Jogging sideways on hacks

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Lucinda
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Jogging sideways on hacks

Postby Lucinda » Mon May 24, 2010 1:07 pm

I have recently bought a new horse, and while she is incredibly well behaved, she is also very excitable - seems to love life and wants to get everywhere as quickly as possible.

I have hacked her out a few times and she has been really good, but this weekend I went out for what I thought would be a nice relaxing ride and she jogged sideways the whole way! She was quite strong, but the jogging was the most irritating thing as I started to get stitch after a while.

I tried everything to get her to relax, but if I let go of her mouth she just got faster and faster. In the end I made lots of half halts, but I had to keep making them all the way round.

She's only on chaff with a broad spectrum supplement, so no cereal, and nothing else had changed - we were out with another horse as we have done several times before.

Any suggestions?

hessy
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Re: Jogging sideways on hacks

Postby hessy » Mon May 24, 2010 2:29 pm

I can imagine exactly what your horse is like, it can be quite scary and also annoying. Luckily, she seems to be quite obedient as she responds to your hand when you ask her, as she doesnt tank off, so its important that you dont keep pulling the reins or holding her tightly, as you already know, so she stays well mannered :)

Is she getting turnout? I cant imagine that her hard food would be causing her excitability but perhaps it may be worth mentioning on the ask an expert board on the naf nutrition section just in case? The grass is growing now in the good weather so it may be having an effect.

She may also be more excitable due to possibly being in season? Have you noticed any signs of this? I knew a mare who went bonkers when she was in season and when she was turned out into the arena used to race round bucking and squealing and all she was getting to eat was grass and possibly hay/haylage.

To take a bit of energy off if she is playing up on a hack would be maybe to give her a really long trot. Walk the first bit if you like and then stick her in behind your buddy if you feel she would be easier to control and trot until she starts to slow and then keep pushing her on so she stops when you say. This may take a mile or so! Doing this uphill is of most benefit rather than on the flat but obviously if you live in quite a flat area that isn't really possible. Keep a steady trot to try and minimise jarring - off road trotting would be better. If you are concerned about doing a lot of long trots on the road then alternatively you could trot her in the school beforehand, changing direction, figures of eight and large circles to take the edge off her energy - a proper schooling session needn't be necessary only if you want to. Hopefully she will soon realise that it is much less effort to walk calmly! Let us know how you get on.

Lucinda
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Re: Jogging sideways on hacks

Postby Lucinda » Tue May 25, 2010 8:57 am

Hey thanks Hessy for the really good advice. Do you know I think you are right. It is probably a combination of the grass coming through and being in season, which she is! I guess I am lucky then that all she does is jog.

I hacked her out this morning before work and she was a lot better. She is turned out at night, so maybe she is a bit tired in the mornings. I might try more hacks at this time!

We tried to go for a long trot the other day, but then she broke into canter sideways instead! Perhaps I do need to find a steep hill! She is possibly one of the most forward-going horses I have ever ridden, which I need to see as a positive thing, really.

I love her to bits, she's great!

Thanks again.

hessy
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Re: Jogging sideways on hacks

Postby hessy » Tue May 25, 2010 9:33 am

Im glad you are enjoying her and you will soon get used to her and figure out how to ride her the best. After all, shes only new to you and it will take a while.

You could maybe try half halting her in trot - just keep checking her gently as soon as you establish trot so she stays really slow - try rising to the trot slow too - try to relax your shoulders and stay tall, keep your legs off her side, breathe deeply, maybe chat to her lol, count the hoof beats in your head, hold your reins fairly short but not tightly so you are not pulling her as this may make her fight, so you have control to check her gently when you need to. If you find after a wee while she is getting a little pully and excited then come back to walk and see if she settles and when she is a bit more settled then trot on again - she may not settle so experiment a bit to see what works. It will be easier to settle her if you only let her get slightly excited so bring her back to walk as soon as you feel it.

If she is immediately trying to canter when you ask for trot, it might be more beneficial to either find a good hill or do a bit of work in the school beforehand.

Good luck :)

Lucinda
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Re: Jogging sideways on hacks

Postby Lucinda » Wed May 26, 2010 9:09 am

Thanks again, that's sound advice. I will try your exercises. Funnily enough my trainer said to do the same in the school, so the half halts might work out hacking, too. I certainly don't want to hold onto her mouth!

You sound very knowledgable. Have you ridden lots of horses like mine?

hessy
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Re: Jogging sideways on hacks

Postby hessy » Wed May 26, 2010 2:47 pm

Well, i used to have a mare that was a little like yours only it wasnt for the same reasons. I think she was funny in the head, psychological problems. When i bought her we had her in a plain snaffle and imo she was far better in this. She was actually ok with brakes, very light but it was chancey as to whether she would stop - it depended on the right amount of pressure on the reins. I remember i cantered her and i literally just sat there and didnt move and then when RI told me to come back to trot i had only pulled gently and she immediately bolted off in a fast canter. You had to ask with the reins ever so slightly. She would have run you to dublin and not stopped. The fitter she got or the more you rode her the more speedier and unpredicable she got. One day she would have been fine and the next she would have been a mentalist. Also when you crossed your stirrups she would have bolted - just galloped flat out round the arena blindly. And then she was fine with them weirdly after a period of months. She was 8 years old. I used the techniques i mentioned to you on her and it kept her as steady as possible. She has a new owner now who has her in a strong bit and has let her away with stuff so she isnt as well mannered anymore although she seems to be less jumpy and more relaxed. Thinking about it that could have been to do with me lol as she made me nervous and i would have jumped at the slightest thing. She got her back and saddle checked and fixed and we had got her teeth done and she is still a headcase. I used to get on her in the arena and her back was rounded and she felt like she was going to run away with me/explode which was scary.

Also i have picked up a lot of things from watching and listening to experienced people ;D


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