Forwardness issues....

Gingerbird

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Hi all,

I don't post that often but hope to pick your brains for ideas.

Planning for the new season with my 7yr old Connie. Thinking about our dressage, I decided to read back through our test sheets and the reacurring comment from judges is that he's a promising little horse but needs to be more forward, particularly in trot.

He's a really spooky so and so which obviously doesn't help, he also has the concentration span of a goldfish, but at home he's so active and forward (but not always attentive) I'm at a loss as to why he seems to go within himself and go 'backwards' at shows.

Any hints on how to bring his 'at home' attitude to parties would be appreciated.

He's a funny old sole as with our jumping he won't jump at home (that well) but is fine at shows, so this considered as it makes no sense I'm fully happy for people to suggest its me or a prob of mine.

Thanks all xx
 

Kelpie

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so would you say he has a decent trot at home but it all goes to pot in the dressage arena?

If he can do it at home, then I wonder if its a confidence (or concentration) issue on your part/ his part or both?

Could you try hiring a few different arenas locally to get him/ you more used to going elsewhere/ go to clinics, etc, to make getting out and about a bit more normal?
 

Gingerbird

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Yes he has a lovely active trot at home but goes almost backwards during a test. My confidence used to fail but I'm much better now, maybe he still remembers that?

He's been to various places for training etc and everytime he fixates on a different issue. In one place the first time he went for a lesson he shied for the entire session that one small section of post and rail was filled in, the next visit to the same place all the jumps were clustered in the middle so that was issue for the entire session but the filled in fence was ignored!

Went to another session at a different arena to just and he 100% fixated on a skinny fence for the whole session.

On all 3 occasions the instructors always say 'keep riding him through it, he'll get over/forget about it shortly' but he doesn't.

Just writing it down I wonder if his brain just isn't occupied enough?

So frustrating because he has got a wee bit of talent but just won't apply himself!
 

Kelpie

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Think you may be right and you need to set him to work more when you are out .... Maybe try lots of transitions or some lateral work to get his attention on you?
 

soulfull

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As u say you need to keep his mind distracted. Loads of short sharp transitions.
I suspect because of his spooking you are a tiny bit nervous and hold him back, which is understandable. But that in turn makes him think there is something to be worried about
Somehow you have to really let/get him forward.
Interestingly I read somewhere recently a top rider who I can't remember their name said if his horse is shying at something he keeps away from it for the first 15 mins or so and really gets his horses working and listening. Only then does he go near scary object. Which is opposite to what I've always done. But then he circles by it and away from it, making the circle a little closer each time. I do this and it does work well
I would also feed him mag ox as it really does help with spooking and concentration
Good luck
 
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