Horse Being Stubborn! - Won't Stand Still/Move Ahead When Asked /Pulling Head Down
   

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Horse Being Stubborn! - Won't Stand Still/Move Ahead When Asked /Pulling Head Down

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  • Horse won't go where asked when riding
  • What to do with a horse that won't stand still

 
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    07-12-2010, 09:44 PM
  #1
Foal
Question Horse Being Stubborn! - Won't Stand Still/Move Ahead When Asked /Pulling Head Down

The title says it all...

My mare is a sweetheart, honestly, but she does like to press my buttons!

First off, she's been fine riding in the ring but I really would like to get her to walk across this field so that I can go onto the trails which are on the other side. The minute she realizes that I am heading towards the field she'll back up (for a good long while) and toss her head. I did a search on here and I see people say to just back the horse up in the direction you need to go? I can do that for some part of the way.....but not the entire field...any suggestions?

Another thing that has been difficult is mounting her. She can be pushy and the minute I try to put my foot in the stirrup, she takes off. It takes me quite a while to finally fling myself on her. It doesn't help that she's 15.1hh and I am rather short at 5'3". Even with using a mounting block, she'll still pull away when I try to get on her.

Lastly, any ideas on how to get her to quit putting her head down (not to eat either)? Short of yanking on the reins, I'd like to redirect her to stop doing this and let her know it's not acceptable. She does it in attempts to loosen the reins and then try trotting off in the direction of her choice.

Thanks for any advice you have on these matters!
(also, I have been riding English if it matters at all)
     
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    07-12-2010, 11:33 PM
  #2
Trained
****, if she's stubborn enough to back up all the way back to the barn, I'm not sure what to suggest for that. Maybe instead of walk her straight toward you target, weave her there so she doesn't pick up on you eventual goal? Probably won't work. She sounds like a smart cookie.

As for mounting, I would bring her head around toward you before mounting. That way when she tries to move away once you're up there, all she can do is walk around in a little circle instead of take off on you. Hopefully she'll get dizzy before you do and give up.

My horse doesn't try to pull the reins out of my hands, but he sure does like to eat grass. Anytime the reins start to go tight, I give him a good thump with both legs to get him moving forward. Again, different problem, so it might not work. Any chance she's not comfortable with her current bit and not just being a boob?

Sorry I don't have better suggestions. She does sound like one heck of a challenge.
     
    07-13-2010, 12:59 AM
  #3
Yearling
As for being stubborn in going forward, don't be afraid to give her a little pop with the crop. It startles them more than it hurts and and quick pop on the rump will give her the idea you mean business. As you do that tell her to go forward with your seat, heels and say firmly, "Lets go," "Walk on" or whatever. Worked with my mare.

Agree with MyBoyPuck on the other two things - if she's trying to eat grass give her your heels and maybe another pop with the crop.

With my mare I didn't even use a crop - just the end of my split reins. Sure worked though!
     
    07-13-2010, 08:53 AM
  #4
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
Any chance she's not comfortable with her current bit and not just being a boob?

Sorry I don't have better suggestions. She does sound like one heck of a challenge.
I thought of the bit maybe bothering her so I changed it last night to a snaffle. I am not sure what the previous owner was using, but it had a curb chain on it. Perhaps she was being a stinker because of that too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Equus_girl    
As for being stubborn in going forward, don't be afraid to give her a little pop with the crop.

Agree with MyBoyPuck on the other two things - if she's trying to eat grass give her your heels and maybe another pop with the crop.

With my mare I didn't even use a crop - just the end of my split reins. Sure worked though!
haha even the crop isn't working with her.....perhaps mine is too short? I will try using the longer one today.

Thanks for the suggestions!
Hmmmmm hope some other people may have some input on this too
     
    07-14-2010, 12:05 PM
  #5
Foal
::bump::
I've used the crop on her....she still doesn't care. She won't budge (or she'll back up for a while). I've been able to rule out pain. I do ride alone so perhaps it's about her breaking out of her comfort zone. To boot, I was riding her bareback so maybe she also was confused about that too.....because I'm not sure if she's ever been ridden bareback.

The mounting issue I've been able to work with her on the last few days....making her do circles until she "stands" is what's working. She doesn't want to do boring circles and eventually gives up to let me on.

In terms of the rooting, I think she's been able to get away with it (I'm her new owner) so I'm not letting her eat on the job.

Overall, I know she wasn't being ridden more than once a week and now that I own her, I am riding her at least a few times a week. I am thinking that Love doesn't expect to be working nearly this much and is probably being a stinker because of that and testing me as a new person on her back.

Anyone else have any helpful advice?
     
    07-14-2010, 12:40 PM
  #6
Trained
Why can't you back her across the whole field? Barring some crazy ditch she has to cross, you can back her up for miles if you have to. When my mare doesn't want to move forward, I turn her around and back her up, then try turning back around and moving forward again. Lather, rinse, repeat. And I did this up a hill. =P

A deviation on puck's advice is get her moving laterally. If you can get her haunches moving over in a sidepass or leg yield, she may be too busy to think about where she's going.

Another idea is take her out and, if your savvy enough, turn around and go back just before she starts a fight. You have to be real on top of it for that one though.

And one more, lol. Do some 20m circles at the walk, trot, canter, whatever, at the end of the field closest to the barn. Do all your lateral work there, make her work REALLY hard, and when it's time for a break, take her out into the field and let her take her break there. She gets to rest where you want to be, and work where she wants to be.

It seems your doing fine on mounting, I would do some work without a block though so you don't have to drag it around with you as she moves away. You can also work on putting her in a corner, alongside a fence and her nose in the other wall. I've also seen some people mounting from the ground, and when the horse tries to move away, you hop off and start lunging at the trot. Then you bring her back and try again. If she wants to move, you're going to make her move.

Bumping her forward is definitely the way to go when she drops her head. I would play with bits to make sure she's in one she likes. It'll take a few weeks to decide if you two like the bit or not, so don't put it on one day and decide it sucks. Ride in it at least a dozen times before you make a decision.

If you feel that riding bareback is confusing her, or that you are perhaps sending mixed signals, ride her in a saddle until she gets it figured out.
     
    07-14-2010, 12:51 PM
  #7
Trained
Testing is most likely what she is doing. To me it almost sounds like she is acting a bit "barn sour" with the backing up going away from the barn business. There are a couple things to try, always keeping in mind-"make the right thing easy, and the wrong thing difficult".......
When she backs up, I would MAKE her back, much farther than she wants to go! Keep backing. Then perhaps going forward will sound a bit more appealing! This has worked with my older guy when he tests.

If she is a bit "barn sour" and her goal is to go to the barn so she doesn't have to work.....then make her WORK at the barn. Hard. Circles, serpentines, etc. She only gets to rest when she goes away from the barn. She will soon learn it is easier to go where you want!
Sounds like you are already doing what I do when they try to walk off when you mount-I make them MOVE. Not just let them mosey around the mounting block. Have their head turned to the inside (toward you) and if needed either smack her with a crop on the butt or use the end of your split reins and make her walk fast or trot right around the block. When she stops, tell her how good she is and try to mount. If she moves-do it again. She will soon stand still. And make her stand while you get settled......not just walk off. Leaned this from my trainer-it works every time!~
If she is trying to pull the reins out of your hands, like mine did when I bought him-the trainer taught me to brace against the pull. Do not pull back, just brace tightly. Mine soon learned he got nowhere, so stopped. Mine is not trying to eat tho......
Good luck!

Ricci and I must have been posting at the same time! :)
     
    07-14-2010, 01:00 PM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by franknbeans    
Testing is most likely what she is doing. To me it almost sounds like she is acting a bit "barn sour" with the backing up going away from the barn business. There are a couple things to try, always keeping in mind-"make the right thing easy, and the wrong thing difficult".......
When she backs up, I would MAKE her back, much farther than she wants to go! Keep backing. Then perhaps going forward will sound a bit more appealing! This has worked with my older guy when he tests.

If she is a bit "barn sour" and her goal is to go to the barn so she doesn't have to work.....then make her WORK at the barn. Hard. Circles, serpentines, etc. She only gets to rest when she goes away from the barn. She will soon learn it is easier to go where you want!
Sounds like you are already doing what I do when they try to walk off when you mount-I make them MOVE. Not just let them mosey around the mounting block. Have their head turned to the inside (toward you) and if needed either smack her with a crop on the butt or use the end of your split reins and make her walk fast or trot right around the block. When she stops, tell her how good she is and try to mount. If she moves-do it again. She will soon stand still. And make her stand while you get settled......not just walk off. Leaned this from my trainer-it works every time!~
If she is trying to pull the reins out of your hands, like mine did when I bought him-the trainer taught me to brace against the pull. Do not pull back, just brace tightly. Mine soon learned he got nowhere, so stopped. Mine is not trying to eat tho......
Good luck!

Ricci and I must have been posting at the same time! :)
It's funny that you basically said the same thing, lol.

Just a note though, I would not brace when your horse lowers it's head. It will just teach your horse to brace and be heavy on your hands. They cannot lean or brace against a contact that is not there.
     
    07-14-2010, 01:20 PM
  #9
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by riccil0ve    
Why can't you back her across the whole field? Barring some crazy ditch she has to cross, you can back her up for miles if you have to. When my mare doesn't want to move forward, I turn her around and back her up, then try turning back around and moving forward again. Lather, rinse, repeat. And I did this up a hill. =P

A deviation on puck's advice is get her moving laterally. If you can get her haunches moving over in a sidepass or leg yield, she may be too busy to think about where she's going.

Another idea is take her out and, if your savvy enough, turn around and go back just before she starts a fight. You have to be real on top of it for that one though.

And one more, lol. Do some 20m circles at the walk, trot, canter, whatever, at the end of the field closest to the barn. Do all your lateral work there, make her work REALLY hard, and when it's time for a break, take her out into the field and let her take her break there. She gets to rest where you want to be, and work where she wants to be.

If you feel that riding bareback is confusing her, or that you are perhaps sending mixed signals, ride her in a saddle until she gets it figured out.
Gooooood ideas I like em! I will have to back her all the way across the **** field haha! The issue with the riding/mounting right now is that I do not *own* a saddle yet. The previous owner gave me everything except the saddle. I have a bareback pad coming in the mail any day now though, so many just having something on her back would feel a bit more normal. This Friday she is getting fitted for a saddle so it shouldn't be too much longer...

Quote:
Originally Posted by franknbeans    
Testing is most likely what she is doing. To me it almost sounds like she is acting a bit "barn sour" with the backing up going away from the barn business. There are a couple things to try, always keeping in mind-"make the right thing easy, and the wrong thing difficult".......
When she backs up, I would MAKE her back, much farther than she wants to go! Keep backing. Then perhaps going forward will sound a bit more appealing! This has worked with my older guy when he tests.

If she is a bit "barn sour" and her goal is to go to the barn so she doesn't have to work.....then make her WORK at the barn. Hard. Circles, serpentines, etc. She only gets to rest when she goes away from the barn. She will soon learn it is easier to go where you want!
Sounds like you are already doing what I do when they try to walk off when you mount-I make them MOVE. Not just let them mosey around the mounting block. Have their head turned to the inside (toward you) and if needed either smack her with a crop on the butt or use the end of your split reins and make her walk fast or trot right around the block. When she stops, tell her how good she is and try to mount. If she moves-do it again. She will soon stand still. And make her stand while you get settled......not just walk off. Leaned this from my trainer-it works every time!~
If she is trying to pull the reins out of your hands, like mine did when I bought him-the trainer taught me to brace against the pull. Do not pull back, just brace tightly. Mine soon learned he got nowhere, so stopped. Mine is not trying to eat tho......
Good luck!

Ricci and I must have been posting at the same time! :)
Yay! Thank you for the suggestions! I am definitely going to try these as well and I will report back how she does
     
    07-15-2010, 06:00 AM
  #10
Trained
Did you use the crop on her neck of behind your leg? If you've been using it on her neck, invest in a dressage whip and give her a good flick behind your leg/on her hindquarters.
Remember that the more often you give up and take her back to the barn, the more she is winning and gaining positive re-enforcement for that behaviour, thus the next time you attempt to get her out there she's going to pull the same stunt be even more determined about it.
Get on the the morning, and if you have to pressure her all day, go for it. Just keep your legs on and keep asking her to go forward. When she goes forward, take the pressure off and pat her, then ask again. Don't expect to go across the whole field on day one, but just be happy with a few steps of a confident walk in the right direction, making sure YOU are the one who dictates when it's time to go back to the barn.
     

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