My Virtual Eventing Coach
One on one help and advice for you and your horse!
Our Resident Expert
Tip/Quote of the Day!
Our Resident Expert
Meet our Bloggers!
Tip/Quote of the Day!
Search the Site
Get our Mobile App!
Currently available on Google Play, at the Apple Store, and at Amazon for Kindle!
Hats for sale!
Click on hats to purchase!
Click on the virtual cart to enter the store!
You are here:
Question # 311: After reading your article on whether to look for a distance or focus on the quality of the canter, I have a few questions for you....
Mar 17, 2017
...Do you think it applies equally to xc and stadium? I mean do you ride the same with just a different canter or can you try to be more accurate in show jumping without messing up your horses initiative? Also, if you do have a good canter and your line is good and you can see moving up or holding slightly would improve your take off spot, can you do anything? Or do you really just let the horse deal with it. Or by leaving them alone to they learn to do it themselves? (Anonymous)
These are great questions, as I think so many riders are confused and unsure about this subject, with so many different and opposing opinions out there. You can definitely... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 310: What's best way to teach your horse to maintain a steady rhythm? My horse has issues with this. (Chris)
Mar 15, 2017
Many horses have this problem!
When a horse is having trouble maintaining the rhythm in their gaits, usually one or both of these things is happening... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 309, and Video # 97: This is Susanne!
Mar 7, 2017
We have been working on our canter all winter and I do feel like my ability to compress his stride is improving. I wanted to send you a recent video of us jumping, I can get him back and balanced after the fences but it takes me several strides and as he gets more excited about jumping I noticed that he likes to lunge forward in the last stride to the jump jumping at vs. up and over. I have read your article about how to get your horse to spend more time in the air and I will use all of those suggestions at home. Just wanted to see if you have any other tips or things that we need to address. (Susanne)
(Click on Question or Video Title above (in blue) to read the answer and critique of this video)
Question # 308: Wondering if I could get some advice on choosing a bit to try for a horse of mine. He's an ottb who is not far into retraining and is a fantastic horse with a great brain but I'm a bit stumped on what to try for a bit....
Mar 6, 2017
...In the walk and trot he is light as a feather. Maintains an incredible contact for the amount of training he has had and is soft in the hands and very responsive. When we get into canter, he maintains his connection and pace but becomes a bit of a freight train. He isn't "hanging" on the bit and diving down, but is just very strong, and has a tendency to lose his right shoulder when passing the by the entry gate. He will try to "bolt" (not full bolt but really cock his shoulder out and drift) towards the gate even when on a 20m circle on the opposite end of the arena. Even with a VERY strong outside rein and really putting on the leg, I feel he could break for the gate if he really wanted to and I don't have full control. With how gentle, willing, and soft he is in the walk and trot I hate to "upgrade" to some of the stronger bits, and wondering if there is something you know of that will give a little more control and help shut down his shoulder without being consistently harsh. (Samantha)
From what you are saying, my advice would be to... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 307: I am getting ready to start my youngster under saddle. What bit do you recommend for starting a young horse? (Karen)
Feb 5, 2017
My preferred bit for starting young horses is... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 306: Do you recommend getting a pure showjumping coach or an eventing coach to help with showjumping issues? (Ashleigh)
Jan 22, 2017
I think that riders who have access to a really good Eventing coach do better when they train all 3 phases with that trainer. Because when working with Eventing horses and riders, all 3 phases have to be trained with
the other phases in mind
What do I mean by traning with all three phases in mind?
(Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 305: My question is about arena footing depth. I have a small indoor arena (75x75) that recently got new sand footing. Seems to me though that it is too deep in the areas which I ride most. Currently it is 6-8 inches deep...
Jan 1, 2017
...and even deeper when I groom it after use. Now that it is drying out more it is very difficult to do flat work and even jumping is getting difficult . What would be the ideal depth of the footing for both the above formentioned activities and what is best way to maintain the sand footing? (Robyn)
Please stop riding in that arena immediately! Sand that is 6 to 8 inches deep is
too dangerous to be working your horse in. There are some disciplines who prefer working in excessively deep sand, but it is
risky, and I would never advise it. The risk of tendon or ligament strain or even a major injury is just far too high. The correct depth of sand for a riding arena is... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 304: So I have recently acquired an off track standardbred pacer. We are in the works of trotting only, and not pacing, before we even attempt the canter. The plan is for him to event lower level...
Nov 16, 2016
...maybe just pony club... although he would probably be stronger in dressage. He has free jumped beautifully though so I am hopeful! I have only about four rides on him ATM due to some health issues resolving when I adopted him... S
o since a lot of our work is trot and ground pole work to build up his muscles, I have been beating myself up because I cannot, for the life of me, sit his trot! I by no means am the best rider the world, but I do take pride in being able to sit a pretty bouncy trot, from my old QH mare to my warmblood mare who has so much suspension she will throw you out of the saddle at the trot. I have worked hard to accomplish this. But I cannot manage with him! Do any of you have any tips on helping myself to sit his trot?! If I ask him to slow down too much he goes into the pace again just because his muscles aren't ready for slower work yet... (Shelby)
The first thought that comes to my mind is... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 303: My horse is SO lazy, I have such a hard time getting her to go forward. She exhausts me nearly every time I ride her. Although she is better once we really get jumping courses...
Nov 14, 2016
...I already use spurs and a whip, but when I use either she either ignores me or pins her ears and threatens to buck. How can I get her more motivated? (Susan)
This is a great question, as it is SO important for your horse to be (and
in front of your leg
. Not much can be achieved without it! Those that don't truly have it, yet are working on more advanced concepts are only fooling themselves. They will only continue to struggle until they go back and fill in that big hole in their horse's foundation. (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 302, and Video # 96: I have a question about confidence. My horse is 8 but had about 6 months off when I was pregnant in 2015. Since coming back I feel like he has been spookier then he used to be. Before I could trust him to jump anything...
Oct 18, 2016
... Now he will sometimes have a look at the first three fences even if they are nothing out of the normal and I feel like I really have to ride him forward to get that adrenaline going to help out his confidence. I don't think this problem is physical, as he feels great, and my vet has checked him out thoroughly. What do you suggest? (
I'm glad you sent some videos along with this question, as even though he doesn't look particularly spooky or backed off in these videos, I can get a much more clear picture of what is going on... (Click on Question or Video Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 301: Do you have any advice, suggestions for us older riders that suffer from chronic back & hip issues? I feel I am well past my peak as a competitive rider and as I age I lose more and more "ability." Help. Please. (Nancy)
Oct 14, 2016
I totally hear what you are saying... it sucks to get older! Aging riders often have to deal with chronic pain and stiffness from past falls and injuries, in addition to the "normal" problems of aging. I think that many of the ideas to keep older horses going strong will benefit riders as well! (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 300: Do leads matter when riding XC? (Ellen)
Oct 2, 2016
When galloping along between fences - no, not really. Although the ability to switch to the inside lead to make an upcoming turn will certainly make it easier to keep the horse balanced
(and less likely to slip and fall around turns.)
But there is an important point here that I want to bring up... something that most riders never think of, and can make a difference in their horse's soundness... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 299: My OTTB was recently diagnosed with some major back pain associated with saddle fit (I guess two different saddle fitters looking at it 4 different times wasn't enough!)....
Sep 19, 2016
...The vets recommended chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture and some other therapies, as well as work on strengthening his back and core since it is underdeveloped due to pain from the saddle (my saddle is too big for his back, it sits past his last rib). He has always been adjusted regularly, and we are working on easing him into acupuncture (so far he is not a fan) with the help of some other therapies to help relieve his tension. My question is, do you have any groundwork exercises to improve his back and core strength until I find a saddle that fits him better? My current plan is to hand walk him up and down long gradual hills 3 times a week with maybe some lunging 2x a week between those days. He is in decent shape other than his back, and we are shooting for a schooling show and clinic 5 weeks out contingent on finding a better saddle and his comfort/strength level. We would shoot to do a Combined Test at Beginner Novice, we have competed successfully through Novice I just don't want to push the height so close to his reconditioning. Once we find a new saddle, I plan on implementing your other exercises recommended for building a topline and for horses with tense backs, I just want to start on the ground so we don't lose too much conditioning! Thank you so much! (Natalie)
Sorry to hear that your horse has become sore in his back! The key to building back strength, whether in or out of the saddle, is to make sure the horse is really
those muscles when he moves. This can be surprisingly hard, as horses can be experts at holding their lower back muscles still and tight while moving...
(Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 298: Your tip of the day about the walk made me think about this question.... I have a nice warmblood mare that I have started and I am only doing exercises in the walk for the first year on her back to give her time to grow...
Aug 31, 2016
...We have done lateral moments and walked through some cavalettii and been on lots of trail rides. Are there any other exercises or things I can teach her at the walk? (Jen)
This sounds like a good plan, to do much of your work at the walk with a growing young horse. This way you can educate and strengthen the horse, while putting as little stress on their body as possible. Two of my favorite exercises to do in the walk are... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 297: Suggestions for how to figure out when you're ready for a double bridle and also how to possibly figure out which curb? I currently ride in a French link snaffle bradoon. (Jennifer)
Aug 21, 2016
You can probably ask 10 different trainers this question, and get 10 completely different answers. I am of the opinion that... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 296: I have a question about "bitting up" versus moving up....
Aug 15, 2016
...This past weekend I took my 9 year old OTTB to a schooling show, we have been schooling Novice but I decided to compete at Beginner Novice since our cross country experience is limited and we don't get much opportunity to school XC with a coach. Dressage was tense, but good enough for a 34.7. He has been relatively quiet in stadium, but in this particular case he was very difficult to keep from running at the fences, the only line that held him was the 2 stride. Cross Country was exhausting, in between jumps he would put his head down and just lean and try to take off. He didn't back off of any of the obstacles even the ones that were placed on a very awkward line. In the past at shows he's been a bit green on xc, the fences back him off a little and he tended to keep his head up. What do you think the best course of action is after a ride like this? While we did well at this competition, I don't think this is a good way to continue! I don't know that the Novice jumps would have backed him off any, and I don't think he would have actually made a couple of the turns on that track the way he was going! I've never used a gag, so I would rather stay away from bitting up that much if you think its appropriate in this situation. Thank you for your help!! (Natalie)
is not uncommon for Event horses to... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 295: I am just getting into Eventing after about 10 years of riding in the H/J world. What advice do you have for me? Things I need to focus on, etc? (Jesse)
Aug 2, 2016
Welcome to the wonderful world of Eventing! There is nothing like it, you will be totally addicted! First of all, check out
on how to get started in Eventing. That will lots of information that you will need to make the switch. And as for things that you may need to focus on in terms of your riding... the biggest thing that Hunter or Jumper riders need to think about as they switch to Eventing is... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 294 and Video # 92: My question is about banks, specifically jumping down....
Jul 21, 2016
...I don't know exactly what my body should be doing and I know that I don't release the reins enough as I jump down. Often in courses the down bank is followed by a jump to test your accuracy and control which makes me hold onto the reins even more as my horse has a big jump and a big stride and I am always afraid that I won't be able to get back in touch with him if I let the reins go. This video clip is of us schooling this weekend, the bank is at about the 56 second mark.
My horse is a lovely, honest, athletic type and I want to be able to do him justice, he is very forgiving but I know if I keep hitting him in the mouth at every bank he is going to start thinking about whether or not it is worth jumping! (Susanne)
First of all, I have to say how much I
your horse! He looks like a game athlete, and I love his natural balance at the gallop. And you two look to be a very well matched team. I see a lot of trust and understanding betweeen the two of you.
On to your question about jumping down banks... (Click on Question or Video Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 293: So I'm bringing along a young horse. I have been trying to go slow with him, keep jumps small while he grows. He's in his five year old year now. My question is, what is a good guideline for heights you should be jumping at certain ages?
Jul 18, 2016
...He's in his five year old year now. My question is, what is a good guideline for heights you should be jumping at certain ages? He's mostly doing BN height right now, but has schooled up to 3'3 easily while messing around. I didn't want to take it any higher though, he is so willing but I don't want to do too much too soon. (Holly)
This is a subject that not many people can agree on! The best advice I have for you is to... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 292: Is a stop or turnout at a jump considered a disobedience or a spook? And do you believe some "spooks" are really just excuses to misbehave not truly fear? (Nancy)
Jul 11, 2016
This is a great question, as I am sure many riders can relate to the "cheeky" type of horse that is a
, and will sometimes use a spook as a way to try to get out of jumping a fence that you
they are not truly afraid of. The best way to handle spooky behavior at jumps is... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 291: I want to get my mare to PSG in Dressage, and I'm dabbling again in jumping at novice level. I've been riding her Dressage for the last 5 years, with hardly any jumping. I ride mostly off of seat and thigh aids, with very little lower leg,
Jul 5, 2016
...as she is nicely forward. My jumping instructor says I am pinching with my knee and thigh, and need to put my calves on my horse. But she is pretty narrow, so this is hard. And I am worried about losing the sensitivity she has towards my calf aids if I keep my calves too much on her sides. How can I work on my leg for jumping without losing my horse's sensitivity to the leg? (Jennifer)
It's great that you are doing some cross training and jumping your Dressage horse! You will probably find that your Dressage work only improves, as the variety will help her to
enjoy her work even more!
You raise a very interesting question... If you have trained your Dressage horse to be so forward thinking and "hot" to the leg, how do you develop or practice a jumping position with your lower leg on without losing that sensitivity? (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 290: I recently started riding a very nice, well trained thoroughbred. She is pretty big, probably 17+ and a little long backed. My normal ride is a 15 hand compact very (overly) sensitive ottb, so she feels ginormous....
Jun 19, 2016
...She also takes a lot more leg, more than my horse, which I'm still getting used to. I forgot to mention that I'm 5'2" so my leg literally comes to half way down her barrel. I've been struggling a little with feeling in sync with her especially at the canter, she has big almost warmblood show jumper like hind movement, and I believe I'm bracing a bit in my stirrups in trying to find my balance, because when I drop them I can get the exact ride I'm after and it's wonderful, and so fun.( It's been great riding a horse that can do all the things after a lifetime of green ottbs.) :-) I'm wondering if you have any advice or exercises that I could work on to keep from bracing, because I'd like to be able to get that great ride with my stirrups too. (Amy)
How wonderful that you have this opportunity! Riding other horses will often improve your riding by leaps and bounds. And big moving horses in particular will teach you how to really follow the movement! When you can sit a big moving horse's trot or canter, you know that you
know how to sit the trot and the canter! Now, on to your question... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 289: My ottb was trained before me with draw reins, and now he over flexes to where he touches chest almost at trot even when i let the reins loose. I drive him forward but he keeps doing it. How do i stop him? (Eileen)
May 18, 2016
This can be a very tough problem to fix, unfortunately! And is one of the many reasons that I detest draw reins. Once a horse has learned that he should tuck his nose when feeling the pressure of the bit, it can be very hard to convince him otherwise! First of all... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 288: How do you tell the difference between a horse in correct self carriage and one that is merely posing? A posed horse will pass the test for self carriage even though is not relaxed or through. (Sharon)
May 17, 2016
This is a GREAT question! When you test your horse's self carriage as outlined in
, and you feel that he passes the test by maintaining all of the qualities listed there, how do you know
whether your horse is really correct, or if he is just posing in a false frame?? The answer is... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 287: I am struggling with being able to keep my heels down while also asking for something with my legs. I don't have an issue with just general support but if I need to add a little extra...
Apr 19, 2016
...or am asking for a lateral movement I can feel it creeping up. Any suggestions or exercises? (Kayla)
This is actually quite common! And most riders don't realize that they do this... so good for you that you are aware of the problem! This problem stems from the rider... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 286: This might be a weird question, but I have been riding for 30 years, and eventing for 20. And I used to love it and live it. Now I am getting to the point that it feels more like work than fun....
Apr 11, 2016
...I have been considering selling my horses and hanging up my boots. But I am worried that I will regret that decision. My question is, how do you know when to give it up or if you are just going through a bad patch? (Anonymous)
I am sorry to hear that you have not been enjoying your riding as much lately. This can unfortunately be a sport of great highs and lows, and many riders will go through periods where things are frustratingly difficult, and just not fun anymore. The answer to your question about whether or not you should give it up can really only be answered by
. You will have to dig deep inside to really find out what you really want. The first thing I would suggest that you do is to... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 285: My dominant mare can be severely herd bound. Our pasture which is excellent for gallops uphill/downhill/flat is the only place to ride other than the tiny arena or paved road. I try to longe her away from friends, but she can...
Mar 27, 2016
...buck, pull, and "pig root" once I'm on her. I usually jut throw in the towel at this point as she has thrown me in the past. Any suggestions? I don't have anyone to ride with, at the moment but that may change. (Ellen)
Horses that are herd bound or barn sour can be tough to fix! It won't be an easy or quick process, but there are definitely some things you can do... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 284: While conditioning work is best done in the open with varying terrain, not everyone has access to the amount of open space, or open space with the right terrain or footing to do their conditioning rides...
Mar 18, 2016
...Here in Southern CA, you may be able to trailer out for conditioning work but many boarding facilities aren’t near suitable trails making regular scheduled conditioning difficult. What would you suggest as the best way to use the arena and less-than-ideal trails (walkable, rocky, not the best footing, etc.)? (Kjersti)
This is a great question, as more and more riders around the country are losing access to the kind of land that makes it easy to condition our horses for Eventing! One has to be creative and think outside the box! (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 283: My half halts seem to work pretty well on the flat, but between jumps my horse tends to blow me off. He fights the bit and just keeps going at whatever speed he wants. What can I do to make him listen to me? (Heather)
Mar 13, 2016
This is actually a fairly common problem, as the excitement of jumping can really get some horses fired up! It is important that you handle the situation correctly every time your horse ignores your half halt, or his response to your them is not likely to improve! Read
this article for an explanation of how you should respond in the various situations
. And here is a very important tip for you, on how to make half halts between jumps more successful...
(Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 282: My new horse is a great jumper and LOVES cross country. However, he does not like to go in strange water jumps...
Mar 6, 2016
...When we go schooling at a new place, it sometimes takes me a half hour to get him in the water. Then once he goes in he seems to love it. But we get to the next place and he won't go in again! What can I do? Does this mean he is not going to be a good eventing horse? :( (Kris)
Don't panic! Since it sounds like he seems otherwise very bold, and appears to like the water once he is in it, I think there is a good chance that your horse will come around about this. There
some very specific things that you want to do when schooling the water from now on, that will set you up for the best chance at success, however. And that is to... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 281: My mare has always had an issue with bucking/pulling upon landing in the next stride after landing from a fence when doing cross country...
Feb 29, 2016
...It’s inevitable the first few times, even with proper warm up. I've had her since she was a yearling and she is now 10. I'm sure if I was a better rider, this wouldn’t happen. She also has always had difficulty with holding the left canter lead. I'm sure chiro would help. What are your suggestions? (Ellen)
It is never fun when horses develop the habit of bucking after fences. It can even become quite dangerous if the horse gets carried away with it! Since you also mention issues with the left lead canter, my first thought is... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 280: When using side reins or surcingle for lunging, do you allow the side reins to be of equal length or do you make the inside rein slightly shorter? (Melanie)
Feb 21, 2016
This is an age old question that has a VERY clear answer in my book! (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 279: I am working on up and downward transitions to the canter with my 17 year old OTTB. He is going great the the right, really lifting in the upward and going down to the trot easily. When I switch to the left...
Feb 1, 2016
...he acts like he has never done the canter before and goes into the canter like a racehorse jackhammer. I give him half halts but he gets very defensive. H
e seems very stiff to the right in general and likes to avoid bending that way by throwing the right fore out.
What is a good exercise I can work on, and how do I approach it since he goes behind the verticle and is broken at the 3rd vertebra. (Suzanne)
It sounds like you are dealing with the very common problem of... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 278: I am a dressage rider who is currently working on 2nd level. I have some days where I am really capable of connecting my seat to sit the trot very fluidly and straight...
Jan 13, 2016
... (as I have a problem of tending to put too much weight on my right seat bone). This usually happens when I am able to fully soften and relax my spine. I have been doing several exercises to release and stretch my psoas muscles, but I just find that if I try to sit the trot multiple days in a row, my muscles get progressively tighter and unwilling to relax and move with the horse. I am wondering if you have any additional thoughts that help individuals to relax into the sitting trot, exercises, or stretches that you find particularly helpful. As sometimes I feel extremely connected, straight, and relaxed in the sitting trot, and some days I cannot figure out how to get back to that feeling, so if you have any advice, it would be much appreciated! (Berott)
It sounds like your tendency to want to sit a little crooked causes some tension in your muscles... or the tension in your muscles is causing you to sit crooked! Sometimes it can really be like the story of the chicken and the egg... which came first? Without seeing this happen to you, I couldn't begin to guess which problem is causing the other. But it really doesn't matter anyways - as you have to fix them both! (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 277: I would like advice on how to get comfortable switching from longer Dressage seat stirrups to Stadium and XC short stirrups as a middle aged working amateur rider?
Jan 8, 2016
...I am blessed with two horses and ride 3-4 times a week = 6-8 chances to adjust stirrup length/week. I usually hack a hole longer and adjust up for jumping. I also ride without stirrups a few minutes every ride. But I never feel secure unless I concentrate on one discipline or the the other. (Nancy)
This is a great question, and I think that this is an issue that many amateur riders struggle with!
What I suggest is...
(Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 276: One of the mares I ride has gotten incredibly fussy about her stomach. She nips and kicks when I brush her belly and get equally frustrated by the girth....
Jan 2, 2016
...I've tried a bunch of different girths and even started working her bareback for awhile, but she still hates being brushed on her belly. What could be going on and how might I fix it? (Brooke)
A lot of horses (especailly mares) are "girthy" to some degree, (and if you haven't yet tried one, our sponsor, Total Saddle Fit, makes a
girth designed to keep horses comfortable in that area - check it out
), and sometimes it is something that you just have to learn to live with. BUT, since it sounds like this is a
problem, or at least one that is getting
, it sounds like maybe... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 275: My little quarter horse mare likes to tilt her nose to the left at the trot and canter when working indoors...
Jan 2, 2016
...She doesn't do it when jumping, at the walk, or when out hacking. She is consistent in this behavior regardless of what bit she has on: I use a plain snaffle at home and a mullen mouth pelham out foxhunting. I've ruled out physical problems: she's had her teeth checked, saw the vet & chiropractor. What can cause this & how do I fix it? (Kellyn)
You don't mention how old your horse is, or at what level she is working... but usually when this problem arises it is due to one (or more) of these three things: (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 274: One of the horses I ride is built downhill and can get EXTREMELY heavy sometimes, especially when he is getting tired near the end of a work out. How do I combat this? (Brooke)
Dec 23, 2015
This of course can be a very common problem with horses that are built downhill! First of all, check out this article on
Dressage with the croup high horse
, which discusses ideas on how to get the best work out of this type of horse. And for a thorough description of how to make downward transitions and
work to truly cause your horse to carry himself better, read this... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 273: I'm wondering if you have any favorite exercises for strengthening a horse's back and building topline?
Dec 18, 2015
...My old guy has been back to work for about two months after being off since June with major hoof trauma/crazy ulcer flares, He's (knock on wood) doing well, but he's lost all of his topline, and I'm having problems with him getting a little back sore. I've had a fitter out to adjust my saddle and pads to accommodate his frame now, and he's also getting body work. He's going on 21 so I know that it just takes longer to regenerate muscles on these old guys, I'm just wondering if you have an other exercises in mind beyond the tried and true long and low, that might help? I've been thinking about doing some long lining work with him, just to take my weight out of the equation, but I don't know a lot about long lining, so if you have any pointers there that might also be helpful. (Amy)
The fundamental key to building a good topline on a horse is... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 272: We have a HUGE problem with distances when jumping, my horse never seems to know where to put his feet. Do you have any advice? (Lija)
Dec 8, 2015
This is exactly what happens when riders... (Click on Questin Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 271: One of the horses I ride has been dragging his hind toes recently. The right is very worn down and the left is a tad better. I can definitely feel a weakness in his hind end, as he falls out very easily...
Dec 3, 2015
...His owner has seen and is not very worried, but he has not always done this during my time riding him. He was lame awhile back (~2 months ago) with no clear wounds, but is not at all uneven now. He had been seen by a chiropractor and has trotted out in front of a vet. Neither showed concern. However, I don't know how to fix this and I am worried. Help! (Brooke)
While there are several different potential causes for this problem, d
ragging hind toes is a classic sign of... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 270: I'm working with a 6 year old Trakehner who supposedly had been over fences before, but he acts like complete first-timer any time I try to take him over a cross rail. He even looks at poles and tries to avoid them...
Nov 17, 2015
...There were a few times he actually ran at a jump after we trotted over it a few times and I didn't correct him because he was finally moving forward and straight at the jump. He had a couple month gap in his training before I came along. How do I get him going confidently over fences? (Brooke)
This could be happening for any number of reasons... but in any case, the answer is to... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 269: I am planning to get a new jumping saddle soon, and am not sure what kind to get. Do you like saddles with big knee rolls, or saddles that are more like close contact saddles for eventing? (Anonymous)
Nov 3, 2015
Saddles are such a personal thing! I am a big believer in quality, and that you get what you pay for. So, with that in mind I would recommend that you try to find a used version of a higher quality saddle, rather than buying a new saddle that is less expensive. Cheaply made saddles are often made of a lesser quality leather that is quite slippery, and are often not properly designed to put the rider in balance.
As for saddles with big knee rolls for jumping, I feel that... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 268: So, I took my 4 year old, Todd, to his first combined training last weekend. It was his second time jumping a full course and very first dressage test, and he was fantastic for how green he is. I'm a proud momma! I have a question about.
Oct 28, 2015
...I have a question about a comment the dressage judge wrote on my test. She said when I put him on the bit, I need to make sure to get his head up higher so he doesn't feel tempted to drop on the forehand. My question is, how high exactly am I supposed to keep his head up? He is still growing, he is in a growth spurt right now so he is very croup high. If I ask him to get his neck up higher, I'm afraid it's uncomfortable for him with how he is built right now. I've also heard that it's better to let them learn to move through the back into contact, even if they are slightly on the forehand, then ask them to raise the neck and step under as they get stronger. I don't want to ask him to do more than he's ready for, physically and conformationally. (Holly)
First off, congrats on your young horse doing so well at his very first competition! That is awesome! I have to say
I am rather surprised to hear this comment from the Dressage Judge.... and what I am wondering is... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 267: My horse used to be a very bold and confident jumper. We competed to Training level very successfully. Then I took a year off because I had a baby. And now that I am back to riding, I feel like I have a different horse....
Oct 25, 2015
...He doesn't take me to the fences anymore, and I have to ride really aggressively or he feels like he wants to stop. I haven't taken him to any competitions since I brought him back, since I don't like the way things are going. I tried using the whip to make him more forward and positive at the jumps, but that only seemed to get him nervous and spooky. I can hardly believe that this is the same horse that used to practically drag me to the jumps! What would you suggest I do? (Alice)
You don't say how old your horse is, but it may be a good time for a thorough exam by a good lameness veterinarian. There are many soundness issues that present in a way that the horse isn't actually outright lame, but their performance is negatively affected. Especially with bilateral lamenesses, such as when both front feet or both hocks hurt equally. In this case, the only way the horse can "speak" about his issues is to try to avoid things that cause him to hurt. So when a horse that was previously forward thinking and a willing jumper, begins to
enjoy his work... pain issues defintely need to be ruled out.
Since your horse was out of work for a year, all of his supporting structures would have likely become weaker. Which can mean that all of his joints would take more of a pounding while you are bringing him back into work. How much time did you take to bring him back into jumping work? At any rate, get him
checked out physically. And you might also want to check your saddle fit - as if your horse's shape has changed significantly, your saddle might be giving him pain and causing your problem. If everything checks out physically - then let's move on to fixing this problem from a training standpoint! (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 266: My horse hollows his back and throws his neck up in canter to trot downward transitions? What can I do to fix this? (Anonymous)
Oct 20, 2015
Almost always when this happens, one or both of these things is usually the cause... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 265: I am a very timid person in general but my confidence was crushed last year due to a fall in the show jumping phase. I am now scared of oxers and I haven't jumped one since that show...
Oct 12, 2015
...(my horse chipped in due to my miscalculation. He jumped at the last minute and I did a flip over his head) Every time I jump now I get anxious and I think that the same scenario is going to replay. How can I boost my confidence again? (Marissa)
I am so sorry to hear about your fall! You are certainly not alone however, as most riders go through a significant confidence crisis at some point. What you need to do is... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 264: I am about to introduce my young horse to jumping, and I have a question. Should I let him go up to new jumps and look at them before asking him to jump them, or is this not a good idea? (Amy)
Oct 7, 2015
This is a great question! The answer is... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 263: I am riding an OTTB with a limited amount of back muscle. What are some exercises I can do with him to help build it? (Suzanne)
Aug 24, 2015
Good for you for being aware of this situation! I see many riders who don't seem to notice that their horses have insufficient topline muscles - and they sometimes ask or expect too much of them, resulting in unnecessary resistance. Making the time and effort to build up your horse's topline strength will go a long ways towards turning him into a happy partner and a willing performer! (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
Question # 262: I recently bought a 9 year old Thoroughbred, who I was told had more training than he actually does. When I rode him the first time he acted like he knew nothing, and completely disregarded any aid I gave him....
Aug 18, 2015
...The first day he wouldn't even steer, now he is a little better with that, but he is still just dead to my leg. He won't move forward or off of pressure. He will only move forward with a tap of the crop to his rump. I have tried using a crop as just kind of an extension of my leg, but I really don't want to get rough, or into an argument with him and make him have bad experiences being that he's so "young" in his training. He's really easy going, but kind of dim. I just would like to know how to go from here. I've worked with young and green horses before but he's definitely different from any I've had experience with. Thank you! (Sam)
I think the best thing to do in this situation is to... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
more articles >>
Newsletter Sign Up
Please fill in the details below to sign up to our newsletter.
Total Saddle Fit
Tota Comfort System
Terms & Conditions
Copyright © 2011-2016 - My Virtual Eventing Coach LLC - All Rights Reserved - Unauthorized use or duplication of this material without permission is strictly prohibited.
- Powered by
SubHub - Membership Site Software