View Full Version : I give up
19th January 2010, 05:48 PM
Two weeks ago Magic could canter 20m circles on both reins (ok so right rein was on the wrong leg), canter circuits of the school and i was beginning to be able to collect him. Something i've been trying to get for over a year and a half and it felt so good to finally feel like i've got somewhere with him. Yesterday and today have just made me feel really down about it all, he's gone back to how he was about a year ago, struggling to strike off when i ask him, cantering for a few strides then refusing to go any further so either dropping back to an unbalanced very much on the fore hand trot or just stopping completely and almost falling on his nose. In trot he's lazy, i really have to kick to get him into trot the first few times and he's constantly slowing down, walk is even worse, it's painfully slow. The only thing he has got better at is rein back and turn on the fore hand but it's got to me so much that he's taken 5 steps back :( I feel like giving up, i can't afford lessons, i can't afford to get him schooled and i've run out of things to try. He ignores my leg when he wants even though i don't nag him and he bucks if i use a schooling whip as he hates being told what to do.
I can't stand riding him anymore with his head stuck in an outside bend if he doesn't get to do what he wants, doing a flat, horrible canter or with him leaning on my hands.
I just feel like crying about it, i wanted so badly to do some dressage with him, i know he's capable of doing it, he can go really nicely and it isn't that he finds schooling boring, he loves doing leg yield and things like that.
Anyone near me want to have a go? I don't even want to get back on him right now.
19th January 2010, 05:53 PM
Id have a go but opposite ends of the country
Maybe have a little break from schooling if he doesnt like it so much, there is still plenty of things you can do hacking out and lunge him in the school, and maybe save schooling for once or twice a week, i hardly ride ollie i do most of my work from the ground yet he still improves and goes well under saddle
have a few days or a week chilling out and hacking if you can and then retackle the school on a day you are happy and have plenty of time
My Crazy Clan
19th January 2010, 06:20 PM
You've just moved to a new yard haven't you? This could be why, maybe he needs a bit of time to settle, are you rideing him in a school only? Maybe try school whilst your out hacking?
19th January 2010, 06:54 PM
He doesn't dislike schooling at all. Also i can't do circles when i hack as he just takes off with me. He also ignores my legs when hacking unless it's to ask him to go forwards, if i ask for leg yield he takes it as go faster.
I don't see why moving to a new yard would make him suddenly unable to canter either. I just want something to go right with him for ones without having to struggle all the time, nothing with him is ever easy :(
19th January 2010, 07:22 PM
moving to a new yard can do al sorts of things!
My horse moved and went from riding nicely to not bending, taking of with me and just generally being a bitch!
She just needed time to settle and now she is going very nicely1
he maybe is uneasy in himself and just needs sometime to chill!
Even if a horse doesnt dislike schooling a break can sometimes be a good thing. to sort his head out!
try to persevere you know he can do it so just breath and keep going, ride again tomorrow and take it back a step!
go back to encourageing bend from walk and doing spirals and someleg yield then build it up to trot once you'ce got it in trot go abck to canter.
this doesnt all have to been in one session spread it out a bit.
19th January 2010, 07:37 PM
Ah, he sounds not altogether dissimilar to Mags!
Maguire knows every trick in the book to get out of working and until I had some lessons I really had no idea even of what he was capable of. If you could even just have one lesson with a really good instructor - get a proper dressage trainer, then you would get so much to work on and should see a real difference.
I find that my own attitude is massive when it comes to Mags. I have been told to 'get angry with him' as he would ignore me so much, but the one occassion I did actually get angry through pure frustration because he was ignoring me, it just all went to pot.
What I am doing now is really taking my time. He gets a full 15 minute warm up. Then I start doing trot down the long sides, going back to walk for the half circles at the top, and I find he starts to anticipate this quickly, so comes a bit more in front of the leg for the upwards transitions. Once he is doing that I work on walk trot transitions, like MILLIONS of them - 5 strides trot, 3 walk, 8 trot, 6 walk etc. So that in one lap of the school I have made at least 10 transitions. Maguire is intensely lazy and I find this really helps. During this I will work on contact and ask him to come down onto the bit, but if that's not happening I don't sweat it, I just keep a steady, soft contact.
This is trot, not canter I know, but you could adapt it for canter. Maguire will also have a buck if he objects to the schooling whip, but then he will also ignore it if he feels like it. My instructor just says now ask once and if he doesn't respond immediately, ask again smacking as you do. It does help.
I hope this is some help, I know its not very 'scientific' but this is what I am working on just now. Also, does Magic like jumping? Maguire transforms if he sees a pole, so maybe you could incorporate some into your flatwork to pep him up a bit? Or warm up and pop a couple of crosses to get him thinking forwards before you start? You could try spurs, but if he objects to the whip he may object to those as well, Maguire was not pleased when I started wearing them. I have taken them off just now, for various reasons, but even if you wore them for one session to see if you get a difference.
Good luck! x
19th January 2010, 11:44 PM
I couldnt have put it better than Susan as my horse is very similar to this.
The thing about millions of transitions works WONDERS for laziness and getting their attention, I managed to work this up to walk to canter transitions and the responsivness was out of this world.
Could you afford maybe just one lesson? I know they can be expensive, could you share with someone?
Do you jump him? Was thinking it might be worth popping a jump in the school just to vary and just go over it a couple of times mid-schooling.
Best of luck xx
20th January 2010, 09:09 AM
If he's only cantering on one leg, his muscles are going to be very uneven.
He may be unbalanced on small circles so could be struggling to do what you're asking.
You really need to work on getting him onto his other leg, by asking for canter coming out of a corner.
If this doesn't work and you can jump him, I would jump him and almost turn mid air to get him landed on the correct leg.
I would also get his back and saddle checked to make sure they are not causing his unwillingness to work.
20th January 2010, 11:21 AM
it does all sound very frustrating but i agree with susan and amanda that transitions should really help. Even though Magic CAN do the things you are asking him (as you said he has done them before) that doesn't mean he is GOING to do them. Fleck is so similar to this. One day she can be a dream to school and will win a dressage comp when the next day she can't even bend round a corner!!!
I've found that this best way to deal with this is to try not to let it get to you. There isn't alot that you can do if they are feeling that way out and you don't want to give them too much of a hrad time as thats no fun for either of you.
Make sessions fun with jumps and poles and mix it with short bursts of work inbetween.
I know this isn't a great answer but what i am really trying to say is, don't give up, try new things and hopefully the rest will fall into place.
Tarka the horse
20th January 2010, 11:22 AM
Agree with Helena.
Have you tried long lining him to see if he goes any better without a rider???
20th January 2010, 11:49 AM
Thank you for your replies everyone.
I haven't stopped thinking about this since i posted the thread yesterday.
I just wanted to add that he can canter on the right leg on the lunge on both reins so i think it may be a balance thing. I'll ask around to see if anyone knows a good back person though just in case, he's due for a check up anyway.
I don't jump him anymore but i could give it a go although i'm riding in a dressage saddle. Also he doesn't tend to canter after a jump but it's something i can work on. He does love pole work so maybe i could ask for canter going over a pole. Asking for canter coming out of a corner doesn't seem to work though.
Susan when you mentioned getting angry it was like you were describing me, i end up getting really frustrated which doesn't help at all. The more frustrated i get the more frustrated he gets which is what leads to the outside bend around corners, if i'm calm he bends.
I'm going to buy a schooling whip, if he bucks he bucks. It's just a stroppy thing which i'm sure he'll get over. I might also try spurs for a session to see if it helps as i know that i draw my heel up when i ask him to do things because my legs are too long on him, almost every ridden photo of i have of me on him has me with my leg right up so this can't be helping either. If i felt i could keep my leg relaxed while asking him to move forwards/sideways i'm sure it would help.
20th January 2010, 11:50 AM
Also forgot to add that i haven't tried long reining him but i do lunge him. I haven't for a few weeks though so will try again but his right canter although on the right leg on the lunge is still not as balanced as his left canter.
20th January 2010, 01:08 PM
If hes recently learned to 'correct' himself, his muscle may still be getting used to it. So he may be sore.
When was the last time his back was done? Saddle checked? Teeth done? Last time he was shod?
If all these were done recently, then maybe just try schooling, ground work helped LOADS with Spock, like Magic was, and still can be very difficult to canter, he goes flat very quickly and sometime just isn't responsive to my leg! Maybe try some long and low work and gradually shorten the contact, canter poles can help aswell.
Failing that, maybe just hack for a bit, take some pressure of the both of you and just enjoy riding! You'll come back into schooling refreshed.
My Crazy Clan
20th January 2010, 06:10 PM
Your be surprised at how much moving can change a horse, they can lose concentration quite quickly.
20th January 2010, 07:28 PM
It sounds as if he's out of balance or stiff. I schooled Chubbles today, bear in mind he's had a month off cos of the weather, and he was falling round corners on his shoulders and not bending and just pulling instead of working loosly and flexibly. He was quite on his forehand which was unusual because before he was off he was well balanced on his hindlegs, bending and doing pirouttes quit happily.
If I was you I'd start with doing walking work. Lots of circles, big and small, and just get him carrying himself and bending. Don't force him into an outline, it will come when he's working through his back properly.
20th January 2010, 07:47 PM
post him up to me :)
id check his back,teeth and saddle fit.
i would do some lunge work with him in a pessoa or nice eleastic side reins so he learns how to work properly without a rider. do lots of transitions and dont be afraid to give him a tap if he is lazy
isnt there anyone on the yard who would be willing to help you out?even a lesson every2 weeks or 4 weeks is better than nothing....
ride with a schooling whip to teach him to respect your leg- when yo lightly apply it, you mean it.
tones of transitions.
lots of work with your hands wide apart and at wither height to get him really round- if he pokes his nose, shorten your rein a bit. as soon as he softens, give with your fingers. dont accept anything less than what you are asking for.dont get angry, just keep asking until he understands and submits. always make it black and white or they get confused.
different size circles and getting him to move away from your leg- start with ground work- press your hand on his side while you have hold on the bridle, behind the girth and get him to move over.
then transfere it to ridden work- at stand still (at a corner can make it easier to start things off) put your outside leg back and press. keep his nose bent outwards and his bottom should move over away from your leg. if hes slow to offer a reaction give him a tap with the schooling whip. if he takes one step, take the pressure off and rub his neck. he will twig and you can then practice turn on the forehand by the letters of the school.
then practice leg yeilds from the long side to the 3/4 line and back. gradually ask for more sideways movement.
21st January 2010, 12:03 PM
I know how you feel! I'm in brighton, i'll trundle along and have a go!
Icarus used to be like that. He still is sometimes. A lot of the advice on here is what i would recommend, so i wont repeat it all. Just want to say, DONT GIVE UP!!! You CAN do it, it will take a long time, especially if hes used to going around with his head in the air.
Good luck, and keep us updated!
21st January 2010, 12:36 PM
Of course moving is going to have an impact on him. For a start the last thing he will want to do right now is 'concentrate' and correct schooling takes concentration. Give him a chance to settle and maybe do some inhand work and hacking and not focus too much on schooling right now. I've no doubt you will get him schooling properly again once he's settled. :)
21st January 2010, 05:35 PM
amandaco i'll see if i can find a stamp big enough ;) Thank you, you've given me some great advise :)
I'll pick you up from the station in sevenoaks Claire, you'd be more than welcome to have a sit on the monster.
I think i was maybe expecting a little too much of him when i rode him last, you're all right, i've just moved him to yet another home and he should be allowed to get used to it, i will probably leave ridden work until after the weekend apart from maybe a hack at the weekend to let him stretch his legs. He was much calmer tonight on the yard, just stood for ages while i groomed him and gave him a scratch. It was nice.
21st January 2010, 10:43 PM
i will expect him first class on monday :)
sounds like you feel more positive which is the first step!
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