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New horse and we just don't click...

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    10-25-2012, 06:10 PM
  #11
Green Broke
Oh, and as for biting when cinching, a good trick is to have your elbow to him so that if he turns to nip you just bump your elbow up and knock him in the nose.
     
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    10-25-2012, 06:14 PM
  #12
Started
Be careful also to not project human feelings onto him. I had a mare I bought, the first ride she bucked me off, after the old owner told me she never bucked. I went back to groundwork, and in the end we had an amazing bond.

I would shrug off the bad attitude, and approach this as a learning opportunity to better your skills. Find new ways to be a leader, new safe excercises to do, and don't let him showing a little attitude get you down. Its a new environment and he is likely insecure and now testing you to see where he stands.
ohmyitschelle and MapleAir like this.
     
    10-25-2012, 06:18 PM
  #13
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilruffian    
Just go out and spend time with him. If you catch him, just do ground exercises and take him out to graze. Do alot of respect and confidence building exercises like circles, yielding his hind & forehand in both directions, bending at the neck, backing up from direct pressure (pushing on the halter) and driving/rhythmic (wiggling the rope or any other motion to get him to back away from you) then have him come back to you.

Just get him used to you, ropes, sticks, saddles, tarps, anything at all. It may not seem like alot but every little bit helps in getting him to trust and respect you as a true leader, not a boss.
I go there just to "hang out" several times a week. And I try to do it differently all the time. Just catch and release one day, then grazing another, then groundwork, just grooming, "desensitizing" with tarps, carrot stick, allowing him to meet the dogs when they are on leash (so they don't jump and stuff), sometimes I just sit on the fence and watch them play.

I don't assume he spooks to pee me off, what I'm saying is that it's one of the symptoms of his weird behaviour.
I absolutely don't over work him at all, he's never been sweaty yet...

I'm worried I'm doing something wrong or he'll never come around. Which would be sad. On top of everything, winter is coming and it will be increasingly difficult to spend loads of time with him (no arena, neither in nor really outdoor). How do you built a relationship at 35 below in a blizzard?
     
    10-25-2012, 06:36 PM
  #14
Foal
Okay, I'm jumping in :) and some people are probably going to disagree with me.

Sometimes, things just don't work. I bought this nice Appy several years ago and I tried him out twice and LOVED him. He was amazing. Brought him home and things completely fell apart. It was really bad. I mean like he dragged me down the aisle way if he didn't want to do anything, refused to load in the trailer, ground work was a mess. Riding was actually the better part! He didn't try to hurt me and was awesome under saddle. But I will tell you what, I grew to despise that horse. I quit riding I disliked him so much.

My point is, sometimes, it's just not meant to be. I worked with that Appy. A LOT. I spent time with him, worked him, was nice, would be firm, blah blah blah. And nothing came out of it. I just started to resent him. It wasn't really my fault or his fault. We just didn't work.

So I guess I'm saying if you're having problems and you've done your VERY VERY best to work through it and you still can't get there, maybe it's time to reconsider. I had that horse for about a year and a half and it never really changed. That's when I knew. And you will too.

Now understand, I am NOT telling you to give up. Go for it, do everything in your power to do what you can. But please don't feel bad if you decide he's not right. I didn't want to give up on my Appy. I worked hard for a year and a half on him. But sometimes, enough is enough, and I'd had enough :)

Good luck with whatever you do. :) You sound like a responsible person who will make the best choice!
     
    10-25-2012, 06:42 PM
  #15
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by LikeIke17    
Okay, I'm jumping in :) and some people are probably going to disagree with me.

Sometimes, things just don't work. I bought this nice Appy several years ago and I tried him out twice and LOVED him. He was amazing. Brought him home and things completely fell apart. It was really bad. I mean like he dragged me down the aisle way if he didn't want to do anything, refused to load in the trailer, ground work was a mess. Riding was actually the better part! He didn't try to hurt me and was awesome under saddle. But I will tell you what, I grew to despise that horse. I quit riding I disliked him so much.

My point is, sometimes, it's just not meant to be. I worked with that Appy. A LOT. I spent time with him, worked him, was nice, would be firm, blah blah blah. And nothing came out of it. I just started to resent him. It wasn't really my fault or his fault. We just didn't work.

So I guess I'm saying if you're having problems and you've done your VERY VERY best to work through it and you still can't get there, maybe it's time to reconsider. I had that horse for about a year and a half and it never really changed. That's when I knew. And you will too.

Now understand, I am NOT telling you to give up. Go for it, do everything in your power to do what you can. But please don't feel bad if you decide he's not right. I didn't want to give up on my Appy. I worked hard for a year and a half on him. But sometimes, enough is enough, and I'd had enough :)

Good luck with whatever you do. :) You sound like a responsible person who will make the best choice!
I don't disagree with you, however it is always possible to get through to a horse but it may just take a certain person and situation.
He may not work out for you but I would try and give it a fair try. Just remember that if you sell this horse you will have to show him off and if his behavior is super bad you will probably not get your money back from him if you cannot prove he is worth it (in other words make him as convincing a good buy as he was to you when you bought him).
     
    10-25-2012, 06:51 PM
  #16
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by LikeIke17    
So I guess I'm saying if you're having problems and you've done your VERY VERY best to work through it and you still can't get there, maybe it's time to reconsider. I had that horse for about a year and a half and it never really changed. That's when I knew. And you will too.
That's my only hope at this point! I will surely give it my best try and I kinda told myself he'll have till next summer, so altogether a year to either keep resenting me or come around.

And of course I've entertained the thought that I might just not be the person for him but we both deserve a real chance.
I'm just very down at the moment and it's good tohear that I'm not the only one who has been in this kind of situation - and also that it's ok in case I were to decide to sell him at some point.
     
    10-25-2012, 09:42 PM
  #17
Started
Sounds to me like you're having a tough time with a rough horse.
Sounds like it's time to have a nothing day. I got my pony as a companion for my mare when we moved to our new home, I picked this pony because he was the one living in the two stall barn with her at our previous home, which was also a horse rescue and he couldn't be adopted out to anyone besides someone who worked at the rescue due to a foster-gone-wrong giving him a criminal record. So he was really just a 'cause it worked' type situation, not cause he was special. When I took him home we didn't get along very well, he was pushy and rude and pulled when being led - just generally a grouch.
For the first week I took an intimidating "I must be in charge and show him who's boss" type attitude. This was met with a more violent, aggressive pony. We were really beginning to hate each other.
So I decided to take him for a long, long walk. I walked him out back through the neighbor's hay field and brought my sketch book, parked my bum in a shadey spot and just started to draw him. He stayed around me, grazing, on a lead of course, but he never let it get taught. I stayed there for a good few hours before we returned home, he had actually stopped and took a short nap by me for a while. The next day I heard music playing, it was an icecream truck! Playing on the other side of the hay field, I haven't been to an ice cream truck since I was a kid. So I grabbed my pony and we ran across the field as fast as we could. We found some kids who had gotten ice cream, they each pat him and pointed us to where the next stop for the truck was, we ran and ran. We pretty much ran all around the town until we realized the truck was a goner. When we came back home and I put him away I realized how much I really loved this pony. He's still a brat fairly often, he's much better behaved and doesn't pull or fight.
I ended up using clicker training to teach him all sorts of fun tricks and skills and games, he'll play fetch with my Fiance now too :)
He's become a staple in our family.

Your horse will still need training and work to make him good. But I think you two will both benefit from a day where you just enjoy each others company and demand nothing from each other. Get your favorite book or a sketch book if you draw, sit in your horses paddock and just enjoy the day. He may only pay attention to you for a short while, but it's just about being together. Spend some time just grooming him in his field, don't fuss over manners unless he's excessively rude. You can always train tomorrow, spend some time enjoying your horse. That's something we all, so often, forget.

I'd love some pics of your horse :)

The moment I fell in love with my dirtbag pony:
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    10-25-2012, 10:03 PM
  #18
Foal
You definitely have a point, and I love just hanging out and watching him and the others in their pasture.
It just hurts me (and yes, guilty of projecting human emotions) that he seems to completely reject me. It's almost like I wasn't even there. And this got worse over the past 10 weeks, not better.
And at some point, fact is as well that I bought him to be able to ride him and I wish I could do that without fearing his spookiness.
I do want to give him time and don't expect him to "function" but shouldn't it go up at some point and not down, down, down? I'd be so happy with a hint of improvement even...
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    10-25-2012, 10:16 PM
  #19
Weanling
When I first got my horse, I had a similar issue.

I got him from the BO at an eventing barn where I worked for riding time. He was one of her lesson horses that didn't get ridden much, so it just worked out for me to ride him for her. She retrains OTTBs so she was always bringing in new horses and Riley had kind of fallen to the bottom of her list. She loved the way I worked with him, so she offered to give him to me and I didn't even hesitate to say yes. He was very sweet, very willing, and he always had a great attitude.

Until I moved him...

He became a wreck. He didn't respond to me at all, never paid attention to me, and basically acted like I wasn't even there most of the time. His main concern was food and other horses. I thought I could win him back over with love and treats, but that just made me the treat lady. When I didn't have treats, I was just an annoyance. He started becoming quite the bully and on special occasions, he would even drag me around or try to run me over.

I became so distraught, I even called the lady I got him from and broke down crying on the phone. I considered giving him back, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I just felt like a failure. I had been riding horses since I was a kid, I've dealt with some pretty big issues and came out unscathed on the other side, but for some reason I was crushed by Riley's behavior.

I will shamefully admit to losing it a few times with him. I never did anything totally uncalled for, but there might have been better ways to deal with him. He tried to run me over once to get back through the gate to the other horses, and I snapped. He hurt my feelings, he almost hurt my body, and I was just so sick of it. I didn't hurt him, but I took him to the round pen and ran him and yelled at him until he was exhausted. It was somewhat effective, he learned that I wasn't messing around with him anymore and he stopped being such a bully. But I DO NOT recommend this method. There are better ways to achieve trust and respect!

It took a HEAVY dose of reality and a few weeks of horse behavior education to straighten me out. I had to back up and pretty much start over with him. He wasn't trusting or respecting me, I wasn't being the leader he needed, and our relationship was pretty much non-existent. At the old barn, he was comfortable. He was used to being the lesson horse, but he had his routine, his buddies, and a nice cozy stall at the end of the day. I took him away from everything he knew and expected him to be the same. I was wrong.

I read into natural horsemanship and started using those techniques. The number one thing they stress is patience. Patience, patience, patience. And it couldn't be more true. You really have to make an effort to learn how your horse thinks and how they communicate. Learn about their body language, too. Horses communicate through very subtle cues. The other biggie is... and it's hard to accept... but horses do not, and will not love us like we love them. They can decide to respect us and then seek out our approval and affection, but they don't have the same feelings and emotions that we do. Once you can grasp that and not cry when your baby snuffs you, then you can start making progress.

I really suggest reading up on this stuff. Natural horsemanship gets a lot of mixed reviews. I don't follow it like a religion, but I do reference it from time to time. All of the big name trainers (Anderson, Parelli, Brannaman, etc) have their own style, but they all have the same basic philosophy. Horses are horses, they will always be horses, they will never try to be like us. WE have to learn how to communicate with THEM.

I have the best relationship with my horse now, and I understand all horses better because of what I have learned from natural horsemanship. I still treat Riley like my baby, but when he doesn't share in my emotional enthusiasm, at least I know it's not personal! :p

I really hope that my experience is helpful for you. I know how heartbreaking it feels to have your baby be so distant. It gets better, I promise. Just spend a lot of low key time with him, learn what makes him tick, learn how to talk to him in ways that he understands. You guys will be a perfect pair in no time.
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    10-25-2012, 10:20 PM
  #20
Started
Is there a way you can put him in a field alone, but bordering the other horses? So essentially just take his one companion out but he can still see/touch the other horses?
I'd do that and sit in with him for a good day or so. He'll come around, right now you're just the person who comes in and makes him do stuff, but your supposed to be his partner. Spend time with him just fussing with him loose, if he walks away, let him, then go back in a few minutes. Spend time doing something else in his field. I'd personally look into clicker training for him, just because it's so greatly improved my bond with my pony and has fixed my very fearful mare, turned her into a ride-able horse!

When I got her I could march her through all her ground work exercises - she'd perform them like an expert, but nothing in the world could get her to leave her paddock. Not a bucket of grain, her favorite pony, not being chased out with a stick or being forced to do high speed ground work, lunging for respect nothing got her to walk out her gate. When we moved I thought the problem would be fixed by the new environment, I was sadly mistaken, it was made worse. Now I couldn't even get her to do her typical ground work exercises, she was even afraid of parts of her own paddock! She wouldn't go to the far side near the gate at all!
After 2 weeks of clicker training I got her walking not just out of her paddock but all around my property and once I have a friend to go with me we'll venture off property with her and the pony.

CT has also seriously changed both of their attitudes towards me, while previously they saw me as "the boss" who came and made them do stuff, now they think they've got me trained! They think "I just have to do ____ and she gives me food! What a silly human". They greet me excitedly, follow me everywhere I go food or not, when they know it's time to train (when I have my cup) they get so excited, practically dancing in place looking to figure out what new game we're going to play today.

Of course how you CT is important, you don't want to get a pushy, aggressive horse. You also want to be sure you're reinforcing the appropriate behavior. But I find it's a very fun way to enjoy my horses and have them enjoy me. It's fantastic for mounted work as well. My mare had never been backed before me, with CT I was confident and so was she in knowing exactly what she did right. When she stood calmly for me to lean over her she got a C/T, when she stood calmly for me to get on C/T, when she walked when I squeezed C/T and so on :)

Here are some videos I used to learn clicker training:
Video 1
There are 3 videos, getting started, ground work and mounted work. That same woman has a blog on how to teach pretty much any skill you could imagine for a horse to do! It's pretty fantastic. :)
My pony has just learned how to get his halter off the hook and give it to me xD

I really hope some of this will be useful for you :) But to be honest, there are some horses I just won't ever love - I can "love" all horses, but not all will be special. Try it all, give it time, but don't feel bad if you aren't in love. If you love him, but hate his problems, that's just work - but if you don't love him, he's not for you.

ETA: After reading Quiet's post, who must have posted at the same time as me :) I so understand what you're saying about being a "treat machine". Many horses when they first move really miss their friends, they have a lot they need to work out. Imagine you moving homes, you have a new family, new friends, new school, new teachers, only 1 person is the same. You're going to completely ignore that one person when they need something from you, until you've completely sorted out everything that's new, the old you already know how to deal with, the new needs to be focused on. So the horse is overwhelmed with the change, the loss, and the new. At the same time they Need to still be good! NH ground work is a great way to help repair these issues. But it sounds like the OP has already been using a good number of ground work methods that haven't worked. Like with my mare, she behaved perfectly when the situation was ideal, but otherwise seemed to be too overwhelmed with fear to even know I existed. CT really fixed that, it got her attention back on to me and off all the 'scary' things in the world. Yes you are a treat machine, but there are clear skills the horse needs to perform in order to get the treat. My mare was afraid of my car when we walked by it, so she got a C/T whenever she approached me, leaning on the car. Now she'll walk by the car without any fuss. CT is a great way to rebuild the horse's positive association to you, but the rules need to be followed.
My horses never get a treat without performing the skill I ask, the treats are always handed under their chin so they need to back up to get it. This helps reaffirm the aspect of personal space. NO food will ever be given for space invasion or for lack of attention. If she's not in the mood to pay attention- me and the food leave. They quickly learn their attention should be on you. If she's took focused on the food that day we spend time working on 'leave it' where she needs to look away to get the treat. The videos I posted explain is far better than I can :) But I see where you're coming from!!
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