Barn sour? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-17-2012, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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Barn sour?

My horse was fine when I first got her, taking the bit when bridling and not wanting to turn back on an out-ride, but now she will refuse to take the bit (not completely, when I slip my hand in her mouth she will open, though not without a fuss) and will need constant squeezing for the first ten minutes of a ride and after that she is fine, but will turn at every possibility. I'm pretty sure it was cause when I first got her we didn't quite get along, but now we get along just fine. She also still has not bonded to me at all. I do not have an arena or even a flat place to lunge. Please help! I really want her to enjoy herself as well!
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-17-2012, 02:36 PM
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Hi Laura,
Welcome to the Horse Forum.

Your horse is a trained horse, but few if any well-trained horses stay 'honest' if you let them get by with poor behavior. You have to be the worthy leader in your pair of 2 -- of you and her. You have to let her know with absolute certainty what you will accept and what you will not accept.

What you are describing is very ordinary behavior. About any horse would prefer to stay home in their pasture or with their friends if they have a choice. They do what you want because they know you will not accept anything less. After you have been in charge of this relationship for a while, they accept that you are the one in charge and they do not want to argue any more.

What you do not want to do is get into a position where you let her argue and you do not want to get started nagging and pecking at her. She will get worse and worse. It will escalate to the point where she refuses to leave home or go where she does not want to go and will completely 'stall out', back up or even rear. You need to fix this now.

You need to be decisive and you need to put enough pressure on her that she goes forward rapidly and willingly. You want to nip this in the bud. You do not want a horse that ducks around or stalls out at every opportunity. This always escalates if you let it.

There are several things you can do. You can kick or nudge this horse harder than you are now and try to get this horse into a jog or at least a faster walk. If that does not work, you can use a crop. But, expect your horse to 'duck around' away from the crop. If this horse wants to always turn around to the left, then carry the crop and tap or spank the horse on that left side. That will help the horse go forward and not duck toward the crop. We have found it much more effective if a horse is gotten after hard and not nagged at. Do it once and get it over with seems to be the most effective approach. To peck and nag at one frequently just causes a horse to 'kick up' or get mad. I wnat one to think it was the worst idea he ever had.

If the horse ever succeeds in ducking around to the left or the right, ALWAYS turn them back against that direction to head them back the right way. Never let them continue turning the same direction they ducked around. That only reinforces a turn that direction and makes them worse.

I am curious just what you expect when say you have not 'bonded' with her? What do you think will be different when you have 'bonded'?
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-19-2012, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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Wow! that is exactly my situation! A couple of months ago she would decide that she wanted to gallop up a hill, I said no and made her walk. Then she would not move at all and suddenly she would bolt forwards. I made her stop and the whole thing started all over. So I called my aunt (who is an ex-riding instructor) and she worked a couple of times with my horse and then she was fine again (to ride, not to bit) and she told me how to handle the situation. A couple of months after that, she started acting up again and would not budge (I can kick as hard as I like and whack her with a crop as well and trust me I whacked with all my might) but I did not back down like last time, so it was only for one ride and not a couple of weeks like the last time. But she does not do that any more. She also does not duck to any side, she just tries to go towards home at every fork in the road and some times she will slow down and if i miss that sign then she will stop and turn. Though I definitely wont let her get away with it, I make her spin, hard and then make her trot extendedly for a couple of hundred meters. With not bonded to me I mean that when I hug her for example, she will back away from me. I know that sounds childish . But at my friends place she has a horse that is so bonded to me, it will walk next to me without a lead rope and we did not do joinup once. Sorry for the long post
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-19-2012, 07:52 AM
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Horses are not dogs and they really make poor pets. Some will 'act' more like pets than others. [We call them 'pocket ponies'] Others are more aloof. Some never get to be pet-like and stay aloof no matter what. They are herd animals and not dogs.

Most horses get more dependent on people and thus more likely to follow you around and meet you at the gate and nicker to you when you are the one feeding and caring for them and WHEN YOU ARE ALWAYS 'IN CHARGE' and call all of the shots. When you let them make any of the decisions, they usually think of you as a 'lower' member of their herd, lay their ears back more and like less interaction from you. When they look up to you as their undisputed herd leader, they are more attentive and want you to interact with them. They function best when they have absolute respect for you. The more spoiled a horse gets, the more hateful it gets. Like a tantrum throwing child -- they are NEVER a happy horses. Horses that are respectful and know their place and accept that it is far below their people, are the happiest and best adjusted horses to interact with.

As far as having a horse want to be hugged? I do not not want one that wants to be hugged. I know how to get them to love being scratched right next to their withers and on their shoulders. I do not want them rubbing their heads on me (or knocking me down with them) or stepping into my personal space. Good manners and absolute respect are MUCH more important to me than having one act like a pet. Any trainer will tell you that training a 'pet' is about the most difficult horse out there to train. They just have to respond out of respect.
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-20-2012, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Yes i know, but how do i get her to be respectful? She does not push me or knock me down etc., but she is also not respectful of me. Though she would never dream of kicking or biting, because if she even lays her ears back and snaps the air she will be smacked hard or given a quick hard jerk downwards hon her halter or bridle.
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-20-2012, 10:53 AM
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Groundwork, groundwork, groundwork. In my opinion this is one of the best ways to establish leadership and have your horse trust you. There are many excercises you can do, a fun one I have worked through and still do are the Parelli games. Some like them and some don't but you can adapt them to your needs.

8 Tips on How to Do the Seven Games of Parelli - wikiHow

"Every person you will meet will have at least one great quality. Duplicate it and leave the rest." --Clinton Anderson
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-21-2012, 08:43 AM
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if there is no bond try forming one, spend time just grooming and being with her this will help with the bond dont just take her out when you are oing to ride, also with her not taking the bit it might be becus the only time she gets the bit she knows she is going for a ride and inorder to not go she thinks she can refuse the bit i had the same problem with my horses, i started putting the bit in their mouth randomly w.e i wanted to even if i wasnt riding id put it in when i ws grooming or ground working or w.e they learn that the bit isnt just about riding and they start taking it alot better it worked for me
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-21-2012, 09:36 AM
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Horses do not form a bond with owners because they brush and pet them. They are not dogs.

What bond they form is from looking up to a person as their 'herd leader'. Watch a herd of horses. The neediest and most 'herd bound' or 'bonded to the herd' members of the herd are those horses at the bottom of the pecking order. The horses that get 'bossed around' the most are the neediest ones out there.

You have to be their leader and not their friend. You have to have their respect and with it, comes their adoration.

The more I 'push' a horse around and the more I demand from from a horse (reasonable, of course), the more they look up to me as their god (little g).

This 'bond thing' has been blown totally out of the world of reality. It is the 'new age' buzz word and leaves thousands of horse owners trying to be their horse's 'friend'. Many of them end up with horses that lay their ears back at them and have little or no respect. The so-called bond can become the nightmare.
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-21-2012, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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I know. I'm not wanting her to be my pet! I do know what I'm doing and if I don't, I will ask for help. As I did. I do not tolerate aggressive behaviour and she DOES respect me enough to be a good horse for me. I am only writing about the bad side of things because I want HELP. I am only thirteen, this is my first horse but I DO know what I am doing. I am posting this so I know what to do right, I already know what I am doing wrong and am working on it. She is very safe for me to be around and please don't treat me like a complete novice!
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-21-2012, 02:42 PM
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You got some very good feedback. Take what you want and leave the rest. But, I completely agree with Cherie on the subject of a bond. it is much overrated.

However, your horse will become more connected over time, and since you say you have not had her long, you should be more patient. Do YOU feed her? That is one way to really get your horse connected to you.

I find, that if a horse is happy to stand next to me, even if I never touch it at all, then I know that horse feels comfortable in my company. For a herd animal, knowing that he feels comfortable in your company is a very high compliment, indeed.
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