half halts and changing the rein at random points helped.

Pixel Fri 25-Apr-14 17:39:05

There's always Mollichaff Calmer I guess, though I've never tried it.

chocolatecakeystuff Fri 25-Apr-14 19:45:04

I'm using a drop noseband - happy to try changing it - don't think she needs a fash or anything.
Um moichaff may not technicay be hard feed, but it's sti feeed which I reay don' want to do.
Yes she gets bored quicky, I have to change it about ots (pease excuse typing the l button isn't working on my aptop)

Pixel Fri 25-Apr-14 21:38:12

What would happen if you just gave her the reins and let her trot round until she'd got it out of her system? (I wouldn't suggest if you hadn't said you feel confident on her). Would she get wildly out of control or would she then settle down and start listening to you?

chocolatecakeystuff Fri 25-Apr-14 21:57:05

Ummm you know I'm not entirely sure - On a good day, we'd probably just keep going until she got bored lol - on a nutty day... it could be entertaining. I try to keep her on a reasonably loose reign if I can or she just argues with me anyway iyswim. Will give it a go tomorrow & report back grin

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