Author Topic: Young horse issues - not going forward without ground support  (Read 2932 times)

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Offline littlenordic

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Young horse issues - not going forward without ground support
« on: February 04, 2015, 02:00:40 PM »
Hi, I was wondering if anyone could offer me any advise on my young P.R.E horse. He has 4 1/2 and has been backed since last may.  I have twice weekly lessons with my trainer and he is not the most forward going horse but when my trainer is in the school with me offering ground support ie. encourages him forward with a lunge whip he's ok! (i dont mean he chases him around with a lunge whip all the time but when he isnt forward she supports him). I have tried to be more independant of my trainer recently and have tried to ride him in the school on my own (he's pretty safe) but he will not go forward at all. He will just stop dead or walk very slowley and will not respond to my leg aids. He just seems to shut down on me! My trainer says he is just not confident enough yet to go forward without ground support. What are people opinions on this? Thanks.

Offline SilkyRaven

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Re: Young horse issues - not going forward without ground support
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2015, 02:34:12 PM »
 :wave: Hello! Lovely to see a new poster. I'm not an expert and there will be plenty of them along soon but I wanted to say hello and welcome to the forum  :)

Do you work with him in hand or lunging or otherwise on the ground as well as ridden?

Offline littlenordic

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Re: Young horse issues - not going forward without ground support
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2015, 03:10:04 PM »
Hi, thanks for the warm welcome! I appreciate it!!! He is regularily lunged and goes forward very well. It only seems to be when my trainers is not there!! It's almost like she is his safety blanket and without her he wont do anything ??? 

Offline Cobstar

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Re: Young horse issues - not going forward without ground support
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2015, 04:09:59 PM »
 :wave: Welcome to the forum.

Some youngsters do take time to build up confidence.

Is your boy more forward under saddle when your trainer rides him?

And I always ask myself if it is something I'm doing that my horse is responding to. Is your trainer being your safety blanket? Are you blocking forward in some way?

Beth

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Re: Young horse issues - not going forward without ground support
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2015, 04:27:55 PM »
Hello  :wave:

A few things spring to mind.  Would it be possible to get some video up? How much experience do you have? Has he always been like this or is it a change for him? Does anyone else ride him?  Back, teeth, saddle fit?  Has he been taught that legs mean go?  Sounds like an odd question but its very easy with a young one to just assume they know that legs mean go.  Lastly, it is all too easy to block a backward thinking horse but being behind the movement or pushing with your seat.  Have you looked at Heather's articles on here or read her book?

Sorry, lots of questions and I'm sure between us we'll think of more, but your answers will help people give you some useful replies  :D

Offline littlenordic

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Re: Young horse issues - not going forward without ground support
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2015, 05:00:29 PM »
Thanks for the responses so far!

Firstly, Cobstar, in answer to your questions yes he is more forward when she rides him but she is a fantastic and very knowledgable rider. She says it is purely a lack of confidence. I dont particularily doubt her but I guess due to me being maybe a bit impatient see things more black and white and just want to be able to ride unaided!  For example I rode him Sunday on my own after lunging as a warm up (lunges pretty well and forward going) and I got on and he did a lap of trot absolutely fine and then just stopped dead! Almost like he suddenly realised she wasnt there to support him! He then saw her form the other side on the yard (a fair distance) and became very distracted by her! After this it was all i could do to get him forward at all. Just turned him from left to right to het some steps of movement from him. It seems the more leg you use the more he shutsdown! Usually when ever I ride him it is under her supervision and I ask her if im somehow blocking him and she says im not.

Beth, thanks for your questions! I will answer as best I can! Experience wise, I have ridden for 30 years and he is my 3rd horse but 1st baby so made sure i enlisted the help of someone knowledgable. He lives with her and she looks after him everyday. I only get up there at weekends as he is not particularily local to me. Once spring comes I can go more after work. She does alot of groundwork with him but tries not to ride too much as she wants me to feel I have done the ridden work but she will ride when she thinks he needs it. He works no more than 4 days a week anyway due to his age.
He's always been more on the slow side as thats how he's been trained. Ie if in doubt stop! He's pretty safe! Teeth, back saddle etc all fine. He does know leg means go but still isnt good off the leg so to speak! Needs some encouragemnt but is getting better!
I will try and post a video later for you!

Thanks!!!


Offline ros

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Re: Young horse issues - not going forward without ground support
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2015, 05:33:05 PM »
 Video will definitely be required!  :nod:

Some young horses can be a bit clingy - I know when I went to try Merly before buying him he kept veering back towards his owner, who was standing in the corner of the school  :rolleyes: - but I wouldn't have thought that was the reason in your case since he knows you by now.

It does sound as if you're blocking him in some way, since he's OK on the lunge & when your trainer rides him.  You say that it seems the more leg you use, the worse the problem: that could be down to the way you're using your legs - it's easy to become tense & block the horse if you're actually trying too hard.  But I could be wrong & some footage will no doubt help us to see if that's the case.

I'm assuming you trainer, being experienced, isn't confusing forwardness with rushing? 


Offline Cobstar

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Re: Young horse issues - not going forward without ground support
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2015, 07:37:28 PM »
If in doubt stop is IMHO a good thing. Kelly Marks teaches young horses to stop if the rider falls off using a dummy rider. As a youngster one of my mares tended to run and on occasion bolt. Not nice on a young unbalanced horse.

Patience is good with youngsters. You have a lifetime ahead of you. One good lap or just under and stopping and then building up gradually is fine. Also consider in hand work to build up your partnership with your horse.

Video would be good.

It's Heather's forum but I promise we only keep going on about her approach and advice on how to avoid blocking your horse. I know in the past I've done it without consciously realising it.

Offline Tiber

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Re: Young horse issues - not going forward without ground support
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2015, 10:34:49 PM »
Do you do work on the ground with him as well? It may be that if you can build up his confidence with you on the ground he'll be more confident with you under saddle.

Echoing what others have said; a horse who stops when he's worried is much better than one who runs off, and 4 is still very young - he may be big and strong but he won't have fully matured emotionally yet, so there's no harm in taking things at his pace. I would start with asking for only a few strides of trot at a time, with lots of praise when he's good, and build it up from there - a whole circle is quite an achievement!

I agree that video would be useful (and fun - we like pictures and videos  ;) ) as there may well be something we can see that your trainer may have missed.

(I know that with my now retired pony, who is by nature quite forward going, if I rode her in certain ways (which were only very subtley different to normal) she would become very sluggish, and on a couple of occasions just stopped dead and waited for me to start riding properly again. I could almost feel her tutting at me!)

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