Tips for slowing down the busy minded horse

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by .Delete., Dec 14, 2015.

  1. .Delete.

    .Delete. Senior Member

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    Hello,

    I have a project in my string of horses, it's a WP mare who is 4 years old. She is one of the most busy minded horses I've ever met. She is not busy in the sense that she looks around, spooks, etc etc. She gets wayyyyyyyyy ahead of herself and as a result she gets very quick legged/choppy. She is very flat in the knee and deep in the hock. She just gets very "shuffle-y" and almost like a pogo stick (she could do KILLER lead changes). Very spring loaded.

    She can get very slow legged and calm, however it's for a stride or two then she scurries. What I've been doing is getting off of her back when she lopes. Almost completely or with every stride I'll stand up. Which seems to make a significant difference. Soon as I sit down she will go more forward, however she won't engage with her hind end more when she does go forward.

    I've done counter cantering, breaking down to the trot when she gets quick then loping off again, bending, counter bending, pull stops, etc etc. She will stay somewhat consistent when I do the breaking down to a trot, bending a little, then loping back off. But she quickens her stride and gets springy shortly after her departure.

    In regards to ger loping better when I get off her back, we are having a chiro come out to take a look at all the horses. Including her. We are going to investigate the "pain" factor. Which very well could be why she is so busy minded in the first place, is discomfort. I ride this mare in a fat twist snaffle. We are thinking about putting her over poles later on this week to see if that'll slow her down, give her something to think about. But like I said, her busy mind translates to her legs which is the problem. It's like a dang pogo stick.

    Any suggestions or ideas other than discomfort (as I said the chiro will be coming out soon)? Also her teeth were recently done and we are throwing around the idea of possible reproductive discomfort (cyst on an ovary or something).
     
  2. prairiesongks

    prairiesongks Senior Member

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    If I am interpreting your post correctly, after ruling out pain (including reproductive issues), this mare sounds similar to Pistol, our hard to focus, goofball TWH gelding. The solution for him was a job, first as a trail horse out on challenging terrain so he had to pay attention to his rider and where he put his feet while he figured out how to negotiate obstacles. Now hubby is using him for roping too, another job where he has to pay attention to what he should be doing both putting hubby in the position to rope and then keeping the rope taunt so the calf stays down.

    When I read your post, the first thing I thought of was pain and then considered pole work make help keep her mind focused on the job, especially if you can mix it up with other obstacles like cones, barrels, a tarp to walk over, etc. I'd also be taking her out on trails to keep her thinking focused on her job---there's nothing you can do in an arena that can't be done on trails too! Also, I'd try in her another bit, perhaps a French link, to see if that makes a difference.
     
  3. Teekin

    Teekin Senior Member

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    Lovely miss Prairiesongs, the 1st thing I thought was, " well a twisted wire snaffle won't help a nervous horse, that's for sure. Put her over poles in it and all you'll get is scrambling legs and an upset horse who hates poles. " You can't fix riding problems with a bigger bit. A tense nervous horse will learn Nothing, they need to be relaxed in order to focus and learn. Get to the root problem, WHY? is she so easily upset?
     
    Pacing Lady and Faster Horses like this.
  4. miscetera

    miscetera Senior Member

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    Barring any pain issues, it honestly sounds like it's the rider who's busy here. Just lope her out. The only way to get a nice lope is to lope and lope and then lope some more. Stop fussing with her and see it that helps.

    I've been there. My mare was quick and choppy. The answer for us was long sessions of loping until she started breathing rhythmically and using her diaphram, nostrils blowing with each stride. This fitted her up and settled her down. And her lope sure did improve.
     
    Everythinghorses and raen015 like this.
  5. MuckMuck

    MuckMuck Senior Member

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    There is an opportunity to over think training a horse and I am certainly guilty of doing this in the past.

    My approach to such a task now is excruciatingly slow now and I find the horses take to it better as I pick very simple tasks and spend a great deal on time doing them.

    An example would be to pick a setting that is interesting to the horse like a familiar trail and walk for hours on that trail picking different routes so that the horse can see the area from different approaches.

    The walk might turn into a fast walk and then a slow walk at different spots along the trail to mix things up but it is still a walk.

    Later the idea of a trot is welcomed by the horse and we have more things to change up and add interest to the same trail.

    When a horse starts coming up with too many of their own ideas along the way sometimes I dismount and just decide to lead for a bit or even take a break and have some of the lunch I packed along.

    This gives time for the horse to sort out that I am setting the pace and not them.

    This method does not work with my wife when we go shopping though.:(
     
  6. Teekin

    Teekin Senior Member

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    Muck Muck, your approach reminds me SO much of Donny Rudko's. I wish you lived closer. My horses would visit "Camp MuckMuck" on a regular basis. The more I hear from you the better of a trainer I can see you are. Honestly, I tip my hat. I would be fine to drop my horses and come see them every week or so if you had them.:tiphat::bow:
     
  7. MuckMuck

    MuckMuck Senior Member

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    That is so nice of you to say.

    I like to sort of visualize my horses side of the lesson.

    Horse....."He let me go left at the big tree today!!!

    Then we went counter clockwise around the big rock and WOW, I have never seen that rock out of the other eye and it really is different on that side.

    I can't wait to see what crazy things we are going to do next time".
     
  8. Teekin

    Teekin Senior Member

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    MuckMuck, I love it. You have NO ego when you walk into the barn, it's all about the horse. I am going to start telling people to "just have MuckMuck explain that" when I see that they are having problems because the ride is all about Them and treats the horse like a 4 legged Toyota.
     
  9. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    When they hurry up their mind they're hurrying up their feet to get the exercises over with.
    I would do like Mucky says and take that horse out of the dang arena and into the world. Nothing slows them down like being out and about and having to take in what's around them. Ask for nothing, just go and get his mind back.
     
  10. MuckMuck

    MuckMuck Senior Member

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    It is important to approach your horse with the proper attitude and state of mind.

    Now in my case I have have met very few horses that didn't make me feel a whole lot more important while sitting up on them.

    They lifted my earthbound existence to new a level and perspective.

    I have always been much more mounted than staggering around on my two clumsy feet.

     

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