An absolutely brilliant discovery!!! And... a few questions.

All right, everybody--
I spent this week up in Wisconsin working with the horses at a summer camp run by the man who taught me to ride when I was a little kid-- the camp's barn staff are all very good riders, but they're western trail riders who break quarter horses-- so, they asked me to ride a lovely ten year old thoroughbred gelding by the name of Kidron in the arena to see what I could get out of him-- he's roughly 16.2hh, lovely face and build, absolutely gorgeous. I rode him in a too-small-for-my-rear western saddle and a headstall with a tom-thumb bit, which was about all we had to work with, unfortunately. The campers just trail ride and this horse is a bit explosive on the trail, so they're trying to find him a better suited home. I've ridden him before a few times, and he's had a tendency to absolutely blow up and get completely out of control at the canter.

He was very exciteable when I first brought him into the arena-- he hadn't been ridden in months, and before that it was pretty irregular. He's very sensitive, a bit spooky, dances around like a mad man, holds his head like a giraffe, and was starting to throw a temper tantrum. His behavior was escalating and I was about to tell them I didn't think I could do much with him when he suddenly quieted down. He stopped and stood still, completely relaxed, and started listening to everything I asked of him. I was suprised enough as it was, but when I asked him to step up... he framed himself up and went into a gorgeous collected trot! I couldn't believe my eyes. I barely even had contact, and I certainly wasn't trying to frame him up or anything-- he'd just been a lousy trail horse his whole life, so I had absolutely no expectations.

Within minutes he was doing shoulder ins and half passes for me, still collecting himself totally on his own. I'd been warned about his canter, but he was doing so well I tried it anyways-- it was a lovely rolling, animated canter, but completely relaxed and undercontrol. He held his frame and even swapped his leads without me even asking him to. The camp staff swear they bought him straight off the race track, and they certainly didn't teach him any of that stuff-- a few didn't even know what dressage was!

We're all completely impressed with this horse, and they're now going to try to sell him as a dressage prospect. God must've had a hand in it, though, because the camp is a not-for-profit organization and the budget was getting uncomfortably tight-- Kid's now worth at least a small sum, and hopefully we'll be able to find him a home that can put all his potential to work!

I'm SO excited about this.
--Stille
 
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And now for the "and a few questions" part! :p

Kidron has infamously sensitive sides, so it was difficult to drive him forward with my legs at the trot without him breaking into a canter. He has a tons of impulsion, but I was having a hard time getting him to lengthen his strides a little more. Any ideas? :rolleyes:

We also had a few bouts of behind-the-bit... yikes! I don't believe it was the hands, as I hardly had a contact, and he will continue to do it even when ridden with no contact. I doubt it's a too-strong bit, but who knows. I'm pretty sure it was just a combination of him getting too excited and possibly avoiding the bit-- I think he's a had a few riders on him who aren't used to riding the sensitive-TB-type horse, and probably had some rough hands. Any suggestions about fixing that? I tried to drive him forward a bit more, which seemed to help. It was difficult to drive him with my legs (see above), but a click with my tongue usually worked quite well-- he pays a lot of attention to his rider.

Also... as I said, he's way too excited when we first get into the ring. I had a hard time getting him calmed down enough to even get on his back! I walked him around a bit and then let him stand tied in the ring for about ten minutes. He was really antsy and absolutely raring to go for the first ten minutes we rode, and then all of a sudden calmed down. After I rode him for about thirty-minutes, he stood completely quiet while I hopped off and chatted with the barn manager for a bit, and kept his feet planted until I climbed back up and asked him to walk on. This confused me a little bit-- the first-ten-minutes-Kidron is a little too much for my preference, but after he quiets down, he's amazing-- he's quiet enough that he's enjoyable and relaxed, but still energetic enough to keep his dramatic, animated movement. Any ideas on making that first ten minutes a little less exciting, lol?

Thanks for all your help, guys!
--Stille
 
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Cheeky

.Love me, love my horse.
Apr 13, 2005
1,518
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Down Under ... Australia
Hey there

Wow .. that sounds like a great feeling!

For the extending thing without nudging his sides .. how about trying to lengthen your rising? Like, to make the trot bigger, make your rising larger too, so he needs to follow under you??

I hope that made some sense .. it works for a few horses I know :)

Good luck
 

Luxie

New Member
Mar 8, 2005
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Luxembourg
Would he find trotting poles too exciting? If not, you could encourage longer strides by placing them just slightly further apart. HTH.
 

Cheeky

.Love me, love my horse.
Apr 13, 2005
1,518
0
0
Down Under ... Australia
Ah yeah trotting poles!! Good idea :) I use them for Cheek who needs help in extending his strides .. even when you can nudge your legs on his side :rolleyes:

Starting off with the poles at 'normal' width | | | | .. then slowly increase to larger strides| | | | .. can do the same for shortening ||| hehe :p
 

Greentchr

A Lighter Shade of Green
What about working him in a round pen at liberty for a few minutes before getting on for a few days?

Is he stabled or does he have access to good turnout regularly? He might just have a lot of pent-up energy from being kept in too-small quarters, especially as he has not been ridden much for awhile.

It would sure be nice to find out his history! It sounds like he had a real rider in his background.
 
Thanks for all the ideas, everyone!

Luxie and Cheeky-- I'm thinking trot poles might be a bit difficult-- first off, he'd get excited and most likely try to jump them instead of trotting them. And secondly... the camp is pretty much just trail riding and western... they have barrels, but certainly no jump poles to use! But I have had success using this on other horses before-- it works wonders on some.

Cheeky-- I'll be sure to try lengthening with my seat; I'd rather forgotten about that method. I won't be going back up to the camp until October, but they're planning on having me work him whenever I'm around, so I'll try it then.

Greentchr-- The camp has around fifty horses, and only eight standing stalls, so the horses are only stalled for about twenty minutes when they're eating their grain before going to work for the day. This particular horse has been turned out in a huge pasture 24/7 for the past year or so, just living on hay and grass (no grains).

Thanks for all the suggestions, guys... keep 'em comin!
 
J

jumpingkatey

Guest
try using you seat to ask him to go forward and using each of your legs in turn whilst giving with your hands
 
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