Problematic horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-30-2011, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Problematic horse?

Sorry its long!

Ok so I got a free riding job. Yay! Anyway the family who owns the horse (Yee Haw, the kid named it) doesn't really ride. Maybe once a week, they turn the horse out but no riding. I am lucky enough to ride him for free. A little info on him, 17 QH and has been home to home. The kid who mostly rides him just sits on him and does nothing, she just clicks to get him moving and whoas to stop him. Today was my first ride with him. He does good with the clicks and whoas, in a walk. When I got him in a trot, i tried clicking and whoaing, nothing. This isn't much of a problem but I would prefer he did listen, so advice on that would be helpful. This is the next second biggest problem; he has a nice spacious stall with a toy that he constantly plays with, he always wants to go play with that toy. So what he does is he tries to go over to the gate to go to the barn. Its a challenge to keep him straight and when I trotted passed the gate and he didn't get to go to his stall, he bucked. I stayed on but I knew this was going to be a problem. I went by it again, not letting him stop or slow dowm, another buck. I have a feeling this is going to get dangerous so I really want advice, they getting a trainer but the problem won't go away immediently so I would like some advise to control him. Ok third problem; He tends to bolt. When I try walking him aroud some poles he bolted, he didn't go far (maybe 15 feet) before I could turn him back and make him do it again but he did it. I cantered for a couple of minutes then slowed to walk to try the poles again, once I slowed he bolted to a arena gallop (not a cantor not not a gallop.)

A trainer will come earlier then the end of June but until then any idea of how to get out of these habits a bit?
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-30-2011, 08:58 PM
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I would go back and work on groundwork, you want establish a solid foundation before you ride him again. Once he respects you on the ground and knows his limits, many of those problems should go away. He's just testing you, but if you aren't comfortable riding through it, then groundwork is a much safer way to go.

Edit: You can also work on cues for things like trotting and cantering on the ground, perhaps while loungeing, then he won't be confused at what you're asking and may be more willing to work for you.

"May your trails be crooked, winding, crooked, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view" -Edward Abbey

Last edited by AQHA13; 05-30-2011 at 09:01 PM.
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-30-2011, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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I have started some ground work and I will lunge him before I ride to make sure its not because he's hyper.
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-30-2011, 09:07 PM
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you have a lot going on there, but it all boils down to the same old thing; the horse is spoiled and may not be very well trained to begin with. If he has been through a lot of humans, he has probably learned a variety of ways of getting what he wants. And the compulsive playing with a toy can be an idicator of a deeply felt anxiety. Is he alone? Horses alone can be very unhappy. Can he at lease SEE another horse nearby?

The thing that has to be done, and the trainer may be able to help you, depending on what kind of trainer it is, is to make it so that YOU are the most important thing to him. More than the toy. More meaningful might be a better word. You work with him on the ground first, either in a round pen or small paddock and/or on a long leadline. There are a whole series of excersizes that work with a horse to get him paying attention to you and giving you the respect thatq something meaningful in his life will get.

Right now, food is meaningful. The toy is meaningful. The kid on his back? no.
Even you are not meaningful to him. You are an annoyance that is intereupting his focus elsewhere. So, you have to get him in a place where you basically force a change in his thinking, which puts you into a position where you ARE more meaningful than the toy. He may still prefer the toy to you, food to you, but when you ask or even demand, he will know that you have the authority to insist and back it up. Once the horse believes this on the ground, they will be much less likely to challenge you in the saddle.

You will also want to make sure , via the most expereienced person you can access, that the tack, especially the saddle, is not fitting such gthat when he starts to canter, it hurts. That would definitely cause him to want to try and "run out from under his saddle".
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-30-2011, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Wow thanks! No sadly he doesn't have any horses near by, their are 3 goats in the stall next to his and a few horses across the street that he can hear but not see. His friend died a couple of moths ago, maybe 2 or 3? Ever since they got him he has been playing with that toy.

Oh and about the saddle, its actually new, 1 month. It has been custom fit so it's defiently not the problem. Also for future reference the vet came last week and she says he's perfectly healthy.
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-31-2011, 12:15 AM
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Just because the saddle is custom fit does not mean that it's not the problem. We'd like to think otherwise, but that's not always the case. Some horses take many experienced folks many custom fits before finding the right one, especially if it's a horse that's going to be changing shape (fat to skinny, skinny to fat, pasture pony to fit, etc). That said, it does sound like you two have many things you can work on together.
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-31-2011, 12:36 AM
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Your horse must be feeling a lot of anxiety right now. His companion is gone, he is in new surroundings and no horse around. On the good side, I think this may make him more receptive to you when you are able to offer him the firm and clear leadership that he needs. He will have a herd! and you will be his leader and this will make him feel so ,much more secure. This is going to be tough but exciting. Write down your observations as you go along. This will help you become very observant, something that is critically important when training horses.
I do hope you connect with a good trainer and that yoiu can get some instruction from video. A lot of folks swear by Clinton Anderson. I have never seen his training tapes, but since he is so well thought of , he might be a good choice.
I would nix cantering at all for a bit. Stay at walk and trot . YOu want to stay wehre you can be more guaranteed of being successful (ie not falling off) and work into the greater challenges. I whole lot of trotting will work well to work the buck out of the horse. Later, once you have a better relationship, if you have to you can smack him wiht the whip if he wont canter or such, but start at the foundation; groundwork.

It's actually kind of fun.
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