High Strung Mare: Calm Down and Collect?
So I'm finally back to leasing again. Finally. She's a 15 year old APHA tobiano mare, 15.3hh and drop dead gorgeous! Goes english and western, but I want to use her for mostly gaming. If I want her to run barrels, obviously her basic flat work needs to be up to par.
She hasn't been ridden in about 2 years, so I was the first to ride (owner has broken leg). What I found out is that she is seriously high strung. You would think she was fresh off the track. She's jiggy and prancy, but nothing I couldn't handle. She is very GO, GO, GO! But safe. How can I get her calm and relaxed? She literally worked herself up to a lather yesterday and it wasn't even hot.
Also, she isn't flexible. She's had no flexion and collection training, so she's very heavy on the forehand and doesn't bend well. Where should I start off working her to get her ready to learn how to collect and bend? Should I do lots of circles and serpentines?
Last question. She is very sensitive to the leg and quite hard on the mouth. She is a star gazer as well. When I ask for collection (which she knows nothing about so we have time for improvement) she just increases her speed. What I do is apply leg and keep my reins short, half halting when needed. But she just braces against it and goes into the trot. She's ridden in a snaffle. How can I keep her from trotting off when all I want is her to relax and give to the bit?
Sorry, won't be sending her to the trainer. She's not my horse and I'm not paying for someone else's horse to be trained. May consider lessons but right now I don't have the money (paying full lease on my own).
- StrideLv 47 years agoBest Answer
the best is to trear her like she is completely green. Start training each pace like she has never done it before. Lots of walking in a familiar arena every day until she can walk. Its pointless to do trot,canter,serpentines if she cant do a basic walk.
I reckon the key will be relaxing. Obviously she will be heavy, stiff and reluctant to bend if she is tense and braced.
First, focus on a rhythmic walk. Dont worry if her head is in the air or whatever so long as she can walk forward in a even tempo, dont worry about bending, actually achieving straightness should be your first priority. If she cant move straight and balanced and relaxed at a walk, she is not ready to bend.
When she is happy doing this maybe in a few days , allow a trot. Ive found that with uptight horses it works best if i teach them the trot cue by opening my seat(best way to describe?) and then bringing them 'together'. Instead of applying pressure. But just do it the way you are comfortable and consistent with so the horse is clear on ur signal.
Trot on a loose rein. Allow her to stretch as much as she wants.if she gets fast, slow ur body and make the circle smaller. Keep ur hands down. If she carries on pulling, shorten ur contact and the moment she relents give the rein back to her. I would advise to keep things simple for now to give her confidence and to calm down.things will go better once u get to know one another.
Also i have to add that lots of horses like this have underlying back issues even though their owners think they dont. Even small discomfort whether muscular,skeletal or tack related causes them to want to go go go because of the constant feeling of pressure.
- 7 years ago
my horses have always been this way, i find it more fun! lol
for the flexiblity, i'd suggest looking up stretches that you can do with her, its easy and it helps.
as for the collection, my trainer tells me not to hold on the reins, and instead keep half halting... it actually works a lot better because then they are paying more attention to you. you could also try using a different bit, ive used a cimber wic (not sure on the spelling) while they are learning. it is a lot easier to control the speed and then you can focus more on getting them to pay attention over all and work on the collection. then once youve gotten her under control you can always go back to the snaffle.
i hope that helps, just remember that is you dont want her bracing against you, then you cant be bracing your grip on the reins :)