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

This is a discussion on New horse and we just don't click... within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        10-25-2012, 11:22 PM
    You're not just hanging out if you do something with him. Hanging out means just that, doing nothing. Get comfy and read a magazine and don't even think about him or where he is at the moment. He can tell if you are planning something that involves him. If you were fixing fence, the horses would be pests because you are thinking about fixing the fence. Hang out for a week, then start following him, not to chase him, just follow. After a while he'll turn and watch you with both eyes. Walk away. Do that for three or four days. After that extend your hand to greet him, fingers down. Turn your body so you left shoulder is farther away than your right and look at his knees, not his eyes. If he touches your hand look away and walk away. This is building trust. In the meantime he is not seeing you as leader and he's defending his position to the max. Always carry a riding crop in your back pocket, in case. Should he get aggressive don't be afraid to hit him as hard as you can. No love taps.
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        10-25-2012, 11:50 PM
    Green Broke
    Two months really isn't a lot in horse time. He sounds insecure and doesn't see you as the boss. I'm not advocating keeping the horse. He may not be the right horse for you, but anytime spent working with him would only benefit both of you.
    I would start with groundwork and desensitizing. Small things like leading him around, making him move when you ask him to, rubbing him all over, picking up his feet. Grooming is great bonding time. Be cautious, but try not to tiptoe around him (I know easier said than done). When you build up to riding take it slow again. Work on bending, disengaging front and hind quarters, stopping, etc...
    I've had Willow for 3 years and Mona for 4 years and I'm just now figuring out how to read their body language.
        10-26-2012, 11:55 AM
    Thanks everyone for your replies!

    First of all, thanks everyone for your input!

    Just one thing - he's not aggressive, so I don't have to worry about that aspect at least...

    For the CT, yes, I might give that a try. The videos illustrate the advantages nicely.

    And someone had mentioned it, yes, I've done a lot already, groundwork, desensitizing (I pretty much wrapped him into a tarp), I walk him like a dog to show him things like heavy machinery (which he has been used to before but now, he freaks out at the sight of a tractor 4 quarter sections away...) and when he tries to refuse to go somewhere, I'm firm but fair and he never ended up not going. But it doesn't improve our relationship...

    And when I say "hanging out", I mean it. I sit on the fence and take pictures or read on my phone or whatnot. In the beginning, he would come and say "hello" but not no more. All the other horses are out of their minds happy when I show up because I give them attention and they "visit" when I hang out. Not my boy. He stays back and eyes me suspiciously. Almost like I've hurt him before or something. Which I swear I haven't!!!

    From his past, the last 6 years that he was with the previous owner, he was one of 33 horses... He had his own trainer who came out to ride him once a week and he was ridden in his well known surroundings. I thought it would be nice for him to be an only-horse from now on but made sure not to smother him with love so it would be too much for him (yup, I put lots of thought into this...).

    Another part of the story is that I'm no beginner by any means, I've been training people with problem horses or problem riders (with traumatic experiences, fears etc <- oh the irony...!) for over 15 years. I had to put my old gelding down this past spring after having had him retire in 2010. He was in a wonderful pasture with a mixed group of others and never got ridden again. So I was "horseless" for about 2 years but kept training others.

    Then there is this other gelding where I board mine. He's a real problem child... Never properly trained, tendency to kick and bite and all the other goodies =) I've started working with him because he wanted me to, he'd be following me around like a lost puppy and is affectionate and just happy that someone gives him attention and shows him right from wrong. I think if I'd be sleeping in his pasture, he'd be delighted...

    All of this together frustrates me. Why do other horses "love" me and not mine? Aarrgghhh....
        10-26-2012, 12:33 PM
    Originally Posted by MapleAir    

    I absolutely don't over work him at all, he's never been sweaty yet...
    How much was he worked previous to your purchase? Is he bored?
    MelissaAnn likes this.
        10-26-2012, 01:10 PM
    Have you had him vet checked, the freak out when you mounted and girthiness makes me wonder if there is something else going on.
        10-26-2012, 01:20 PM
    Originally Posted by AlexS    
    Have you had him vet checked, the freak out when you mounted and girthiness makes me wonder if there is something else going on.
    He put his ears back when being girthed at the old owner's already, his saddle and tack has been checked and fitted and the freak out was a freak accident, but brought on by him not friggin standing still when being mounted. I have this issue worked out, he's standing fine now. And yes, he was vet checked twice before I brought him home, once a regular PPE and then I was a bit worried about his age, so I had him x-rayed. All with no problems.

    For possibly being bored... Hhm, I doubt it. He was ridden by his trainer once a week and since he was one out of 33 for his old owner, I doubt she rode him lots. She admitted that he has too many buttons for her and she mostly just hacked out on him. Maybe another once a week or so. And I've been riding him 2-3 times a week LIGHTLY. Plus groundwork sessions and just brushing or "hanging out".
        10-26-2012, 11:31 PM
    I would suggest a couple lessons on him, or even just an experienced horse person to watch you interact with him on the ground. Even if you have experience sometimes an extra set of eyes makes a big difference.

    This summer I leased a mare for free in exchange for working through some of her problems. When I tried her at her stable she wasn't bad at all.

    Then I brought her home. And she transformed. Super spooky, totally disrespectful of space and a total brat. And formed an instant bond with my mare and right away became the most herd bound horse I've ever ridden.

    I honestly thought I had possibly overfaced myself. But I free worked her the first couple days and made her blow off steam then after she settled a bit I started really working her. I worked her hard. But not without looking closely for ANY signal she was starting to soften. As soon as she started to drop her head, chew, or give any other sign of softening her attitude I'd let up. Otherwise whether she was free or on a lead she was moving her feet constantly.

    I worked her almost everyday. For at least an hour. Within 2 weeks I was able to get on her bareback. Not because she was so tired (her endurance was incredible) but because she had softened. I didn't really ask for anything while I was riding her at that point. Not even a trot. By the third week I had my reward when she walked softly to the pasture with me and when I let her go she just stayed with me, not scared, just content to wait with me at the gate instead of going to see the other horses.

    I did not push her undersaddle till then. I like to have a very good relationship with the horse on the ground before I ask for much of anything undersaddle. She ended up being an awesome trailhorse with no issue going off away from the other horses for hours and we formed a great relationship by the end.

    My point is, don't be afraid to push your horse, it's not a baby and may need it!!

    I would highly recommend the book teaching your horse perfect manners. It's SO helpful!!
        11-02-2012, 12:04 AM
    I have one that I don't click with either. She would rather people leave her alone. I can catch her but she would rather walk off. She will eat a treat or not. She is obedient under saddle but shows no interest in her work and gives a lack-luster performance. She is not lazy at all but seems to just endure being ridden and is just waiting for people to leave her alone again. She was 13 when trained to ride and before that rarely handled' She was supposed to be a broodmare but went through several owners and was never bred or trained to be ridden before she was given to me.
        11-03-2012, 05:36 AM
    Sorry to hear you're having a hard time Maple. There's something that happened with my mare and I that I usually don't talk about coz I'm ashamed, but I think it'll help with your situation.

    Misty (my mare) had never really bonded with me, but she didn't hate me or anything. Then, we had a really bad accident. I had to go to hospital and was in bed for a month. So the last time she'd seen me was when I was on the ground, screaming in pain, and then I "disappeared" for a month.

    After that, she seemed to hate me. I thought she blamed me for what happened, but more likely she could sense the emotions of me blaming myself. Everytime I tried to pet her, she tried to bite me. Ears were always back. She wouldn't come to me at all.

    After a while, I lost so much hope and blamed myself so much, I totally retreated from her. I wouldn't groom her, wouldn't hold her for the farrier, made my parents feed her, etc. I am SO ashamed of my behaviour. I was a teenager and reacted very immaturely, but I felt rejected and blamed myself and didn't know what else to do.

    Someone told me I should put her in the harshest bit I could find and ride her again to show her who was boss... thank God I didn't do that. I ended up getting an amazing trainer who, within one session, had me riding her in a halter!!! But... she still didn't love me.

    It was when she came down with colic that I realised how much I love her. I walked her all night, prayed, told her how sorry I was and begged her to forgive me. Logically I know she didn't understand, but I think she felt/sensed my emotions, and from that day on we've had an incredible bond. Something changed that night, now she comes running to me, whinnies anytime she sees me, falls asleep in my arms...

    I'm not saying give your horse colic haha, but I only did one session with a trainer. I think, if I'd continued with it, he would've helped Misty and I to build our trust and respect for each other a lot sooner.

    Sorry for the massive essay, it wasn't meant to be this long, but I really hope it helps. Sometimes (even though you're experienced and a trainer etc) it really can help to have someone on the outside, looking in, seeing what you can't see and giving you that helping hand to build up a relationship.

    And as people have said, two months isn't very long for a horse. A big lifestyle change will need time, but I REALLY think some sessions with a trainer will be a massive help xx

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