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I can't stay on my new horse! Any ideas?

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    04-03-2011, 01:07 PM
  #11
Yearling
I'm afraid my answer is this : Start her entire education over.

Sometimes you can "patch up" training holes and carry on with a horse, but sometimes it's best to just wipe the slate clean and start again.

This starts with earning her respect - and if you're nervous around her, maybe this can be helped with a good coach who is good with groundwork (you might be surprised how many good riding coaches seem far more lost on the ground). This is more about YOU have the confidence to lead your mare than it is much else.

If you're ending up in a stand off in the round pen, chances are you're needing some eyes on you to help you out a bit, because somewhere there is a block coming from you to her - and she is showing it to you by saying "NO".

Once you've earned her respect, and trust, then proceed to "restart" her saddle training. Treat her as if she's never done it before (not with nervousness... but as if you have no "expectations" based on past experiences).

For me, this means we work on the long lines/do some ground driving, make sure we have no tension during saddling, do some work from the mounting block (getting her to side pass up, then stand quietly while you touch her, lean on her, mount her etc). When that's all relaxed and "easy"... THEN I get on and ride.

Generally, if you make yourself aware of tension in your horse, you can learn to diffuse the situation before she ever feels the need to "explode". It takes practice... and it really does help to have GOOD eyes on you (someone who can see and recognize when tension is building - before it results in a truly tense horse).

Remember that your energy (nervousness, excitement, anger, frustration, happiness, relaxation etc.) will immediately be transferred to your horse, and the horse will reflect that energy back to you however it knows how (and that will based on their past training). Strive to only allow yourself to feel relaxed and open minded (it takes a lot of practice) and just try to make your only goal having the horse reflect THAT feeling back to you, no matter what training you're doing.

We train our horses everytime we spend time with them - for better or worse.
     
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    04-03-2011, 02:45 PM
  #12
Foal
You said it yourself that she doesn't respect you. The first thing I would do is earn that respect, and don't stop until you do. Get a knowledgeable trainer in the round pen with you for the first few sessions and get that straightened away. Some horses really will fight you, especially if they have been getting away with bad behavior for awhile. She may try to duke it out with your trainer, so it's better for both of you that a professional start the process out and teach you how to work with her.

The plus side to this, is that the respect should come within a couple of weeks at the most. Once that is there, most things will be easier. Like others have said, starting her training over is an excellent idea. I have used joining up before, but with lunging I prefer to bit my horse up and lunge with side reigns or driving reins.

It also sounds like you are a passenger while riding, her unpredictability makes you stiff which horses can instantly feel and she begins trying to get away with things. At the first sign that she's going to mentally lose it, start working her in circles and figure 8 patterns; make her use her muscles and keep her guessing about which way she's going to go. This should at least keep her concentration on how not to have to work in patterns, instead of how to buck you off. I had an Arabian gelding similar to this mare, so I know exactly how it feels to be constantly battling a horse that doesn't want to work. I would also eliminate pain being a factor, as my gelding was 8 years old and had a semi-fused sacrum, which had a direct effect on his behavior.
     
    04-03-2011, 06:15 PM
  #13
Green Broke
Hey there! Welcome to the forum, love your username

Well, my response will probably be half advice, half moral support but mostly rambling so bear with me.

First and foremost: Moral support. I can understand where you are coming from. After over ten years of riding racehorses and going on to eventing/showjumping I feel like I know TB's like they are an extension of my own body. I've ridden more than I can remember and love them with all my heart. I just started riding Arabians a little over a year ago and thought it would be easy after all the...interesting...experiences I have had with TB's over the years.

Not so much.

Arabians are a whole different ball game. Intelligent, bold, expressive and truly brilliant. But all those characteristics can also make for a challenging ride. If it makes you feel any better, I will share with you my last encounter with the ground at the hands (hooves?) of an Arabian:

Last July I was breaking in a 6 year old Arabian gelding, breathtakingly beautiful but full of fire. We had a difference of opinion one day out on the trails (he thought he should buck before cantering, I thought otherwise) so I smacked him on the butt with my crop a couple of times. All hell broke loose. That horse went into a spinning bucking mess within an instant. When he couldn't throw me he promptly threw himself on the ground. I kid you not. Ground is pretty hard in Texas in July too so I was less than impressed. Well I went and caught him, got back on, went to the same spot and cantered up the hill like nothing had happened. I think the horror of being struck was too much for him and he just lost it. Now a TB, with their straightforward way of thinking, will usually pull their head in and behave after being reprimanded in such a manner.

I am not saying that you shouldn't smack her if it is indeed appropriate to do so, just that in my humble opinion Arabians can be much more sensitive and almost seem offended when too much force is applied. Usually they know what you want, they are just choosing not to do it If you find the right questions for her she will give you the answer you are looking for.

Now for the advice: One thing that springs to mind is saddle fit - has it been checked? Predictable bucking sessions are usually from a specific cause and saddle fit is often a key offender.

Also, it is spring time and some horses feel it more than others. Not an excuse by any means but it is something to be aware of.

Lastly, when you get back on, do so with a fresh outlook. Don't think about the last time you fell off or worry about falling off again. All horses have a sixth sense for apprehension in humans and Arabians especially so. Just jump back on fully expecting an enjoyable ride and you will make it so!

Good luck.
     
    04-04-2011, 09:53 AM
  #14
Started
My suggestion is go back to basics, starting with ground work. If this horse has been mistreated in any way - accidental or intentional - she is going to have issues that come up in all sorts of ways. Why make a fight of it? Why not instead work to build her trust and make a partner of her?

You say she really needs to be bossed around which while I do believe in firm discipline, when working with a horse with past issues, I work on patience and trust so that rather than telling the horse what to do, i'm asking. And rather than my horse obeying me, they are instead working with and communicating with me. To me that makes a huge difference in the relationship. Does it mean I let my horses push me around? Absolutely not. And if one of them gets pushy they get promptly reminded that I am alpha mare for a reason. But because we have a great working relationship the times they need to be reminded i'm alpha are few and far between - just like in a good herd, everyone know's who's alpha mare and they don't (often) question it.

I'd suggest going back to grooming, cross tying, tacking and untacking, longing, and so on. When she's calm, settled, and completely willing to work, then go back to riding. Not only will she be happier, I think you will have found that you are less nervous because it's no longer a battle of wills with her but rather a working partnership. Does that mean she'll be perfect? No, but certainly gives you a better chance at a productive time together.

And when I say basics, I mean basics. The first time you "ride" - get on. Sit. Get off. Reward, done. Next, get on and off a few times. Reward. Done. Then sit on her for longer. When she asks to walk forward, ask her to stay at the halt and dismount a few min later. Reward. Done. Next time then sit and ask for a walk after standing at the halt (calmly) for a few minutes. Then get off. Reward. Done.

See a pattern here? Slooooow. Go very slow. She'll soon be asking you to do more rather than the other way around and at the same time will have also learned that time spent with you is pleasant and rewarding. She'll also have learned that riding is not a fight, but rather easy (probably much easier than she has associated riding with in her brain), and therefore more willing to be ridden. Break the past negative associations before you try to get on and go imo.

And btw all that riding stuff comes after she's well mannered on the ground and longe ;)

It sounds like it will take forever, but trust me - after a few weeks she'll be happy to see you and begging to be ridden more!
     
    04-04-2011, 09:53 AM
  #15
Started
Annnnnnnnnnnnnd I just saw the last unicorn's reply haha!
Sorry to repeat what was already written (and was a great response imo! Lol) :)
     
    04-04-2011, 12:36 PM
  #16
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahver    
Arabians are a whole different ball game. ...
Last July I was breaking in a 6 year old Arabian gelding, breathtakingly beautiful but full of fire. We had a difference of opinion one day out on the trails (he thought he should buck before cantering, I thought otherwise) so I smacked him on the butt with my crop a couple of times. All hell broke loose. That horse went into a spinning bucking mess within an instant. When he couldn't throw me he promptly threw himself on the ground.... I think the horror of being struck was too much for him and he just lost it. Now a TB, with their straightforward way of thinking, will usually pull their head in and behave after being reprimanded in such a manner...Good luck.
This story bears repeating, for anyone who might read this! Arabians do usually take offense at being struck!
     
    04-04-2011, 12:43 PM
  #17
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern    
This story bears repeating, for anyone who might read this! Arabians do usually take offense at being struck!
Mmmm-hmmmm, wish someone had have enlightened me beforehand. Oh well, chalk that one up to experience eh?

For the record, I am not some gung ho loose cannon with a crop. Only as needed.
     
    04-04-2011, 06:31 PM
  #18
Green Broke
It can be hard to get over a fear. I was afraid of Hunter when he charged at me while lunging scared the crap outta me and shook my confidence. AND HE KNEW IT! He would try and bite me if I petted him at his stall window, bucked and misbehaved under saddle. My trainer said go back to basics etc. but easier to say then do when the confidence is not there. I seriously almost traded him away (So glad I didn't). All I can say is I kept at it, little by little and gained his respect as my confidence grew and now I have no fear of him and he knows it, doesn't try and bite me, rarely acts up under saddle (for a 3 year old he is pretty calm). Course he will always have the attitude but that's why I love him lol
     
    04-04-2011, 06:41 PM
  #19
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahver    
Mmmm-hmmmm, wish someone had have enlightened me beforehand.
lol, I'm sure you do! It's wonderful that you didn't get seriously hurt!

Good job, Hunter65!
     
    04-04-2011, 08:07 PM
  #20
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern    
lol, I'm sure you do! It's wonderful that you didn't get seriously hurt!

Good job, Hunter65!

Thanks its so nice now that after a year of trials and tribulations I really am enjoying him and we love going out for rides. What s difference!
     

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buck, bucking, falling off, horse, scared

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