How To Get A Lazy Horse Moving Forward? (Correct answer)

If your horse is sluggish, don’t squeeze harder but lift your crop out to the side slightly, so he can see it. Wave it a time or two, and then if that doesn’t work, start a light and progressive tap on the hindquarters until you feel a slight surge forward. When you get some forward movement, immediately stop tapping.

How do I get my lazy horse forward?

Start in a halt. Give your horse the very lightest squeeze possible and ask him to trot on, simply by slightly tightening your calf. If there is no response (which there probably won’t be!), immediately give a much harder kick with your leg. You want the horse to really jump forward, ideally to an energetic canter.

How do you get a stubborn horse to move forward?

When your stubborn horse does walk forward, stop tapping and pushing, turn in the direction he is going and walk with him for five or six strides. Stop him and reward with a good rub and a kind word. Repeat this procedure over and over again.

How do you motivate a lazy horse?

6 Tips To Motivate Your Lazy Horse

  1. Subtle aids for Lazy Horses. Start with a subtle aid at the moment where you expect that your horse will not react.
  2. Assertive aids for Lazy Horses.
  3. Letting go a little may help your Lazy Horse.
  4. Take breaks.
  5. Let go and give your horse some responsibility.
  6. Set Priorities.

Why is my horse reluctant to move forward?

A horse seems unwilling to move forward. This complaint can result from a variety of underlying causes including severe foot pain, lameness, muscle pain (tying-up) abdominal pain (colic), or lack of proper halter training.

What is the most stubborn horse breed?

The Faroese horse is one of the world’s most endangered horse breeds. Today, only 85 individuals remain but a vigorous work is taking place to save this strong, stubborn breed which visually is quite similar to the Islandic horse.

Why is my horse being lazy?

Horses who have lost forward impulsion are typically seen as lazy and dull. Maybe some are—and sluggishness can also be a sign of illness or another physical problem—but in most cases, horses lose the “go button” because of two issues. The first is mostly caused by boring, repetitive activity in an arena.

How do I give my horse more energy?

Oats tend to be the cereal that is most commonly used to try and give horses more energy although all cereals provide quick release energy and so may have the desired effect.

How do you motivate a lazy cob?

Do lots of walk – trot transitions in quick succession so that your horse starts to anticipate that they will be asked something. It also helps to keep the energy in the pace rather than getting into trot and doing endless circles with the energy dribbling away.

How do I get my horse back in shape?

Depending on your horse’s fitness level, you’ll want to ride 4-5 times per week to properly get him back in shape, giving him a couple days off so he has time to rest and recover. Every horse should have an individualized fitness plan, just like people, so the first step is to develop a well-planned fitness schedule.

How To Stop Nagging And Get A Lazy Horse In Front Of The Leg

So, what is the best way to bring your slow horse in front of your leg? It’s actually fairly straightforward, as long as you are completely dedicated to the task at hand. For this practice, you’ll need to carry a long whip with you. Here’s a simple advice to help you get started with this procedure. If your horse has a tendency to buck or if your seat isn’t totally stable, you should use a neck strap or saddle strap before you begin. You must be self-assured in order to truly propel your horse forward and ride past any possible enthusiasm.

Give your horse the tiniest squeeze possible and urge him to trot on by merely tightening your calf muscles a little bit.

You want the horse to make a strong forward leap, preferably into an eager canter.

A neck strap might be really useful in this situation.

It is not the goal to strike the horse, but rather to use it efficiently enough that he charges ahead.

As soon as your horse reacts positively, praise him lavishly. Lots of pats and verbal praise is key.

Bring the vehicle to a complete stop and repeat the process. Whenever possible, begin with a very mild assistance so that you may give your horse a chance to react to the soft pressure. It’s possible that your horse will require you to repeat this several times, but most will understand the idea after the first ride. After that, you may repeat the process in various gaits. For example, from the trot to the canter. It makes no difference whatever transition you’re requesting; the procedure stays precisely the same.

  1. Keep your legs still after you’ve requested your horse to trot and received a suitable response.
  2. If he begins to sluggish, a fairly gently squeeze should be sufficient to restore some of his lost vigor.
  3. When this occurs, you may begin to make adjustments to the procedure.
  4. The first is that you must ensure that your horse is not suffering from a medical ailment or pain that is causing him to lack impulsion.

As is always the case, professional views from veterinarians, dentists, and saddle fitters are essential. As a rider, it is your responsibility to enforce the rules if you believe your horse has just been taught to remain behind the leg. Always keep the following points in mind when you’re driving:

  • Horses respond best when boundaries are well defined, thus you must be completely devoted to ensuring that your horse JUMPS forward when you ask him to do so. When your horse moves forward as a result of the “large” aids, it is critical that you praise and then repeat the process starting with the smallest of the “big” aids. Without retesting the reaction, you will have just taught your horse that he only has to move forward with a hard kick and potentially the use of the whip to get what he wants. Maintain complete control of your leg by being quite severe with yourself. Once your horse has gotten used to being off the leg, his reward is for you to remain gentle and quiet without applying any leg pressure. For the final point to remember, keep in mind that it’s extremely easy to slip back into old patterns and allow your horse to get away with a number of careless transitions. The situation will deteriorate before your eyes, and you will find yourself working twice as hard as your horse all over again.

Be fully honest with yourself while determining whether or not your horse would quickly jump forward with enthusiasm if you put your leg on him or her. If this is the case, you may need to go back over the exercise again and be more conscious of your riding patterns in the future. If you follow these instructions, you should have a horse that is in front of the leg and is a delight to ride in no time! Check out our Teach Me area for much more useful information. Sophie Baker wrote the words for this piece.

3 Simple Tips to Get Your Lazy Horse off the Leg

It was Laura Graves who coined the term “the accordion” exercise to describe what is basically transitions inside the paces; it’s an excellent mental image to have because an accordion retains its roundness and consistency even when stretched and squeezed. If your horse is competing at any level, he should be able to transition between paces while being tolerant of the bit and touch, and reaching across the back. This can range from a modest “on and back” in the trot at the lowest levels of the sport to flawless transitions between piaffe and passage at the highest levels of the sport’s competitiveness.

Transitions between the paces may, of course, be included here as well, and you should make sure that the horse is constantly active behind you – notably in the downward transitions, when the hocks can sometimes trail and the horse becomes stretched up.

2. How About a “Recalibration”?

Giving your leg a little squeeze while walking is a good way to start. The squeeze should be the amount of pressure that you’d like your horse to respond to effortlessly in an ideal situation; thus, don’t go absolutely feather-light if you don’t want a horse who is overly sensitive to pressure. You can up the stakes if he doesn’t answer the first time (which is likely to happen!). With your lower leg, you may either provide a stronger squeeze or a delicate touch on the sides with your lower leg.

As soon as the horse starts moving forward, give him a pat on the back and make sure you don’t unintentionally yank the reins back.

After you’ve achieved your goal by having the horse freely respond to the initial, light aid, you may work on the same thing while transitioning from trot to canter.

The ease with which the rider might relapse into the nagging habit will, of course, play a significant role in this.

3. Try Something New

In certain cases, a sluggish horse is simply a horse who is bored and sour to be around. Even if this is not the case, changing the program is beneficial for muscular growth, strength, and the mental attitude of the horse. Consider doing something completely different from your horse’s normal routine in order to try to bring some excitement and diversity back into his or her life. Go for a hack, take the horse for a great long outride, gallop on the beach, give the horse a jump, and it will really freshen them up and make them asking you to go further forward.

When the Longines FEI Jumping Nations CupTM 2019 resumes in Sopot, Poland on Sunday, be sure to tune in to FEI TV to see some of the world’s best equine and human athletes in action.

A Good Gas Pedal: Teach Your Horse to Move Forward

It is impossible to teach a horse if the animal does not go forward. The equivalent of being handed the keys to a beautiful new BMW with no gas pedal would be that, apart from being attractive to look at, the vehicle would be completely worthless to you in terms of transportation. I like to relate the fundamentals of teaching a horse to the fundamentals of creating a vehicle. Before you can do anything further, you must first build a gas pedal by educating the horse to move forward at the speed and gait you choose.

  1. Starting with One Rein Stops, you may go to training the horse to stop when pressure is applied to both reins, and finally just when pressure is applied to the horse’s mouth.
  2. Finally, you’ll need to install a steering wheel.
  3. When desensitizing your horse, he may stand nicely with his hind foot cocked, but when it comes time to ride him on the obstacle course or complete the rail work, you will fail because he will throw a fuss since he does not want to move forward.
  4. Then they stomp their feet, run backwards, and do anything they can to avoid having to move their feet any farther.
  5. Unless you tell him otherwise, a well-trained horse will move forward on the slightest hint and maintain that pace and gait until you tell him otherwise.
  6. This means that when you teach your horse to move forward off your leg signal, that’s all you’ll be working on.
  7. If the gas pedal on your horse is not working, here are some suggestions to keep in mind in order to remedy the situation.

Of course, if you’re having problems, it’s a major red signal that there’s a hole in your foundation, and you’ll need to go back to the Fundamentals groundwork and riding exercises to fill up the gaps.

Tip1: Use Squeeze, Cluck, Spank correctly.

Using three distinct cues can help you train your horses to move forward at the pace and speed you desire: Squeeze, Cluck, and Spank your way through the day. Squeeze With the calves of your legs, gently grip the centre of the horse’s ribs to signal him to move forward. Squeezing the horse’s neck is a nice way of urging him to move ahead. Cluck In the event that he does not respond immediately by going forward, continue to squeeze with your legs and cluck twice with your tongue, “Cluck, cluck.” Clucking serves as a signal that he is likely to get uncomfortable if he continues to remain still.

  1. Horses get uncomfortable when they are spanked for not listening to your directions.
  2. Whenever the horse is moving forward at the speed you choose, your legs should be hanging lightly on his sides, not exerting any weight on them.
  3. In this circumstance, the horses become numb and learn to disregard the cues since they are doing the right thing but are not receiving any relief from the strain.
  4. As a result, the horses learn to move forward only when they receive a spanking.
  5. If you want your horse to move forward as a result of light pressure from the calves of your legs, then this is the method you should use to cue him in the beginning.
  6. Establishing a gas pedal begins on the ground, with your horse learning to listen to and heed your commands to move his feet in a certain direction.
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Tip2: Don’t be your own worst enemy.

The key to educating your horse to move forward on a light leg signal and maintain the pace you have established for him is to avoid babysitting him by taking on all of his responsibilities. Make him responsible for the condition of his own feet. When you order him to trot, he should continue to trot until you tell him to do something different. If you constantly watch the horse and don’t force him to accept responsibility, he will never learn to do it on his own accord. In the case of a trotting horse that breaks gait without your command and drops to a walk, allow him to take one stride before immediately Squeeze, Cluck, and Spank him till he trots again, and so on.

In both cases, you’re allowing the horse to get committed to the mistake before correcting it on your own.

It won’t be long before you notice that he’s starting to make less blunders as he learns to be more responsible for his own feet. During the roundpen, I made certain that I could get the colt’s feet moving at all three gaits before attempting to ride him outside of it.

Tip3: Kicking is not the way to get forward movement.

You should always go through Squeeze, Cluck, Spank in the order listed above, even if you have a lethargic horse that you know will ignore you when you gently squeeze his sides with your knees. It is not necessary to kick a horse to urge it to move ahead. In the event that you squeeze him and he doesn’t reply within a number of seconds, cluck. If he continues to be deafeningly silent, spank him. If he still doesn’t reply, spank him harder and continue to beat him until he responds at the appropriate tempo.

  1. Does this imply that you’ll most likely have to deal with some unpleasant situations with your horse?
  2. If he’s very sluggish, he may refuse to cooperate when you urge him to accelerate his feet.
  3. This is exactly what you don’t want to do: signal the horse to canter and have him reject your cue.
  4. The lesson is that kicking out gets him out of work, which is every lazy horse’s desire, and it is one he will catch up on quite quickly.
  5. Consider the following: It would be commonplace to see riders kicking racehorses rather than whipping them if kicking could make a horse run faster.
  6. When I finally did get him out in the arena, he walked easily at all three gaits and seemed to enjoy himself.

Tip4: Don’t give mixed signals.

A major contributing factor to horses having sticky gas pedals is when their riders give them confusing signals while riding them. When they command their horse to go forward, they have a death hold on the reins, forcing his mouth down to his chest as they do so. The horse is completely baffled as to what he is supposed to be doing. It appears that he is being urged to move forward, but that he is also being told to slow down or reverse course. In order to do this, whenever I teach someone how to use a gas pedal for the first time, I require them to ride on a large, loose rein.

Although it appears to be a straightforward notion, you would be shocked at how difficult it is for individuals to relinquish control after years of riding in this manner.

Forward Motion is Established on the Ground

Although it may seem strange, your horse’s gas pedal is formed on the ground from the very beginning of the roundpen exercise program. When I teach Fundamentals Clinics at the ranch, we begin by working in the roundpen with each participant and their horse. This is a great way to get everyone started. In the roundpen, I can determine which horses have a good gas pedal under saddle and which ones do not based on how they react to each other. Horses who move away as soon as their owners cue them by pointing their fingers in the air go away with ease when being ridden under saddle.

That is why we spend time on the ground getting that behavior sorted out and fixed before we ever get in the saddle.

In the case of Lunging for Respect, for example, when your horse is cantering around the circle, you can point up in the air and instruct him to pick up the pace.

Horses become adept at deceiving us and putting in the most amount of effort required to keep us satisfied, but when you begin testing your horse, you may be startled by what you discover.


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How to Get Your Lazy Horse Move Forward

The most recent update was made on December 17, 2019. Jane Savoie contributed to this article. Are you sick and weary of putting in the hours of effort as your sluggish horse plods along with little enthusiasm? Remember that a horse can detect the presence of a fly on his side, so there’s no reason for him to be deafeningly quiet around your legs. Here are six actions to do in order to position your horse in front of your driving aids: 1. Provide a light leg help by giving both calves a feather light squeeze with one hand.

  • Do not modify your help by repeating it or making it more powerful if he does not respond.
  • 3.
  • Before you criticize your horse for a lack of response to your leg or for a sluggish or non-existent response, take into consideration his temperament.
  • However, the sensitive soul may just only a light smacking with the whip to elicit the same response.
  • You don’t want to put him in a state of fear.
  • It is important to avoid being bucked off in the first place.
  • Consequently, gently close both of your legs up against his sides to request his version of a lengthening on his side.

Maintain your focus on the fact that at this moment all you are looking for is some form of forward movement.

It’s acceptable if he throws his hands in the air and dashes away from the table.

When you first begin this technique, your main aim is to receive some sort of passionate response that indicates that your horse is paying attention to you.

The use of the reins is pointless if he isn’t considering the long-term consequences of his actions.

CONTINUE TO TEST Once you’ve successfully pursued him forward, return to your usual working trot.

The most crucial stage in the whole procedure is to retest by softly shutting both calves on both sides.

This is due to the fact that you have only trained him to move forward when he feels the whip or a kick in the back.


Continue until he puts forth a 100 percent effort.


When you retest him, it is still OK for him to break into a canter at this point in time.

However, for the time being, ANY positive response should be acknowledged and appreciated.

She served as the Olympic dressage coach for the Canadian 3-Day Eventing Team in Atlanta in 1996 and Athens in 2004.

Her best-selling books That Winning Feeling!, Cross-Train Your Horse and More Cross-Training are among her numerous accomplishments.

She is also a frequent writer to several prominent horse journals and is in demand as a motivating speaker in the horse industry. Main image courtesy of Steven Lilley/Flickr

Start Your Engines: 4 Tips for Working With Lazy Horses

If horses are represented by a continuum, hot horses are at one extreme of the spectrum, while kick rides are at the other. In order to get the most out of lazy horses, the rider must employ a surprising amount of strategic thinking on his or her behalf. Sydney Conley Elliott, a five-star eventer, understands how tough it can be to ride the kick ride at times. In the stable, her current Advanced event horse, QC Diamantaire, or “Q,” as he’s affectionately known, is the poster kid for a relaxing horseback ride.

“I believe that horses like him are far more difficult to ride than a hot horse – both mentally and physically, since you’re trying to get every stride out of them and it just demands a lot of brain capacity and a lot of physical effort on the side of the rider.” In order to make the most of your less reactive horse’s abilities, Sydney offers her favorite methods for getting the most of your less reactive ride.

  • Interested in learning more about what inspires a slow horse?
  • Check out Tik Maynard’s Masterclass on typical training challenges for more information.
  • Apply the smallest amount of pressure possible on the surface.
  • “It’s really difficult not to nudge the lethargic horse with your leg,” Sydney said emphatically.
  • However, if they aren’t reacting to a moderate squeeze multiple times around the region, you will just be fostering a dull reaction,” says the author.

Then you take a few steps back and attempt it again, so the horse understands that when you begin to put your leg on, they must react to it.” 5 Ways to Make Your Horse a Better Friend: 5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Your Horse The trick here is to ask with the right amount of help until you receive a response, and then to stop asking for more.

  1. As Sydney put it, “Hot horses keep the leg on, and lethargic horses keep the leg off till you need to use it.” 2.
  2. Allowing your horse to walk away from the mounting block at their own pace is not a good idea; instead, consider this the first trainable moment of that ride.
  3. “We take those reins and put them to work,” she explained emphatically.
  4. As riders, we must take responsibility for our actions when the horse is unwilling to move away from the mounting block.
  5. It is essential that their brains — both rider and horse – are engaged from the outset.” “Come out and have a wonderful time, and if you can simply think, ‘OK, I’ve got to make it count,’ it will help you a lot.
  6. Sydney said, “If you can get on with it and do the best you can that day and make every step count, perhaps the following day will be easier.” It’s possible they’ll come out somewhat further in front of your leg tomorrow.
  7. The sluggish horse will take a little bit from you with each ride if you don’t stay on top of it.

Change things up on a regular basis In order to maintain the less reactive horse in front of your leg, you must keep them engaged both physically and psychologically throughout the process.

As an alternative, you’ll want to keep them engaged by making regular transitions, turning around, and changing directions.

“You want to acquire as much as you possibly can in the ring.” With Q, we go through a flurry of transformations on a consistent basis.

It seemed like every few steps, we were modifying what we were doing.

In the ring, there is never a time when you are merely traveling around the perimeter.” Another technique to make your ride more interesting is to use cavaletti and gridwork.

As Sydney noted, “I often equate it to football players who are doing agility exercises.” “Think outside the box!

I am a firm believer in switching things up and forcing them to think about their feet rather than our ability to get them there at the precise distance every single time, as we often do.

The Lazy Horse Requires Additional Exercise With a stronger and better aerobically conditioned horse you can ask them to do more and better.

“The sluggish horse has to be in very good shape,” Sydney explained.

You truly don’t have a horse exiting the starting box if you don’t have it.” Q’s fitness level is assessed throughout the season by Sydney, who is an event rider who understands the importance of this assessment.

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For the three-days leading up to our competition, I’ll really undertake a jump session after a gallop to prepare for show jumping on the last day of a long format.” That’s a novel approach of determining fitness levels.” 5.

“It’s a lot of work, but remember to have fun while doing it.” Please don’t annoy them or stress them out over it excessively.

“Remember that you purchased the horse for a reason; therefore, be prepared to work with what God has given you.” Even if they are a little sluggish on some days, take advantage of it.

There are advantages and disadvantages to being a slow horse, so take use of both sides!” Continue reading this: ‘Three Riding Truths that Caroline Martin learned from Anne Kursinski’ Photos courtesy of Shelby Allen

English Lesson: Go Forward

We’ve all been in that situation. Despite the fact that you’re looking forward to a fantastic riding session, you find yourself pleading with your pony to go faster from the moment you ride him. No matter how many times you cluck or kick him, he continues to move at a snail’s pace. Here are some suggestions for motivating your sluggish horse to move ahead.

Tip-Top Shape

One of the most important things you can do to encourage your sluggish horse to go ahead is to ensure that they are in excellent condition. First and foremost, it is critical that you ensure that your horse is not moving slowly since it harms him to go quicker. Your trainer or a veterinarian should examine him to ensure that his legs or back are not in pain and that he is in good health and fitness for the task you’ve assigned him. If all of these items are in working order, your pony has just learned to tune out your presence!

If your horse is unwilling to move forward, use harsher cues to encourage him to do so.

Rider Cues to Go Forward

To encourage your sluggish horse to move ahead, one of the next steps is to make certain that the rider cues are clear enough for the horse to grasp them. Despite the fact that we may not like to admit it, some horses learn to tune out their riders because the cues they are receiving are not clear to them. It might be difficult to distinguish between the two actions while you’re starting to ride since you’re pulling on the reins at the same time you’re kicking him forward. Watching you urge your horse to move forward can help you avoid accidentally sending him conflicting indications.

If you have determined that you are not the source of your pony’s sluggishness, it is vital to remember the order in which you should encourage him to move, starting with gentler aids and progressing to stronger ones:

  1. Cluck to him and push him forward with your hips
  2. He will like it. Apply pressure on him with your calves and tap him on the back of the heels. “Pony kick” your horse, which involves removing your entire leg from the saddle and flapping it repeatedly until the horse becomes irritated enough to move forward (this should be done quickly)
  3. And Dress up your look by wearing a crop or tying the ends of your reins behind one leg (never in front of your shoulder).

When you instruct your horse to move ahead, he should do so as soon as you say so. Allow him to move forward at his own pace; do not pull back on the reins or advise him to slow down once he has completed the task at hand. In contrast, if he walks about with his feet like they are cinderblocks, he is still not paying attention to you. Are you looking for other methods to get your horse going forward? Here are a few more tricks to experiment with.

Get Outside

You should take advantage of any opportunities to ride outside the arena if you are fortunate enough to have one. Getting bored when riding in circles is inevitable, so take your pony out of the arena and ask him to really move ahead and motor about. Do you have any hills? That’s even better! Take your pony for a nice gallop up the hill, allowing him to stretch his legs as much as possible. As soon as he recalls how much simpler it is to go ahead (and you understand the speed you are requesting), you will be able to more effectively transmit that enthusiasm into your arena practice.

Change It Up

One of the next suggestions for motivating your sluggish horse to move forward is to switch up their workout program from time to time. Routine is something that most of us are fairly comfortable with. Each day, we get up at the same time to go to school, and we go to the barn on specified days of the week, as well. Similarly, we warm up our horses in the same manner and ride for the same length of time. BORING! Make a point of mixing it up the next time you mount up. Instead of trotting around aimlessly for 10 minutes until your pony is warmed up, take him on an 8- or 9-minute training walk and ask him to interact in a meaningful way.

Incorporate variations in pace within the gaits as well, so that you may perform working trot, medium trot, and collected trot, among other things.

Make an attempt to ride your horse outside of the arena and rushing up a hill to teach him to move ahead. He’ll be amazed with how much fun it is!

Change Disciplines for a Day

Our ponies, like you, find performing the same thing over and over again tedious. He grows bored of being pounded on the same flying lead change, dressage exam, or line of jumps over and over again. So, what is the best way to keep it fresh? Try out a western saddle on your hunt seat horse, a barrel pattern on your dressage pony, or some games with your horsemanship horse to see what you like most. Almost anything you do that is out of the norm will enliven your faithful horse, who will strive hard to figure out what he’s been tasked with doing.

Give Your Lazy Horse a Rest

Yet another method of motivating your sluggish horse to move forward is to send him forward quickly, then when he arrives at the desired location in the arena or has completed the gait or task you have requested, allow him to stop completely—and by completely, I mean completely halt everything, not just the task he was performing. Allow him to stand, relax, and lower his head. Then, when you’re ready to return to work, approach him in the same manner as previously and ask him to help you go ahead.

Groundwork for Your Lazy Horse

If your lazy horse is unwilling to move forward, you can try sending him ahead quickly and then allowing him to stop—and by stop, I mean completely stop everything, not just whatever task he was doing at the time. This will encourage your horse to move forward and complete the gait or task you have asked him to complete in record time. He should be allowed to stand and relax, as well as to lower his head. Next, whenever it is that you are able, ask him in the same manner as previously to assist you in moving on with your career.

4 Exercises to Rev up the Lazy Horse

When we watch a rider kicking her horse, her face flushed with exertion, and seemingly getting nowhere, we think to ourselves, “Wow, that seems like a lot of work.” But it is. Perhaps some of you have even been in the position of the rider who is unsure of how to spark a fire beneath their horse. When conducting interval training, use cones to indicate where you should vary your speed (see Exercise 2 below). While some horses are naturally quieter than others, the majority of lazier horses are created rather than born.

Having worked as an equestrian fitness professional, I see this all of the time.

It is feasible to stimulate a horse that ordinarily appears to require a great deal of pushing and shoving by employing a combination of general approaches and particular workouts.

Define “Lazy”

Let’s start by agreeing on what constitutes “laziness.” A quiet mount that may require a little rousing at the start of a ride is not what I perceive to be sluggish. A sluggish horse, on the other hand, is one that requires regular use of your legs or whip to keep going, or one that gives you the impression that you are working harder than the horse itself. It is quite uncommon for a fit, powerful horse with enough oxygen and blood rushing to his gymnastic muscles to display exercise resistance or to be lethargic during training.

Laziness often manifests itself when a person has had an irregular training schedule—one that is devoid of purpose—or one that has not steadily increased the workload in a consistent weekly basis, which then causes him to put up less effort at his job than he should.

The Right Exercises

Not all exercises are effective for all horses in the same way. Even activities that have been found to be useful for other horses may not be effective for individual horses, depending on their aerobic make-up, muscle fiber type, temperament, and other factors. When it comes to stimulating a lethargic horse, you’ll have to experiment with different activities that condition his general strength while also igniting his enthusiasm a little. Find workouts that are effective for your horse and make a commitment to them.

Whenever you lead him, make an effort to keep him bright and focused while also going quickly.

Exercise 1: Hangbahn

Most horses become dull or lethargic early on as a result of spending too much time in a single pace or gait, or because relaxing was over-emphasized during the breaking-in stage and there was not enough more active movement to compensate. As a general rule, even for competition horses, I never train arena-specific skills more than three times a week, even if they are in training for a competition. It is critical for riders to alternate their riding sessions with other education techniques in order to keep their horses fresh and motivated.

  1. The horses that are ordinarily uninterested in performing in the arena respond positively to this treatment on several occasions, and I believe this is the case.
  2. It is not necessary to use a wide space as long as it is free of rocks and holes; nonetheless, a large area is preferable.
  3. As a result of these changes, the horse’s proprioception—his sensory knowledge of his body’s position—becomes more refined.
  4. In just one week, you will be amazed to discover that your horse is much more responsive when you ride him in the arena.

Exercise 2: Interval Training

In general, these types of horses respond well to inertial exercises, which are intervals of time where the horse’s pace fluctuates. A consistent period of increased intensity activity followed by a brief respite is characteristic of these routines. Sprint drills, such as galloping or rapid trotting between cones set around 50 feet apart, followed by a leisurely jog for approximately 50 feet and then another sprint, would be an example of this type of training. As the race progresses, the horse begins to anticipate the sprint, which causes him to rev up a little bit more.

It may be necessary to include a friend horse in the routine if a horse does not perk up during the sprint line and then drops behind him during the rest portion.

Try it in each of the three gaits. You might be amazed at how beneficial this simple exercise can be, both physically and psychologically.

Exercise 3: Canter Box

A canter box is what I use to keep horses in the canter when they won’t stay in it on their own without constant prodding. This involves laying two poles on the ground parallel to each other, approximately 10 feet apart (or the length of your horse’s normal canter stride) and spacing them approximately 10 feet apart. Develop your canter, and then approach the poles in a straight line, with your horse’s head directly over the center of the poles as you approach. A canter over the first pole, a clean landing with all four feet between the first and second poles, and a calm continuation over the second pole are all expected of your horse.

It also aids in the organization of the canter by placing the horse in a position where he must become more balanced with his stride, which makes it easier to maintain the gait for an extended period of time.

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Exercise 4: Raised Poles

One further exercise that is effective with the majority of lethargic horses is to ride in varied patterns with poles that are lifted 6 to 8 inches above the ground. The majority of riders appear to understand the importance of cavalletti, but far too often they just arrange them in a single row and go back and forth over them. Setting up elevated poles at all kinds of odd distances around the arena is a far more advantageous usage for a lazier horse than placing them at regular intervals. This keeps him from slogging mindlessly down a row of poles, falling on his forehand by the end of them, or even knocking into a couple of them along the way, as he might otherwise do.

  1. To the point where I sometimes go through an entire period of training where all of our arena time is spent riding over and around these randomly placed elevated rails, I do so for horses that have a tendency to lag behind in the trot and canter.
  2. When educating a horse who is naturally more reserved, it is critical that every opportunity be taken to draw him out of his shell.
  3. The importance of consistency cannot be overstated.
  4. If you treat his body and mind usage on a continuous basis, you will notice positive outcomes.

Rule out Restriction

The majority of horses that I observe wandering around the perimeter of the arena have become thus sluggish as a result of physical restrictions in their bodies that have reduced their strides and dulled their nervous system. Essentially, they are trudging along half-asleep, making little attempt to be aware of their surroundings or to move. They are frequently not in pain, but they have acquired a restriction in range of motion for a certain muscle system—shoulders, back, hindquarters—and their neurological system has been re-wired as a result of this restriction.

The problem is immediately apparent if I notice a horse dragging his hind foot or scuffing the sand with his front toes.

It would appear like he is ignoring you while lying on his back, which is true to some extent, but the main issue is that he is not capable of doing significantly better.

Their performance will remain the same as long as their bodies do not alter.

This essay first appeared in the February 2015 edition of Horse Illustrated magazine. It has been updated. To subscribe, please visit this page.

How to Make a Stubborn or Lazy Horse Go Forward

Jennifer’s expertise is in writing articles regarding horses and their training, maintenance, and purchase. Some horses (and mules) are plain obstinate or sluggish, and will not go forward until bribed or forced to (sometimes in the face of significant persuasion). Self

Are You Sure the Horse Is Lazy?

If a horse refuses to go forward, it might just be being lazy. However, you should first rule out any other possibilities. Even if it isn’t your horse, you should inquire with its owner or guide to see whether the animal behaves in this manner all of the time and, if not, whether they can notice what you are doing that is encouraging the behavior. In addition, a “slow” horse may be suffering from a medical condition at times. Horses might be reluctant to move forward when they are suffering from back discomfort, ill-fitting equipment, or an overly-harsh bit, among other reasons.

  • When the owner went to saddle G, she told me that he had “gone for” one of the grooms, despite the fact that he was known for being difficult.
  • When I climbed on him, I discovered that the animal was crippled on all four legs!
  • He was absolutely unable to move ahead, which an unskilled rider may mistake for a lack of motivation to continue.
  • The poor horse was suffering from Lyme illness.
  • In fact, at one time, he expressed a desire not to have his nose touched.

You Could Be Causing the Issue With the Horse

Again, if it is not your horse, inquire as to whether the horse behaves in this manner on a regular basis. If that’s the case, then it’s most likely you. This might indicate that the animal is prone to “testing” new riders to determine whether or not they are serious about riding. It’s also possible that you’re not making efficient use of the assistance for whatever reason. For example, while riding in a western saddle, I have a poor habit of allowing my legs to wander too far back, which means they aren’t always effective and, especially if the horse is prone to lethargy, the horse has the ideal reason to ignore me.

However, not all stables are respectable, and they will not saddle you on a horse if you are too large to ride.

Read More From Pethelpful

Horses will often be lazier or more obstinate while riding with riders who are unfamiliar with, or who they assume are unfamiliar with, what they are doing. Self

What Do You Do If Your Horse Is Lazy?

For the sake of argument, let us assume that you have double-checked your leg position and hand position, and that the horse isn’t refusing to move forward for any valid reason. An “artificial assistance” is a fancy name for whips and spurs, and it is the first temptation to consider adding one. The use of spurs should never be attempted by riders who do not possess the necessary expertise and muscle control to maintain a calm and steady lower leg. In the event that your leg bounces about, the horse will become confused at the very least and harmed at the very worst.

When dealing with recalcitrant horses, I’ve personally used both a dressage whip and an over-under (a quirt with an extended length) at various points in my career. Insofar as the crop is used properly, there is nothing wrong with it. Here’s how it’s done:

  • First and first, give the horse a chance to respond to the typical, modest aids—just a squeeze—that he is used to receiving. If that doesn’t work straight away, try digging both heels into their sides
  • This should help. Keep in mind to always use both legs, otherwise some horses will use this as an excuse to turn sideways rather than forward. Make a modest forward movement with your hands to ensure that you are relinquishing control of the reins. If the horse ignores the heels, tap it once with the crop or quirt to get it to pay attention. It is customary to wear a quirt (a length of braided rope) across the shoulder. While on the trail, a crop should only be used behind the inside leg (either leg will suffice), unless your guide or teacher expressly instructs you to use it on the shoulder (some horses will buck if hit behind the leg)
  • Squeeze once, then hit once again. Do not stomp on a horse’s back. It’s counter-productive to do so. One whack, followed by a gentle reassurance that “Yes, I want you to proceed.” If a horse is only trying to put you on the spot, striking the horse once may be sufficient for the entire ride. For that reason, some horses will cease being lethargic just because you are transporting a crop in your wagon. They aren’t deafeningly dumb

Keep your full leg off the horse while you’re trying to kick them. The horse may shoot forward or bucks in response to this, and it’s preferable to use a crop once rather than kick repeatedly if the horse shoots forward or bucks. Yes, I understand that barrel racers do this all the time, but everyone’s equitability suffers when they play games, including my own. To the best of the author’s knowledge, the information in this article is accurate and complete. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary medical consultation, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or other forms of formal and customized counsel.

2013 is the year in which jenniferrpovey Larry Rankin, a resident of Oklahoma, wrote on June 13, 2015: I’ll admit that I know very little about horses, but I’m loving learning more about them through your articles.

The Tried-and-True “Escalating Aids” Method to Get Your Horse More Forward

Do you have a horse or pony that is a little too laid back for your tastes? While it might be relaxing to ride a horse that isn’t hot and energetic, working with a lethargic horse can be quite challenging. In other words, if after a few circuits at trot you see that you are breathing harder than your horse, it is a solid indication that you need a plan to get your horse off the leg and going forward.

What Does it Mean to Have the Horse in Front of the Leg?

It is not necessary for your horse to be “in front of the leg” in order for him to be racing around. Simply said, being in front of the leg implies that you won’t have to do any effort to get your horse to move. That he adapts rapidly to a modest leg assistance is another benefit of his condition. When riding, you should be able to sit calmly and keep your rhythm and tempo, but you should also be confident that your horse will react quickly if you decide to use your leg to change gaits or prolong the stride.

Developing this important skill will make it easier for you to ride to the best of your abilities in the future.

Whether you’re jumping, schooling, or just having a good time on the trails, here’s how to kick laziness to the curb once and for all.

The Escalating Aids Method

The progressive aids approach of encouraging your horse to move forward is simple to comprehend and put into practice on your own horse. And it’s effective! Before you begin, it is critical that your horse is in good physical condition and that he is comfortable. In discomfort, horses may frequently refuse to move forward, so look for obvious causes such as improper saddle fit before moving forward with the rider. If you are concerned that your horse may be experiencing discomfort in one of his joints, speak with your veterinarian so that they can investigate.

If your horse has been out of work for a lengthy period of time, reintroducing them to work should be a gradual process in which you gradually increase their fitness and strength before asking for more.

For the time being, assume your horse is in good health and not in any discomfort. Here’s how to use the progressive aids strategy to move your horse off the leg.

Getting Your Horse Off the Leg

Unless your horse is consistently meandering along and not responding to your pleas to move ahead, it’s likely that he has learnt to disregard the leg aids you give him. You will be able to persuade him to be less lethargic and more forward-thinking if you can teach him to listen to them once more. The following is a step-by-step breakdown of the fundamental procedure: Step 1: While walking, gently squeeze your horse’s leg to encourage him to trot forward. Your horse should instantly burst into a beautiful, energetic trot as a response to your command.

  • Immediately following the initial gentle squeeze, you will administer a series of assists of increasing pressure until you get the desired reaction.
  • Within a second or two of your horse not responding to the pressure, you should deliver a little kick to encourage him to continue forward.
  • Again, within a fraction of a second or so.
  • It’s likely that it won’t appear to be particularly nice or tidy, but that’s fine.
  • This is the relief of pressure, and it is also a part of the reward for coming forward when asked to come forward.
  • Step 5:After giving your horse plenty of positive reinforcement to let him know he’s done a good job, repeat the exercise with the light assistance once more.
  • Within a short period of time, your horse will discover that responding to the first aid is significantly less difficult than waiting for the growing levels of care.
  • Having gotten your horse’s attention with a nice light aid, it’s your responsibility as the rider to keep your legs as quiet as possible.


That’s all there is to it. A surefire method of energizing your sluggish horse to go ahead.

If only there was a simple solution for dealing with human laziness as well – we’d never skip a workout again! Considering putting this on your horse’s schedule? Alternatively, do you have a four-legged companion that is naturally forward-thinking? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Sophie Baker

A freelance writer and marketing professional, Sophie presently lives in South Africa with her family. She is a competitive dressage and showjumping rider, and she owns the gangliest Warmblood horse in the world. In her spare time, she enjoys watching Masterchef Australia repeats and cooking up a storm in the kitchen, which is where you’ll find her when she isn’t riding, writing, or working.

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