Frustration! This is long, I apologize.

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Frustration! This is long, I apologize.

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    11-10-2007, 12:15 AM
Frustration! This is long, I apologize.

Well as some of you know, I live out in the middle of absolutely no where and I just got out of the Marines so I have NO MONEY! I figured the best place to turn to for help is here.

I have a 14 yr old Arabian that my friend just gave me because she is a beginner rider and does not know how to handle him. She bought the horse from a girl who hadn't ridden him in a year but she rode him for us and although a little rusty he was just fine. She had him for a few months and the horse started bucking her off and running to his stall. She decided she didn't want him anymore and gave him to me, so now I'm stuck with a horse with a terrible attitude towards being worked. I had a trainer come out and she rode him and he behaved for her and she said with minimal effort he could easily be turned around. Unfortunately the trainer wants to gouge the crap out of me because I live so far away, and I just can't afford it, so if anyone has any ideas how to fix these problems, please start rattling them off! I will give you all the information I have.

Blaze was a former dressage horse and lesson horse that knows all of his basic commands and I have seen him side pass, pirouette, change leads, and all that jazz w/ the trainer. He rides very heavy in the bit and naturally collects.

Now with me he's a total jerk. He pays almost no attention to his bit at any pace more than a walk. When we are walking Blaze is well behaved no matter what the circumstance. As soon as I ask him to trot he becomes light in the butt and starts trying to get out from under me. Of course I have no one to evaluate my seat, but I have done just about everything to make sure it isn't me.. I've moved my hands around, I thought maybe I was reigning him in too much.. but I give him his head and he tries to take off. When I ask him to canter he will usually do better than at a trot but he often tries to buck me off, and every time he even thinks about it I start circling him and he will knock it off for awhile. I know I need to bit him up some, everything his previous owners told this girl is total crap. They sold her a saddle that fits a warmblood, and they told her to use this bit and he will run right through it.

I thought maybe the saddle I was using didn't fit right, but it seems to be fitting just fine, it sits in the right place I just need to get a larger pad as it barely fits on this one. I have lunged him with this saddle on and it doesn't bother him at all. He has never had any saddle sores after I have ridden him. I figured I should just start putting walking miles on him and so I've been riding him at a walk for about 1/2 hour per day. He gets bored after awhile and starts stamping his feet in frustration while I'm riding him! When I ride him every day he is better, but when I put him up for a week and ride him he goes right back to all these habits. He has good ground manners with me, but he didn't use to. When I pen him and tack him up he is a good boy and very respectful of me. I swear you would never think this horse could be bad on the ground, he is just the sweetest thing and it takes all of me not to spoil the crap out of him like his last owner did.

I don't have the best riding seat in the world, it has been a long time since I have ridden all the time (7 yrs to be exact) and he knows that he can move me when he bucks. He has yet to throw me despite his best efforts, and when he is really bad I stick him in the round pen and work the crap out of him. I don't know whether to get some spurs and just beat the you know what out of him every time he bucks or to carry a crop and do the same... I just have a feeling that he is too desensitized to what I'm doing for it to work. I just want him to start liking to be ridden again and stop his crap! In general his personality is sweet and mischievous, he has gotten into a habit of trying to bite but I NEVER let him get away with it, and he is very nervous most of the time... typical of an Arabian that has had rough handling in the past. Well... this was long... but I hope someone can give me some ideas of exercises to do. Thanks a lot!
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    11-10-2007, 01:02 AM
Well, let's see...

The trainer that came out to see him. Could you board Blaze with her for a month while he's in training with her? Maybe you could drive out there once a week for a lesson on your horse too. Although, this might be more expensive than what she charges to drive out to you!

Are there any other riders in your area that would like to take on a challenge (for probably a cheaper training fee)? I've found that a lot of high school-aged kids are quite good riders and would love a "first job" that involves horses.

As you mentioned, he's good at the walk but gets bored. Are you doing anything exciting at the walk? Serpentines, circles, patterns, over poles, lateral movements, over tarps or grain bags, etc? Something to keep his mind going other than the boring walk!

I would suggest getting back to the basics for Blaze. He hasn't been formally worked in a while, so he may just think it's play time. Start with ground work and build his trust that you're his leader. When you do ride him, always end on a good note. If he bucks, don't just put him back in his stall/turnout. Go back to something he's good at (at the walk most likely). Complete some task successfully then tell him "good boy" and be finished for the day.

Please do NOT do this:
"I don't know whether to get some spurs and just beat the you know what out of him every time he bucks or to carry a crop and do the same..."

This will not make a horse who wants to work for you! Spurring and using a crop will probably make him buck more.
    11-10-2007, 01:03 AM
The first thing I will tell you is DO NOT get spurs, or a crop, or whack the living you know what out of him. You know what you could set off if you spur a horse that is already bucking? Now THAT would be a nightmare.

It sounds to me, that when it comes to riding, he is extremely unconfident. Sometimes horses that seem "obediant" or "quiet" are just a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. It's like the calm before the storm. Then before you know it they are rearing, bucking, bolting and spooking at every little thing. The horse has just gone into survival mode because he doesn't feel safe.

It's excellent that he has good ground manners. The biting issue though, you need to figure out whether it's out of snottyness or out of fear/unconfidence. Either way, smacking him will not work. The snotty horse will turn it into a game (he'll never stop biting) and the fearful/unconfident horse will just learn to not trust you and become even more defensive. Either way you lose in that situation.

I think you need to go back to the basics and slow things down. Do LOTS of riding on a loose rein, you would be amazed at how that will teach horses mental and emotional control. Practice the one rein stop for when he gets impulsive. Be very slow and polite with your aids and have a strong focus, but don't push him past thresholds. Also, while riding on the loose rein, practice getting him more responsive to your seat and legs. If you want him to turn left, look left with your eyes, then turn your belly button, then gently ask with your leg, then and ONLY then use your rein, then leave him alone.

It's kind of hard to say much more without actually seeing the problem.
    11-10-2007, 01:09 AM
Wow! Spirithorse and I posted at basically the same time with two identical thoughts:

No spurs/crops

And, it's time to get back to the basics!
    11-10-2007, 01:10 AM
Have you done any other ground work other then working him in a round pen? Have you tried some thing like parelli?, you can get the vid's from a local library, that might help , it work with working with you and your horse togeather
    11-10-2007, 02:32 AM
Well when I say no money... I mean, I will be making ends meet next month with credit cards, I CANNOT afford any extra bills right now while I transition into a new job. It really sucks, I was not expecting her to give him to me. I want to sell him, but I want to get the amount of money put into him out, he is absolutely gorgeous and he deserves a good home.

Blaze is an interesting mix of snottyness and unconfidence. He bites because he thinks he can and he likes to assert dominance, but when I raise a hand he is over on the other end of the stall and then comes back about a minute later. To him I think everything is a game.

I really don't let him get away with anything, I enforce good behavior with good boy and pats.. and it's like as soon as I do it he tries to buck again. It's like everything I do is too boring for him. I will try the loose reign thing with him, but every time I give him his head he will just do whatever he wants. When I work him in the round pen he respects me but on his back there is no respect. He just has the horrible attitude of a lesson horse that only will do what he is forced to do and nothing else.

I don't think he would walk over a tarp but he would probably walk over poles, I will do that next time and force him over objects. In the round pen Blaze is very weak minded and wants to come in and be forgiven.. I just need more ideas for building a bond and enforcing good behavior. What should I do when he bucks?
    11-10-2007, 03:04 AM
Originally Posted by laceyf53
I don't think he would walk over a tarp but he would probably walk over poles, I will do that next time and force him over objects. In the round pen Blaze is very weak minded and wants to come in and be forgiven.. I just need more ideas for building a bond and enforcing good behavior.
I'm not saying FORCE him over poles or anything at the walk...I was more saying, give him a variety of things to do at the walk where he can be a "good boy" and not be bored.

As suggested above, check out the Parelli 7 Games for bond building.
    11-10-2007, 08:52 AM
I say follow the above advise to get him as sellable as possible and then get out from under the debt he is going to help you accumulate. Untill then ride, ride, ride. He needs as much time as possible under saddle everyday if you can. He has obviously gotten someone off his back by bucking either air born or in fear. He needs a dominant attitude at all times so don't give him an inch.
When you are settled into a new job and are out fo debt, buy a forever horse that you can enjoy and enjoys you.
    11-10-2007, 10:33 AM
I, too, would suggest the Parelli 7 Games. They build trust, respect, and rapport.

The biting is definitely a game to him. Everytime you try to smack him he goes "I'm one step closer to being alpha!" because alphas are always mentally and emotionally "collected" and they don't show anger, fear, aggression or frustration. If he can get you to become emotional (like raising your voice) then he is becoming closer to being alpha.

The reason he does whatever he wants or doesn't listen to you with a loose rein could be because he has been micromanaged with contact all the time. One thing I will suggest you do is to take a "passenger lesson" on him. What you do is you allow him to have a completely loose rein and you do NOTHING. :) You are simply a passenger, but you can set boundaries like "You can go where ever you want to as long as you stay in the walk." The object of this is to learn to let go and not always boss the horse around and to just learn how to "flow with the go." If he turns, you follow. If he stops, you stop, rub him, allow him to wait a minute, then ask him to go again. This is a good time to really focus on your body and how the horse truly feels when he turns, stops, does upward and downward transitions, etc. If he goes faster then what you want, bend him to a stop or bend him until he slows down using one rein. Normally I would say to do this for 7 riding sessions in a row, but because he gets easily bored use your judgement. Maybe it will only take 2 or 3 sessions before you see a difference in his attitude.

Once you are confident at the walk, try the trot, then maybe the canter. One thing that is interesting about doing this "passenger lesson" is that horses that tend to be impulsive, bracy, argumentative, etc. really calm down when the rider does this. They get softer, calmer, and their attitude becomes more positive. This is because the rider is out of the horse's way, not dictating his every move (which the rider shouldn't do in the first place lol). The horse is free to express himself and the harmony that takes place becomes very comforting.
    11-10-2007, 03:38 PM
Thanks everyone for the ideas!I am going to pen him today and practice leading, then I'm going walk him over some objects and give him some things to do, and then I will try the passenger lesson. With the previous owner, he bucked her off continuously and ran back to his stall, and she would just leave him there. So obviously he is trying to be alpha with me and toss me off so he can do what he wants, and I've never had a horse do that so it's kinda new to me. What should I do when he tries to bite since he is playing with me? My horse used to bite and I did the whole "make him feel like he is going to die" and it worked well for him since he is much younger than this horse. I would love to do the parellie 7 games, I have wanted to for awhile but I have to buy the videos, the local library does not carry them.

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