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How to “wake up” a lazy horse

Most likely you do not need to explain what a lazy horse is. These can often be seen in the arena. As a rule, such horses are not very worried about doing something, and also they don’t care much what the rider does on their backs. Therefore, these horses often get beginners. Because of this, many inexperienced riders want to quickly transfer to a hot, playful, excitable horse. It is believed that riding a lazy horse is easier. Sometimes you can even notice how people choose the most temperamental horse they can get, believing that it makes them look like experienced riders.

The truth is that although lazy horses are often more likely to go to inexperienced riders, in fact getting a good job from them is more difficult than from more excitable horses.

Horses are ranked as lazy, usually for five main reasons:

1. They really have this temperament. For example, heavy breeds and their hybrids are often very calm and less likely to move forward.

2. They worked under novice or “loud” riders for so long that they no longer respond to light signals.

3. They do not go forward on their own initiative, and the rider does not efficiently use the landing and the controls for sending.

4. They have pain or injury, and therefore do not want or are afraid to go forward.

5. They quickly get tired of monotonous work, and they just don’t want to do it anymore.


Do not confuse calm and lazy horses. Calm horses happily do their job, they have good, energetic movements, they raise their feet on the barrier, they just will not rush away headlong from any rustling in the bushes. Lazy horses do not have the slightest desire to move forward, they will rather shoot down poles than try to raise their legs higher, their movements are deprived of momentum and expression. Lazy horse can be seen not only under the saddle, but outside of training. Even in the Levada, they do not particularly play, in the cause barely lagging behind and so on. In fact, laziness is not characteristic of horses. In their nature, the desire to move forward is genetically inherent. Therefore, more often than not, this is actually not laziness, but one of the problems that we will discuss below. Therefore, before you stigmatize your horse for natural laziness, check whether he has any health problems? Maybe the rider gives no clear signals? Maybe he just bored?

Again, horses of “heavy” breeds and their hybrids are often phlegmatic. This is not laziness, it’s just such a type of person. Therefore, if you have a light heavyweight, you should not expect him to be a thoroughbred. People themselves cultivated such a character in them. Although there are very loud and heavy, but it is rather an exception.

Riding a lazy horse can be really difficult. But there are several techniques to wake up such a horse:

1. Landing. Often, trying to push the horse, the rider either begins to lean forward (more characteristic of beginners) or backward (a frequent “disease” of dressage riders). Try to sit up straight so that your ischial bones press down exactly in the middle of the saddle.

2. Controls. Do not pull, but do not throw at all a reason. Keep light contact. There is no point in trying to collect a horse when there is no impulse. So for starters, forget where the horse’s nose is now, focus on moving forward from the foot. Try not to kick the horse all the time, so you will only make it even less sensitive. Press down the schenkel. Did not respond? Squeeze harder. Still no reaction? Tell the whip. Always proceed in stages: from low to high impact. If you, knowing that a horse can ignore a slight impact, immediately “turn on the afterburner”, it will never learn to respond to normal footwork, but will always wait for a spur.

3. Make the transitions. Transitions, when properly executed, encourage the horse to use the hind legs more. Moving from the hind legs, she begins to gain momentum. Moreover, the transitions teach the horse to listen to the rider, and therefore more involved in the work.

4. Do side exercises. Many articles by Western experts have this recommendation. Indeed, in practice it can be seen that the horse becomes more “alive” when you perform this type of task. However, it is worth remembering that everything is good in moderation. From the abundance of the same work, even the most sensitive horse can lose all interest in training.

5. Diversify work. Usually perform in dressage? Sign up for show jumping starts! The route 60-70 cm by force of any dressage horse. New experiences, new challenges and new sensations – this is exactly the change of scenery that you and your horse need.

Novice riders are not at all silent. They tend to spin a lot in the saddle, cling legs, pull on the mouth, and so on. Therefore, horses, who often work as beginners, learn to ignore everything except the clearest and most direct signals.

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