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Willow Flats

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When I brought Rocko home he was 4 years old and had one month of driving training. I'm pretty sure he stood around up until that time because he had a lot of fat and not a lot of muscle. I started exercising him regularly and he was really improving and then he had to heal after he banged up his leg and then the fires gave us the smokey air so he missed a lot of work.

Something that he does I have never had a horse do and I'm not sure if it is due to a weak hind end or is some kind of habit. Not sure if I can describe it but I'll give it a shot.

I ask for a trot and he goes for a few minutes and then starts to walk, so I ask for the trot and he throws his front end forward as he transitions into the trot. He has a very pretty trot and exhibits no lameness. He does it in the cart but also if I have him in the round pen for a jog. I am keeping the round pen sessions to 8 minutes total and he does this within the 8 minutes a couple of times. He is lazy and he isn't breathing hard. I've had the body worker here and started monthly sessions for him so I can keep a check on him for any soreness etc. She was here the other day and he didn't have any problems. I can pull his legs any which way and can't find pain anywhere. So I am thinking maybe this is due to a weak hind end or this is a habit he had developed? Anyone have experience with this?
 

Taz

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If I'm getting the right picture from your description it sounds like a common way for a horse to go forward when asked when they really don't want to go. It's almost like a canter step in front before trotting? If that's what he's doing he needs to work on wanting to go when you ask not thinking oh man, here we go again, yuck. Lots of go then a break after just a few steps(don't ask him to keep going, just get the go) in the beginning then build it up so he knows there's a stop and reward coming if he can just go enough to get to it, same with round pen sessions. I hope that makes sense, ask if it doesn't.
 

Willow Flats

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Thank you Taz, yes that is exactly what it looks like.
So today it was windy and my husband was on the tractor so I took Rocko out for a walk to see how he would do with the stimulus and he was excited and full of himself. I took him back to the round pen and he was all go!!!
We did lots of transitions and he did great, so it will be interesting to see how he goes tomorrow.
 

Cayuse

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Could also be he is still growing or having a growth spurt and can't quite get himself together or coordinated. How big is your round pen and how often do you round pen him? You wouldn't happen to have a video of it maybe?
 

Marsha Cassada

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I think it is true they don't always know how to use their bodies at first. Midnight was sort of like that. But the training idea of rewarding forward movement sounds like a good idea too.
 

Willow Flats

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Could also be he is still growing or having a growth spurt and can't quite get himself together or coordinated. How big is your round pen and how often do you round pen him? You wouldn't happen to have a video of it maybe?
I don't have a video. My round pen is a little over 45 feet. I usually groom it and water it so he can get some good traction. After the smoke cleared I started round penning him every other day or 3 times a week. On the other days I ground drive or do some hill work going up and down the ditch which has a gentle slope. And he gets a day off to rest. And yes he is still learning to use his body.
He would trip sometimes when I first got him but he's gotten over that. Seems to know where his feet are now.
 

Willow Flats

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Good news! I had my trainer friend come out this morning to see what was going on with Rocko. I think I have said he can be on the lazy / chill side (if he isn't worried about anything.) He has been slow at the walk and I had been after him to get more forward. Anyway, she thought maybe he was having trouble with the transition to trot because he was lacking impulsion at the walk. Kind of like sitting in a chair and having to heave yourself out of it. So she worked with him getting more impulsion at the walk first for a while and then when he kept that up she did transitions from walk to trot and that solved it! His transitions were really smooth.
 

Cayuse

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You just gotta get his motor revved up! :)
Good to hear that it was an easy fix!
 

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