Disciplining a horse that is acting up - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-09-2008, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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Disciplining a horse that is acting up

So I was at a dressage clinic the other day, and one of the horses was acting up a lot. She was tossing her head and hopping up and down like she was going to rear. She just wouldn't listen to the rider, and the person next to me said, "that horse needs to be disciplined." I haven't had to encounter or ride a horse that acted up like that before, so I was wondering how you would discipline the horse in such a scenario. I noticed that the rider jerked on the reins, but that was pretty much it. Unless she used some leg, which I didn't notice.
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-09-2008, 02:10 AM
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My plan of action would have been to disengage the hindquarters and then just send the horse forwards into a strong trot - get it doing extension and collection, get it working hard so it doesn't have time to think about being bad. When he's done well for a few minutes, then I would reward with a strong walk forards on a loose rein, then get him working. Work then reward, work then reward. Misbehavior = more work, good behavior (sustained) = reward.
When a horse is "stuck" like that (head tossing, looking to rear) then forget the headset, forget everything but a quick disengage of the hindquarters, then move FORWARDS - it doesn't matter where the head is or that he might be hollow - the goal is to get the horse working again.
A smack with a whip when warranted is a good idea too.
Sounds like this rider was a hand rider.

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post #3 of 7 Old 11-09-2008, 07:40 AM
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This is an issue I have dealt with numerous times when breaking older horses, such as pasture babies or brood mares. The best luck Ihave had with the "crow hopping" as we refer to it, where they start the bouncing because they dont like whats being asked of them or going on, has caused me problems in the past.

Being able to pick up on the blowing up build up point is a challenge. There are signs given before they start hopping generally. But if a person misses the signs, then what I do is start neck flexion. I will pull the head to my toe and start disengaging the rear quarters, which starts tight circles. I will run a few one direction, then a few more the other direction, as you want lessons in discipline done equally on both sides.

The reason I prefer neck flexion, is that the crow hopping can go into a full on buck and rear if they are going that direction. I am not a fan of holding on while they have that bad of a tantrum. By bringing the head to your toe, they can't and won't go into a full blow up. It also softens them and adjusts the behavior.

I have a 10yr old broodmare that I was breaking for the first time in her life. She did well, but there was resistance as she was very stubborn. Anywho, once we made it past the start, we were working her into lopes under saddle. She had an issue one lesson, and as I stepped her up into a lope, she started crow hopping on me. Unfortunately my head wasnt in the right place at the time, and I didn't catch it until it was too late and she started bucking and kicking out under the lope. I came off and cracked some ribs. It was a reminder session for me to return back to flexion, LOL!

I am sure there are many methods, and this is the one I prefer!

Dixon's Red Hot Ember
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-09-2008, 10:21 AM
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Personally (just to add to my last comment) I do find that focusing on their heads just makes them more prone to blow up - I'd rather forget about their heads, even go on a looser rein, get them to disengage the hindquarter using my seat and leg, then just send them up into a strong trot and don't let them even think about being bad.

MidwestPaint, good point about bringing the nose to the toe to disengage the hindquarter - I forgot to mention that. A horse can't do much when he's in that position, so getting the hindquarter disengaged like that is good.
Again, I then follow that immediately with a lot of forward-ho work :)

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post #5 of 7 Old 11-09-2008, 12:56 PM
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Neck flexion is what I prefer also. I am a great fan of circles. Working in circles in both directions that start quite small and widen as the horse relaxes and begins paying attention.

I have had great results using circles with horses that are barn soured, buddy soured or just balking at moving forward.
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-09-2008, 01:01 PM
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You both said that very well JustDressageIt Midwest Paint.
Horses hate having riders yank on their mouths and I honsetly dont blame them. So getting in their mouth even more like the rider was doing wasnt a very good call in my opinion. But I would do the same as JustDressageIt thats how my trainer taught me how to handle things like that. I also like how midwestpaint said about the flexion part that is also a good way to handle it.
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post #7 of 7 Old 11-10-2008, 06:14 PM
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JDI has done an excellent job explaining...forward - forward - FORWARD! (and less with the hands...people do too much with their hands and not enough with other aids!)

Justin (qh/tb)
Boo (asb)
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