2 year old dangerous in the roundpen. - Page 2
 
 

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2 year old dangerous in the roundpen.

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  • Can a horse jump a 5 foot round pen
  • My horse doesnt move in the round pen

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    08-31-2012, 10:54 AM
  #11
Super Moderator
Wow! I can tell that there are not many people here on the Forum that have successfully dealt with a vicious horse. The only thing I find unusual is that it is a 2 year old filly and not a stud or an older mare. We have had a few vicious young mares come to us, but they are in a minority.

Let me point out the key things that happened that shaped her into the horse she has now become. I will try to 'debunk' some of the 'wrong' associations and responses.

First, let me repeat what I have said many times. I HATE WHIPS! I REALLY HATE THEM FOR ANY FORM OF DISCIPLINE!
Quote:
It all started when I caught her the other day, and she was being really pushy and rammy on the ground just leading from the corral to the barn and in the barn as well. She would not let me physically push her or move her, so I dragged her to the roundpen and started roundpenning her to teach her that I can make her move and that she has to pay attention to me.
This was your first big mistake. This is what emboldened her and told her that she was in charge. Once you ask for something, you must make it happen! Some horses are a lot more 'forgiving' than others. It is a quality that comes with a 'good, trainable disposition'. It is the main quality we breed for and the main reason we buy few prospects and raise our own at 20 to 30X the cost that we could purchase them for.
Quote:
This... "misbehaving" is new, I've worked with her quite a few times before this, and she showed a little pushy-ness, but nothing out of the ordinary for a sassy 2 year old.
I suspect that what you are calling a little 'pushy-ness' and a 'sassy 2 year old', she has taken much more seriously. You should have taken it more seriously, too. The worst behavior you allow is the best behavior you have any right to expect.

Never, never, NEVER turn a horse loose that has threatened you physically. This can be anything from laying ears back and moving toward you, pawing at you, kicking at you, biting at you, etc. [I am not talking about 'nipping' but about biting -- mouth open, ears back and intending to hurt -- like a horse bites another horse it is trying to hurt.

If you ask a horse to back up --- which I consider the very best way to instill respect in a disrespectful horse --- make it happen.

There are two ways that I have found very effective to make a belligerent horse back up. Husband uses a third way. I will go through all of them.

One is to tie the horse up solidly to a good solid fence. Tie it rather long, four feet or so. Take a second lead-rope, stand off to one side, lead the horse forward until it hits the end of the tied rope, then ask the horse to back up along the fence. Start by just asking with a 'smooch' and a normal push / bump on the nose using the second lead-rope. If the horse 'bulls up' and refuses, step out to the side and start jerking the rope until the horse DOES back up. The tied rope keeps him from jumping on you or bulldozing over you. Be aware that a really mean one can still strike out at you. I've had it happen. You can stay out of the way and you can make a horse back up.

After a horse backs up, untie it and re-tie it somewhere else and do it again. Do this until the horse has an "I give up!" response. This is a relaxed horse, usually licking lips and always lowering the head. Then, do it out in the open. If all goes well, back the horse 15 or 20 feet and quit ONLY when the horse is willingly stepping back. Then, go tie the horse up for a while. I use NO petting or praising. I find this completely unnecessary and very distracting to the horse. I have had best results with using 'relief' and a 'lack of pressure' as the only reward. After the horse has been tied up for an hour or so, go over to it and see if the horse is still acting 'submissive' and cooperative. If it is, put the horse up. No feeding or petting or praising. Just put the horse away.

[Remember, that when you gave the horse 'relief and a lack of pressure' when you stopped asking her to back or move over and you put the horse out in the round pen, how quickly did she learn that she was in charge? It did not take petting and praising. It only took you taking the pressure off! This is how they learn!]

The second way I teach a 'tough' horse to 'yield to pressure' is to take a piece of folded up baling wire and spank the horse's chest -- hard -- until the horse backs up. I also use this method to enforce a pushy horse to move its shoulder away from me when I 'smooch' and ask it to move. I just spank its shoulder. I do it quietly (nothing but a 'smooch') and I do it with as little movement as possible. I just want the horse to think it ran into a 'buzz-saw' or an electric fence when it did not back away from me when asked. I want it to think it was the worst decision of its life. Then, I quietly fold the baling wire up one more time, put it in my back pocket and act like nothing happened.

Third way: Husband still uses a chain over a horse's nose when it will not yield to pressure. I do not. I am not strong enough and having severe arthritis and degenerative joint disease since I was 40, I cannot win all of those battles, so I do not start them. It works for him. He is big enough to be effective on a lead-shank -- frequently with just a rope halter and a comfortable lead-rope, but always with a flat halter and a chain. I think I get a lot more done with a lot less fuss and noise. But then, I don't have Testosterone driving me to take a more aggressive route. [I'm glad he doesn't read this.]

Never, never, NEVER threaten a horse. Ask quietly and 'lightly'. Then demand with a little more force. If the horse does not respond correctly, make it think it was the HUGE mistake to not listen the very first time when you only asked nicely.

Always remember that it is MUCH more effective to back a horse up and 'push' it around than to make it run forward. I think they frequently see that as an 'escape' from the request.

Oh! And the horse jumping out of the round-pen? It was not from fear or confusion. She knew exactly what you wanted, did not want to do it, and jumping out was an escape. It is very common -- sometimes even with a rope on the horse. Just another example of why backing up is a lot more effective than running around forward. I've watched them jump out of 6' HD panels and try to jump 8'.
     
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    08-31-2012, 12:53 PM
  #12
Trained
Personally, I would step back a bit and work on things you know she can do and you know won't push your knee. Don't set yourselves up for a fight you know she will have that you know you cannot fight out. I would also avoid small circles, if she is kicking out, you do not want to be at the optimum distance for the most forceful kick. Stay very close or stay very far.

This is where groundwork is very important. Forget roundpenning her until you have complete control on a leadline, walking around. If you don't have a dressage whip, you can make do with a stick or some sort. Gracie was, and still can be, a pushy little brat. That meant I didn't deal with her without having my dressage whip for a good while. Start out asking the mare to yield her body. Getting her to move her butt and pivot on her front legs is usually the easiest thing for them to move. I start with snapping my fingers at her butt, and then give a few pokes. Use the leadrope to pull her head over to encourage her moving her haunches, and gradually escalate the pressure until she yields. If she moves AT ALL, walk her somewhere else, and ask again. Accept any yielding she gives you. I find that letting the horse walk or trot out after doing something "complicated" will unfrazzle their featherhead and prevents them from getting stuck. Keep your sessions short and sweet, ideally two, maybe three times a day. Once she is yielding her hindquarters nicely and easily [I just snap my fingers as a cue], try getting her to side-step. I wouldn't work on pivoting on her haunches until you've managed pivoting on the forehand and side-stepping, I find pivots on the haunches are harder for them and harder to get.

I wasn't afraid to beat the snap out of Gracie when I had to. Gracie was never vicious, though, just pushy. I wish you luck, and stay safe!
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    08-31-2012, 03:09 PM
  #13
Foal
I had this problem too...

Hi,

Just wanted to go to a totally different direction here. I have a 23 old mare that has been ridden all her life, was a trail, hunting horse, etc... she could be a bit pushy at times, but obviously she has been broke a lot of years. One day my daughter was trying to saddle her and she got really ornery about it. Like you I thought it was just bad behavoir, so I took her in the roundpen to freshen up on her manners.

She went nuts. She literally charged at me like a bull, wouldn't go, struck on me, snapped her teeth at me... so this was way above a little pushiness. I got ticked, I tried to show her who was boss, unsuccessfully, and then when I cooled off, I realize this behavoir was not normal for this horse. Pushiness can lead to meaness, to be sure, but this was extreme. Your horse jumping out of a 5 foot high round pen, that's extreme too.

So I got a vet to look at her and she has a serious back issue. When she was acting out like that, it wasn't that she was just being a jerk, she was hurting and that was her way of telling me. I would consider getting this horse vet checked before you take it any farther. I would have felt terrible to have kept pushing this horse if it was pain and not a behavoiral issue. I may be wrong, but I think you should at least rule it out and then pursue her training.
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    08-31-2012, 03:18 PM
  #14
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Candi0207    
Hi,

Just wanted to go to a totally different direction here. I have a 23 old mare that has been ridden all her life, was a trail, hunting horse, etc... she could be a bit pushy at times, but obviously she has been broke a lot of years. One day my daughter was trying to saddle her and she got really ornery about it. Like you I thought it was just bad behavoir, so I took her in the roundpen to freshen up on her manners.

She went nuts. She literally charged at me like a bull, wouldn't go, struck on me, snapped her teeth at me... so this was way above a little pushiness. I got ticked, I tried to show her who was boss, unsuccessfully, and then when I cooled off, I realize this behavoir was not normal for this horse. Pushiness can lead to meaness, to be sure, but this was extreme. Your horse jumping out of a 5 foot high round pen, that's extreme too.

So I got a vet to look at her and she has a serious back issue. When she was acting out like that, it wasn't that she was just being a jerk, she was hurting and that was her way of telling me. I would consider getting this horse vet checked before you take it any farther. I would have felt terrible to have kept pushing this horse if it was pain and not a behavoiral issue. I may be wrong, but I think you should at least rule it out and then pursue her training.
Very good point, Candi. I second ruling out pain.

Another thought, is she in heat? She is at that age of sexual maturity, she could be one of those that go crazy monster when cycling.
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    08-31-2012, 03:21 PM
  #15
Trained
Downunder Horsemanship TV

I would suggest watching "The Phoenix" for the explanation of the round pen work.
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    08-31-2012, 03:44 PM
  #16
Started
UPDATE:

This morning I worked with her in the roundpen. I approached her as if her previous BAD behaviour had not happened and we were starting over on a clean slate.

I kept her on a lead and used my whip and asked for her to move her hip over. Once she gave me a step, I put my whip down and gave her lovin'. I move on to moving her shoulder around, and did the same when I got it. Then I took a step back and asked her to move forward. I got a step, so she got praised and we slowly moved on to letting more of my lead rope out, going both left and right. I took the lead off when she would stop and turn towards me when I said "whoa" and lowered my whip.

And HOLY CRAPOLY. She was listening to me, she stayed in the small circle I had made with her when I had the lead, and moved forward, her ear was turned on me, and her body was bent with the circle, not counterbent like she was when all she wanted was an escape route. She was a little hesitant to move forward a few times, but a smooch and a wiggle of the whip got her moving again.

At that point, I quit and gave her some oats in the round pen.

Progress? Yup.
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    08-31-2012, 09:52 PM
  #17
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
Wow! I can tell that there are not many people here on the Forum that have successfully dealt with a vicious horse.
Doesn't sound like a 'vicious' horse to me actually so my response was different than it would be with a 'vicious' one, although sounds like the horse could be one in the making if it's not handled well. Of course we only have written words to go on, so the way we read these things is based upon our own experience & perspectives.

Quote:
This was your first big mistake. This is what emboldened her and told her that she was in charge. Once you ask for something, you must make it happen! .....
I suspect that what you are calling a little 'pushy-ness' and a 'sassy 2 year old', she has taken much more seriously. You should have taken it more seriously, too. The worst behavior you allow is the best behavior you have any right to expect. ...
Never, never, NEVER turn a horse loose that has threatened you physically.
Well put. Agree thoroughly. Re the 'make it happen', this doesn't necessarily mean getting forceful & confrontational(tho that's also sometimes called for IMO) but it will also help to think about how you'll handle these type lessons in a non confrontational manner before you 'jump in the deep end' so you can set yourself(and the horse) up for success.

Quote:
Never, never, NEVER threaten a horse. Ask quietly and 'lightly'. Then demand with a little more force. If the horse does not respond correctly, make it think it was the HUGE mistake to not listen the very first time when you only asked nicely.
This bit I don't get. If spanking or jerking at him to warn him he better get out of your way is not threatening(especially if he's already had a lesson or few & has learned this is a threat of being hit with wire, then what is?

Quote:
Oh! And the horse jumping out of the round-pen? It was not from fear or confusion. She knew exactly what you wanted, did not want to do it, and jumping out was an escape. It is very common -- sometimes even with a rope on the horse.
Without having more than the OP's words to go on, that is just an assumption, to state that she wasn't confused or fearful. I think this is in response to my comment & if I said this behaviour WAS confusion & fear, this is also too presumptive - What I hope I wrote was I think it's likely to be due to fear & confusion, based on what OP explained.

Of course jumping out was an escape & it's... not helpful to have a horse feel the need to escape from it's handler. It is not a very common occurrence at all IME(& my 'pen' fence is a piece of tape approx 3' high), but then I'm not in the practice of pushing harder on a horse who already wants to escape either. Regardless of whether it is fear based or not, I would take a horse thinking about escape(let alone doing it) as a sign that I'm doing something wrong, probably pushing too hard, not being clear & consistent or such. I also think that if the horse has it's mind on escape, it's more productive to change that focus & attitude before bothering to try teaching it anything else.
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    08-31-2012, 10:13 PM
  #18
Green Broke
You have run across an extremely dominant horse here, more so than you all have ever dealt with.

Any correcting you are doing, is not getting the point across because this one is a blockhead basically.

I also imagine your corrections are not of the HCTJM type, and not firm enough to make a dent in her.

I would not free lunge this one, as she may be seeing it as "I am doing what I want" and the fact that she is a bully to any extent when leading, tells me that you are not getting any respect at all basically. It just suits her to go along with the program sometimes.

Having to pull her, like I think you said you did? Only set it in her mind that she needed to battle. She needs to fear for her life more than she obviously does.

While you may have "trained" horses for a while, it is clear you don't have a clue as to what is going on here, and this horse can and will hurt you if you persist I am afraid.

I'd get her to a trainer. Or sell her.
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    08-31-2012, 10:33 PM
  #19
Started
Hi,
I am going to say something that a lot of people are going to disagree with, and that's okay. I would see how she is lunging outside the arena. I have a mare that is dangerous in the round pen. The first trainer I sent her to did not understand rewarding by removing pressure. I think my mare was never rewarded for doing the right thing so she got frustrated. She took this mare into the round pen and one day said "we had an epiphany" and two days later the mare "dangerous and was going to kill someone and we should sell her". How do you ethically sell something that you have been told will kill someone? In addition, this is a mare we had foaled out, halter broke and had gone to the track with no complaints about her personality or statements that she dangerous. I had also, while halter braking her done some joint up stuff without an issue. We sent her to a different trainer who said "I could not get this horse to do something dangerous". That second trainer had ridden her through a forest that had 24 hours before been on fire. The mare was fine, tree stumps were still smoking and she walked around like it was no big deal. If you put a rope halter on her today she gets angry. If you put in the round pen some days she is really good and other days she is bucking, striking, charging and a mess. If you put her on a lunge line she goes walk, trot, canter without complaint. I can saddle this mare up after a year plus off and ride out without a fuss. I don't have a round pen, so I have not tried to fix her round pen behavior. Its just as well because her behavior is a mess that I don't even know how to start to fix. It sounds horrible but her inability to be in a round pen does not impact her ability to be a great riding horse. I have met other people who used the first trainer and had horses with a similar story and bad round pen behavior.

I would say go carefully. Don't trust one good day in the round pen. Find someone who has experience with this kind of problem. I know that you have horse experience but this is a unique issue. It might be a matter of tearing down her round pen behavior because the previous person did not let up pressure. I would also see how she does on the lunge line but be ready for that to go sideways. You have to be really careful in a round pen because you can get in a horses head. If you don't know what your doing or the horse does not know what you are doing you can get hurt.
     
    08-31-2012, 10:57 PM
  #20
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by rookie    
I would see how she is lunging outside the arena.
I think OP said something about it not being safe outside & she doesn't have any other fenced areas to work in.

Quote:
The first trainer I sent her to did not understand rewarding by removing pressure.
And she called herself a trainer & took money off you?? Hope she got her comeuppance for that!! Not that I call negative reinforcement a reward, but that's a bit of an academic point.
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