I recently took over the ride on a talented but fairly willful Half Arab, a breed that's a bit outside of my wheelhouse having always owned and ridden OTTB's. He's a dream to jump and is light and responsive over fences, but is the complete opposite with flat work.
He did not have the best start, being jammed into a false frame with a kimberwick and pelham from 3-5 years old, so now at 6 I have quite a bit of undoing to do.(head tilt and all) He's making progress in straightness and leg yielding, but he's a total crab about it all. He'll try all the evasions(above the bit, behind the bit, the occasional rear) to get away from actually using himself before he realize I won't give up, then he grudgingly does what I ask. It is getting easier as time goes on, but I worry about making him sour, but I also know that I need to get him through it, So I have to find that balance of insisting he do that work and but not over doing it.
So I guess my question is do you have any strategies for a horse with a defiant personality like this? Any exercises that you could recommend blending to together that could mitigate his dislike of flat work? I have started to end my flat sessions with just a few jumping lines to remind him that we have fun too.
I'd love to know your thoughts. (Amy)
This sounds like a good challenge for you! Every horse has something to teach you, and it sounds like this horse will have plenty of things to teach you. :) Have a look at this article, which discusses dealing with horses that are somewhat dominant or defiant by nature. You say that since he likes to jump you let him end your flat sessions with a few jumps... But what I would try instead is... (Click on Question Title above to read full answer)
I would like to ask your opinion regarding a horses natural jumping technique and how much it can be improved. I can set fences at home to get him jumping with better technique but then we go to a show and he reverts to jumping like this. He had been having 4 to 5 rails every round. How much can a horses jumping technique be improved? My feeling has always been that you can improve what they naturally have to an extent but you're not going to turn a "3" into a "10". And right now I think he's a 3 or 4. (Kaley) (Click on Video or Question Title above (in blue) to read the answer and the critique of this video)
Hi Kellyn!The first thing I have to say is... (Click on Video or Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer and the critique of this video)
...Sometimes I can get the left lead if I am trying really hard but in a show environment I can't get it. She does not know how to do flying changes yet. It does not seem to help that she is quite balanced counter cantering on the right lead so she has little incentive to switch. Do you have suggestions of exercises we can do to practice getting the left lead and suggestions on how to go about teaching her flying changes? (Or should I worry about that? She's currently competing at novice but we're getting ready to move up to training). Thanks in advance! (Kayla)Hi Kayla!When a horse always lands from jumps on one canter lead they are showing you that they are using one hind leg more strongly than the other when they push off over the jump. Think about a car with one tire that is low on air. The car will tend to lean and pull one direction, no matter what you do as a driver, until you can make the tires even (straightness.) There are several different possible causes for a horse to push off unevenly behind when jumping... (Click on Question Title above (in blue) to read full answer)
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