Problem Pony
   

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Problem Pony

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  • Riding problems with pony

 
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    10-31-2010, 06:15 PM
  #1
Foal
Unhappy Problem Pony

Hi there, I'm hoping someone can give me some advice on some problems I've been having with my horse.
A little backround; Candy is an 8 year old, 16.1 hh, clyde. I've had her for about 2 years now, some of these problems already existed, some have begun recently. I ride her english, we show hunter, currently jump a max of 3 foot.
Candy is extremely pushy and bossy. I can't lead her to and from the paddock on my own as she will literally drag me towards the grass to eat. She has stepped on me, knocked me over, yanked the lead rope out of my hands, and the other week dragged me into a fence trying to eat grass. No matter how hard I pull, if I yell, let go, Candy acts as if I'm not even there.
When I first got her, Candy had this issue where when I would ride her and ask for an acceleration of any sort, such as extending the trot or picking up the canter, she would stop dead. She wouldn't rear or anything, just stop, and I couldn't for the life of me make her move. I could kick, squeeze, cluck, yell, shake my reins, even tap her bum with the crop, and it is still as if she doesnt notice I'm there. I managed to get her out of this habit for a while, but recently she has got back to it and it is harder than ever to get her going again. The only way I can get her to move is by pulling the inside rein to turn her, but then she usually plants her feet again and refuses to go anywhere. I'm thinking I'll need to start wearing a spur, but I really want to avoid that if it is possible...
Lastly, Candy likes to buck. And I don't mean little stretching bucks, but big 'air-snapping' bucks, whenever I ask for a change of gait, such as walk-trot or trot-canter. I have attempted lunging to work that out of her, but she bucks so hard when I lunge her that she nearly took my arm out of its socket more than once.
Because of that, I don't think there is a problem with her saddle or anything.. we have had her vet-checked, everything is fine with her legs/back...
I'm a bit at a loss for what to do with her. I know she has no respect for me whatsoever, but I don't know how to build that, how to get her to pay attention to what I say. If anyone could give me some advice, it would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Ashlee
     
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    10-31-2010, 09:48 PM
  #2
Super Moderator
HI Ashlee,

May I ask how old you are? I think maybe you are on the young side (not that that's a crime) and this horse has figured out how to get around you. Respect for you is definitely the issue. With a big horse like that it must be rather intimidating to "lay down the law", especially with bucking.
One thing I can suggest is when she pulls to eat grass when she is on the leadline, instead of trying to pull her head up, chuck the line AT her head. You know, kind of send a wave down the line so the the end of it bumps her jaw and I think it will startle her and make her put her head up. Same thing if she startst to walk into you, chuck the line up under her jaw and WAKE her UP!

In a way, a lot of what you need to do with this horse is get her attention. So it almost doesnot matter what it is as long it CAUSES A CHANGE. Your pulling on her or pushing with your body (when she overruns you) has not caused a change. You need to do SOMETHING that causes a change, even if it unsettles her. At least you got her attention, then when you do, you start leading her again to where you want to go. If she starts to reach for grass, you chuck the line at her again.

As for the bucking, I don't know what to do there. Other folks will have better knowledge about that.

If you had access to a round pen you could lunge her without using a line, which would allow her to buck her heart out if she so wished. Also, she may be so big that it's hard for her to circle on the size of circle that is made by a lunge line. A round pen would allow her the freedom to keep her balance better.
     
    11-01-2010, 07:35 AM
  #3
Green Broke
I think you need to be firmer. If she doesn't respect you on the ground she isn't going to respect you in the saddle.

Spurs are just going to be a "band aid" solution. It covers up the problem but doesn't fix anything. I would want to get her walk, trot, cantering and halting on the lunge rope, and get her to move away from pressure, back up without pulling or pushing, and yielding the hindquarters BEFORE ridden work.

Training works from the ground up - if you don't have a good foundation then the rest of the training is going to fall apart.

Start in the roundyard. I would get her moving her hindquarters easily from you first. That way when she pulls or won't lift up her head you can get her to yield her hindquarters, which should make her lift her head and take out the "pull".
     
    11-01-2010, 10:18 AM
  #4
Started
Agreed with the others; you need to get her attention and lay down the law. I've never had the opportunity to work with a draft horse, but I can imagine how intimidating it must be to have to "get after" one.

If she's seriously dragging you, I would move to a rope halter for leading her. It has a little more "get off" pressure (smaller surface area to lean on), and may help you get your point across if she starts throwing her weight around. When she understands that you can move back to a flat strap or web halter - I've never had a horse get dull to a web after work in a rope. Another way to deal with the grass grabbing in hand is to poke her muzzle with your toe if she is ignoring your attempts to raise her head. No need to kick her, that is a sensitive area, but I've found that a clear, firm nudge coupled with a loud verbal "ACHT!" will usually get you some attention. Worked like a charm for a friend's bully of a QH.

I'll third roundpenning, groundwork, and lunging before ridden work. Get her respectfully and lightly moving forward, backward, left and right on the ground.

Spurs won't help you get her moving forward correctly - they're made to give precise and subtle lateral aids, not increase forward oomph.

Honestly, the refusal to move forward and the bucking when you "make" her screams pain/discomfort alongside disrespect to me. You said that she bucks on the lunge - is that with or without a saddle? Has she ever been seen by an equine chiropractor? Disrespect can manifest that way, but so can pain. It doesn't "excuse" the behavior, but pain is something that can generally be fixed faster than a major respect issue.

If she's bucking out of sheer disrespect, successful groundwork will start you on the road to a more respectful mare under saddle. Beyond that, I'll let someone else describe how to deal with it... I've never had to deal with riding out a hardcore bucker.

Good luck, be safe, and if you think you're in over your head, don't hesitate to get some on-site help!
     
    11-01-2010, 10:59 AM
  #5
Foal
Re:

Tinyliny: I am 19 years old, but of course compared to Candy I don't have much weight or height to throw around haha. I have definetly never tried chucking the line at her head, I will try that today! Unfortunately I don't have access to a round pen at the barn we're at. I have tried lunging her without a line in our outdoor arena, which does not tend to go well at all, she bucks and gallops around, ignoring me completely, and works herself into such a sweat its hard for me to catch her! I will try to get her attention in some different ways and let you know how that goes! Thanks!

Saskia: I do agree with your thoughts on spurs, I really just don't know what else to try, with a horse as large as Candy, it is really hard to get her to realise I am not a fly or something on her back that she can ignore and twitch off haha. I am really nervous about trying more lunging work with her, as the last time I did Candy took off across the arena with me on the end of the line and I literally thought I had dislocated my shoulder!

Scoutrider: It is quite intimidating haha! Especially when I know she has little to no respect for me. I recognize that, I just don't know how to change it. I also had not thought of using a rope halter, it won't leave rubs on her face? I've never used one before, but I will try one out this week for sure! Also, the last time I stuck my toe under Candy's nose she leaned on me and pushed me flat on my bum! Maybe I'll try again and be a bit quicker on the move this time haha! The lunging is without a saddle and without me... this is why I don't think she is in pain. We have not had her seen by a chiropractor, just the vet. I don't have problems staying on when she bucks, I am quite used to it by now, I just don't know how to make her stop it! Lastly, everyone at the barn I ride at rides western and many of them cannot relate to what I'm saying with their quiet calm quarter horses haha!

Thanks everyone for the advice, I am glad to have some new things to try with Candy.... We'll see how some of it goes tonight! :)
     
    11-01-2010, 12:41 PM
  #6
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashlee19    
Scoutrider: It is quite intimidating haha! Especially when I know she has little to no respect for me. I recognize that, I just don't know how to change it. I also had not thought of using a rope halter, it won't leave rubs on her face? I've never used one before, but I will try one out this week for sure! Also, the last time I stuck my toe under Candy's nose she leaned on me and pushed me flat on my bum! Maybe I'll try again and be a bit quicker on the move this time haha! The lunging is without a saddle and without me... this is why I don't think she is in pain. We have not had her seen by a chiropractor, just the vet. I don't have problems staying on when she bucks, I am quite used to it by now, I just don't know how to make her stop it! Lastly, everyone at the barn I ride at rides western and many of them cannot relate to what I'm saying with their quiet calm quarter horses haha!
Your girl sounds a lot like my friend's QH. He's learned that he's the big cheese in his horse/human herd, and he's had it proven to him that he can pitch his weight around and get his way, especially with certain people. Of course, he's only a (rather chubby) 15.2 hands!

I've never had a rope halter rub one of mine, but I don't leave them on - only for groundwork, or in the early spring when their full of it and not inclined to listen as well as they should when leading from point A to point B. We have miserable winters, and they unfortunately get shorted on turnout during 6 months of blizzard. I personally like a softer, floppier rope halter over a stiff one, but a stiffer rope tends to have a little more "bite".

For interrupting her grazing, you need to be very quick about it - get in, make your point, and get out. I would also hold my hands up, as close to her raised-head eye level as possible, to deter her from entering your space. If you're going to do any groundwork, I highly recommend starting in a grass-free arena - 1 less distraction for both of you.

She may not be in saddle-pain - that's why I recommend a chiro's evaluation. If her back's out, then she could definitely hurt even if she's "naked". By the sound of it, though, even if she is in pain that isn't her only issue. Vets can tell you a lot, but sometimes it can take even more of a specialist to pinpoint a problem. If your local library has it, take a look at Linda Tellington-Jones' Equine Awareness Method - there's a section on fairly simple equine massage and probing for pain and stiffness, maybe you could do a little yourself and find out if she's over-sensitive in her topline, etc.

Again, by the sound of it, you're rather nervous about working with her on the ground. You might benefit from finding an on-site trainer to work with both of you and help get the ball rolling.
     

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