Beginning to refuse to leave the herd and hay... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Beginning to refuse to leave the herd and hay...

Hello Everyone,

I could use some advice. I am a first time horse owner who has thus far had no issue leading my horse across his large paddock to the gate for our rides (I switch it up so we do a variety of arena work and hacking). The last two times I have led him, he has gone a few feet and then stopped. I think he might be reluctant to leave the herd and hay (the rest of his buddies are happily chomping away together). I apply pressure to the lead and release when he walks forward - a few more feet - before we repeat this process again. I've even given him a light flick with the end of the lead when pressure doesn't help, but I'm not sure if I'm waiting long enough or if this is the right move. Once we are halfway through the field he begins walking nicely again.

Can anyone offer me guidance? Ideally, I would love to return to him coming to the gate as he often started doing at the farm we were at before of his own accord. Any tips?
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 04:03 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Are the only times you're taking him out, you expect him to work? That could be part of his reluctance.
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Yes. We live a distance apart, so I drive a ways to see him several times a week and always ride. I will try varying my pattern; I hadn't thought of it as work-associated. Thanks!
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 04:18 PM
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Sometimes the simplest solutions are the ones we don't think of.

Mix it up every so often, and just take him out for grooming or hand grazing.

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post #5 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
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When he stops id start lunging. Haha
Worked on my gmas spoiled mare.

Wed be walking along, she stops, I get after her butt and get her trotting around me, then walk off. she follows, we walk.
Stops again, she works again.

I don't think you should have to butter the horse up to lead. Taking it out for brushing and grazing is nice but, if going to work for a couple hours a day out of the whole day is how I do it thenn.. They can make leading part of their work too I guess.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 07:17 PM
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Agree Janna. When we lead a horse, they should follow. THe more you make excuses (ie doesn't want to leave food, friends, doesn't want to work) the more issues you will have. Use a rope halter and one of the 10-12 ft leads (at least) when you go get the horse. Horse stops-MAKE her move her feet! Get after her and lunge her around you. THen walk forward......wash, rinse, repeat. The horse will soon get the idea that it is far easier to walk with you. You are not asking for much. Horse gets DAYS of freedom. You are asking for a few hours. If you need help-get it. But if you let this go, other issues WILL come up. I promise.

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post #7 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your sage advice! I know that if I don't get on this right away, I am just asking for bigger problems. I've got a long line and will start working on this while also switching up his routine. : )
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 08:29 PM
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Yup definitely lunging when she stops. You don't have to not ride her those days but instead of going right to work you could spend some time playing with her, find what she likes. If she's on hay in her field you could take her out and graze her. You could bring her in and do basic ground manners. But giving her something more enjoyable to do when she leaves is a good way to make her want to leave.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 08:35 PM
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I don't care what my horse is complaining about, not eating hay, leaving friends, or going to work, when I'm leading them and around them for the few hours a day that I am, I am alpha mare. Walk beside his shoulder and flick him with the end of the lead rope if he doesn't respond to you clucking to get him to walk, then reward with a pat and a "good boy" when he moves.
I find horses that don't lead properly to be most insufferable and that's the first thing I teach anything I work with - how to lead and do it well. My horse, that I've owned for over 4 years, will walk beside me through anything on either side, and listen to my voice aids because he knows there is always a re-enforcement. And cookies in the barn :)

Good luck!

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post #10 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 08:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Rather than pull on the lead, make the engine move ie as suggested get her trotting in circles around you. It helps if you get a long lead of about 12' cuz it's long enough to give you about 4' to twirl at her butt and make her move. Just twirl it clockwise so it's always on the way down when in front of you or beside. A few light flicks of the rope and she soon move with just the suggestion.
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