OTTB Not Moving Fwd Halfway Through Ride - Updated. It is pain-related.
5 year old OTTB mare. Off track about 8 months ago. Has had some basic WTC training. Dominant in herd but quite willing in groundwork and undersaddle. Have ridden her about 7x.
I am doing mostly walk with her and some trotwork both on lunge and under saddle. I do lots of walk without major contact, long and low. Ask for trot under saddle. For about 2 mins she is lovely. Reaches down for bit, slows up her hurried trot, and snorts/blows. Then all of a sudden she will stop dead. I will ask her to move forward and she will pin ears, kick out a tiny bit, and refuse. Today I held crop in hand, tapped shoulder, used verbal command while asking for "T-Rottt" and eventually she would move forward and I would praise.
She has done this for our last 3 rides. Having vet exam tomorrow, but wondering if anyone has any thoughts? Interesting thing too. She tries to bite my foot and will stop in the same two places in arena - door and mirror....
Last edited by TimeAndPatience; Nov. 15, 2011 at 07:24 PM.
Thx for responses so far. I am feeling like it's ulcers or testing. I haven't ridden ulcer-ridden horse before but it seems to be one way only (to the right) and when I up leg pressure she responds so quickly and negatively. It is so odd that she starts off so well. At first I thought back but I have tried 4 diff saddles and result is same.
I will update after exam today. If ulcers are assumed I might just put her on a round of omeprozole and alter feed as if she could have them.
My OTTB Thoroughbred did this last year...ALL THE TIME. Ended with lots of tears and frustration..
If it is not pain related...
I had an amazing clinic and was told my horse is not off my leg. At all. This horse is green and I suspect this is the case. From the minute you get on I would make sure your leg is on and moving her forward.
Does she go off your leg? If not then you must work on this. If so, I would work her on a circle, practicing spiraling inwards with your outside leg, then when you get a few good strides of that, ask her to bend off your inside leg and widen the circle.
Practice this, and concentrate on rhythm. one two, one two etc. Use your posting to control the speed you want. Sit heavier to slow it down. Do this for your entire ride with walk breaks in between. May take a month or two to work through, but you will have a horse that goes off your leg and has learnt rhythm and an increased balance.
Check the diet for high sugar & starch... could be EPSM/PSSM.
He gets high fat low starch food for horses with tie up/founder or ulcers. Gets beet pulp with each meal (no molasses) and timothy/alfalfa combo 3x a day at 2 flakes per feeding.
On pasture 8-9 hours of day - not lush by any means.
Has been on this diet since July.
Wow. Sounds like you had a bit of a time with your mare. I do think she is def green. It's hard, because with OTTB they can fool you into thinking they know more that they do. Especially the ones with mellow temps and good work ethic. Glad you got it sorted.
I'd rule out ulcers first. But TB's are very smart, and many get bored easily and will look for ways to amuse themselves. Do you ever get on and hand gallop? If all you are doing is walking and a little trotting, you horse could very well be bored, and trying to make things more entertaining for themself. A hand gallop (or at least a nice, forward canter) will get the mind thinking "forward".
I also wouldn't use a crop on the shoulder. Use it behind the girth, or on the butt. And if the horse jumps forward, make sure that you don't catch him in the mouth, or try to pull him up right away. Reward for ANY forward action, then slow to the speed you want.
A lot of horses have an idea about how long they should be worked for, especially lazy or green horses or horses who had a timed work schedule.
Assuming you've ruled out the standard group of horse lamness issues (since she stops in two spots I'm going for it not being anything exotic) I'd get a dressage whip and use it as soon as she backs off your leg. If you are not experienced I'd do this in lessons.
Lucky took a very long time to get the idea that yes, we are really going to work longer than fifteen minutes, and no, I'm not going to give up and get off just because you stop and won't go. He also initially was very vague on what leg meant.
Assuming there's no pain issues, it's sounding like she's both puzzled and testing to see how much work she really hast to do.
Get a saddle that is actually correctly fitted to the horse. Get a master saddler to look at saddle fit and adjust.
Sounds like saddle fit could be bothering horse. Does not show up in lunging because --No weight on it--but then you get on and change the placement by weight distribution.
If saddle is not the problem, get some help or trainer to get through the initial stages of retraining.
After exam and xrays we have some nasty arthritis and bonechips in knee and hind fetlock . She is only 5. My friend never had mare vetted as he just wanted to give her a home. End of story, mare will be trail/pleasure only.