Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Riding’ Category

Hi Cherry,

Any tips on what is the correct and or safest thing to do when riding out and you are chased by dogs, sometimes 2 or 3 at a time that usually come rushing out of a driveway?

Also many thanks for all the info you have shared over the years through your books.  Because of you I have safe horses and have had wonderful experiences.

Nancy

Hi Nancy,

It is great to hear my books have been helpful !

I talk about dogs in my books “How to Think Like a Horse” and “What Every Horse Should Know” so if you have those books, you’ll find some anecdotes with the late great Sassy one of my former riding horses. She was naturally a NO FEAR horse, very aggressive with other animals including big mother cows, llamas, dogs and even the wolf hybrids that used to live down the road from us.

She taught me the most effective means of dog control was to wheel around and chase them all the way home and back into their driveway! She was not hesitant to kick a dog if it nipped her heels. So it was often kick, wheel and chase. Some horses aren’t wired to do that sort of thing naturally, but once I saw how effective it was, I taught some of my other horses at least the wheel and chase part.

With those particularly sticky wolf hybrids I also carried one of those water pistols  – the ones that you can pump and shoot a stiff stream of water quite far. It only took a couple of times and they learned to respect our space.

With all that said, I guess I really should have started by saying step number one should be to call the owners of the problem dogs and ask them to keep them contained. However, in some rural areas, dogs are left to run loose whether the owners are home or not, so it is good to have a plan in place.

Have a safe and enjoyable ride.

 

Share

Read Full Post »

Hi. My problem is, i can get this gelding to move out.. NICELY, in the beginning? He’s 6-10yrs. old. BUT, he ACT’S like he’s a BABY in this WORLD! I can get a good ride from him for about 1hr. then he’s HAD ENOUGH! He WON’T GO ant FURTHER! But, if we are HEADING HOME.. well he’s AWESOME! I have a HACKAMORE I use, verses a BIT? Either way.. the same RESULT’S?? He has SHOE’S, he’s been INJECTED for WORM’S? A FRIEND said his TEETH NEEDED FLOATING, cause he DOES THROUGH his HEAD? I had his EAR’S CLEANED. The SADDLE is light, and I weigh about.. 180lbs. H’s a fairly BIG GELDING. to ME he look’s like he MAY have SOME MUSTANG?? Even when I ride with another person, he FALL’S BEHIND?? Im FEEDING him, ALFALFA in the a.m. and OAT HAY in the EVENING? He WAS on GRAIN, BUT, I DIDN’T feel he NEEDED the X-TRA, cause he’s DOESN’T have that GRAIN NEED?? He has NEVER URINATED during ANY RIDE’S. I’ve had this HORSE at a RANCH, at that TIME.. ONLY MEN could him to REALLY MOVE.. UP & DOWN
hill’s like a HURRICANE! BUT, as soon as ANY FEMALE mounted.. NOTHING!! So, I read a note by Keith Hodsen, about CONSISTENCE, so I brought him home? And began OUR TRUST from EACH OTHER.. and NOW they CAN’T BELIEVE I’VE got him to go as FAR as we have?? Can YOU HELP?? Thank YOU for YOUR TIME. Paula

Hello Paula,

Because you use a lot of question marks, it seems you have a list of questions. Because you use a lot of CAPITAL LETTERS I’m not sure exactly what topic you want me to talk about. 

If you answer these questions, perhaps I can help.

Is this horse your horse?

Do you work with him every day?

Do other people ride the horse on a regular basis?

Do you care for your horse at home?

What is your one question?

If your question is how to make the horse move forward, I’ve answered that question a number of times already in this blog and on my website.

To find the answer on this blog, in the right hand column, there is a blank box with a SEARCH button under it. Type in the word forward and the search will produce those articles asking how to make a horse go forward.

On my website, www.horsekeeping.com there is a large group of articles called the Horse Information Roundup where you can do the same thing with the search button on top of the page.

I recommend you read this book.


http://www.horsekeeping.com/horse-articles.htmShare

Read Full Post »

When my dear hubby Richard built my scriptorium (the cottage where I write) he put in lots and lots of bookshelves…..that was, well, I don’t want to say HOW many years ago but a long time !!

The shelves are now overflowing and its time to downsize my collection.

Most of the books are new or like new. Many have never been opened. Some are current titles and others are vintage and out of print. I’ll be adding a handful every week or so, so keep an eye on Used Horse Books.

Likewise, Richard is also going through his video and DVD collection.

We hope you find something you need or have been looking for.

Share

Read Full Post »

Hi Cherry,

Thanks for your great website! I lease an aged (18?) purebred Arabian gelding as a trail horse.  (He’s an ex endurance horse, now semi retired) Boy is lovely, forward moving and full of personality. I am thinking of buying him off his owner, however his canter is quite rough and hurts my back. Is there any way of changing this gait in an aged horse, or should I simply accept he is what he is?

Thanks heaps! Melissa (Australia)

Hi Melissa,

You can always “teach old dogs new tricks” but at 18 and with the wear and tear of his previous life, Boy’s rough canter might be a result of arthritis more than training. Perhaps he has lost flexion in some part of his body, lumbar/loin area, hocks, stifle………I first am targeting the areas at the rear of the horse that are usually responsible for a smooth, flowing canter. But the problem could also be in the front end – wear and tear (arthritis) in the pasterns, fetlocks and knees.

I’d suggest asking your veterinarian to give the horse a specific pre-purchase exam – that is, one that would evaluate his movement and to determine if he is suffering from arthritis or another lameness or unsoundness that causes his rough movement.

Here are some related articles on my website:

The Pre-Purchase Contract

Unsoundness

Veterinary Tests and Exams

Horse for Sale: How to Buy a Horse or Sell the One You Have

Read Full Post »

Hi Cherry,

I have purchased a new mare (2mths ago) after being out of the saddle for 16yrs.  This mare is 7yrs old & hadn’t been ridden regularly for the last 3yrs, apart from being forward she has shown no signs of being anything but quiet.
Her rushing, is the one issue i’m continuing to have, I know that this is due to the lack of regular handling over the past 3yrs.
Outside of a walk she just wants to take the bit and race…(at a walk I can ride her all day on a loose rein, she listens to my seat and aides, I can change directions and halt with no pressure on the rein or bit, but only at the walk), she fights me in every other gate…her head comes up & she looses her flow, she ignors all aides asking her to “slow” I don’t want to have to fight her at the bit & end up with a dead mouthed horse, I have never had heavy hands with any of my past horses & would like this mare to understand that pressure is gone when she slows & listens to my seat & voice, thing is as soon as she does slow & I release the pressure that brought the response I was after, the fight starts all over again (also I think I might clarify that, I don’t yank or see-saw her mouth, by fight I mean restrain her, I ask for collection & balance I ask for her to listen to my voice and my seat to try slow her pace again but the more I ask for slow the
more cranky she seems to get) I’ve had her teeth done, her back is not sore, I bought a brand new saddle that fits her correctly and I don’t feed her anything, I think if I fed her on top of what she gets just from her paddock she would founder (she is an extremly good doer and is very fat now), she has a salt & mineral lick but thats prettly much it, so no “hot” feed at all!
I am currently doing the only thing I know worked for a race horse I got from the track once, which is… apply a half check as soon as she starts to race, if I get no response I halt and ask for her to back but she refuses to back (she plants herself even when she’s collected and “on” the bit), if I apply slightly more pressure she will then just over collect and put her head on her chest (very frustrating) & I don’t know how to rectify this, I haven’t had this problem before & when I asked for movement last time she refused to back…with just a nudge / sqeeze from my legs she rared up, I in no way want to encourage that so have not pushed for her to back, hence I’m looking for answers.
I include “back” with ground exercises, which she does with no fuss but this hasn’t transfered under saddle, all these exercises that I’ve tried and have worked for me in the past, arn’t working on her, instead she’s getting “piggy” with the flat work and the ground exercises so I break up the routine & do different things with her…her past owners had her graded in both dressage and jumping so I don’t understand why she’s not responsive to me asking her to slow using my seat and half checks.
Due to her past education she is receptive to directional leg aides and that is helping with teaching her basic reining (with the exception to backing she is learning to neck rein ok) to help her move better with the cattle, all of this is at a walk and to use her outside of a walking pace I need her to losen up, slow down &; keep her head from reaching for the clouds, I don’t want to use martin gails or anything like it, I don’t believe she needs them, I just want to relax and calm her & get her responsive outside of a walk, she has such lovely movement when she’s not fighting.
I currently ride her with an egg butt snaffle bit (would you reccomend changing bits?), i’m trying different ground exercises & i’m also trying to lunge her but she doesn’t seem to yet understand my indicators for her to move out…(I don’t have a round yard, just open area and cattle yards) I have tried also to long rein her as an alternative to also get her responsive to my voice, but i’m not very good at not getting tangled, it is a good thing that she wasn’t phased by my inability to keep the long leads from falling down around her hoofs…I know that this is a long explanation, but I wanted to give you as much info as I possibly could…hope you can help & possibly advise me on some alternative exercises to try.
Kind Regards
Beth

Hi Beth,

Most of the elements of my answer and suggestions to you are already in your question. They include going back to ground training, that is in-hand work, free longeing, line longeing, and long lining and making a strong association with the mare that she can move in balance in each gait without rushing.

101 Longeing and Long Lining Exercises

Rushing is a sign that a horse has lost her balance and confidence.

When you have trouble with things when riding, it just shows the basics have never been established, so that means going back and reviewing everything from square one and finding where the holes are. In this mare’s case, I’d imagine if you trotted alongside her in-hand, she’d probably try to zoom ahead of you. If you free longed her, she would probably rush at the trot and canter in poor form and with a too-quick rhythm. And so on. So its no wonder that she would do the same when being ridden.

Doing simple things well with you on the ground will help make a solid connection between you and the mare. All of the exercises you do in-hand and when longeing and ground driving will be a balance act between driving aids and restraining aids, just as you use when riding.

You’ll be surprised at how working on the basics will improve the mare under saddle.

Some of my favorites exercises, whether as ground training exercises or when riding are:

Frequent transitions of all kinds, both upward and downward, between gaits and within gaits. So instead of trotting around and around, you’d only trot a few strides, then maybe walk or maybe extend the trot, or collect the trot, but always be changing things up. The more you develop a give and take with the mare, the more balanced and steady she will become when moving at one gait for an extended period of time.

Walk-Halt-Back-Trot out of the Back and then Walk and repeat

Walk-Trot 4 steps-Walk repeat and vary the number of steps of trot, increasing as long as the horse stays balanced and rhythmic.

Add lateral bending (turning) to any exercise when a horse starts to speed up. Lateral bending, when done correctly, causes a horse’s legs to automatically slow down. So two strides (4 beats) of trot straight, then a full circle and repeat, that sort of thing.

Yes you want to use half halts or checks as you ride and be sure to yield when the horse does soften and slow down.

As far as a bit change, more than likely that is not the problem. You should be able to do whatever you need to do with an egg butt snaffle.

Share

Read Full Post »

My horse, Takoda, is a paint/halflinger. before my first walk trot show this year he would stop on a dime, and do everything i asked! but now that i moved up to novice, when ever i stop after we are done working, he wont move. i try to turn him, i used a crop and he dident seem to care! so in the end i HAVE to get off and pull him!  i can have someone pull him or smack him but he just wont listen! I was told to turn him around, to keep him moving and i do but when im done he just stands there! i mean i dont ride him that often cause i have other things to! but he just wont listen to ME! when ever I  have my sister get on him hes fine! but as soon as i get back on, NOTHING!
Im geting so mad! what should i do? please help! Cathryn

Hello Cathryn,

Do you take riding lessons or work regularly with a qualified horse trainer? If not, it would be a good idea to pursue one or both of those avenues to get some “hands on” help with you and your horse. Whenever someone says a horse used to be good and now is not so good AND when my sister rides he is fine but as soon as I get back on, there are problems, well you can see where that leads us. Add to that the fact that you are getting mad, well, it clearly shows that you would benefit from a qualified instructor’s help. Perhaps you can find one through your local 4-H, Pony Club or Horseman’s Association.

If you don’t know of an instructor, you could contact The American Riding Instructors Association, known as ARIA.

When you get to the website, in the left hand column there is a link to help you find an instructor in your area.

There is something you are doing with your mind and body language that is interfering with you becoming an effective rider. A good riding instructor will be able to identify what is occurring and help you over come that so your horse gets the message that it is not only OK but desirable for him to move forward.

I’ve answered a similar question recently Horse Won’t Move Forward which should give you some good ideas.

And visit my Horse Information Roundup where you can find all sorts of helpful articles on riding and training.

Share

Read Full Post »

My mare, who is 30 years old, but acts like she’s about 20 years younger, loves to be ridden and loves to run up the hills. She has so much energy that she’s hard to keep at a walk especially out on trails, and in the field. She wants to be in the lead and doesn’t like being in the rear or even in the middle of the group. She’s also forgotten how to WHOA when told. So I’m constantly pulling on her to stop (never used to have to do that). I can deal with all that, after all she’s 30! Do horses after a certain age forget things? But, my problem is keeping the saddle and pads in place. They’re always slipping no matter how much I tighten the girth. I also use a breast collar on her. I thought that would help keep the saddle in place. Any suggestion?  Mary

Hi Mary,

Your question reads like a story about aging horses and saddle fit.

When a horse’s back begins to drop (sway) it is almost impossible to keep the saddle up near the vicinity of the withers. Instead, gravity and the rider’s weight cause the saddle to slip down the slope created by the prominent withers (the peak) and the now lower back.

Even if you tighten and re-tighten the cinch, the tendency will be for the saddle and you to slip rearward and settle down in the valley of the horse’s sagging topline.

You’ve tried the logical solution – use a breast collar to HOLD the saddle forward. But alas that just causes extreme pressure on the horse’s chest and shoulders as the weight of the saddle and rider pull against them as the saddle tries to slip back.

Which brings me to the change in behavior in your horse. You say you always have to keep pulling on her to stop her or slow her down now – you didn’t have to do that in the past. That’s because when a horse has back pain from pressure and/or an ill-fitting saddle and when a horse is thrown off balance because of tight tack and pressure, the horse might instinctively do one of several things.

Buck like heck to get rid of the saddle and pain, rub or roll to get the saddle off, or as many trained horses will do, move fast and tense. Part of your mare’s exuberance might be due to her being full of energy, but in so many cases, quick, tense movement is associated with pain and imbalance.

So the solution to everything is finding a saddle that fits. This is something you will need to do locally so that the expert saddle fitter can see your horse in person. Once you get a saddle to fit your mare, you might be surprised to see how you will be able to ride with a looser cinch, how much more comfortable your mare will be and how she will resume her normal gaits.

If you care to reply with the state or area you live in, perhaps someone will write in suggesting a saddle fit expert in your area.

Read more articles on tack and riding here on my Horse Information Roundup.

Best of luck,

Share

Read Full Post »

Hi Mrs. Hill,
I have another problem. In October a crazy wind came and blew away all the leaves from the trees. The change in the way the forest looks freaked Dolly out, and she hasn’t been the same ever since. Just recently (like the beginning of this month) I’ll get to this place in the trail that is a telephone line right-of-way. It has two hills that are pretty steep and not the type you’d go cantering up and down. The second I come out of the forest trail and into this right-of-way, Dolly begins to try to gallop off with me. She’s become very agitated there. The first time I figured there was just a moose out there since I had seen three the night before.

But its continued until she actually started to rear and leap and crow hop on me. She’s never reared before and its gotten to the point where its scary. I love her and I’ve put so much work into her, but I can’t figure out a way to get her to stop, trust me, and relax. She’s sending me mixed signals. I’ll ask her to move forward and she’ll throw a tantrum and buck and spin and rear, then when I stop her all she wants to do is paw through the snow and eat. So I know somethings not out there. Do you have any suggestions? I would really appreciate it if you did. Thank you again!
Katie

Hi Katie,

You need to work on this at home first, then on the trail in “safe zones” and finally in those “hot spots”.

First you need to be very aware of your own body language when these things happen. Even if you are alarmed when your horse starts freaking, your body, your seat, legs, back and arms and hands, and most of all, your mind, must be calm, cool and collected.

Then you need to perfect a means of control and give the horse something else to do. You should learn how to do a one rein stop and then once your horse is stopped, ride her in a series of circles and half turns calmly and not in too-tight of a bend until her behavior de-escalates.

You’ve halted her freaking behavior and given her something else to do.

A one rein stop is different from a double which is kind of like a spin, what your horse does when she is frightened. In a double, the horse’s head and neck is turned rather sharply in one direction while his hindquarters are moving in the other direction. It is like a turn on the center.

A one rein stop is just the rein signal. You want the horse to stop, not keep moving.

A one rein stop is best done with a halter, bosal or snaffle bit as you will be using direct rein signals.

To initiate the head and neck bend, reach down the rein close to the horse’s head and take up the slack.

If your horse tends to spin to the right when she freaks, you want to work on this to the left. You’d grab the left rein and hold her into the turn until she stops moving her feet. Then yield – let go of the rein signal. Drive the horse forward with your legs and then do some gymnastics – circles, half turns, serpentines.

Once you’ve mastered the one rein stop at home, you should set your horse up at home to “freak” and have your aids ready. You might have someone carry a strange item toward you or try and ride her past some balloons or an opened umbrella or waving plastic sack.

Once you can control her no matter what happens at home, set up these same situations on a safe part of the trail.

Each time and in each place that you control her and give her something else to do, it will build her confidence and make it easier in the next situation.

Finally, ride to the trouble spot. It should be a piece of cake.

But take the time it takes to perfect it BEFORE you go back to your trouble spot.

Be safe and enjoy your horse.


Read Full Post »

Hello Cherry,
I have a 3 yr old Trakehner X TB Gelding He just came home from 60 days of saddle training with an Event, TB trainer. I rode him 2 times during his training and was sent video’s of his progress. He is a lazy horse but was moving forward in the walk and trot when I rode him. Since coming home he is refusing to go forward under saddle. He will walk off for about 7-10 min and then he shuts down. I am using little to no contact on the reins. Riding in a Waterford D bit. He moves great off your leg, When he is going forward. When he stops and I apply leg he rises up as if ready to buck. When I use my long dressage whip on his rump he will kick out but still does not go forward. He will paw and sometimes try to bite me. I found that pushing him with my leg, “fighting” him to go forward is useless. He shuts down. If I sit there, let him relax, he will take a deep breath, then I can apply leg and say Walk On and usually he will go forward but sometimes it is just a step or two. He did well with a lead pony the other day but again after 10 min shut down. The trainer keeps telling me to stay after him but I refuse to fight him every time I ride. He is a very big horse, 16’3h I will never be able to push him when he is in shut down mode. I have started 2 young horses before him being the first rider on their backs. I ride english and have 30+ years experience. He is the first one that will not go forward. He is kind horse and thankfully has not reared up but I am afraid that will be next. I am riding in the same saddle, brand, model and tree size that the trainer used. I would appreciate any suggestions. I plan on having this horse for life. A partnership is a must. Thank you in advance,
C M B

Dear CMB,

I know this doesn’t help you solve your horse’s problems but it must be said. It is hard for me to imagine a horse coming from 60 days of saddle training and having this behavior. One of the most important goals of any training is to develop and preserve forward movement.


Check my website article page for many articles and Q&As related to this topic such as

Horse Won’t Move Forward

From what you describe, my inclination would be to go back to ground training to establish forward movement in a variety of situations. By ground training, I mean:

1. In-hand work including walk, trot, figures, obstacles.

Refer to my In Hand Checklist posted previously.

2. Longeing with or without tack, with focus on forward movement.

Benefits and Uses of Longeing

3. Long lining (ground driving) to establish moving forward with tack.

Read Full Post »

Dear Cherry,

I’ve just started loping recently and when i do i feel like im gonna fall out of the saddle, and it makes me nervous. And sometimes i find it more difficult to steer my horse. Do you have any tips on this? And also what’s the differences between loping, cantering and galloping?

Desirae

Hi Desirae,

Your nervousness when loping is a common anxiety with new riders. I’ve answered similar questions on this blog.

To search for topics, just type the subject in the search box (there is one at the top of the page and one in the right hand column) and click on Search.

For example, entering loping, you will find the following articles:

Overcoming the Fear of Loping

Aids for the Canter or Lope and Sitting the Canter or Lope

Overcoming the Fear of Loping (another rider, another reply)

Here are  the difference in the terms you ask about.

The canter and lope are both a three-beat gait with the following foot fall pattern:

1.         initiating hind leg or outside hind

2.         the diagonal pair or inside hind and outside foreleg

3.         leading foreleg or inside foreleg

4.         regrouping of legs or a moment of suspension.

If the initiating hind leg is the left, the diagonal pair will consist of the right hind and the left front, the leading foreleg will be the right front and the horse will be on the right lead.  When observing a horse on the right lead from the side, his right legs will reach farther forward than his left legs.  The right hind will reach under his belly farther than the left hind; the right front will reach out in front of his body farther than the left front.  When turning to the right, normally the horse should be on the right lead.

The canter has an alternating rolling and floating feeling to it.  The energy rolls from rear to front, then during a moment of suspension, the horse gathers his legs up underneath himself to get organized for the next set of leg movements.  The rider seems to glide for a moment until the initiating hind lands and begins the cycle again.

Canter is the term generally used to describe the gait of an English horse.

Lope is the term associated with a Western horse and is a relaxed version of the canter with less rein contact and a lower overall body carriage.

An extended canter or lope (sometime called a “run”) is a canter/lope with a long, strong stride, head and neck reaching forward.  The extended canter/run has maximum ground coverage per stride while retaining the tempo of the ordinary canter/lope.

There should be no increase in the rhythm of the hoofbeats from a canter/lope to an extended canter/run  – just an increase in reach. There should not be a shift into the gallop.

The gallop occurs when the horse increases tempo AND length of stride so is maximally extended at full speed. It is a 4 beat gait because the diagonal pair work separately.

The term hand gallop is often called for in the hunter show ring.  In many cases what is really desired is an extended canter.

RELATED TERMS

Disunited is when a horse is on one lead in front and another behind.  Also called cross-leaded.  This is very rough to ride.

Counter-cantering is cantering on the “outside” lead on purpose as a means of developing obedience, strength, balance, and suppleness.  If counter-cantering on a circle to the right, the horse would be on the left lead and he would be flexed left.


Share

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: