Nr wisdom needed.... re. Turning away a 4yo

Lacetti

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Jun 24, 2008
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Lexi, My 4yo is, or should I say was, doing really well, but lately I have noticed subtle little changes in her ridden work, and it is really starting to concern me....

I hacked her out on Saturday with one of my friends, now Lexi used to be fine infront or behind other horses - she walks out really well, so I tend to lead, but friend wanted to go infront, no problem for me, along a bridleway.... she asked her horse to trot, so I asked Lexi to trot..... well!! :eek: Her head came up, she hollowed and got REALLY excited and started to canter sideways - I did get her to trot and she wasn't at all strong, but the trot was choppy and horrible :mad:

This morning, I decided to school her a little before work, and again she was like a rocket, head up, trying to hollow - so I decided to do lots of walk and trot transitions on a long rein, and eventually she gave me some nice work.

I spoke to one of my very good freinds, and she said that it sounds like Lexi has been 'over-cooked' and that I shouldn't have sent her away back in May for those 4 weeks, where she was taught to jump. Thinking about it now - I may have made an error in judgement - Will I ever get the calm, easy going Lexi back, or is it too late?? :(

My friend has suggested that I completely forget about stressage, schooling and sponsored rides, and as she is still only 4 - I should kinda turn her away for a couple of months - literally just hack and no more.

Do you think that is this good idea?? Or should I carry on with her schooling and stuff, but just back it off abit and only concentrate on walk, trot and transitions on a long rein - trying to get her to relax again?? I'm so confused :confused: - I just want what's best for my little girl.

Please, all advice, opinions and comments welcome.
 

Bronya

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Jan 17, 2006
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Maybe just give her a week off to think about things and be a horse again? Bear in mind though that at 4 she's starting to get stronger and fitter and to want to do more. A lot of 'calm' horses get a bit fizzy at five, then settle down again.
 

wibble

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Feb 8, 2006
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I don't think you have overcooked her at all. All horses have their off times. I wouldn't turn her away maybe change what you are doing? Hack more school less for a bit? Has she only been off those couple of times? has anything changed at all/ Do you ride behind often?

Its so hard to know what to do with horses you have to do what you think is best. I have generally always been a push through the problems kinda girl, if they spook out hacking, hack them more etc.

When Hacking I always try and change the lead regularly and frequently just so the horses don't get too used to leading or following

Good luck with her, she is gorgeous.
 

Soot

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Aug 7, 2007
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She doesn't sound overcooked so much as overcookING ;) ... That puts you in a good position to not let things get out of hand.
Maybe just go back to basics for a few weeks rather than turning away completely?
 

Lacetti

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Thanks wibble, I have noticed she has been a more impatient ride since coming back from "boot camp" - and I have found out recently that she was lunged in a pessoa and ridden in a De Gogue when she was away (which is such a bl**dy shame :() - my friend says that her hollowing with head up is typical of a horse that has been 'hooked-up' in front rather than ridden forward into contact - so now, I really don't know whether to give her some time out or whether to crack on and school her through it - I'm so, so worried that permanent damage has been done :( :(
 
Last edited:

wibble

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I would school her through it, work on impulsion and not on outline, the same when out hacking, I find Mischief goes into an outline easily out hacking because he uses his backend so well.

:)
 

Elly Koopman

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I personally would turn her away for a month or so (no riding, hacking etc.) and then bring her back. Because she won't be as fit, you'll have to go back to walking, then introducing trot etc. This'll give you and her a chance to work out what's what and then you'll have your mare back :)
 

Melting Moments

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Get her saddle checked out first, my 4 year old done the same, it was down to his saddle being to narrow.

Does she get any days of?
 

mikh

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Give her a week off, hack her out, reassess? Maybe she needs a small break. Then maybe do schooling out on hacks, put the enjoyment back into work. Do obstacles with her, poles on the ground etc. Maybe she just fancies a change
 

Lacetti

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Her back was checked 2 weeks ago, her saddle was checked last week - and I have the saddle fitter down again tomorrow to re-check and fit a new wintec stressage saddle....

I am going to get her teeth done as soon as I can get someone out.

She gets at least 2 days off per week.
 

Soot

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She's a continental girl, isn't she?

When I was into my warmbloods back in France, they were backed for 6 months at 3.5 years and then turned away until the end of the spring of their 5th year -- it's fairly standard procedure for larger riding horses and I do believe that after the initial backing and "breaking in" (for want of a better expression), they do well with time off to think about things. When they come back into work, they tend to pick up where they left off without too much trouble.

In your situation I would be tempted to give her a week off like said further up, then bring her back to basics, get her going as YOU want, then turn her away for the winter so she doesn't need to worry about the serious world. You might find her refreshed and ready to go next spring.
 

Lacetti

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Thanks Soot :) I'm going to give her a little break, I think and then try and iron out my schooling issues - see how we're doing and then go from there

Thank guys for all your replies - muchly appreciated:D
 

Skippys Mum

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I like all my horses to have at least 3 or 4 weeks off a year - when they do nothing at all - not even hacking.

I used to give Skippy a month off at the end of the winter SJ season. Arnie now gets his month off around December when I'm busy at work.

I always get a nicer horse back than the one I turned away:D

It definately wont do her any harm and it may well do her a power of good:D
 
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