Getting a young horse more forward

matt_m

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Any tips, I have a 4 y/o that has been broken about 8 weeks now, all going well then suddenly started getting really stuffy (it's a mare if that helps at all!) teeth, saddle and back all checked, we have been doing mainly hacking so I don't see any reason for her to have got sour in the school, but she has all of a sudden decided to just not go when I put my leg on, ignores the whip, eventually after a lot of work and the help of someone with a lunge whip on the floor we do get somewhere but it's not great. She isn't like it out hacking. Any tips? She's also been kicking out when asked to go forward again only in the school.
 

be positive

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She is either in discomfort or doesn't understand what is being asked, as the trainer it is down to you to decide which it is, just because it doesn't happen out hacking does not rule out either option as the situation is so different and being young she will not yet be consistent or established enough for you rule anything out.
I would want to double check her physically as there are so many options and go back a step in her training, do some long reining to ensure she really understands what you want without the influence of the rider to possibly be confusing matters, many young horses will go through a stage of not understanding the aids and require some reinforcing work, a change of tactics or sometimes just a short break to recharge the batteries.
 

NZJenny

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IME four year olds struggle with "more forward". They aren't strong enough to be "forward" for any length of time (more than about three strides), but riders keep asking and as there is no rest they get sour and cranky very quickly.

School her out hacking and let her build up her strength and balance - I would leave the "school" for a bit, then re introduce it one day a week at a time. If she is associating it with whips and general unpleasantness, she isn't going to be in a hurry to go back there and who can blame her.

Young horses tend to set their own timetables and so many are ruined by being forced to comply with ours.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Good Lord! Put the lunge whip away! It is not the horse's fault that at 8 weeks broken she doesn't understand what you want, it's yours. The greatest asset for a trainer with young stock is patience, you need to find yours, get e everything, especially the tack, checked again, she may well have changed shape in the 8 weeks, and resolve to think like a horse. Bullying her will be counter productive.
 

matt_m

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How on earth am I bullying her? The whip is not making contact for goodness sake...it is a driving aid, as others have said it could well be a sudden confusion of the aids so surely helping her to understand that leg means forward and being black and white about it isn't bullying??? How else on earth do you help develop the association of leg = forward without doing anything else????? Tack checked less than a few weeks ago and will be rechecked!

Patience is one thing and I am all for that, we'll just wait and see if she suddenly works out what I want without me doing anything shall we!
 

matt_m

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So you don't use a lunge whip when lunging then? What's the difference exactly....? Or maybe you are into some strange natural horsemanship theory where you telepathically communicate to the horse and send it healing vibes for all the abuse it probably has never suffered. Goodness me.....how judgemental.
 

YorksG

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How on earth am I bullying her? The whip is not making contact for goodness sake...it is a driving aid, as others have said it could well be a sudden confusion of the aids so surely helping her to understand that leg means forward and being black and white about it isn't bullying??? How else on earth do you help develop the association of leg = forward without doing anything else????? Tack checked less than a few weeks ago and will be rechecked!

Patience is one thing and I am all for that, we'll just wait and see if she suddenly works out what I want without me doing anything shall we!
If you can get the mare moving forward from the voice, on the ground, then you should be able to get her to understand forward from the leg, in conjunction with the voice. I fail to see how you expect her to understand forward from a whip, if she doesn't understand it from the leg?
 
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I trained mine to voice aids before she was backed. Then once riding you could do the voice aid at the same time as the leg aid. After a while you could stop using the voice aid.

I would also agree that school work is much harder and more tiring than hacking both physically and mentally, especially for a freshly backed horse.
 

Equi

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What are you doing, step by step, when she wont go forward?

p.s. if you want proper constructive advice, you will need to take it and with grace. You have the problem, not us. Don't be a brat about it.
 

AppyLover

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My boy has just finished his Initial 5 months of training before his winter holidays and it took him many months to realise what leg meant and even at the end it depended on the day if he was really responsive or not, His voice aids on the lunge are brilliant. As I have no where near enough knowledge to teach this very important faze I handed him over to someone who was and she taught me along the way. For mine repetitiveness, slowly but firm was what he needed and to date he's not once bucked,bronced or reared etc etc and taken it all in his stride as he was never badgered to the point of it being a fight 😊 Could come back next year as a slug but I hope not 😂
 

Compoboots

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Mine was the same at the beginning but we never used anything like whips on the ground, just had a lead for her to follow until she understood the aids for going forward and stopping :)

Also being in the school and constantly turning is quite hard on them, she might just be getting tired?
 

Cluelessblonde

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I used dressage whip with my lad... very rarely mind but I would think if u have someone on the ground with whip they will continue to ignore u and follow who is on the ground.... try nudge then kick then little smack. That works with my lad just pure consistency so he understands the game
 

ycbm

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What is her breeding?

Have you had a physio check her over for muscle stiffness?

She is at exactly the point where my PSSM quarter horse cross refused to go forward and bucked me into orbit when I tried to make him by wearing spurs (which I barely used). He's never bucked since starting treatment, and never needed spurs.
 
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debbielinder

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I would do lots and lots of hacking out. My horse was similar as a youngster, although i felt he knew what i was asking he was just stuffy so he spent 6 months hacking out going everywhere and anywhere gave him a whole new outlook on life. He still can revert to his stuffy self occasionally even at 12, and i know its time to give him a good blast and a bit of fun works wonders.
 

madlady

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I wouldn't even be thinking about getting a 4yo more forward TBH - not so soon after backing.

I always work to the straight lines only rule until they have been going under saddle for at least 6 months - circles and constant bends are difficult for unbalanced youngsters - especially carrying a rider. Depending on type/build of horse it may be months before she can trot a 20m circle and stay balanced.

Is there a rush to get her more forward? Is there a rush to have her doing school work? If not just stick to hacking until she has built up the right muscles to cope with the added physical stress of working on circles then try again, in the meantime you can do a lot while hacking - certainly in terms of leg and seat aids.
 

Hallo2012

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as others have said-patience....................some naturally hot horses are forward from day 1 but the more cautious types can take a while to confidently GO from the first step.

hacking will make a more forward horse of her :) unfortunately mine was backed late sept last year so i quickly ran out of daylight and could only hack once or twice a week so HAD to go in the school once or twice mid week.................he was initially VERY stuffy but i just kept it simple-ask with light leg and the verbal que he knew............if no response a sharp kick and then praise like mad the reaction.

even if he didnt go quite as forward as i wanted, if he made ANY effort to move up a gear i verbally praised and released all leg pressure...................it took probably 4 months before he was as sharp to the leg as i wanted but he is now very fluid and forward thinking a year down the line :)
 

Pearlsasinger

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How on earth am I bullying her? The whip is not making contact for goodness sake...it is a driving aid, as others have said it could well be a sudden confusion of the aids so surely helping her to understand that leg means forward and being black and white about it isn't bullying??? How else on earth do you help develop the association of leg = forward without doing anything else????? Tack checked less than a few weeks ago and will be rechecked!

Patience is one thing and I am all for that, we'll just wait and see if she suddenly works out what I want without me doing anything shall we!
So you don't use a lunge whip when lunging then? What's the difference exactly....? Or maybe you are into some strange natural horsemanship theory where you telepathically communicate to the horse and send it healing vibes for all the abuse it probably has never suffered. Goodness me.....how judgemental.
No, I don't lunge 4 yr olds, I am more careful about their joints. Nothing to do with NH, if anyone gave me a carrot stick, I'd tell them where to shove it. I learned my horsemanship from people who really know how horses behave and think, they worked with them all their lives starting in the days before tractors were commonplace. They also taught some extremely successful international competitors.!

You need to teach the horse voice aids, I would have expected her to know those long before she was backed, and then use voice aids along with legs, hands and seat aids until she understands what you mean.
There is no need to be rude to people who take the time to answer your queries.
 

Dave's Mam

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I lunge my 4, nearly 5 year old. He's picking up voice commands well & I never do more than 10 mins on a very long line. He's "getting a TROT ON!" as opposed to a slowing "Waaaaaalk". I do think voice is the first step & then putting the leg & voice together.

I wouldn't be asking a newly backed horse to be forward, it's still trying to work out where all the legs should be.

Take your time. It will be worth it.
 

Peter7917

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I'm not a fan of school work for babies.

Lots and lots of hacking. I would leave the school work until you have a more balanced, fit, forward hack. A horse that's only been backed for eight weeks is going to be none of those things.
 

pinkypug1

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My horse was 5 before it all began to click she had a long winter off after being backed and came in a different horse more forward and responsive! As a 4 year old she was sluggish and could only tolerate short bursts of walk/trot schooling . We did lots of hacking/field work alone and in company. Don't rush her and give her time to process all the new learning
 
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