22 month old TWH with 45 daysProfessional Training ridden in nylon bridle, d ring snaffle and western saddle in round pen, pasture, trail by experienced rider.

Question: This young mare will not stay in her gait for more than 30 seconds. She will not get above a slow walk most of the time. After 30 to 45 minutes of riding she sulls up or
just refuses to move even if you dismount! She will only work a clockwise direction in the round pin. If I try to force her to go counterclock wise she will run into the side of the pin or try to jump over the top. I am afraid she will hurt herself. 

Please give me some idea to help my poor little confused horse.

From Panelist Steve

This horse has had training for 45 days but sounds VERY green to me. In my opinion, (and you won't like this) you started her too soon. I think your diagnosis is correct: she is very confused. Or, she is in pain, lots of it, and she doesn't want to blow up. Walkers are like that. That is why they are so easy to abuse. We need to be much more careful with a Walker than say, an Arab. An Arab will tell you when something is bothering it ! Walkers suffer in silence and either become sullen and sad or sometimes they blow up.

I know you are anxious to correct things and move forward. I've been there. I learned what I'm going to tell you the hard way. Learn from my mistake.

Put the little lady on the shelf for a few months. Start over with her, very gently and with an eye towards making things fun for her. Review your bitting and saddling to make sure everything fits. Check her teeth.

And, whatever you do, try to figure out how much and what type of training the horse got. My guess is a step was missed or ignored, or even worse, screwed up. I think a 20 month old horse is too young to break to saddle.

Stephen B. Chasko,

From Panelist Liz

Put this horse back in the pasture for another year and let it grow up. This horse is not old enough to be going undersaddle. She is shutting down on you and it could get worse. She is not even a mare yet she is a filly and will not be a mare until the age of 5 years.

She is not physically or mentally mature enough to handle the pressure of training under saddle but ground work would be great at this age but still for a small amounts of time only maybe 3 days a week for 20 minutes. Please be patient and give her time and when she is ready and done correctly she should turn out fine with the right work.


From Panelist Theresa

It sounds like you may have a mineral deficiency or imbalance going on with this mare.
Tying up- often characterized by refusal to move, can be corrected if diagnosed and treated with free mineral supplements.  The calcium/phosphorous imbalances should be checked here. Polysaccharide storage problems are also characterized by horses starting
off well, then becoming increasingly aggitated, sometimes also acting as if they have ovary or colic trouble. This requires a removal of starchy food from the feeds, and needs to be discussed with your veterinarian. Chiropractic mal-adjustments can also show in the form of quitting in one direction primarily, and refusal to bend or refusal to have flexion in the
neck/jowl. Please have these things checked prior to continuing your training program.

If they check out ok, then please come back to the forum and I can offer more input. From what you describe, I think your dealing with a physiological problem, and careful analysis needs to take place to identify and treat, then to start over with her training at that time.


From Panelists Laura

Sounds like this baby is getting tired and maybe a little ring sour.  Have your trainer do shorter work sessions, maybe 5-15 minutes.  Go back and do a little more ground work in the counterclockwise direction so that she is more comfortable in going that way.  

Work her in a different area (can be from the ground) so she has a new environment.  Could be a different round pen or arena.  Lead her out and let her eat some grass and remember that she is just a youngster. 

She is trying to tell you that she isn't ready for all this work and if you continue pushing her, her behaviour will probably get worse.  You might want to put her back out to pasture to mature some more (give her some time off) and then start over again a little slower and ask a little less of her.


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