Foot Stomping, refusing to trot - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 12-05-2011, 07:04 AM Thread Starter
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Question Foot Stomping, refusing to trot


I am a novice rider and I recently acquired a horse that has been clearly testing me -5 year old irish cob. I have decided after a period of allowing my confidence to be knocked to take her on. I was out with her at the weekend and she kept turning to go back into the yard. After I shouted at her (as the trainer has before to 'get-on') she stopped turning and went the direction I wanted her to go in and that gave me a bit of confidence.

Whenever I do stop - to cross a road or to let someone past, she starts stomping her left hoof on the ground - like having a tantrum - it is usually by long lush grass or by the hay bale so I am thinking she is stomping as she wants to graze and I am not letting her. I can get her to walk on easily enough at this time but I am thinking it is becasue there isn't much lush grass around at the moment and she likes to eat

This weekend where I would normally get her into a trot with just making a clicking sound, she needed to be kicked and I used a crop on her and then she only trotted for a short while. I know that it is only her attitude at fault as when she saw home she trotted at a good beautiful pace all the way home. I am thinking she just didn't want to go out.

Finally she seems to trip a lot and stump her hoof when we are on rougher ground like a stone path particularly in the trot - it feels a lot worse when you are on her but it seems she is constantly stumbling and it is usually worse at the end of the ride (when she is tierd). She does not stumble at all on roads so I am thinking that it is that she is not picking her feet up.

So if anyone can help I should appreciate answers on:
  1. Why does she stamp her hoof
  2. Why does she stumble
  3. Why is it that she wouldn't trot this week - I don't like hitting her
Medically she is well as I got a vet to check her over (following advice on the forum) and the vet thought that she was a quiet horse but testing me. He also said she was a little unfit and a little overweight. (I got her froma riding sand schoo about 4 months ago)

I seem to have a constant flow of questions that I am desperate to be answered so I can understand her as I so much want to understand.

Thank you
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post #2 of 9 Old 12-05-2011, 09:38 AM
Green Broke
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Lets assume no medical or farrier issues.
shes stomping her foot because she is mad and doest want to go.
Ever seen a slacker kid drag his feet going down the hall ? thats what she is doing dragging her feet being lazy and tripping, Heel her any time she trips make her move out. Looks like she has a bit of barn sour issues. DO a search on that problem for some ideas.
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post #3 of 9 Old 12-05-2011, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for that. I have never heard of Barn Sour - but have now looked it up and yes I can see that she definately has a tendency towards staying in! I have made the crucial mistake of trotting her home - which I will not do now as I do not want to encourage Barn Sour and next time she has a tantrum as soon as we are out of the yard I will bring her in and work her in the field and then take her out again so that she learns that if she doesn't behave then she has to work harder. Thank you for that any advice is really great and really really helps :)
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post #4 of 9 Old 12-05-2011, 01:15 PM
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The stumbling could be that she is just lazy and not picking up her feet however you say its when you're going over stones so it could also be that they hurt her feet. Does she have shoes? One of my mares I always had barefoot and she never had an issue until i started riding her on tougher ground. Same thing, on the roads or grass she went along without a problem but as soon as there was a stony patch she would hobble very slowly over them because it simply hurt her. Shoes have been a great help but I still avoid areas I think would make her sensitive. Once those hooves get sore I can't imagine it would be fun to complete the rest of the ride, my mare definitely showed it barefoot! End of the ride she would be crawling home the few times i was silly enough to go through rocky patches before she had her shoes.
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post #5 of 9 Old 12-05-2011, 01:52 PM
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YOu know it's attitude. I think you described it yourself that way , and you were right.
To be honest, I would probably do more work in the sand arena before riding this horse out on the roads. Just to get her more willing to go when you say go and to listen you to.

But you are right in that her behavior is based on her mind and where it is going; the grass, the barn , her buddies . . . . So, your job will be to get her mind to be on . . .YOU!

As for tripping, she probably is just being lazy. When you next have the opportunity, try asking her to trot out a lot more vigorously and see if the tripping goes away. Usually when a horse is tripping due to laziness, the answer is to get more energy into the gait.
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post #6 of 9 Old 12-05-2011, 01:54 PM
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Barn Sour is really a misnomer, a more correct term would be Barn Sweet, as it represents food, shelter and companionship. What could be sweeter than that. A word of caution, don't allow her to trot or canter when heading home. If she resists with head tossing, threatening to buck, etc. be sure to work her tail off when she is in the yard. Let's make the barn not so sweet. Work her is tight circles at a brisk trot with lots of change of direction. Periodically test her to see if she will leave the yard without your using your crop but just proceed at the walk. If she won't, then repeat. The change of direction is harder work for her rather than just circles.
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post #7 of 9 Old 12-05-2011, 05:04 PM
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Silk, after reading your other post, it would appear that unfortunately the relationshop has digressed between you and the horse. Have you considered selling or swapping? Some people are always looking to swap a well mannered, been there done that for a green horse that they can use as a project.
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post #8 of 9 Old 12-06-2011, 05:09 AM Thread Starter
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Hi DuffyDuck, Thank you, yes I have thought about it a lot and decided that I can't give up but to try and learn quickly to teach her. I have started doing lessons in the field again 'pressure / release' which although isn't really flowing at this time is hopefully building a relationship with her - she is a nice-natured horse but maybe a little head-strong. I do have her up for sale - not sure whether I would sell her at this stage - but at the same time have had no enquiries at all - so I thought that I would carry on working with her and hopefully learn more as I go. I did also look at swapping but it appears that swappers want quieter horses too!

Tinyliny, yes I do believe it is attitude as she was happy enough to hack out before. I am now aware of Barn Sour / Sweet and I will not cater to that. She does not respect me at all. I went out with the livery trainer as my confidence was not great and whenever the livery owner talked her ears moved - when I talked she just didn't hear me at all! . I do very much enjoy riding and riding her is fine if I know what her vices are and what to do about them - you wouldn't believe how much I have consolidated from the advice I have received on the forum, it may seem simple to you guys but it is very new and interesting to me and completely makes sense. Thanks :)
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post #9 of 9 Old 12-06-2011, 07:36 AM
Green Broke
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Not sure where you are located, but can you order the DVD, Julie Goddnights, "Lead line leadership" I learned alot form it. Gets you thinking in a horse herd leadership mindset with some decent lead line drills to get that horse paying attention to you.
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