You're working on something and your horse is just not getting it.
What's the most important question? It's...
Can your horse do the move?
You could drive yourself crazy with horse training books, videos, and seminars. While you'd learn a lot, much of it --I'll bet you-- would be contradictory.
I believe that there's so many different horse training theories out there because of:
- Different riding disciplines
- Different people and horse personalities
- Different types of learning styles for people and horses
- Different breeds of horses
Multiply all that together and you have innumerable horse training methods. There is definitely a unique training method out there for everyone.
But, what if your horse does fine in training...except for that one thing she just can't seem to do? Maybe you have some of these training issues with your horse:
- Prefers to go one direction
- Difficulty picking up lope/canter
- Gait transition trouble
- Lead change (including flying lead changes) difficulty
- Drops shoulder on turns
- Wants to "two-track" or travel crooked
- Can't seem to learn well and/or spooks at anything
- Unhappy or resistant to what you need her to do
Your horse CAN do the move if:
1) If the problem is asymmetrical, your horse is saying the problem occurs only in one direction. This is better than thinking, "I have a good horse to the left, and a poophead to the right."
For example, if your horse's body can't bend to the right, it doesn't make sense to continue practicing that move. Passive antagonism, promoted by some, only helps in a limited number of situations. It's far better for you, your horse, and your pocketbook, to fix your horse. Fixing your horse will eliminate all the time and money spent on unneeded training.
2) Your horse used to be able to do the move. Perhaps the canter was fine to the right. But maybe he fell once, or pulled back in the crossties, or maybe nothing that you know of. But, now he cross-fires (cross canters, counter canters) to the right. If your horse could do the move before, but now cannot, that is a clue that his body is having trouble.
3) Try the Body Checkups. The Checkups will help you know immediately if your horse's problem is rooted in his or her body.
If the Body Checkups are normal, what next?
1) Saddle fit
Sometimes an uncomfortable saddle fit will stop your horse's:
It is amazing how a good fitting saddle will help your horse's performance. See does my horse's saddle fit for more information.
2) Teeth float
I've known many horses who were physically fine. However, they were still resistant. In these cases, a good teeth float can make a huge difference. I recommend avoiding power tools. The main reason is that the heat generated from the tool travels down the tooth root and can kill the tooth. But it takes about two years for it to die. Only then will symptoms appear. A natural dentist with no power tools is best.
For more information, see here.
3) Horse ulcers
Ulcers in horse are very prevalent. Many horses simply do not feel well enough to do what is needed. Ulcers are so important that I have created a downloadable report on this subject. Benefit from my 20 years of experience in healing ulcers--not just treating them. Please see horse ulcers
4) Mental break
Sometimes horses become "soured" from the work they are used for. Whether it's area racing or arena work, they just need a mental break.
Try to include trail riding and other cross-training to help. You'd be surprised at how many jumpers enjoy a little cow-penning.