Excited, difficult horse? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By loosie
  • 1 Post By Darrin
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-27-2012, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Usa
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Excited, difficult horse?

My horse is very soft/responsive in the arena and when we ride with another horse, but when I ride him by myself somewhere new, he seems really skittish and hard-mouthed. It'll take 100x more force to stop him than it usually does (usually all I have to do is sit down in the saddle and give a tiny bump with the reins to stop him from a canter in the arena and when we work out in the pasture at home). And he also basically ignores my cues neck reining, which he usually does very well at responding to. In addition, I literally have to hold him back when we're walking down the road or new pasture, corn field, etc. If I just relax and let go of the reins, he breaks into a trot and gets faster and faster until he's cantering (I've tried this; relaxed and didn't hold him back, and also didn't cue him on, and he kept getting faster and faster.). I've tried 1-rein stopping him when that happens, but we just end up doing 10 circles before he finally stops (which also doesn't happen in the arena or in familiar places, he usually does barely 1 before he stops).
And lastly, he always wants to run back the way we came from when I'm riding him someplace new.
What can I do? Help please!

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's the voice at the end of the day that says "I'll try again tomorrow"...
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-27-2012, 05:57 PM
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He sounds sour....if hes a dink while your out riding, when you get home run the pants of him in the arena....he will soon prefer going out on a nice leisurely pleasure ride than to being at home in the arena pulling his weight

Infact, when you leave the barn, make sure the arena gate is open so that when you get home you can get straight to work:)
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-27-2012, 08:33 PM
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It sounds to me like he's frightened & not listening/resisting because he's too preoccupied with the dangers of being out on his own. I'd be working on your relationship with him, to develop your leadership so he can start to trust that you'll look out for him & he doesn't need to worry.

Do you take him out & about alone on line? I'd start with little, easy walks, that push his comfort zone a bit, but not far enough to actually cause fear & reactivity. Also make sure that Good Stuff happens while you're out too, like apples along the trail or such.
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-27-2012, 10:09 PM
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I agree with loosie to a point. Your horse is outside his comfort range and not listening to you. Where I differ is you very well could be the problem and not him. I expect your horse to be nervous when doing something new, that's common. Often the rider makes the situation worse to completely dangerous. Why? Because how you react during the ride. If you go out expecting your horse to be uptight, nervous, spooky and want to run home then that is exactly what your horse will do because he picked those fears up from you.

Horse are **** good at picking up on feeling from their rider, matter of fact I think they are masters of it. You, as a rider, have to force yourself to radiate relaxation even when you just "know" your horse is going to explode in the next 5 seconds. I would actually recommend you take lessons on a good trail horse until such a time as you can relax.

BTW, that's one of the main differences between a trainer and beginners, even some advanced riders. Confidence in themselves. If you are confident in yourself then your horse will be confident in you too.
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-27-2012, 10:26 PM
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I think all three folks might have points. I think you might have some sour issues going on and you have some fear issues in both you and your horse. While lessons are great I think in the end you are going to work with you and your horse. That said you don't want to set yourself up for failure which will obliterate your confidence as well as your horses. I would start by taking trail rides only after you have worked him in the ring or where your horse is comfortable. Get him a little tired out (or a lot). Then on a day when you are feeling good. I mean you walk out into the barn thinking "hot darn I am awesome and we are going trail riding TODAY!". Then go for a trail at the end of the ride. I don't think you should go for a long one. If he usually gets nervous after 30 feet then go 25 feet. Turn around and walk slowly back. If he starts rushing you turn around and go back to where he was last behaving. The next time go 30 feet and then 35. When he is able to go 50 or 100 feet consistently then do that same thing with him fresh. Work your way up to it. The more times you both go on these mini trails the more confident you will be. The more confident you are the more confident your horse will be. Thats why having your horse be tired is okay, because you will have more confidence in knowing that he is to tired to try any shenanigans.

I did this with my "nervous trail horse" and it helped. Not as much as what Darrin said, be confident. Be the rider you wish you were. My nervous boy would spook at silly things and I expected him to spook at silly things. I had to start to laugh at and tease my horse. I literally rode around going "ha you idiot your afraid of a tractor! Please its been there for four months what makes it so scary today? Stop being stupid Harry and go touch it. See we did not die, come on lets go." I had to say it out loud, I looked crazy he heard my voice and we both improved.

Thats just my two cents and I am sure others will be along with more advice.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-28-2012, 12:32 AM
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^^Agree with both above. Darrin, I don't differ in my opinion based on what you wrote, I just didn't include that possibility It's impossible to really know what's going on with so little info OP, and a good instructor/trainer to help you might be invaluable.
loosie is offline  

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