spooky dressage horse help

andytiger

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 September 2011
Messages
174
Hi can anyone offer me any advise please at the end of my tether. don’t know what to do.
I have owned my horse for a year now and he has always been spooky( in varying degrees) so not a new thing.
we have had a break from competition over christmas and since then we have been out twice and i’m lucky if I can get him round the arena.
he is very talented and will warm up beautifully but as soon as he has to go somewhere different he goes tense and spooky and won’t relax.
it’s so frustrating he’s 11 has has been everywhere I hack him alone and we went to the nationals last year.
we have the area festivals in a few weeks just don’t know how to make him any better do I just keep taking him out to dressage comps untill they get mundane.
he’s on the same feed Should I cut it down ?
he’s on same amount of exercise he (thrives on exercise) should I do more for example take him to gallops for some fun.
his turn out is restricted and just goes in a sand pen everyday with hay for about 3 hours
he on nupa feed calmer but it doesn’t make any difference anymore.
can anyone else think of anymore ideas on what I can do.
 

Lady Jane

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Joined
1 September 2019
Messages
712
How was he at the nationals? He can't be too bad if you managed to qualify!

If he is worse since his break I would get him out to compete as often as possible and take him to different venues for practice sessions. I think from what you have said he has regressed since his break.

I would also cut down the feed, increase the turn out (If possible) - does he go out alone or with another horse? Some down time with another horse may help him.
And I would take him to the gallops - but just because its good fun!

You could also consider groundwork - Richard Maxwell for example, has videos available. Appropriate groundwork will help him to manage himself in stressful situations. You may have someone local who could assist you.
Where do you live?
 

LEC

Well-Known Member
Joined
22 July 2005
Messages
9,826
You need to work on the way he processes, it will be a mixture of groundwork developing into ridden patterns. I used to have such a specific starting warm up around flexion to disengage the hind end and get softness back on one horse that was developed through a lot of work. Towards the end all I had to do was fiddle the fingers in one hand and the horse would let go and relax. Another would literally only go 10m in an arena but managed to work him through that through quick, quick, relax techniques.
Personally at the level you are competing at then I would start with Tristan Tucker and then use Warwick Schiller to help develop your knowledge further on this. Both have good starting YouTube videos. I don’t know where you are but Claire Gallimore specialises in this as well having mentored with Tristan.
As my mother always says, a good horse is often a spooky horse because it means they want to stay alive more!
 

andytiger

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 September 2011
Messages
174
Hi can anyone offer me any advise please at the end of my tether. don’t know what to do.
I have owned my horse for a year now and he has always been spooky( in varying degrees) so not a new thing.
we have had a break from competition over christmas and since then we have been out twice and i’m lucky if I can get him round the arena.
he is very talented and will warm up beautifully but as soon as he has to go somewhere different he goes tense and spooky and won’t relax.
it’s so frustrating he’s 11 has has been everywhere I hack him alone and we went to the nationals last year.
we have the area festivals in a few weeks just don’t know how to make him any better do I just keep taking him out to dressage comps untill they get mundane.
he’s on the same feed Should I cut it down ?
he’s on same amount of exercise he (thrives on exercise) should I do more for example take him to gallops for some fun.
his turn out is restricted and just goes in a sand pen everyday with hay for about 3 hours
he on nupa feed calmer but it doesn’t make any difference anymore.
can anyone else think of anymore ideas on what I can do.[/QUOTE
How was he at the nationals? He can't be too bad if you managed to qualify!

If he is worse since his break I would get him out to compete as often as possible and take him to different venues for practice sessions. I think from what you have said he has regressed since his break.

I would also cut down the feed, increase the turn out (If possible) - does he go out alone or with another horse? Some down time with another horse may help him.
And I would take him to the gallops - but just because its good fun!

You could also consider groundwork - Richard Maxwell for example, has videos available. Appropriate groundwork will help him to manage himself in stressful situations. You may have someone local who could assist you.
Where do you live?
Hi I did suspscribe to hackett patroen page and did some ground work last year don’t know if it really helped or if I was doing it correctly I live in Lincolnshire
 

splashgirl45

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Joined
6 March 2010
Messages
11,466
Location
suffolk
are you sure that he isnt picking up on your nerves, you may think you arent but if he is fine in the warm up, you may be anticipating trouble and then its a vicious circle. why not take some rescue remedy yourself before a comp? just in case you are tensing up. also have you tried hiring the arena the week before the comp , maybe use the warmup to get him loosened up and then run through the test as if its a comp. maybe plait him as well if you usually do...might work to relax both of you..
 

blood_magik

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Joined
26 January 2011
Messages
6,003
Location
Scotland
Could he be in pain? Mine was a nightmare and it turned out he had sore hocks… he’s so much better now that he’s had them sorted, although I do still tend to give him a tiny bit of calmer just to take the edge off.
 

JGC

Well-Known Member
Joined
16 September 2011
Messages
2,147
Location
France
I was going to ask about feed too - alfalfa can make them like this (there's a recent thread on food intolerance which is very enlightening!). Also agree with hocks, which was what was happening with mine last year.
 
Joined
15 April 2021
Messages
22
Defo look at feed I changed mine from Alpha to Molichaff whilst she is on rest and what a difference. Needs the Alpha for competition fizz but also ridden 5 days per week as a nightmare otherwise. Play with feed first as this is always my first go to with all my horses.
 
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