The green horse under saddle – not all roses and candycanes


So, think Valiosa came home after a 4 week stint in Somerset transformed to an impeccable, green-but-with-high-rideability great working mare?

Not so.  This is real life after all.

At Somerset, we had a bit of riding at the trot in the arena, nothing fancy, but without any drama.

Valiosa trot at Somerset

Once home, very relaxed and I thought things would go fairly smooth.  Sweet as honey in the barn, and really nice on the lunge line;  she pulled out some new evasions under saddle already the first day.

Monday, bucking. 

Tuesday, despite light lunge work and a goal to do only  a combined 12-15 minutes trot/walk under saddle, she ran out of the arena, twice.  (Open arena, bordered by a rail road tie, so not very hard to do.)

Wednesday, funky in the walk, and after escaping the arena again, reined back, ears pinned backwards, to the leg.  (Got her back in, finished with a short amount of obedient halt-walk-halt, and called it the day.)

Not very encouraging.  She is in no way over-worked, pressured, or rushed.  Simple stuff only, but there’s a stickiness and an evasion in there now,  you can feel it.


Thursday was a rest day.

Friday lunging and then easy flat trail ride out for less than 10 minutes where she was a really good mare.

She’ll have the weekend off.

It could mean nothing.  I’m still working with Alexis a little for a couple of weeks although Valiosa is home, and she’ll have some more ideas for us if this drags on next week.

So far, there’s been no “fighting” about anything in Valiosa’s training.  Perhaps this is the testing period.

Ulcer treatment ordered – hoping to start in less than 6 days, if it would hurry up and get here.

A challenge.

If I can do this, so can you.

18 thoughts on “The green horse under saddle – not all roses and candycanes

    1. Thank you! I looked at the article on my phone last night and will read it over, especially the last part, again this morning. I strongly feel this may be her testing period, it just came sooner than I thought…


      1. My Parelli professional reminded me that ALL horses go through resistance phases throughout their lives. But it’s how you handle it that determines the outcome. Much like what wilhem said! Just stay positive and know that it is NOT personal at all, you’ll get through it when the time is right :).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Agreed. I haven’t been wanting to push her at all, she’s so young and I don’t mind giving her time and waiting if that’s what she needs. At the same time – don’t want to be creating a monster by letting her calling the shots either!

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    1. Agreed, if she becomes too much of a challenge, it’s not worth it to me – a bit too old bones on my part by now 😉

      However, she’s been quite malleable, accepting, in most other aspects until now, and I’m not convinced she’ll be super challenging in the end.
      Not sure. I’ll have a tiny bit of help this week – hoping to have something good to report by next 🙂


  1. First thing that comes to my mind is saddle fit. A pinching saddle or a saddle that rocks can sour a horse pretty quickly. Just a thought. If she is eating normally, it’s probably not ulcers (or so my old country vet would say). Also if she’s lunging happily but not happy under saddle, that makes me think saddle fit, too.
    I feel for you, Elinor. Horses are a mystery and not a fun one sometimes. I know you will work though this methodically and figure it out and all will be well. Go through the possibilities by process of elimination, and meanwhile, be cautious about your own safety, too, since she’s being a bit more erratic. Soon you two will be back to some great work and then you have the whole summer ahead of you to make excellent progress 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The saddle was my first go to thought also. While away, she went in a different saddle, but I did ride her once in my own, with no problems like this.
      While not fitted for her, it’s not a horrid fit – the width is there, the channel is wide enough, and there’s wither clearance no problem, along with a padded, contoured, girth. One would think she should be able to trot for 5-10 minutes with it. But perhaps I’m fooling myself.
      Saddle fitting planned sometime next month – I was hoping to make it until then no problem.
      It’s a mystery, like you said – any other ideas are greatly appreciated! I love the encouragement and hope to be able to report some good results eventually 🙂


      1. Turnout – does she get enough? Looks like your place has plenty of that. Ulcers – maybe, although I think they usually turn their noses up at pellets when they have ulcers (take a bite, then walk away, then come back – like they want to eat, but don’t want to eat, because their tummies hurt). Saddle fit still could be it. I’d try her in another saddle if you can borrow one, just in case that is the smoking gun. Some horses are REALLY picky about it. I’m sorry she’s being difficult in this way – it sounds like quite a mystery! Horses don’t lie, though. If they’re acting up like that, there is a good reason. Hopefully it becomes apparent soon and is soon solved. I know it must feel very frustrating meanwhile. You’ll know with the ulcergard within about 3-4 days whether you’re getting results.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha ha ha, I loved reading this. “Funky in the walk” had me laughing – it reminds me so much of the ‘issues’ (rather challenges I think) I’ve had with Perfect, the big grey mare from 2010. She’s been given up by quite a few now as you might remember, and everyone’s been wondering if she was sick, in pain or something like that. I found this article from Eventing Nation, you might find it useful:

    Also – youngsters is one thing … mares another .. combined? At times it’s possibly worse than getting habanero-chili-paste in your eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Waaaaah! Habanero paste in the eye – absolutely love the analogy haha! Insane.
      🙂 Really liked the article – excellent thinking of the author.

      Last thing I wish to do is to pick some big fight with this mare. Will continue to view her as young, tense, little thing who will just blossom with patience and some creative thinking.


  3. I wholeheartedly agree – I think something IS up, whatever it may be. Just seems altogether too early for her to throw little powerstruggles. Hmmm not sure.
    The one big change is that she comes in the barn at night (but still has a longish pipe pen open from the stall at all times) vs living out as she did in Somerset.

    I ride her in the morning, then she’s out until evening feed.
    That IS a big change for a young horse. This Monday, I’ll turn her out right after 7 am for an hour with hay, and then go back to get her for a short session before turning back out for the day.
    Who knows, it might really make a difference for her.

    Hope to report back with progress this week 🙂 Thank you so much for checking on us! !!!


  4. Sounds like you have your hands full. Had a thought … You might consider having her teeth checked if you haven’t done so already. A lot of problems start in the mouth and resonate to other areas of the body. Just something to consider. I’m rootin’ fer ya … 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent thought! I know it can be an issue that will show itself in all sorts of ways.
      She had a full dental less than 6 weeks ago, and two wolf teeth removed. Everything else looked good. Yes, still some teething of course, and I’m very mindful of that – using a Remont noseband instead of a Cavesson to make every effort that it won’t even so much as “lay” against her teething bumps.
      So, probably not it. (Although I always keep it in mind, as she does not in any way have a quiet mouth, it is a busy one, and I fully prepared to try some different, also mild, bits as time goes by.)
      Thank you SO much for rooting for us 🙂 This is a crash course – in staying on! 🙂


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