Koda's been here about a week. I spent the first several days teaching him groundwork and establishing respect and control from the ground. It was clear right off the bat that even though Koda was willing to do most things I asked, he's a bit more of a lazier horse.
Koda suffers from sticky feet syndrome. His natural tendency towards laziness makes him not want to hustle his feet very much. He is convinced that he can either not have to move at all, or that he can choose how fast or slow he goes. His first couple days at my house were rude awakening!
His owner wanted me to focus on three areas.
1. getting him to stand still when being mounted bareback
2. helping him to relax and be accepting of clippers by his ears & bridle path
3. eliminating the crow hopping.
I was under the impression that he didn't crow hop very often or for very long, but he was pretty energetic with his crow hopping when I first put the saddle on him and asked him to lunge. We worked through that and then it was time to mount.
Koda struggled with going forward at a walk and a trot; he kept wanting to stop-- sticky feet syndrome in action! Once I got him moving forward comfortably at a trot, I asked for a lope. In spite of all the work we have done thus far, he still went into a crow hopping fit. I've seen this in other horses with sticky feet syndrome. Often what happens is a horse is asked to lope and for whatever reason, bucks or crow hops. Most riders respond by shutting the horse down with a one rein stop, (assuming they stay in the saddle!) Either way, the horse learns that if he gives a couple good hops, he'll get to stop and rest.
The only way I know of to fix this is to ignore the crow hopping and keep asking for the lope. Eventually the horse will figure out that it is more work to hop than to lope and that even if he hops, he's not going to get to stop. Koda gave me lots of time to practice my bronc riding skills on our first ride, but he finally decided to settle into a nice lope.
Today was our second ride. He hopped a bit when we first began loping, but quickly settled in. I think that as he continues to develop respect and confidence in both himself and his rider, that the crow hopping will disappear.