new horse - need lots of advice!

ThePony

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Hi all,
Will be a long post, so grab a cup of tea and settle down!
My lovely new grey lady has now been home for a week and is settling in like she has always been here, so now I want to start getting on with some decent work with her.

She has been used to very light work (short hacks on the buckle end), but is in good health so I want to improve her fitness. No probs but saddler, back lady, farrier and dentist out this week to ensure all is as it should be! She is very poor in her schooling though is so far seeming to be picking up things reasnobly well, but an enormous amount to go! She has barely any topline (due to her minimal work, poor schooling and also as she is just a spot long in the back).

At the moment I am concentrating on getting her being more responsive off the leg. We are making good improvements in walk and trot, when we have got this sorted and she is being good and forward at these paces and then we will move onto canter. I want to work steadily rather than rush on, hence the slow approach. Corners are also a big prob, so lots of walking circles and figure 8s - trotting these with any bending whatso ever is beyond her at present as she doesn't listen to leg at all - will get her listening in walk before asking her to bend in trot. She loves poles so am trying to incorporate trotting and walking poles to stop it being dull for her. She is also starting to work sometimes in an outline, after we lost the single jointed snaffle and grackle. We are making progress but there is so much to be done!

What excercises/amount of work/how to build this up would you be recommending? Due to her level of fitness and lack of topline I am reluctant to lunge quite yet as I think it will be too harsh on her back particularly. She currently is going better in a loose ring french link, no noseband or martingale. She does stick her head up and go if she gets stressed, but this bit seems to be working for her better at least.

Massive biccies for getting this far, looking forward to your replies and advice!
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Damnation

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Lunging over trotting poles is great for building up topline. I am a fan of no gadgets during lunging and tbh she will find it alot easier without someone on her at the moment then with someone on her. Long and low in a headcollar on the lunge, and trotting poles is great for them
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elliegirl12

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i know you said you dont want to be lunging her but i would put her in pessoa it really works and gets helps with balance etc etc .... i would only put her in it for 5minutes max on each leg and build it up slowly you will notice a big difference in her trot work within a month if you do this about 3 times a week, the pessoa doesnt force them at all it encourages them, i would definetly give it a go.
 

ThePony

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Hi guys,
Thanks loads for advice!
I have a pessoa which is fab, but I was concered that it would make it just a bit too hard for her at present (though as a stressy mummy there is always the chance I am being over soft on her!!)? Though I guess a short time can't hurt just a couple of times a week?
I would love to get her long and low, but as she barely listens to aids, getting her doing forwards enough to acheive this is proving rather tricky! This is something I really want to get fixed though as I think long and low would help her enormously - any extra tips other than getting her going forwards would be very helpful.
So very much to learn already!!!
 

elliegirl12

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yeah i would imagine she would be fine .... just have it loose on her but it will encourage her to come a bit lower with her head will take quite a few sessions for her to get used to it might throw a bit of a wably depending on her temperment at first but a few times a week will do her wonders! .... also if you are taking her out hacking they are normally more natuarlly forward so try schooling her a bit whilst you are hacking out
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when u put her first in the pessoa just get her going forwards maybe get her used to lunging without the pessoa on first for 5 minutes ....
 

MrsMozart

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Try long-reining.

Over poles, on the ground; with alternate ends raised. Gets them looking at where they're going
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. Do this as a straight line, also have the poles like the spokes of a wagon wheel.

Put cones in the corners so's she has something to go round.

When riding, in the school, drop your reins; imagine every point of you, i.e. shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles as having eyes on them - turn them all in the direction you want to go. Works wonders
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. My last mare used to be a bit stiff on the old bends, but doing it this way, she could turn on a sixpence
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vhf

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I had a very similar sounding mare a couple years back and found that long-reining her in the pessoa, then lunging when she was ready, was the absolute making of her.
I'm not a gadget fan, (maybe I'm just too old!) but it was an example of "there's a time and a place"; it showed her what her body was MEANT to be doing, and how much easier she'd find it when it did!
Didn't do it constantly, or for long periods - didn't need to...
 
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