Confusing Horse Troubles! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 12-06-2007, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Confusing Horse Troubles!

First of all, I'm so sorry for the length but I'm getting incredibly frustrated with my new horse. He's a lovely boy, he has the best ground manners I've ever seen in my life but he is so springy! It feels like he is just pumping with energy 24-7. This is much appreciated but its making training him difficult. I've cut back on his grain to a minimal and I exercise him almost every day, both on his back and on ground but he never seems to change. He is so excited about everything he moves like mad-man until he's breathing heavy and sweating all over but he's still pumping with energy and keeps going more than willingly after that. I have to make him calm down, I'm trying to walk him around the arena to cool him out and he's nearly trotting in place. I know, he hasn't been worked for at least 6 months but I just got word from the past owner its been more like 9 or 10 since he's been regularly worked, that is until I've gotten him.

I've had him ten days now. He settled in very well so I started working with him the day I got him and every day sense. He's always happy to see me. The first thing he does is call out to me when he sees me then come jogging up to sniff me.

So we've got a good relationship, and respect on the ground. We join up often so I can maintain his respect with me, and he joins up faster and faster each time, and now we hardly have to join up at all because he already falls into that mode but I do it anyway for the sake of making sure we're still together and every thing's great... I think.

PROBLEM ONE: The Lunge Line.

I can't get him to canter on the lunge line for the life of me. He's more than happy to walk or trot, and he'll trot until the cow comes home but he won't canter, or not at least for very long. He canter a few steps, I have to constantly remind him, and as soon as I stop smooching he trots. Its horrible. My lips get tired! He should canter until I tell him to stop. If I bring out a whip, he'll work like a charm, I never use it, I just hold it and it works well, but he'll even defy me then. I have to raise the whip like I'm actually going to use it and then he'll canter. Lets say I don't have the whip, and it's just me, I ask him to canter, and he first thing he does is jerk his head away from me and put mega-tension on the lunge line. My arms is nearly ripped out of my socket! If I ask him again, he'll either comply, or freak. He will gallop and buck, dragging me across the barn. Shortly after, then he'll keep his distance from me for a bit. The first time it happed, I approached him, and I think that was a mistake but he dropped his head to my chest. Then when I lunged him again after that, he listened perfectly. He never bucks or gallops away from me when I have the whip, but he does pull a lot more but he never becomes very alarmed like without the whip. I'm really unsure what to do here, he preforms well some days and some days he just doesn't want to canter at all.

The next day after he panicked the first time, he was horrible again bucking and rearing. He didn't drag me because I calmed him down rather quickly. If I take him off the lunge, and fence the arena into a round pen, he'll canter but he often bucks and suddenly begins to flee.I don't understand what to do. Am I scaring him? Is he afraid of me or something? My mom suggested retraining his canter aids but I have no idea how!

PROBLEM TWO: The Forward Trot.

He has a beautiful trot and jog, but only on the lunge line. He really does, but even if I'm riding him western, the first thing he does when I ask him to trot, is bolt into it, the transition is horribly fast and bumpy and it only gets worse from there. My cues are very quiet, and he's very light on the legs so all I really have to do is brush his fur, he responds by walking a little faster and then he jolts into the trot. He does NOT do this on the lunge line but only when I'm on his back, bare or in the saddle, he does, and once he's going, he's nearly impossible to slow down. If I tell him easy or do a little give and take on the reins, he just falls into a dead stop, and I just about topple over because he's moving so quickly. His trot is very excited, and I can't get him to calm down. Any help on this? He's got it mastered on the line, but not in the saddle. I had someone have a lead with us to help control his speed and he does wonderfully, we even unclipped it and just had a person walk, but as soon as she moves away or takes herself out of the picture and I take him on my own he speeds up and ignores me to slow down, he'll only stop. Please help me!
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post #2 of 4 Old 12-07-2007, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Midwest
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It sounds like you are doing everything right - at least everything I would recommend you do in this situation. But, you mentioned he hasn't been worked in 9-10 months, and you've only had him for 10 days. My opinion? Patience. Repetition and keep doing what you're doing. What breed is he? I had a TB like this, and it just took repetition and patience. He sounds like he's just going to take some time.

I would work on the trot transitions first - I usually don't focus on the canter until we've got a nice balanced trot. Do lots of transitions with walk/trot. Walk 5 steps, then trot 5 steps. Do this on circle several times both ways, and then around the arena for about 10 minutes. Keep doing it daily and things will get better. My 3 yr old also won't canter on the lunge line very long, so at the end of each ride we do two canter circles (one each way) and I end with that. As mentioned, I try to get a really balanced even tempo trot that he'll carry himself at before I worry too much about the canter.

good luck!!

Live, laugh, love.

My name is Lisa, and I am owned by Lucius and Sawyer.
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post #3 of 4 Old 12-08-2007, 01:56 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SE Kansas
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Good advise from Magik I would say the same thing.
Patience is a virtue....AND I WANT IT RIGHT NOW

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #4 of 4 Old 12-08-2007, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Thanks for the help. I'll just have take a few steps backward to be patient with him and do more ground work, to strengthen the foundation. It is winter here, the ground is very snowy and icy, so I can't do a lot of outside activities with the outdoor arena, and the indoor arena is too small to do much more than trotting as it is so this should work out fine. I'll have to focus on his transitions, working with him both on the lunge and moving with him on the lead, to perhaps work on his speed so he understands not to bolt when he gets the cue. He's a Morgan, he's 7 years old and he is properly broken, he just needs to be freshened up I suppose.

Do you think lateral lunging would help any so he doesn't get so bored with normal lunging? He tends to click onto auto-pilot with the trot, and I can see he's quite bored when I warm him up even though its only about ten minutes of lunging, but I can't think of any thing creative to introduce or another way to go about it. Any ideas?
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