Exercises for tense horses?

rosiesowner

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 April 2015
Messages
1,486
Location
Yorkshire
Does anyone have any exercises for tense horses? The horse they're for becomes tense when you ride him, and can set his neck in a false outline, not taking the contact or truly coming through from behind. Any exercises to improve his rhythm and relaxation would be much appreciated.
Thank you!
 

HufflyPuffly

Well-Known Member
Joined
24 October 2012
Messages
5,061
For Topaz, we first needed to get the right instructor!

Once we had someone who really understood her issues and how to go about fixing them, we slowed everything down and got her in a long, low frame. If she is being partcually buzzy then flexions and shoulder-in get her attention back on me and keeping her on a circle means she has less to spook at. With Topaz we had to slow her down first before we could then ask her to do anything more. We used lots of slow transitions to get her hind end engaged (so no abrupt transitions, which is what she liked to do). If she set her neck we would go back to flexions (so on a circle have outside flexion for x strides, then straight for x strides, then inside, always giving the rein once she had gave but keeping the contact with the other rein), and leg-yeilding but with lots of bend to get her free up her neck (so not a 'test' leg yeild).

I find once she is on the aids and listening she is super, she doesn't spook and is generally lovely. My struggle at the moment is to keep this :D.

However what worked above for Topaz may not work for yours, she is very hot and reacts to everything so getting her calm and focussed on me is key. Pole work can help rhythm but it gets Topaz far to excited to be of any use for her.

Really the right person on the ground made a huge difference to us.

x x
 

rosiesowner

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 April 2015
Messages
1,486
Location
Yorkshire
Brilliant, thank you for your suggestions! Horse really excels at lateral work and keeping his mind busy so will continue to use that and am really taken by your idea of slowed down transitions! Once again thank you!
 

HufflyPuffly

Well-Known Member
Joined
24 October 2012
Messages
5,061
Brilliant, thank you for your suggestions! Horse really excels at lateral work and keeping his mind busy so will continue to use that and am really taken by your idea of slowed down transitions! Once again thank you!
Glad it was of use :). My instructor also loves slowing us right down in walk so that I'm asking each leg to move and then going straight back into trot, really gets her using herself and listening to me.

x x
 

LiffWee93

Well-Known Member
Joined
29 October 2008
Messages
622
Location
Hampshire
we did much the same as Alexhyge --- realllyyy slowing down the tempo and setting the rhythm without using the hand at all, my little mare is so prone to tension and rushing because of it!!
the best exercise we have in our "toolbox" is bringing the pace back to a REALLY slow/small version of it, (not collected) by closing the thing and pulling the spine up underneath you, and holding till they relax - at which point you immediately soften (but do NOT ride forward, just allow it) repeat as often as necessary in each pace and they very soon learn to wait, the moment they wait, they soften, usually - your hand should have a soft allowing contact, and we normally work on a circle --- this exercise then grows to the point where you just close your thigh for a downward transition and i just have to squeeze softly for a half halt :)
Also, another one that works incredibly for us, is counting the number of strides on a circle, keeping each quarter the same number of strides each time --- then progressing to taking some out or adding some in, using said thigh exercise, every other quarter :)

Riding shoulder in really helps get mine into my outside rein and let me get my leg on, but making sure she doesnt take over by changing the degree of the shoulder in or doing a transition to walk, then trot again while in shoulder in, same with leg yield -- mine takes over a lot because she finds sidesways easier... :p

good luck'!!!
 

smja

Well-Known Member
Joined
8 October 2013
Messages
1,310
In addition to what has already been said, remember that some tense horse will not happily go into long and low/stretching straight off. Mine requires a fair amount of working in before he'll relax and stretch down properly - if I ask too early he does not let go through the back, and will then overreact to leg aids and try to rush rather than engage.

Softly softly catchy monkey for the stressheads!
 
Top