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Out of shape horse!

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Out of shape horse!
  • I recently started leasing a 11 y/o Quarter horse. I am the only rider he's really had in the last year or so. From what I've been able to gather, he was never "professionally broke" but had been a trail horse for younger kids until he was 7, which is when he came to his current owner. I've been riding english with a full-cheek snaffle, mostly ring work (w/t transitions, circles) and some trail.

    So here's where I need help. This horse feels incredibly unbalanced - his "straight" lines are wobbly, likes to bend more in the neck and doesn't really bend the whole way through his body (circles become octagons), and is a major foot-dragger. In the past month we've made a lot of progress, and I can get pretty clean w/t transitions but he still feels noodley if he doesn't have a fence/wall to keep him straight. I recognize a lot of this may be me as the rider (did I mention I'm borrowing someone elses saddle? :/ ) but not everything is. Are there good flatwork exercises that anyone can recommend to help him get his feet up a little more and have him feel balanced with a rider?
  • Is he wearing shoes? Maybe they need to be changed or altered. Also a green broke horse will never walk in a straight line. They need to be shown how by a firm leg and rein to keep him in line. Over correct then let up only to repeat when he starts to lean or wobble. Also if you look up and out it makes a difference. It sounds weird but your horse can sense if you're looking down at the ground and that's another way they can weave or wobble. Good luck. It's always fun to have a challenge. ';)'
  • I agree with what Magic Mare said RE: his feet/shoes and a green horse being wobbly. Also, if the horse is out of shape, he needs to get IN shape, just as you would need to. Is he worse after you've been riding for a bit, or is he just 'wandering' all of the time? You need to begin working an out-of-shape horse easy so that his muscles get into shape and can support you, just as you couldn't suddenly one day decide to put on a 50 pound pack and go backpacking. He just sounds basically *untrained*. Horses do not naturally bend around their ribs. Slow down (to a walk) and work on bending on the circle and walking straight lines & smooth circles. You need to get it right at a walk before you can move to a trot - and then things will probably fall apart again for a while. It takes patience, repetition and TIME to train/finish a horse. Good luck with him. [':)'] Oh. Edited to add - You might try walking over poles go get him to pick up/ watch his feet. Later you can trot over them. They will need to be spaced correctly. As he gets better, you can even raise them 4 to 6 inches above the ground to make it more challenging.