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The tack room

Youngster behind where it should be?

29 replies

Greyhorses · 10/12/2017 21:11

I feel like I've been working forever with my youngster (rising 6) but she is taking so long to get established.

She's a very dramatic and quirky little horse who despite being backed for a year and with help from a professional still cannot leave the yard alone, blows a fuse when in groups, has the worlds most wobbly canter and hasn't even started anything more complicated.

She's had every check in the world and is ridden by a pro as well as myself so I'm confident there's nothing wrong, she just has no confidence at all and it takes months of repeating something for her to feel comfortable with it. It's also very easily undone if she gets a fright!

She has so many plus points but I feel pressured as most horses her age are doing something and I'm worried when I do eventually get her out it's going to be too little too late.

Please tell me stories of late maturing horses to make me feel better Grin

OP posts:
whistlingwigwam · 11/12/2017 12:43

This could have been me writing this 13 years ago. He's still here and has taught us more than any other horse..
Time, time and more time. Forget what the other horses are doing or achieving, they simple aren't the same as your girl.
I could write a whole book on our journey with our lad. Some brief things that helped us.
Check out her diet, magnesium deficiency can cause similar symptoms as can hind gut ulcers. Make sure she has tons of roughage and turnout with company. No sugar. In fact, just add magnesium anyway, it won't hurt.
Accept that everything will take longer than expected. Don't ever rush/bully her, as it will cause panic/flight. Don't react to her mind spins, sit and ask quietly until you achieve what you want. If you have to dismount to leave the yard, then do. It's not an admission of failure. You will probably find she has more confidence with you at her head. Don't loose your rag..ever! It will set you back a country mile. Hack, hack, hack, get the miles on the clock. School work sent our lad into melt down and did nothing to broaden his experience. She is brighter than other horses, she'll soon pick up on schooling later. Keep hacking groups small, one or two, even better on your own. Builds confidence in the rider. Don't ever fall off her, it will set her confidence back. Work on getting her walking on a loose rein, responding to voice and leg aids. Praise. I wonder if she throws her head? Don't treat her like a sugar fairy, just a normal horse. Act as you would around any other. If she flinches or withdraws, ignore and carry on as planned. Trust her and she will trust you.
Things will fall into place quicker that you think and she will be the best horse she can be. Remember, she's a thinker, let her work it through.
Our lad is still tackling everything with gusto and enthusiasm at 19yrs old. I trust him with my life. It will work out.

yawning801 · 11/12/2017 12:49

Quick question - I might sound paranoid!
Are you sure she's six? My friend had a horse sold to her as a five year old, 13.2 Dales x Cob. He was actually a 3 year old New Forest x TB (now 15.2). This explained why he was so immature and now, three years later, he's still in the process of being trained.

GothMummy · 11/12/2017 13:44

If it makes you feel any better, Mine is just the same. He is waaay behind other horses of his age, who are out going to parties and bringing home decent dressage scores. He is 5, and cant even canter without falling on his nose, looses his mind in open spaces and though very sweet, can be quite "reactive". However, he has grown a lot in the last year and is now standing at 16hh. I hope that mental maturity will come when he stops growing, and that he will, in time, learn where all his legs are! What breed is your horse? Mine is a standardbred, and I have heard that they are late to mature....

Greyhorses · 11/12/2017 16:46

Thankyou to you all.

She is 6 in spring, she was bred by an experienced native pony breeder so I'm sure of her age.

Interestingly she does nod and head toss when stressed but no other time. She tends to start snatching, tossing the panics and broncs/shoots forward. She bucks in temper if told off but when panicked she tries to run away from the scary thing while broncing Hmm

I really hope she starts to mature soon.

So do I take her out and ride the storm or just keep her ticking over?

All we have done for 8 months is hack, nothing else however she is terrified, spooky and spinny alone. She will go with me leading her but I find it slightly dangerous as she still tries to spin away and I'm scared she is going to get lost. These incidences are rarer now, it's gone from weekly to once every month or so. She's so much better in the school and in lessons and much less tense but anything new reverts her back to before.
She's also terrified of being ridden in a group of horses she hasn't met so for example at a show, I'm not sure how I get her used to this without taking her in groups but its very risky for me as she is a ticking time bomb! I bought her for showing so it's obviously not ideal but how do I show her when she is so reactive with horses being ridden around her? Dressage would be easier I suppose but even then it would be exciting to say the least.

So I'm stuck between take her out and risk a meltdown or keep ticking away at home but not exposing her to anything?

OP posts:
whistlingwigwam · 11/12/2017 17:35

She's sounds an interesting project and very much a baby under saddle, with a gap in the ground work education somewhere. Connie by any chance?
She sounds full of tension and lacks confidence in you. Nothing you have done. She is making the decisions here. Miles, miles, miles under the belt. 8 months is nothing. Ride the storm out, either in the saddle or on foot. She needs to look to you for support and not take it upon herself to run for cover. The ticking time bomb feeling, is her deciding whether to trust you or take control. The reaction will tell you her decision. Some need pushing on through, others need a few moments to stand and look. If she's a "looker" spinning is out of the question and put a stop to that before it begins. Be ahead of the game and quietly assertive until you're needed.
You will be able to ride in groups once her mind is settled and concentrating on you.
Ground work will be your friend.
Apologies if I sound preachy, I'm short of time and should be cooking dinner! She sounds just my cup of tea. Keep the faith, plough on.

Greyhorses · 11/12/2017 20:55

Preach away whistling!

She's strange, some days she is very relaxed and others she is much more on her toes. She's a very mareish mare and hates other horses around her which seems to be lots of the issue- the two times she's dumped me have been when others have cantered away from her or she's seen a horse in the distance hacking and lost it.
She also lost it in the collecting ring at her first few shows as she hated the other horses getting too close especially coming up from behind her. She dumped me when one cantered and dared to pass her at some speed which send her into a complete fit.

I'm not sure how to recreate the situations though as she's fine hacking with horses she knows and is comfortable with and canters in groups of 2-3 quite well. She schools lovely at home with others too and I do vary it so there's different horses each time. She also happily schools alone and does a nice intro test at home too but not off the yard.

I've been having lots of lessons on basics. Mainly transitions and increasing her confidence and like I say she has done lots of hacking but agree she needs many more miles on her! I've avoided taking her some places because I know she will be daft and I don't fancy coming off again.

She is very brave with most things hacking but horses are our nemesis. She hates horses in fields, horses being ridden, something that looks like a horse, hearing horses and god forbid I was alone and a horse appeared I think I would end up dead Grin

The hacking alone this is definitely an issue that needs sorting in the spring, I'm hoping once I get braver she will feel comfortable but at the moment if something frightens her the only thing she can thing of to do is panic and I need another horse there to put in front of her!

I just want to be out doing things and I know it's more than likely going to be years before that happens if ever but at the same time she is so loyal to me I feel like I have to try with her. She would make a lovely m&m or even worker if she would just get over the fact there were other horses in the ring!

She's a dales Smile

OP posts:
whistlingwigwam · 11/12/2017 23:14

Bless her, she'll be in her 30's and still have an opinion on things! I like a horse to have a personality.
It seems you will have to crack that hacking, to make her confident around strange horses. Don't forget, she's not alone, she is with you!
Agree the easiest option is to avoid difficult situations but it doesn't help in the long run because the list will just get longer.
I like to crack on, feel the fear, let it go and push on. I aim for my horse to feel the same. To trust me and my emotions/actions. I will do whatever it takes to feel safe and secure. Some I ride long, others short depending on what feel they give me. Never ashamed to grab some mane if needed and ride for hours. Not thrashing around but poking about, keeping it interesting, showing them life away from the school.
Your girl needs to look to you for support and not panic and run. That will come with firm, fair consistent handling and riding.
I don't care much if they feel the need to piaffe past something or tip toe around it, blowing dragons. That's being a horse. As long as they still go in the right direction. Next time it will be easier.

Rollingdinosaur · 12/12/2017 12:23

She sounds a bit like my 6 year old, although more extreme. I have been doing a lot of reading recently, and a couple of things I have come across might help. As whistling said, miles under the belt is something I have seen mentioned in a few places. I used to think of hacking, as something I did for fun on non schooling days, but it makes sense that they are learning all the time. Also every contact with the horse needs to be positive, even when you are just dragging them in from the field in a hurry. They will remember that you let them push you out of the way, or whatever, and it will affect their behaviour next time.

Another idea I've seen is try and set yourself up for success, so pick what you do carefully. If you do push her out of her comfort zone, do it in little bits, so that hopefully she will cope, and you will both come out of it feeling positive. Some of the dressage competitions near me do arena familiarisation sessions so you can just go and school in the arena for a few minutes without competing. Could she maybe cope with that, or ask for very early/late dressage times, so you can get there when it is quiet? Will she show in hand, so she has the comfort of you on the ground to begin with?

I also can't help wondering whether two different riders may not be helpful for her. Are your riding style/standard similar? If they are very different, could that be confusing her and delaying her building up the trust she needs in you?

I'm not sure if any of this will help, but they are things that have helped me. I've had mine a year now and it is just starting to feel like it is all coming together, although we still have our wobbles.

Greyhorses · 12/12/2017 13:18

Thanks to both of you.

I think some of the problem is we don't have transport so every time we go somewhere it feels like I have to make it an event as it's so expensive, maybe this has pushed her too far.

We have done some inhand showing with mixed results. She was very well behaved last time. She has also managed one dressage test but the comments were basically tense tense tense Grin

I think dressage would be easier than showing as no other horses in the ring to upset her.

I have my instructor ride her once per month just to see where I'm going wrong really. It started as I used to be terrified of her and I neeeded to see if it was my nerves or the horse. The rest of the time I'm the only one who rides her although some people have suggested maybe it's better for her to be ridden by lots of different people?
She is quite happy to be handled and ridden by me most of the time and she is very responsive when I ask but understandably she gets confused easily and is stroppy about it!

We have come on so much in the last 6 months, from me barely being able to get on to me being able to school her alone and hack nicely in company so we are heading in the right direction just very very slowly!

I can only ride her in the school unless I have someone to accompany me so we are trying to keep schooling interesting for her, I wouldn't feel safe on her out alone incase she did loose it and I didn't have someone to help. I hope this comes together in time as I do normally really like hacking alone Sad

OP posts:
RatherBeRiding · 14/12/2017 11:49

If it's any consolation I can't really hack my 6 year old (native) on his own unless it's familiar territory. He gets tense and spooky but I know he'd lead quite happily if I felt I needed to get off.

Is walking out in hand an option? Walk the same route several times in hand (make it a short route though) and when she's relaxed, get on on the route home? And try to build up from there.

whistlingwigwam · 14/12/2017 12:20

Reading through your posts is interesting. Your little mare is asking/looking for clear leadership. Just as she would in a herd. I prefer old school horsemanship. Although that seems to mean whips and spurs these days. My childhood matriachs never resorted to that! They bellowed a lot, mainly at me, but we got it right in the end.
If we changed the words "tense, tense, tense" to "nerves, nerves, nerves" would that mean something else? Or, "other horses close upset her" to "other horses close scared her". Do you think that may sum her up better, being as she's a young horse in the making?
If she were mine, I would concentrate on her looking to me for the answers in tricky situations. Get her concentrating on you in walk, on the ground. She must stop when you do, not inch forward or take a couple of steps to do it. Changed direction a lot. Reward her for stop, with a treat if you have too. Exaggerated praise, like an idiot seems to work very well, leaves them in no doubt that your are thrilled. Use the same instruction, woah, stop...I whistle two tone. Ingrain this. I like to walk at the head, not shoulder. Take this skill out on a walking hack with you. Use a long rope and a gentle snaffle. If she wants to be a loon, she can do it at the end of the rope, not on top of you. Make that very clear. Discipline. Go suited and booted. Mount half way round if you feel confident enough. Ignore anyone who thinks you are daft! They don't pay for your mare, you do.
When ridden, don't get hung up on how pretty you look, be effective, get the job done. If you need air brakes to feel safe, use them. No one else is up there feeling what you do.
Remember, she is a baby looking to you for guidance. Don't let her down. She is not alone, she is with you.
Her last show in hand was a great improvement, recall that feeling, forget the previous ones, they don't count.
This was said to me once..."If, at the end of the day, you can't do it. Sell him, don't stop someone else from having a great horse". I didn't sell, we did it, he's my great horse. All my horses are the best they can be. For me.
My prescription for you, is rescue remedy before riding and not to beat yourself up. Enjoy making your mare into a horse of a lifetime.

thinkingaboutfostering · 14/12/2017 16:12

My six year old is currently out in the field unstarted and loving life. He had a rough couple of years when he was little with illnesses and he just hasn't seemed ready. I just figure it will happen when it happens. There is no pressure for him to do much right now. I firmly believe that Horses - like kids - mature at their own rates and forcing them to do things they are not ready for won't be good for them in the longer run.

yawning801 · 14/12/2017 16:53

Have you had her MOTs done? (Sorry, that's what I like to call them Grin) e.g saddle, teeth, back, feet etc. The head tossing brings to mind a wolf tooth to me, but I'm probably wrong! I also like whistling's theory.

RatherBeRiding · 14/12/2017 17:07

And please don't feel pressured to do stuff based on her age - lots of slow maturing types aren't as forward as other faster maturing horses.

My 6 and a half year old is coming along nicely but he took quite a while to mature physically and mentally. He grew an inch last winter and has filled out dramatically this year (Welsh D cross). I have consciously never let it bother me that other people were posting pics of their 4 and 5 year olds out competing and hunting when as a 4 year old he could barely trot without falling over and he didn't learn to canter a 20m circle until he was 5!

Greyhorses · 14/12/2017 17:16

I think lots of it is me being terrified Grin
I'm trying to stop and be more confident, I always ride with a whip but praise her for going forwards.

She normally walks like a dog beside me. She's so easy for me to handle (although she's a witch for anyone else!) and I can literally do anything to her most of the time. However it's that 1% of the time when she's in a blind panic and just freaks out that scares me.

In the school she is brilliant, we've started small poles and are working on getting a canter transition sensibly. Outside she hacks nicely in company but is on her toes, canter is hairy if I'm honest but I am getting better with it. She tends to throw her head up in excitement and just want to go for it and it takes forever to settle her. I don't know if it's best to do it more to get her used to it or keep her calm and steady as much as I can.

Hacking alone she is spooky and liable to try and spin for home. We have cracked the napping now and she will go but isn't happy about it. I lead her out in hand last year but she is dangerous as if something scares her she tries to run anywhere including over or through me! She never does this any other time and is respectful of me unless in a panic and then it all goes out of the window.

So I hacked her last week and all was great until some horses in a field started cantering along the fence line. She lost it bucking, plunging, spinning and trying to shoot forwards. As soon as they stopped she stopped but it's things like that that shake me up Confused

Someone suggested I need to take her somewhere like hunting so she can get over herself but I think I may die Blush

It's a shame as she's going to make a lovely pony, she's beautiful and very well bred if only she would get some sense about her.

I've had everything checked. We had her wolf teeth removed as a 4yo. My instructor thinks the head tossing is a stress release for her? She never does it when she's in her comfort zone!

This is my first youngster, my last dales was brace and bold but she is the opposite unfortunately.

OP posts:
Hollyhobgoblin · 14/12/2017 18:35

I'd be hacking her in walk. Only in walk, with someone on the ground for as long as it takes. She's five. You've got time.

RatherBeRiding · 15/12/2017 09:28

DON'T take her hunting! It can be the making of some - it can totally ruin others. I've got one of each. My little mare was hunted in previous home from a baby and she is a bold scopey jumper who will cross any ground and is happy bombing about in company with others. Our other TBx was hunted (once!) - lost the plot spectacularly and now is a nut-job in an open space in a group. I really really wouldn't risk hunting anything that wasn't happy with other horses around it.

And as for getting fired up when horses in a field come cantering alongside - I think a lot will do this regardless of how good they are at other times.

If you can lead her out in hand or hack with another horse then do as much of it as you possibly can. If you're worried about her jumping on you if spooked when leading in hand - put a lunge cavesson over her bridle, and lead her with a lunge line so at least you can play the line out if she loses it and it's a lot safer for both of you.

Gabilan · 15/12/2017 21:01

We have come on so much in the last 6 months, from me barely being able to get on to me being able to school her alone and hack nicely in company so we are heading in the right direction just very very slowly!

That doesn't sound slow at all to be honest. She isn't six yet. As pp have said, they mature at different rates. It really doesn't matter what other horses are doing. There's no "should" about it. She can only do what she can do. My instructor came up with a lovely phrase "patience without expectation". Yes, be the leader and give her confidence, but you can't, IMO, dominate them and force them to be something they aren't (not that I'm suggesting you do that at all).

It sounds to me like you're doing a great job, given how much she trusts you most of the time. I always like to do some ride and lead with youngsters. It gets them out and about, it's different, you can see what they're like without a rider but they can't land on you if they monkey around (well they can, but it's very unusual!)

I've known various horses backed at 4, turned away then backed again at 5 and turned away and then properly started at 6, just because they weren't ready until then. They'd done groundwork, just not ridden work. Take the pressure off, and enjoy what she can do well. Edge her out of her comfort zone from time to time. Stress stacking can be a handy concept to bear in mind so maybe do some reading about that. It applies to both of you. If I'm stressed, I'll do something with my horse I can do easily, so I don't add to my stress. We try new and difficult things only when we're both happy and relaxed.

Greyarabsdrinkthewind · 17/12/2017 00:22

I specialise in bringing on young arabs I’m currently working on a very novice 5 year old.
Ive learnt the following over the last 40+ years: to never compare the horse your working on with others as no horse is the same. Horses reflect the effort you put in, I try to ride them at least 5 times a week even if it’s only for 20 mins. Establish the basics, in the stable e.g. picking out feet etc, tie them up, expect her to stand still (even if it’s only for a brief moment) when you get on, I personally never get off and lead mine if they’re nervous about going past something, I just sit quietly and wait, never let her turn away, talk quietly rub their neck by the wither reassure lots a praise rewards but never give in, youngster have to develop confidence in you. The one I’m currently riding looks back at me his eyes on stalks saying “are you sure mum it’s alright?” As you ride along look for problems but don’t think oh my God she’s going to spook at those sheep panic, rather oh look there’s some sheep up there I know she doesn’t like them and believe she’ll pass them, ride positively keep your leg on, look past them in fact even fix your gaze on something past them and aim for it, keep her straight with you leg and hand, as soon as you feel her hesitating send out the message it’s fine we can go past this I know it’s safe have confidence in me, if she stops that’s ok let her look and think about it and then quiet ask her to go forward if it’s something she’s really scared off maybe just one step let her have a another look as soon as she relaxes ask her quietly to walk forward again and keep repeating. Your message trust me, you can stop have a look but the bottom line; youre still going past it. You must ask quietly, horses buck in these situations because you’ve asked them to move and they can’t go forwards backwards or sideways so bucking in response to be asked to move is one of the few option left to them, be patient and don’t hit her to hard with the whip just a tap. If she spins round let her go all the way round but make her end up still facing the way you want her to go or make her go round and round and round “ok if you want to spin round we will but your not stop going round till I say” and we still end up facing the way I want you to go and going past what your scared of. Never get angry or give in.
All this takes time if I’m in a hurry and short of time and am hacking out I choose a route which my horse knows and feels comfortable with. Don’t set yourself and her up to fail it would not be the moment to choose a new or problematic route if I’m might have to spend 20 mins waiting to pass a large stone.
I always quietly ride with a loose reins, avoid climbing up the reins when you feel nervous, youre sending out a message I’m scared as others have said your horse is looking to you for reassurance “it’s ok, trust me”. In fact and I know it’s hard you need to work on not being nervous if you don’t think you can overcome your nerves can someone else get her going in the beginning. This is how I get involved with young arabs I get them going because their owners are nervous or lack the necessary confidence.
Every time you ride think what has my horse learnt or is learning and what are you learning about your horse? In this wet weather the Arab Im currently riding who his owner hopes will do endurance horse is learning to go through puddles, often an arabs Achilles Heal, yesterday I made sure I had the time and it was a good thing as we spent 30 mins trying to go through a puddle blocking a bridle way, he had no idea how deep it was and he was scared (I could feel his heart pounding) we edged forward 1 step at a time, till he eventually went through it, I very doubt I’ve cracked it but it was the beginning. What did he learn? He knows I’m not going to give in, I’m not going to beat him up to get him through or past something, I’m quietly but firmly asking him to trust me and give it ago, that you can stand in water half way up your canon bones and you don’t die and you get a reward a mint. I was so proud of what he’d achieved in a short hack as proud of him as if he’d won a dressge test. Other horses happily walk through water from the beginning but he does other things others won’t he’s totally unfazed by traffic and will make a brilliant endurance horse one day because of his enthusiasm to work not all horses can say that.

Hollyhobgoblin · 17/12/2017 07:59

Lovely post Greyarab.

Greyhorses · 17/12/2017 18:12

Greyarab thank you! I wish you could take her for a bit so she can have someone who knows what they are doing working with her!

I do really enjoy riding her, she's a nice sweet horse and underneath all of the silliness she is actually very nervous and unconfident.

Sadly I'm also nervous and unconfident so it hasn't been a good combination! We are getting better but I do feel physically sick sometimes when coming up to something I know she will freak at (generally horses or open spaces!) and I know I need to just bite the bullet and take her. I also know I need to just get on and hack her alone but I'm too scared Blush

She's quite an argumentative little thing, I think some of it is frustration at not being allowed to get her own way (she is very dominant in the field in particular) so she will buck and bronc if I'm not allowing her to gallop etc but sometimes it's the complete opposite and I can feel she is panicking and not just being naughty.

I don't want to give up on her I just didn't think it would take this long compared to other young horses I've seen. I'm sure we will get there eventually Grin

One thing I will ask, so if she's very excited she throws her head really high up and flies along. She always stops and has a nice soft mouth so I don't think she needs a stronger bit but is it worth considering a martingale? I didn't want to put any unnecessary things on her but im not sure how to teach her to keep her head down and listening?

OP posts:
Greyarabsdrinkthewind · 18/12/2017 19:58

Ok I just need to say I know absolutely nothing about dales ponies.she "She is actually very nervous and unconfident"
You need to give her confidence keep going out ideally every day, one day go somewhere she knows another somewhere she's likely to be less confident as I said don't set you or her up to fail, so if you haven't got time don't decide today is the day to get her past that big scary rock. For example today again I went up the bridle path with all the puddles, my young arab knows Im not going to give in, we has one big stop but the rest of the time he's now just hesitating, he now knows he's going to have to go regardless of how big the puddle, so now he's thinking for himself can I go round the edge? Thats ok as long as he keeps going forward. Tomorrow we'll go round route he knows where he's now confident, he wasn't two weeks ago, you don't have to make every ride a challenge you want her to enjoy being ridden.
When you riding her think about how she's going don't be a passenger think about every step she takes, this might help your nerves as well. In walk she should be stepping out not dawdling along, think of a nice four time rhythm, with her swinging through her back, today at times I just held onto the buckle of the reins I still expected him to walk out in a straight line, I used my seat and body to keep him straight, he was concentrating so hard on this exercise it he nearly walked straight through a puddle. In trot I keep my reins long I have rubber reins and hold them where the rubber ends, I expecting a nice steady two time rhythm, 1-2-1-2 again pushing from behind, nice and straight not too fast, not running or unbalanced and falling onto his forehand, I do half halt and slow my rising down if he looses his balance and rushes, again this a lot to ask of a young horse; carry yourself and me over slightly uneven terrain, he has to concentrate therefore he is less likely to be looking for things to look at. I am also expecting him to look where he's going, he trips occasionally because his concentration wanders thats his fault.
You need your horse to listen to you, all these exercises will also help the pair of you understand and trust each other and form a bond.
"so she will buck and bronc if I'm not allowing her to gallop"
Of all the things you'd written this worries me the most. Why are you galloping your young horse around? And Im assuming with other horses? Young horses don't need to gallop about Im speaking here as someone who has fittened up endurance horses and ridden race horses! Walking trotting and catering yes but in a controlled fashion. Galloping around all you do is wind them up and its so easy to loose control and frighten them and yourself. No wonder she bucks/bronc chucks her head in the air and "flies along" and doesn't listen you need to stay in control and establish the basics so personally I don't think you need a martingale.
Hope this helps.

Greyhorses · 18/12/2017 20:59

Thanks for all of your help grey.

I really hope I can teach her to trust me. At the moment she tends to rely on the nanny horse to get her passed things rather than me. I do allow her to look, think and then give lots of praise when she does pass things but sometimes I do need another horse to show her it's okay. I'm not sure why she dosent trust me, maybe she can feel I'm nervous?

I don't actually want her to gallop Blush
She finds canter very very exciting. We've tried it in small groups and also with just one other horse (not alone as she won't hack alone!) but she finds the whole thing mind blowing- even more so if they are behind her.
She basically leaps into canter usually with a bit of a bronc, I think as she's unbalanced and then seems to think the aim of the game is to throw her head up and go as fast as possible. I think some of it is that our hacking companion is quite forward and does enjoy cantering however it's the only other horse I have to hack with so it's going out with that one or not going out at all.

I've been working on this lots in the school, literally just asking for a few strides with lots of praise for calm but she finds the whole thing mind blowing.

OP posts:
Greyarabsdrinkthewind · 18/12/2017 23:15

Ask you hacking companion to be sensible, there's nothing wrong with a quiet canter but not an unbalanced one with her head in the air and her trying to go as fast as possible. In fact in your situation I might avoid cantering at the moment you want her to be listening to you and building her trust in your judgement, not getting into the habit of charging off doing her own thing getting overly excited and not listening to you.
Why don't you explain your situation to your riding companion and suggest she goes a bit slower for a few weeks whilst you settle her down.
I like a canter as much as the next man but with a young horse who's impressionable and whose mind get blown and starts bucking etc I would avoid anyone who either wants to canter all over place.
When schooling have you tried asking for canter on a 20m circle at one end of the school and keeping her on the circle in canter, then once she's catering quietly go large but as soon as she speeds up canter another circle and stay on it until she's settled and then go large and just keep repeating this exercise. Don't ever give her a chance to speed up and get too unbalanced. Dont just canter everytime you go into the school, do new things, a bit of leg yielding, lots of walk to halt to walk transitions, trot lots of different shapes big circles half circles, small circles down the centre line the 3/4 line lots of rein changes within circles etc I like doing what I call clover leaf pattern changing the rein for every circle, keep concentrating on a nice swinging 1-2- 1-2 rhythm thats not too fast but purposeful, do loads of variety so that she has to listen to you and is waiting for you to tell her what to do next don't give her a chance to think about what to jump at something.
I take it her saddle fits and her teeth have been checked etc. I like to use a thin French link bits for arabs who have limited space in their mouths, rather than a standard jointed snaffle its kinder.D

Greyhorses · 19/12/2017 06:48

She's had everything checked recently. Her saddle is an ongoing saga as she is very wide and it needs adjusting constantly but she always seems very happy and physio couldn't find any pain. She did say she was one sided but thought that would come with time.

She's also had her wolf teeth out and her eyesight examined just incase.

She's in a thin ported Mullen mouth snaffle which she seems to like. She hates jointed or bits that move. She isn't particularly strong and has a very sensitive mouth.

I think she's very intelligent and remembers everything, if something scared her on a hack at X she remembers it every time she passes it for weeks to come. There's some places hacking she still panics at even though it's been months since something scary happened there. With time she has accepted most things but like I say there are still some things she finds terrifying, mainly other horses!

I will definitely have a think about trying some new things very slowly and see how she gets on. Her hacking companion is sensible but does like to go faster than I would like however without her hacking would be impossible!

Do you think it's ever possible to get a horse like this who hates any sort of atmosphere able to be a competition horse or is it a lost cause?

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