It can seem a bit overwhelming sometimes when we start working with a new horse only to be confronted with a stack of behavioral problems that appear almost insurmountable. Yet most people are surprised to learn that in the vast majority of horses that appear to have multiple training issues, nearly all can usually be traced back to one or two basic causes.
Take the case of one horse I restarted: Dash. He didn’t
seem able or willing to pick up a nice forward walk
while being ridden—“while being ridden” being the key
words in this sentence. You see, while Dash had an extraordinarily slow walk under saddle, he had a perfectly
normal and fairly long-strided walk when nobody was on
him. Also, when he was asked to turn under saddle, his
jaw would lock, his body stiffened, and he would turn
like a board. Yet, when he was by himself, his turns were
smooth and fluid with his head turning the direction he
wanted to travel and his body following his nose through
the turn, just as it should.
Unlocking the braced horse.
BY MARK RASHID / PHOTOS BY CRISSI McDONALD