Moving Foward in a newly started horse... - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Prinella
  • 1 Post By faye
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 Old 07-08-2012, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Washington State
Posts: 128
• Horses: 5
Moving Foward in a newly started horse...

Okay, I feel dumb here because I'm stuck. And I suspect I've totally screwed this horse up. I'm just being honest here, but any help or advice would be appreciated.

Now, don't shoot me but I normally have trained all my horses myself and I've had many over the years usually for ranch work and trails. I don't do dressage, but every horse I own has in the past been ridable and driveable. I am by no means an expert though, far from it... I pretty much know nothing technical (unless you count going through parreli and john lyons but not all their stuff meshes well with me) as far as I can tell. However, everything's worked out and I've trail rode and done ranch work for years both as a young girl and now as an older adult with no issues.

However, an arab has me stumped. Now, let me say I have had drafts and draft crosses and quarterhorses and morgans. I've even had warmbloods. But I'm a larger woman and never ever had arabs because I feel like being 6'4"/250 I'm too large to ride one.

But in comes my husband and a 'gift horse' from a friend who needed to thin down her herd. She gave us a lovely 8 year old arab mare for nothing who has absolutely nothing wrong with her other than she's been a brood mare for her whole life and never been under saddle. I've done all the ground work for her and her saddle fit is great so is her bridle fit which is just a plain straight snaffle - nice and comfy no twists or harsh woahs involved.

So.. here's the issue. I can't actually ride her because she's like maybe 15 hands, delicate as a flower, and really is the opposite of what I consider the high-strung arab (after owning lots of drafts and draft crosses) in that nothing excites her (except the thought of having to be out of the barn in rain) and she loves bathing, loading, and doing all her ground work. Now, when I get my husband on her or a neighbor girl who's happy to help on her under saddle as an additional piece of tack, we've gotten to one point and then we've came to a screaming standstill.

I totally get that this is my fault. I'll put all the blame on my shoulders, but here it is... don't laugh.

She'll do anyting I ask her as long as I'm right there beside her on the ground. She'll walk forward, trot, canter, etc... she'll do it on and off the lunge and with a rider. But she absolutely won't listen to the rider or look at them or follow their leg cues or desires whatsoever. Because she's used (and more importantly I have) used the rider as an additional piece of tack she just doesn't even acknowledge them being on her. When I walk away she just stops confused. I've started getting the rider to move her away from me - which she listens too - but its like there's an invisible tether in her mind and when they reach that point her brain has assigned she yoyo's back to me on the ground or will not walk out faster than I can walk or run, etc.

Now, this is great exercise for me, but its getting ridiculous. Weve stalled and she just won't transfer her attention and affection to the rider. She's not nervous without me. She just 'shuts down' and yawns and drifts off to sleep and will stand in a pasture forever. The rider can't get her to turn in a circle or anything though she will flex her head and lay it along the rider's knee and respond to the reins that way.. .she just won't walk on and get on with life as a saddle horse at all.

Obviously this has to change.. I can't keep up her lessons on the ground etc.

Anyone ever had this problem? Anyone know how to take it further? I know I should haul her butt to a trainer but everyone around here is $500 a month or more for thirty days and I just don't have that cash in todays economy. I'd rather solve this issue and learn from it myself, but I'm afraid this horse has been ruined by my hand already. I've even tried getting others to work her with me away and she does the same thing with them.. which tells me she's trained to obey the ground person not the rider and I need to fix this fast.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Things to try?

Thanks in advance.
Centaurheart is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 10 Old 07-08-2012, 10:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 5,332
• Horses: 1
She needs to be handled by other people. My Arab does the same thing on the very few occasions I've let someone else ride him - he flat out ignores the rider and pays attention to me. It's really hilarious to have your own trainer incapable of making the horse listen but you can still get him to do groundwork with a passenger.

She needs more work under saddle and without a ground person in sight (but I'd keep one close just in case). Try doing other things like long lining or lunging too. Try lunging her with a rider so she starts to associate rider cues with what to do.
Posted via Mobile Device
DancingArabian is offline  
post #3 of 10 Old 07-08-2012, 10:22 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 22,258
• Horses: 0
I would suggest you find some help from someone who really knows how to ride and handle horses that may or may not have a conniption fit.

The way I would handle it is I would have you completely leave the area where I was riding her so that she couldn't look to you for guidance and would have to depend on me. Then I would take up one rein, bend her neck, and ask for forward. If she ignored my legs, I would get steadily more aggressive with my forward cues and eventually start whipping her butt with a bridle rein. She'll move if you make it uncomfortable enough to refuse.

Now, the reason that I suggested finding a rider who can (and is willing) to ride out shenanigans is because horses like her will often have a fit the first time they start getting really pushed by a rider and don't have the on-ground handler to turn to. Horses like her often have their feet "stuck" unless there is a handler to tell her what to do. In my experience, when their feet come "unstuck", the most common reaction is either to bolt or to buck (sometimes both).

The most important thing a rider can do once they get her moving is to stay the heck out of her mouth and don't even think about picking up 2 reins at any point. Use only the inside rein to keep her from banging their knee on the fence. Don't even think about trying to control her speed at all and don't let her stop unless you tell her to. So long as she's moving forward, have the rider sit quietly and not give any more forward cues; no leg bumping, no smooching, nothing. If the mare starts to slow down or stop, then start with light leg aids (a light squeeze) and then steadily increase pressure again until they get the desired results...then release all pressure again and just let her cruise.
smrobs is offline  
post #4 of 10 Old 07-08-2012, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Washington State
Posts: 128
• Horses: 5
I feel like this is a really stupid situation because here I am working on a horse I myself am not able to ride for a new rider etc and odds are if I climbed on her she'd go fine for me. But having a .. well for lack of a better term... linebacker physique, that's not gonna happen. But free is free and we were a good home for her to go too - the gifter lives out of state about 120 miles away. I basically, because of my location and my best riding buddy moving out of state, have my husband and my neighbor girl to choose from.

I think maybe my best option is getting my hubby to try riding her without me around. We actually have tried the 'get her to go with more and more force' smacking her rear with reins, using a short buggy whip, etc... but she yawns, takes a step, pauses, and will eventually amble around but its like dragging sap out of a tree in winter and exhausting. My hubby gets frustrated even attempting this because his idea of a great ride is hoping on one of the drafts and basically taking an oversized lazyboy for a ride that nothing bothers.

I don't think she'll explode or bolt either. She's really mellow and while not exactly lazy - she'll whoop it up in the pasture on her own - she's just so cautious with a rider.

I'm wondering if I keep going as is and build her confidence holding weight - we've only been at this stage for about thirty days (with a rider)... if she'll eventually gain the confidence where she feels like she can do the action the previous poster anticipated. I don't want to continue bad behavior though, but its gone on so long because I kept thinking she'd snap out of it and really figure out its a lot of fun to trail ride on her own. I've ponied her places and shes had a great time, and I've walked her up and down the rural road getting her used to pavement type changes (believe it or not she had no idea what cement was when she first came to my house) on my own exercise sprees.

Anyhow, I'm really listening to you guys. Keep the ideas coming!
Centaurheart is offline  
post #5 of 10 Old 07-09-2012, 03:43 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 41,034
• Horses: 2
could there be any issue with the saddle fit,? when a saddle doesnt' fit, a horse will often not want to move.

I would check that. and ride her out WITH another rider, on two horses. She will go forward to be with the other horse. then, switch up who is in front, after she is comfy going forward as a follower.
tinyliny is offline  
post #6 of 10 Old 07-14-2012, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Washington State
Posts: 128
• Horses: 5
Okay.. saddle fit is fine. She does this with saddle, with bareback pad, and bareback. I tried ponying her with another horse and she followed just fine. Won't step out on her own still. We've been trying.

I also had another rider on her today and she walked on when he simply jiggled his legs and applied a little heel... but that walk on was a straight amble to the gate where she parked and wouldn't budge without being lead off.

Its also not just me. It's anyone on the ground.

But.. I think we had a lot of progress today anyhow. Today's rider had her flexing her head and stepping right and left gently. Just still no going forward easily. She will with a great deal of pressure on her barrel (meaning you just really get after her with leg nudging without touching her head at all). We release the pressure and stop the motion the moment she even remotely takes a step forward and sometimes she'll walk forward and sometimes she'll stop immediately. I'm wondring if I'm just pushing her too hard and she'll eventually get this. I'm used to horses with a whole lot of go and no whoa, not the other way around.

She will canter out neatly with a rider if its toward the gate and there's the ground person with her.
Centaurheart is offline  
post #7 of 10 Old 07-14-2012, 09:26 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 1,089
• Horses: 2
I'd say your not pushing too hard and in fact could push a little harder.
Have whoevers riding her do the groundwork before they hop on. Then there's 2 options. Walk right away or at least outside the fence and further back.

Have the rider ask her to walk on and make her listen. At this point she knows what the rider wants shes just not convinced the rider is the one to listen to. As has been stated just get her to amble around the ring at walk to begin with.

Keep your pressure phases shorter once she's had a few chances. At no point can you go in and lead her out of the corner it's up to the rider. Make sure they have what they need to back up their aides whether a whip or split reins.

Hope the idea makes sense
Posted via Mobile Device
smrobs likes this.
Prinella is offline  
post #8 of 10 Old 07-14-2012, 11:47 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Middle of Nowhere, Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,655
• Horses: 5
I had a similar issue with a horse I'm just starting. I could not get to to stay in a trot for the life of me, until I started to squeeze with every stride in the round pen. I stayed off of her face completely, and just let her cruise. I would test her and stop the squeezing and see if she'd trot without my nagging and eventually, she didn't needs my nagging, just a reminder every now and then.

QHriderKE is offline  
post #9 of 10 Old 07-15-2012, 10:27 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Some times Llanelian - North wales, sometimes Hull in East Yorkshire (UK)
Posts: 3,679
• Horses: 5
have you done much longreining with her?
Longreining forces them to think for themselves and move forwards without a leader in front of them
MudPaint likes this.

RIDE your horse FORWARDS and keep him STRAIGHT

faye is offline  
post #10 of 10 Old 07-15-2012, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Washington State
Posts: 128
• Horses: 5
I think part of the problem is the girl I have riding her is very quiet and gives up very easy. I'm in no way blaming her either cause she's a volunteer... but she doesn't have a strong forceful leader type personality. Her BF came with her yesterday and I got him up on her and we had a lot more success. And by success I mean she wouldn't walk out for him either, but he had her moving her back legs and her front legs for him, stepping sideways easily back and forth - she still wouldn't go forward for him without an exhausting fight.

How I had him getting her to move forward is how I've gotten other horses to get going. Usually the walking on isn't an issue, its the whoa, but regardless... The rider sits quietly with the reins very slack, no pressure at all on the head... and starts wiggling their legs. If she steps forward she is praised and the leg pressure is removed. If she does not step forward, the leg wiggling continues along with kissing and the regular aids to drive a horse forward with seat and voice. If she's unresponsive, kicks are added, and if that doesn't work, carrot stick tapping is used by the rider. I've tried a whip but she just stands there, honest to god, and breaks out in a sweat and never moves. If you keep doing it, she'll stand there for a solid twenty minutes and just sweat and start shaking with the crop/whip hitting her. It makes me feel terrible.

The kissing, wiggling legs, and kicks usually gets her to step forward two or three times and we do the 'good girl... good girl...' and she might walk four or five steps. Always release the pressure once the horse is doing what we want etc... and she'll keep moving forward. But this is doesn't feel like normal horse behavior though I haven't started many horses tbh.

She ground drives in front of me just fine, walks forward easily .... and she'll ground drive in a lounging circle. I drive too so I make sure all young horses do this.

Her saddle fits just fine. She's not sore. And she doesn't seem nervous or terrified because she often yawns and will drift off to sleep with the leg wiggling and heels being applied. Its just with the whip/crop she starts to sweat and shake. I should add that on a lounge line with a rider up fully bridled and the rider with reins and bit, she'll move forward just fine at a walk trot and canter.

And if Im standing on the ground next to the rider turn and walk off she'll put the gas on and follow me or anyone on the ground anywhere happily. If the rider leads her into the arena, gets on, and tries to get her to move, she's a rock.

I swear this is the weirdest thing I've ever seen. I'm really listening to your ideas, folks, but its not working other than her yesterday walking off immediately and heading towards the gate, and parking at the 'exit'. And the BF not asking her to move anywhere, just getting her to move her feet for him while he was in the saddle. And believe me that took effort too.
Centaurheart is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need Some Help Moving Foward... Spastic_Dove Horse Training 7 07-17-2012 12:24 PM
Need Information on Newly Gelded Horse LadyRichards Horse Talk 15 06-24-2012 08:42 PM
Newly Blind Horse Rowdy Horse Health 4 10-15-2010 09:27 PM
Need Some Help Moving Foward... Spastic_Dove Horse Training 0 10-23-2007 10:11 PM
collecting and moving foward.... joseylovesrain123 Horse Training 15 05-26-2007 06:53 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome