Any help would be appreciated - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 05-14-2010, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Any help would be appreciated

I own a 9 yr old thoroughbred gelding, 17 hh. I got him as a two yr old and he had about a six-month stay at the track for training. The trainers had some problems with him that included him lying down on the trainer, and whenever he didn't feel like working, he would simply stop and wouldn't move for his rider. No matter what they tried the horse would pull this "stop maneuver" and would not move forward. He was returned to the breeding barn where I found him. I knew what I was getting into but I thought maybe a kind hand and a less-rushed training regimen might help this horse. I was hoping if he was willing that he would make a nice eventer. Well, after I bought him he and I went through a series of issues that had to halt our training for a few yrs... he had growth problems at first , a few absesses in the hooves, and other ridiculous health problems that seemed to hinder most training that I could do with him as he could not be ridden. Finally, after 5 or 6 yrs of healing and toughening up, he is finally in great health and can be started on a regular training schedual. Throughout the time I have ridden him however, we have had our share or behavioural problems as well. He has lied down on people, pulled this "stop maneuver" (once, extremely embarrassingly, in the middle of a class at a show) and , more recently the stop maneuver has gotten much more violent. It started out with him just stopping and sitting there, no matter how hard you squeeze, kick, or tap with the crop. If you try to turn his head to maybe get him to go forward in a circle, he will only turn his head, almost mockingly, while his body stands still. The 1st apprach I took to his problem was the "nice way" , patiently waiting, cooing to him, and such, but it never worked, and it seemed as though I was praising him for stopping. A few times I tried to force him forward using the crop (not hard ) and giving him a boot. Well this makes it worse and he goes from just stopping to rearing, bucking, and basically doing anything to get me off balance and come off. I know that the reason he is upset is that he is herd sour from the many yrs without work and hanging with the herd. He is very obedient when there is another horse and rider with us, but if I ever want to show or event this horse he has to learn how to work alone. He is also great while I work him on the ground (lungeing, grooming him, farrier, trailering, round pen work)so while I started him this yr our routine has been mostly in the round pen(being ridden as well) but as soon as we're out of it he starts freaking out again if I'm mounted. We've had vets and others look at him, he's healthy and in no pain so I'm sure its attitude. He doesn't look fearful at all, mainly just mad that he's not getting his way. I and a few others have been thrown by this horse and after 7 yrs owning him with no real results I'm thinking of selling him. Its unfortunate because he's healthy, big, beautiful,really sweet when he's being willing, and has tons of potential. I'm hoping that anyone who might have some suggestions can maybe give me a few ideas. I was thinking I would continue with the round pen training for now and maybe gradually introduce ring work with the help of another rider. I was also thinking about having a western trainer I know to maybe come and use his strength to help push him more than I can These days I'm afraid to use heavy discipline while on his back, cause I know I'll probably get hurt, so I've even tried to jump off him,apply discipline, then try again. I've had 20+yrs of riding experience, but I know that you never stop learning when it comes to horses. I'm getting close to the end of my rope, any ideas would be great!
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post #2 of 15 Old 05-14-2010, 09:58 PM
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My suggestion would be to look into the Parelli program.
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post #3 of 15 Old 05-14-2010, 10:03 PM
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maybe have another rider in the ring lunge him with you on him?? If he ttys to stop then they have to lunge whip, before you tap him with the whip kick his sides, then if no response let the person use the whip... This could get dangorous though, maybe could you send him to an experienced trainer, like the cowboy you mentioned or something :)
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post #4 of 15 Old 05-14-2010, 10:05 PM
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I agree I would get a trainer involved. At the very least, they might see something you're doing from the ground that you can't feel from the saddle.
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post #5 of 15 Old 05-15-2010, 08:29 PM
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Have you tried backing him up when he stops? I found with my one horse that he would stop and threaten to rear, I would back him up until for a while then ask him to move forward again. After a while of this I would only have to back him up 2-4 steps before he gave in.
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post #6 of 15 Old 05-16-2010, 07:30 AM
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"Sticky Feet" is a fight reflex. When a horse is doing this to an extreme, I know without a doubt that they are going to respond to more pressure by bucking or rearing. In his mind, forward is out of the question, so when you put energy in, the energy is naturally going to go up.

He knows that you are afraid of what he is capable of. Getting a fresh person who has experience with this is your best bet. I know some will climb on board and get the job done, and I have no problem with that and will do it myself with some. I have found that the best way for me to deal with it for my physical health is from the ground first.

It sounds like you go through a "routine" on the ground. This is the same thing that works in favor for many people that follow a TV trainer gurus programs. I'm sure that if you look for it, you can find his "sticky feet" on the ground. They don't have to be completely stuck to find your opportunity, they only have to be lacking forward. Whether he is dragging behind you on a lead or hesitating to give a bit of forward, you can use this to fix your undersaddle problem by actually trying to set off one of his tantrums. You need to open that other door to go forward. When he starts to lose forward or shows any negative reactions to moving forward in the round pen or on a lunge line, make him run until he is happy about it. Don't be surprised if he starts reacting to his problems by running at warp speed for a little while. Don't worry, this means progress because since he is fight based, he will return quickly to his "sticking", but not quite as severe. If he tries bucking or rearing, don't back off to get him to stop, keep pushing until he figures out what he has to do to get you to go away, which is going to be moving forward. Let him bounce back and forth.
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post #7 of 15 Old 05-16-2010, 11:37 AM
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Got a round pen? I would put this horse in there and re-establish your position over him as the herd leader. He needs to move forward until you say otherwise. Light a freakin fire cracker off behind him if you need to, but he needs to move forward, end of story. In a round pen you can accomplish this without endangering yourself. Do not let him stop until he's relaxed, his head is low and at least his inside ear on you. Clinton Anderson does this exercise a lot on his shows if you need a video example. He tends to really run them into the ground in my opinion, but just watch for signs of compliance from your horse. You'll know when to stop. Good luck.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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So many thanks to all of you who replied to my post, I will be keeping your advice in mind while starting over our training program. Your thoughts are extremely appreciated!
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post #9 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 02:03 AM
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I would highly recommend sending him to a trainer for a while. Someone that can get on top of him and let him know that stopping is absolutely not on. You don't want to teach this horse to rear. A very experienced trainer needs to get on him and give him a what for, this behaviour is dangerous.
Someone above mentioned backing the horse that rears. I must admit I cringed. It *may* work for some horses if you absolutely know what you are doing. But one that is so dead set on not going forward, backing him when he wants to rear is a recipe for disaster and you could very easily flip him over backwards. Avoid the rear at all costs, it is dangerous and un necessary.
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post #10 of 15 Old 05-30-2010, 10:50 AM
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If you're sending him to a trainer, make sure that you're able to watch how they handle the horse. I knew a friend who usually brought trainers to her place, but the one time she sent a horse off the farm to be trained they absolutely ruined her. She was a gorgeous little mare too, but even the guy who worked my mare had very little headway with rehabilitating her and her fear issues.

Also, if he's herd sour and you have an opportunity to keep him penned by himself for a while, do it. It will help reestablish that YOU are his herd and leader.

And if you're one of those people who like to give treats... stop. Don't give him unneeded food. lol.

Saddle 'Em Up - My adventures with horses.
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