My horse won't trot

jazzie

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Jul 16, 2021
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I have a 8-year-old warmblood, and I had him for about 1.5 years now. About 2 months ago, he stops responding to me and it is a struggle to get him to trot. He will walk, and will respond to leg yielding etc but only at a walk. And when he does trot, he'll walk again after a few steps. My trainer and I have tried many different things – longer warm ups, lunging before I ride, using lung rope, pole work, and as a rider, I've also tried with and without spurs, not using the reins, pressure/release and of course paying attention to all the other basic rider posture/seat/balance fundamentals.

What I have tried:
(1) ride other horses including another warmblood and I was able to get them to respond to my cues, even on some of the less responsive/lazier ones.
(2) let other riders ride my horse and he was comparatively a lot more responsive

He is healthy with no physical problems; he is relaxed and not stressed or nervous when I'm on him. We have also tried different environments/arenas, going on trial rides. He is a naturally sweet-natured horse and is constantly schooled by my trainer. And lastly, he does trot and canter when I lunge him, and does respond to verbal cues, but just not when I'm on him. Apart from doing more ground work with him, I am truly out of ideas on why he is behaving this way with me, and only with me. Any thoughts or suggestions??
 

carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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You say he's healthy with no problems, but have you had a vet out to give him a thorough check over and take bloods? To me this screams a problem.
 
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Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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Is it only with you? What about other non professional riders? Trainers often exercise greater authority in the saddle.
It is not always good to have a private horse constantly trained and ridden by a professional. If as Carthorse says all physical pain is ruled out, there are behavioural ways in which you can ride the horse. And by the way, I would stop the trainer riding him.

The first thing you need to do is get on the horse and just sit there at halt. Observe the height of the head and the behaviour of the horse when you are just sitting there. When you wantx to move off, loosen the horse at the poll by a touch on the rein and then ask for a step forward. If the horse does not repond, ask again each time increasing the pressure. There is a DVD by Richard Davison the UK dressage trainer which shows this in action. You may need a good biff with both legs to get that start.
If the first step of walk is not as brisk as you want, regject it by coming back to halt and asking again.
Once the walk halt transition is good, alternate trot and walk. 6 steps of each is good. Down the long side of the school. Then b egin to walk the short sides of the school and trot down the long sides.
 
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Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Yeah I'd have a vet check to completely rule out physical problems first, he may not be showing anything when he is 'made' to work but that doesn't mean it isn't there, horses hide problems very effectively because if they don't it will get them killed in the wild and thats hardwired into their brains. Once that's done it's a training issue for both parties.
 

Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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He sounds like my horse in his younger days. Other people couldn’t get him to move and he would just plant himself and not budge. After I had owned him a few months when he had had enough he would simply stop. There were many near misses when he would go from canter to halt because he felt like it. The answer was to learn to ride properly and have lots of lessons. But before that I would get a full vet check and possibly a bute trial to rule out any pain factors.
 
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