bringing up a new, older horse
So I've had this horse now for a little over a year. He's 15 and I just got on and rode him. Trail riding. Found out that he had some issues going on. Disrespectful ones. But I tried just riding it all out. Til about two months ago when he decided he needed to go with some other horses on the trail and ignore me. I said no and he said, "fine, I'm going to buck and crow hop".
I sought out a trainer who worked him in a round pen and said, "I wouldn't be riding this horse on the trail - yet!"
To make a long story short, we went back to basics with ground work. In just a week there was a huge change in him. He was actually listening to me. And didn't treat me like I was in his way.
Didn't ride him for a while because I was just doing ground work.
A friend of mine told me to not let him get away with ANYTHING especially now since he still could be testing the waters.
So, I try. And I try to not humanize it all. I know horses don't think like us. We are not their "friend" like a dog.
I work him on the ground before every ride still. Today I had to get off because there was a possible unsafe situation on the trail. Two hikers with giant white hats that kept hiding behind trees! And then they'd come out and start walking and then start digging for something in bushes. ANNOYING.
My horse was fixated on them of course. When I got off him, he walked forward and into me. OK then.... I was not existing to him at that point so I worked him on the ground. Moved him in circles, moving that hind end over, backed him up, moved him forward etc.... Then I hand walked him til I got past those weirdo hiker people.
STILL in my head, I thought, "i'm nagging this horse". But he was not respecting me on the ground out on the trail. I had to pop the lead a few times to get him back to me.
After I got back on, he seemed more in tune with me and didn't even try to rush up the hill which he used to do.
He still questions on how much of a leader I am ON HIM. I'm not the greatest confident rider anymore. After a few accidents on past horses, I'm not the fearless rider anymore. And after his bout of hard bucks and crow hops on that one ride, my confidence has been knocked down a couple of pegs.
So, I"m doing and trying my best to be a confident leader for him on his back. My husband was with me today and I had him get behind and us in front so I could get my guy to lead thru a spot where he is not confident with. He slowed down but I urged him on and tried to stay as relaxed as possible. He was looking for the boogy monster.
I don't know what else I can do so he is more "trusting" with me. On the ground, when I tell this horse to move his feet, he does at any speed, in all directions. DH tells me it will just take time. I wish I would have done the ground work the day I got him!!
This horse wouldn't even back up under saddle when I got him! The trainer worked with him and then showed me. He's still not real fast with it but he gets it. Barely have to use reins anymore.
I NEED my confidence back and I need to trust him. And he needs to trust me. The whole ride isn't like that tho.... it's just certain areas. Blind corners, heavily wooded areas. I always ride with someone so when there's just too much pressure for him, I have them lead and let him go behind.