A not-so-exciting training log about an old Standie. Although I am keeping this for myself you are all welcome to read of course, and any ideas, input or just laughing at me is fine!
A bit of her backstory...she was raced, won nothing, then had one foal. Then ended up an older woman's pet only horse (her breeder? Not sure there). This woman later surrendered her to as rescue (illness? money? again no idea). The rescue got her to where she would walk, stop and turn then adopted her out to an old man. Old guy didn't ride her much-the family trail rides didn't happen, his kids moved their horses).
I ended up with her after part boarding her for 2 months, the old guy just up and gave her to me, said he was done with the horse thing. 18, pigeon toed and green broke at best LOL not what I usually shop for but hey, I couldn't see her ending up anywhere good with her age and resume so I took her and decided I would make her the best she can be-whatever that is. Due to her conformation I am not going to be jumping her. I would never buy as horse with her front end for over fences work.
She turned, abruptly with no bend. A good whoa anyways. No idea of leg and would not get out of a walk, or leg yield etc. TOTALLY out of shape...totally.
Sort of like riding a straight stick of molasses heh heh. On the plus side after one escorted hack I took her out alone, and she lived up to my expectations of being a fairly sensible sort. Not herd bound in the least, and does an in place "startle" and looks at things that scare her, rather than a wild leap or bolt. When given her head she chose to march away from the farm and keep exploring, rather than head back, I do like that about her. And she is very pretty, apart from her front legs not badly built.
Me? Used to greenies, OTTB's etc. NO experience with a Standie, or even a lazy sort. Always had the opposite problem.
Sooooo...July-Sept last year I brought her slowly back into shape with hacks, walk and trot work. Trying to avoid making her sore and hating her work. She is getting a topline. She has a decent mouth. After a few back ups of my leg with the crop she figured out to go forward, not with proper impulsion mind you, I got either a sluggish trot or a harness racer pace...nothing in between. And something weird I think is a gaited horse gait.
Taught her turn on the forehand to get her moving off leg. Still did not translate into leg yielding for her. Of course she likes going left more than right. She will yield her head under saddle right around to my foot both ways. Taught her to back up from the saddle.
Decided to teach her to longe, I wanted to see what she was doing with her legs for myself, the weird gait had me thinking she was sore so I needed to be off her back to see it.
Anyways that was pretty easy. She moves like an eggbeater haha. Kept her on big circles and got her going and stopping on verbal cues. Still no bend LOL.
Oct-Nov getting a reliable trot out of her. Schooled her in the big field when I could, she just enjoys it more ands has more spring in her step. Worked on big bends. Working on a nicely balanced forward trot, much better and she wasn't trying to stop every 3 strides. With her fitness improving I felt ok asking her for a bit more. I think of lot of what I was dealing with was a total lack of fitness. I think movement wise she will always be limited by her pigeon toes but it is a better trot, she is also tracking up at the walk more. Bending still so-so. Someone here told me to limit the small circles for now so I have, I just try to get her going around without her nose pointed the wrong way, which is how she would prefer to go. Leg yielding is coming along.
Dec-Jan decided to try canter work, that was a fail at first. Also interspersing our training with the trail obstacles the western folk have set out in the ring just to mix it up. Bridge took a lead from the ground now it is fine. Tarp just took letting her paw and snort at it, now she goes over it no problem too. She will back through the "L". When she gets frustrated with me asking for canter I take a break and do some of that stuff with her.
I ask for canter out of her "nice" active balanced trot while sitting, what she would do every time is speed up her trot. I would bring her back to nice trot and ask again, she would speed up again and actually get frustrated, ears pinned and looking back at me like "I SPED up what DO you want?" So we'd continue in nice trot for a circle of the arena and ask again. I ask on the bends to encourage her to take the proper lead. There is no kicking her into it she will just go harness racer or into the weird gait, I tried that once just to see if it would break her through the trot thing.
Her next answer to asking for canter was a depart with the front legs while the back remained trotting then dropping back into the trot. All within ten feet, I had the BO watch and confirm what I felt. Thinking her prior training tells her not to do that, no cantering for you!!!
Took a few days break from canter attempts under saddle, tried it on the longe-same luck. This is a horse who doesn't even canter when the herd spooks, she trots along with her head in the air as fast as they canter.
Jan-our last ride was good! After some nice trot, then some trot/halt/backing up I did the usual asking for the canter as I always have and she took it for a few strides. She got praised to the heavens and put away (my feet were about frozen off anyways). It's a horrible jackhammer canter, very short strided, but she did it and even took the proper lead! She seemed to have had a light bulb moment. I find she gets angry when she doesn't know what I want, and often figures she already knows what I want. Her reluctance to canter could also be fitness related I am guessing, as since she never does it she is not muscled for it.
That's all our fooling around so far, I plan to add to this more regularly so I can reread things and maybe give myself some light bulb moments. I work alone, do not have a coach and all the fellow boarders are total QH people. All I aim to do is a hack class, English pleasure, maybe a low level dressage test (I know we won't place with her movement but I want her to do a nice one for her abilities).