Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Eastern Wisconsin :)
I’m not a horse trainer, and honestly don’t know much about training, but with the help of a more experienced person, I was able to train Spirit out of her barn sour ways. We are still working a bit, but I would say it will only take a couple weeks more and we won’t have any more problems. This is what I did:
Spirit came in with 2 other horses. They had been pretty much left alone, and hadn’t been ridden, for 2 years. I liked Spirit the second I saw her. She had so much jest, and spirit, for an old horse. The owner of the ranch I help at decided that since I liked her so much, she would be the horse I worked the most with. I got to work with her once they got settled into their new home.
At first you couldn’t even take her out of the fence without her freaking out. The first couple times we had to put her back within a couple minutes, otherwise she might have hurt herself. We started by just separating her from the other horses, in the pasture next to theirs. She would scream, pace the fence, paw the ground, and would steam she was sweating so badly. Only after she calmed down would we let her back in with the other horses. It only took a few days before she didn’t freak out.
Next we took her out to the hitching posts, well away from the other horses. After she realized she couldn’t break free, she would keep dancing around, pawing the ground, throwing her head, and screaming of course. We did the same sort of thing, waited until she calmed down before we let her back with the other horses.
Ok, skipping over a few steps, unto riding. I started by just riding her in the pasture next to the other horses. At first she would always try to keep them in her sights, and would always test me to see what she could get away with. She would try to run instead of walk when we were heading in the direction of the other horses, or plant her feet as we got by the gate. Anytime she acted up I’d make her do it the right way over and over again until she gave up fighting me on it. Once I could fully control her at every gait did I start on trail riding.
At first she would keep trying to spin around and head back to the barn, or simply plant her feet and not move. Again it was a matter of making her do it over and over again until she stopping fighting me. I also had the problem of her trying to bolt back to the barn whenever I turned her towards it. I started making her walk slowly back, and stopped every 20 feet or so and making her just stand and wait for my instructions. She would start pawing the ground, or dancing around whenever we stopped, so I’d turn around and head back away from the barn and do it all over.
So skipping again over the next steps we went through I can now ride her without having to worry. Every once in a while she’ll still test me, like try to casually turn a different way, lol, usually back the way we can. Or try to go faster when were heading back home. Those little test are become less and the frequent. Last time we rode we didn’t have a single problem. She’s starting to respect me as a capable leader. I think all and all its just a matter of showing them that they can trust you to handle anything that may happen, to be a strong leader, and just being plain old more stubborn then the horse J
((Sorry I didn’t realize how long the reply was getting. And if any trainers think I did something wrong, please let me know J))