always going for the gate - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-11-2010, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Hatton Vale, QLD, Australia
Posts: 5,227
• Horses: 7
always going for the gate

i have a rather big problem with my green broke qh ALWAYS heading for the gate when working whether its under saddle or while doing groundwork/lunge work.

the breaker was the first one who told me about the problem and i was hoping that it would settle down but its that bad that im soon going to be carted off in a jacket that buckles up in the back and put in a padded room lol

when doing work on the ground he can not concentrate because he is always heading for the closest gate he can find which is frustrating as there is 4 gates within sight of where we mainly work. at the moment we are doing a lot of lunge work as he came home from the breakers early because i was in no way happy with the way they were treating him eg; hobbling him to lunge him?????? what the??? i couldnt understand this and they couldnt give me a decent reason for this and coupled with many other issues i bought him home. we are continuing work and while he is fine under saddle in most ways we still have work to do obviously. anyways, getting off track. i am working him with side reins to help fix his mouthing problems and teach him his head set etc he knows how to lunge but EVERY single time he gets to the point along side the gate he turns and stops.

first time i thought ok, ill just push him past that point and keep him going. sounds easy. wrong. every time i try and push him past it we have the sme problem. he charges at me and at times will strike out. he is a stallion so i expect some questionable behaviour but its getting tiresome. and yes, he is getting gelded but we have an issue with that at the moment. but that will be in another post and bears no significance to this thread. on the odd occasion he will do a few circles before he stops but this is very rare.

when riding he is the same only i can keep him going better under saddle. but still every time he tries to stop at the gate and if its not the gate it will be wherever we have saddled up. even if im riding him in the round yard and we saddled up out of the round yard he will still pull to the general area of where he was saddled.

everything is about getting away from working. that part i have figured out but ive tried everything i can think of now to get him working past it but its not getting any better. on the odd occasion that he will seem to forget about it for a bit i get excited and think there has been some sort of breakthrough and then as soon as i think that he will pull his crap again.

any ideas to help will be greatly appreciated

"I whisper but my horse doesnt listen...So I yell!!...He still doesnt listen"

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post #2 of 4 Old 03-11-2010, 07:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: OKlahoma
Posts: 108
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when he goes past the gate whether it's intentional or not you should praise him, and the only thing you can do is keep working on it. Also what i have done in the past is make the gate a place of work for them, lounge him right by that gate! when he goes past it tell him good boy and let him take a break. If he charges at you i would keep him in a smaller circle so you can get to him quickly when he stops and back him up. Let him learn the gate isn't as fun as he though it was. :)

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post #3 of 4 Old 03-11-2010, 08:09 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
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I had the same issue with my little guy last year. The gate just became a giant magnet. My solution was to basically tell him "Okay, you want to be by the gate so badly, go for it. You're working like mad when we get there, though!". I would just ride him or groundwork him normally, and when he opted to haul bum for the gate, I would allow him to make that choice and stick with him, and then work him hard by the gate. Quick, fairly small circles, lots of changes of direction, just keeping his feet moving on my terms and with lots of energy near the gate. When he got soft and willing, I trotted him away from the gate and stopped at a different (RANDOM! This is important, or you risk training in another magnet spot!) point of the arena, and praised him for listening nicely. Every now and again I test him by riding with my hands on the buckle of the reins and see if there's any excessive draw to the gate when my hands aren't right there to correct it. If he draws, I do the exercise above once, maybe twice if he's feeling full of it, and that is a pretty good reminder to him. The beauty of the thing is that it can work for barn/herd sour horses as well; work hard when he chooses the barn/herd over me, and when I have his respectful attention, go away and rest.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #4 of 4 Old 03-11-2010, 10:55 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Kansas
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If the gate was large enough for you to stand in and for him to pass through, get him gathered up on a short lead on the ground, 4 or 5 ft. Stand with your back against the post the gate is actually hung on. Make him pass through the gate in a half-circle back and forth in front of you, so that he is actually having to do lots of directional changes, and lots of moving his feet. At first, he will think that you are letting him get away with being where he wants, but later he will decide that this is a place of work! You will need to make him do half-circles through that gate until he is so bored he could fall over. It will be long after you're bored with it, but you cannot relax your shoulders, because he will see that you are bored too, and try to take advantage of you. So keep your shoulders back, and half-circle him for probably 10-15 minutes, or however long it takes him to lower his head and just do it.

When he does it, say, 10x consecutively, with no arguement, or 5x consecutively with no looks elsewhere, take him to a back part of the roundpen or arena, or wherever you were going to work, as far away from the gate as possible, and tie him facing away, and leave him (actually walk away) to think about what just happened for a good hour or two. My husband is at the barn daylight til dark, so I don't have a problem leaving my soured up horse tied all day, at all, because he is resting in a place I want him to choose to be.

When you are leaving to put him away for the day/night, make him make a few more passes at that gate, walk to the center of the arena, stop and pet him, then walk out.

He will pick up on the point pretty quick. Gate=work, arena/roundpen=rest. You'll probably have to work light in the arena/roundpen the next few times out, and may have to shoot him a quick reminder again a few times. But make the process part of your daily routine, since you have more than one gate, if possible, do a different gate every other time you go. Work the gate, work at the arena/roundpen, work the gate.

If he's doing it when you're on his back after all that, ride back and forth through the gate. But when you go to turn around, make him stop completely, sit on his hind end and spin around like a rollback. If you let him mosey around and turn, his circle can get bigger and bigger, and he could take advantage of you again. So to keep his mind on what he's doing, stop, rollback, walk. Stop, rollback, walk. Stop, rollback, walk. Until he gets it right.
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