I have a young (4-5yr) mustang mare I got in April who is lovely in so many ways. Love her general attitude and her intellect. She spent last year getting very lightly broke, going on trails with her previous owner. When I got her she was still pretty green and a bit jumpy but that quickly dissipated. We’ve spent the summer getting to know one another- doing some trails, groundwork, and under saddle work. Trying to vary it up as much as possible both in arena and out.
She’s generally what I’d call an energy conserver. To be less polite - behind the leg, sulky. Always looking to peter out and stop. Both myself and my trainer have been riding. At this point, months later, she very much knows what the ask for forward is and how to appropriately respond, and we are always demanding she goes forward from the lightest ask. When I look back at where we started to now - things have generally gotten much better - there are a lot fewer moments where she flat out says “no” (balk, kick, refusal to go forward), most rides are completely free of that. I will still have to demand forward, and often times have to warm her up in the canter, go for a bit of a yee-haw gallop. The trot she’s still figuring out how to go from her normal trot into a more energetic trot. It still mostly feels like if i ask her for more trot that the car is in neutral. But more and more often i am getting a postive response. And now I feel like I can ask for adjustments, begin to ask for bend, and actually get a response. It is all coming along, and I’m starting to see a glimmer of hope and dareisay she is starting to be a fun ride.
Yes, this young gal has been vetted every which way to Sunday- my first concern was addressing a health issue. So far the only thing that has really come up is that she may be n/P2, n/P8 (PSSM 2 variants) - I sent her hair to be tested via Equiseq, I know it is controversial, hence the “might be”. Diet adjusted accordingly.
This is less about training advice/ troubleshooting and more about comiseration and happy ending stories for this type of horse in dressage. My last few horses I’ve had were super forward, reactive, and so I’m very used to that type of ride. This new one, my goodness, is a polar opposite. I’ve definitely had to learn and adjust to riding a different way, which I can appreciate, keeping that perspective about being a well rounded rider helps. But dang I do miss having a more forward horse lol.
Please tell me it gets better and works out ok in the end - did it for you? Did your not-so-forward, lazy, quiet, horse end up working out? I understand she’ll likely always be a push-ride, realistically I do not see that changing- I just want to see if anyone out there has a fun happy ending story to share with me to keep me going, LOL!