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post #11 of 14 Old 06-26-2010, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Illinois
Posts: 55
• Horses: 2
Thanks, I just bought him a rope halter last night, going out this afternoon to see how he likes it. I have been trying to use the flexing side to side with the bridle, and he really doesn't get what I'm asking for yet, he gets confused and starts backing, but I don't release until he gives, even slightly. He seems to be a quick learner because even without the rope halter, he's begun to respect my space some of the time. Still not consistently but I'm not ever gonna give up on him, cause I know he can do it :)

We have a horse out at the barn that has to be led with a nose chain at all times, so I do know how to use a chain shank and Olly hasn't reached that level of badness yet. :) He's not really endangering anyone with his behavior so I really hesitate to go to something like that, unless and until it becomes necessary but like I said, we've already seen a slight improvement in just a weeks worth of actual handling and demanding respect. He'll come round, and pretty quickly I think. I haven't tried carrot stretches yet, because with his disrespect issues he can get a little demanding with treats which sort of slows down the other progress, but maybe when he learns some manners we can work on it :) My question was, how do you keep his feet still when asking him to bend for the treat? Or to flex with the reins for that matter? I know sometimes you just have to follow them until they get it but he generally just goes into a spin for quite some time and doesn't yield at all.
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post #12 of 14 Old 06-26-2010, 09:23 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Southeastern US
Posts: 189
• Horses: 0
Using a carrot or a treat will make it more difficult to keep his feet in place for sure. I have a horse that could never work under the pressure of food! He'd go to pieces. LOL. Some horses just can't be rewarded or enticed with food...mine being one of them for sure! He becomes a huge bully.

With the neck flexing, reward even a slight give at first! Even an inch of movement. It's not about getting his head all the way around at first. And you might try the vertical flexion first. Some horses get that concept a little quicker. Keep a dressage whip in your hand and if he starts to move backward, give him a light tap to move forward. Bring him to the halt, and then try again. If he keeps insisting on moving, move him out on a line for a few circles and then try again. Pretty soon he'll get tired of that and hold still. However, if you can get on his back, do it from his back and do it in conjunction with movement. I like doing that better anyway. Patience is the key here! Don't be in any hurry, and don't get frustrated if you don't get what you're asking for at first. He'll get there!
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post #13 of 14 Old 06-27-2010, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Illinois
Posts: 55
• Horses: 2
Went out this afternoon and used the rope halter. Worked like a gem! He's been hard to turn back after letting him back into the paddock, to get his halter off. It's something I teach all my horses because it makes it simpler for me, so they walk in and then turn around to have their halter off. Well he's been taking me mud-skiing across the paddock in his web halter. Put the rope halter on him and asked him to walk out and then turn back, worked like a charm. He seemed suprised to like "wow.. i don't usually do that" I gave him much praise for it, which he loved :)

Rode him today as well, but just a little cause it was REALLY hot here. Don't want to burn off all the food he gets, cause he needs to retain it. I borrowed a friend's d-ring snaffle that didn't have any slots for the reins and it worked wonderfully. Not perfect but so much better than my slotted egg-butt. He was really bracing against the bit before, and the reins being free to move a bit really seemed to help that. I think I'm gonna stick with this. Worked on his stretches today and got him to lower his head all the way to the ground with just gentle bit pressure (from the ground, not mounted). Still not so great on the sides, but he's a smart kid. He'll figure it out quick.

Plus, his ribs seem a little smoother today. Still not much muscle in his hip, but muscle takes more time than he's had. The way he's making progress, and how willing he is, makes me think that the people just handled him all wrong. He wants to do what you ask him.

Asked him to use his right lead at the canter today, and I'm pretty sure he's never had that done before, they just used him on trails so when he canters he automatically picks up his left lead, which is more comfortable for him. He got a little confused and threw his head down but I couldn't tell if he was trying to get the correct lead or if he was thinking about bucking. Slowed him, brought him back to the corner and tried again and he picked it up :) Only the 2nd try. I really think he's gonna do great with consistent handling.
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post #14 of 14 Old 07-10-2010, 02:10 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Colorado
Posts: 333
• Horses: 5
Yeah, he sounds like a smart boy! Just one suggestion about him moving when you ask for neck flexion...maybe just try it mounted, so that way he can't move away from you? I think that the way it is now, with you asking and him backing up, he's learned that when you ask, and he backs up, the pressure goes away, because of course you have to release and follow him and try again. If you did it mounted, when he tries to back up you just keep the pressure, no more no less, and so sooner or later he will figure out that backing up isn't the answer and try something different (I think with him it will be sooner rather than later!).

That's great that he got his right lead like that! Our little mustang (the same one I was talking about earlier with the tom thumb) had the same issue, always just being allowed to pick up his left lead, so it took him months of stretching and bending and suppling before he could figure it out! He's also a lot older and has terrible conformation, but still! I think that's one smart pony you've got. :)
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