Big new horse has a big issue..
   

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Big new horse has a big issue..

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        04-23-2014, 01:47 PM
      #1
    Foal
    Big new horse has a big issue..

    Well, my new Percheron mare has suddenly become dangerously herd bound (and I'm serious about the suddenly...it was practically instantaneous). She did not act this way when I tried her out, but she also was not at a very large property and was with geldings, whereas now she's with mares. I'm not sure if that can make a difference, but anyway.

    She uses her strength to get her way, and this includes dragging me around and even ripping the lead from my hands once. I worked with her closer to the pasture and she she was responsive. She was yielding to me and the rope halter well, got out of my space when told to...but I can't do ANYTHING with her when she starts dragging me. So even if I knew exactly what to do to fix it, I can't!

    I guess my questions are...do you have any tips for working with herd bound draft horses? Is this a fixable issue or do I need to consider finding a different horse? I do have a trainer that's been recommended to me that I will be consulting if this continues, but I'd like to try suggestions first.

    I'm so disappointed... She's such a great made in all other respects! I'd just like a horse I can bring in the barn and groom for once =P
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        04-23-2014, 01:55 PM
      #2
    Super Moderator
    Use a stud chain over her nose and have a lunge line rather than a long rope. When she starts to look away from you give her a hard jerk with both hands on the rope so she feels it.
    Wear gloves.
    Palomine, MyBoySi, rookie and 3 others like this.
         
        04-23-2014, 01:57 PM
      #3
    Foal
    One thing I worry about with the chain is that if she does manage to get loose, even with a long line, she may step on the line and seriously hurt her nose.
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        04-23-2014, 02:05 PM
      #4
    Yearling
    Owner of a sometimes herd bound half-percheron here!

    I find it really helps to start work IN the pasture. If I grab her, bring her in and THEN try to work her it just flat out doesn't work. I have to start working with her the moment her halter is on.

    Halter her and just walk around the pasture. Be meticulous with discipline - she must stop exactly when you do, walk exactly where you want her to, or she gets backed aggressively. When exiting the pasture, she comes out the gate on YOUR terms. The walking perfectly helps me a lot - we walk at MY pace, and if she doesn't follow me absolutely perfectly she gets a good bit of backing or circling.

    Alternatively you could try what I do sometimes - I'll make her work HARD right outside the pasture gate. Then we walk away and stand, with her facing away. The MOMENT she turns to go back, we go back to the pasture gate and work HARD. Rinse and repeat. She figures out pretty fast she doesn't want to be by the gate, because it's hard. She can rest if she stands quietly where I want her to.

    Ultimately it's a matter of not letting her get away with ANYTHING or she will take advantage of it. I can just haul her into the arena and work her, I have to address every misstep on the way there. It keeps her focus on me and earns her respect - she HAS to be focused entirely on me because if she does wrong there's repercussions. It helps a lot to be meticulous with manners. No, you can't have your head near me. You can't start walking before I say. You can't walk ahead of me. You have to match my pace. Etc etc.

    It could take a few days to make it to the barn. Start very small. Work her where she's comfortable so she learns what you expect (in the pasture) and then start to bring her out, keeping those rules you introduced solid.

    Give it a go. It gets easier as you earn their respect and trust. She doesn't know that she can trust you, and she has no reason to respect you yet. It's up to you to give her a reason. It won't always be this way - hard rules, etc - but until she's not a danger any more she gets the hard end of the stick. It IS fixable, it's not a reason to give up. It just takes time and determination.

    ETA: It all comes down to who controls the feet. If you control her feet at your whim, she's much more apt to have respect for you.
         
        04-23-2014, 03:07 PM
      #5
    Foal
    That's about as good as advice could get on this topic. Get her attention and control of her feet=problem solved
    Palomine and Elana like this.
         
        04-23-2014, 03:26 PM
      #6
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BeachinIt    
    One thing I worry about with the chain is that if she does manage to get loose, even with a long line, she may step on the line and seriously hurt her nose.
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    It would not do her any lasting harm if she did get loose. It might even make her think about charging off.
         
        04-23-2014, 04:25 PM
      #7
    Green Broke
    How new is new? How long have you had her?

    No matter who you are, you can't out muscle a horse, unless it is maybe a mini or a young one. You have to out think or be smarter.

    My wife's horse, a 950 lb arab cross, learned to spin so the rope went over his back, and would run off. Once the rope is over his back, you've lost any control.

    You have to correct her when she starts thinking about acting up and not after she starts. She is likely giving you clues that you are missing.

    When a horse changes owners, they do try to act up or challenge. Just like when they are put in a new herd. At first they are reserved and just watch to learn the herd dynamics. After a while they start to test the waters to see if they can move up the ladder. Be consistent and keep clear boundaries with her.

    When you work her near her pasture mates, make her work and work hard. Take her away to rest. She will listen better near them because that's where she feels safe.
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        04-23-2014, 04:57 PM
      #8
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by usandpets    
    How new is new? How long have you had her?

    No matter who you are, you can't out muscle a horse, unless it is maybe a mini or a young one. You have to out think or be smarter....

    When a horse changes owners, they do try to act up or challenge. Just like when they are put in a new herd. At first they are reserved and just watch to learn the herd dynamics. After a while they start to test the waters to see if they can move up the ladder. Be consistent and keep clear boundaries with her.

    When you work her near her pasture mates, make her work and work hard. Take her away to rest. She will listen better near them because that's where she feels safe.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    ^^ THIS! ^^ is great insight, IMO.

    I don't know how long you've had your new horse, but I wouldn't be too disappointed in her yet. It takes time for a horse to adjust to new surroundings and a new owner. "Testing" and "herd-bound" aren't particularly unusual issues in such a situation.

    When I purchased my mare (a 15hh QH, quite a bit smaller than your horse!), my instructor advised me to let her settle in for a week before riding her. During that week, I spent a lot of time grooming her; and for the first month, she was kept in a separate paddock so she could see the other horses, but not have direct contact with them. She tested me for a couple of weeks, just to figure out my boundaries; but since then, she has been as good as gold.

    I don't know if it's possible for you to keep your horse in a separate paddock? I think that would be most helpful -- even if it means keeping her stalled rather than turning her out with the others for a while; just til she has hooked on to you instead of the other horses. JMO.

    Good luck!
         
        04-23-2014, 04:58 PM
      #9
    Weanling
    I like all of the advice here. My mare can get an attitude like yours, and used to flip her head around and drag me anywhere she wanted, except she is probably 3 or 4 times smaller than yours. One thing I found very helpful with the flipping around and taking off problem-put a bit in her mouth. For a while, until she got the message, when doing ground work or lunging she would work in a snaffle (french link, O ring, D ring, just a mild bit with no leverage action). My mare could then not get away from me because she would feel the pressure of the bit on one side. It is very effective, much like the one rein step on horse back, but from the ground. It even taught her not to pull on the lunge line while being lunged. The other thing I used was a flagging tool-basically a light lunge whip but instead of a whip end it has a flag or plastic bag. Really works wonders, but be VERY careful introducing it because some horses will completely flip their lid. For this reason you should introduce it in a strongly fenced enclosed area, like a round pen or small arena.
         
        04-23-2014, 05:20 PM
      #10
    Foal
    My 3/4 draft will take advantage of his size sometimes. I have learned to not let him get his head and neck angled away from me.
    One chain over his nose didn't impress him too much. For a while I had to resort to two chains to check his habit of running off when he felt like it. (And yet he's so sensitive I have to use soft face brushes on his body!)
         

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