ground poles? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-07-2009, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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ground poles?

okay, so I think this is the right place to put this.....but on with the story.

So, I'm at the point where I want to kind of branch out with what I'm doing on Ice. Nothing super complicated, but I know him and I know me and we're going to get bored of just going around the arena doing nothing except walk/trot transitions....which he now does very well. He drags his feet though, so I want to get him doing ground poles to teach him to stop being so lazy! However, he has a serious problem with my idea. One pole, fine. Two poles, fine. Three poles? OMG, HECK NO. I have tried getting him to do them from the ground and in the saddle, and he just won't do them. He strikes me as genuinely afraid of them versus just being fresh because when I asked him to walk over them with me leading him, he stopped, planted his feet and wouldn't move, and then when I would move closer to him to whack his butt, he would back up five or so feet until he felt "safe" and then he would relax. When I tried to get him to walk over them with me in the saddle, he stopped, refused to go, and then when I tapped him with the crop, he almost sat down he balked so hard.

Even as I'm writing this, it sounds to me like he understands what I want, but for some reason just won't do it. So how should I go about teaching him? I don't want to ruin his trust that he has in me and I don't want to hurt myself either. Ideas?
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-07-2009, 09:53 PM
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is he spooking? horses sometimes see things like that as scarry. take some bedding and draw some lines in the area, if he crosses them w/o a problem i think he just dosent want to go over poles, if he balks/ tries to run away and acts scared hes probably spooking.
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-07-2009, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Well since he goes over the single pole and two poles just fine, I'm thinking he doesn't want to do three. Would there be a specific reason though? He could be spooking, thats what I thought of when he started backing up versus just standing there like "haha, I won".
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-07-2009, 10:12 PM
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Maybe you could get him used to them on the ground by walking him between them rather than over them until he understands they aren't going to eat him. I've never encountered that before, so I'm not sure what to suggest other than just keep exposing him to them. Can you put them in his paddock so he can meet them on his own terms?
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-07-2009, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately no, they're used daily for jumping lessons.

I tried that, and he has a five foot radius around them that he won't walk into. I got him to do two legs (the left half of his body) over them once, and then he never did it again.

It's too the point where if he thinks I'm going to try and get him to go over them, while we're riding, he starts to throw a fit until I move him futher away. I know he was a racehorse so he's used to flat ground, but he can't have such an aversion to lifting his feet since his stall is sunken in!

Last edited by justsambam08; 11-07-2009 at 10:34 PM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-07-2009, 11:06 PM
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Are they spaced properly for his stride? Maybe he gets a few poles in and decides it's too hard? If he'll only do 2, then do 2 until he's doing them like they're not there and then try adding a 3rd?
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-07-2009, 11:27 PM
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How is his eye sight? I know that's an odd question - but I started thinking about how horses jump blindly. How when the horse is about 3 strides out, the obsticle infront of them competely dissapears from their vison. It is when they are 5 strides away, they have to lock what they see mentally and by the time they get to 3 strides out, they cannot be fussled with because you'll competely interfear with what it was that they locked in their heads, 5 strides out.

I know you're not jumping, but work with me here.

Could it be, that he is not seeing the other ground poles, past the first few that come first? So that is why he is reacting the way he is reacting?

I'm just thinking outloud here.

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post #8 of 10 Old 11-08-2009, 04:00 AM
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That is very possible. He may be scared because he's not sure what is beyond the two poles...

Just an idea. If he won't go to the poles, why not bring the poles to him? Lead him to the two poles and let him stand over them. Get someone to bring a third pole VERY SLOWLY, and watch him reaction the whole time. Set it at first a few feet away from the second pole and let him walk over them. Gradually bring it closer and see if he will go over them.

I've never tried it before....just a thought. LOL

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post #9 of 10 Old 11-08-2009, 05:39 AM
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For me, I would put 2 poles then another 2 poles a decent distance away and gradually move the 2 sets of poles together.

Another thing I would consider is any back / muscle issues and, as above, his eyesight is a consideration.

Perhaps he's had a bad experience with poles during his racing days.

Only As Old As You Feel - Sometimes I Feel VERY Old
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-08-2009, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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MyBoyPuck- his walk is a little long, so I could try spacing them out a few more inches.

MIEventer-I assume is eyesight is okay. At one point he had a cloud in his right eye, but thats gone away now, and he turns better to the right than to the left. but in general he's a pretty brave guy, he investigates things that startle him.

flaming-he doesn't come within five feet of the poles on from any angle, he plants his feet and refuses to move, so i wouldn't be able to get him to walk over the three of them together. The one time he did stop and stand over the single one together, he ended up scaring himself (he forgot the pole was there and tripped).

makin tracks-i'll probably try just leaving it at two for now, and then adding the third later.
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