Getting horse to tack up nicely - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-05-2013, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Getting horse to tack up nicely

I'm working with a horse that has not been worked with a lot in the past few years. Whoever trained him did a good job though. I have done ground work with him mostly trying to get him into shape and getting him to listen to me better.

Recently I started riding him. I guess it's understandable that he doesn't like being saddled because he was only ridden a couple times a year for the past few years. I try to take it slowly and make sure to give him praise after I put the blanket on, the saddle, and finally the bridle. He tries to turn and nip at me sometimes (it's more of a "maybe if I act bad she will stop" kind of nip not a "I want to hurt you"). He really doesn't like it when I try to put the bit in his mouth.

Is there a way to get him to behave better when I get him ready?
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-05-2013, 07:12 PM
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This horse does not respect you at all. What have you done with him on the ground? Start by not tying the horse up when you're getting him ready. He needs to be able to move, when he moves follow him with the saddle. Horses are naturally claustrophobic so he needs to fell like he can move away if he feels uncomfortable. For groundwork you should start with the basics. Can you move his hindquarters and forequarters?
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Last edited by rideverystride; 08-05-2013 at 07:19 PM.
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-05-2013, 07:21 PM
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It sounds like you need to be more assertive with your horse. If your horse is nipping at you it see's you as a lesser or maybe its equal, Nipping is not something that goes up the chain of command, it goes down or across but almost never up. If you were this horses leader you would most likely not have this problem. When your horse acts like this make them move get in her business hard and fast. Your horse will learn your the boss and the nipping will go away.
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-05-2013, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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I have done mostly lunging exercises like changing direction and speed. I have taught him to respect my space when leading him around (he liked to crowd you before I started working with him). I've had him backup and do a little yielding hindquarters and forequarters.

Once I get him all tacked up he is back to his normal relaxed self. It's mostly when I cinch up the saddle and try to put the bit in his mouth he acts up if that helps.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-05-2013, 07:53 PM
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He could have pain, ulcers can make a horse cinchy. Or maybe you're cinching it too tight too quick. If it's not a pain issue, it's a lack of respect.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-05-2013, 08:58 PM
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Yup, lack of respect. He is also probably expecting what will come next-riding. And that's not fun (in his mind). After you've got his respect and he stops nipping, occasionally just put the saddle on and do some groundwork/lunge and then take it off and put him away. Hopefully he'll lose the association that saddles and bridles ALWAYS mean riding.
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-06-2013, 03:14 PM
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You have a total lack of respect -- not ulcers or pain -- well, maybe pain in the a$$.

A horse should stand still whether the lead is tied, you have the lead in hand or the lead is dropped to the ground.

He needs no praise for standing for the blanket to be thrown on his back. Praise just interrupts the train of thought and respect. If he flinches or moves, throw it on 2 or 3 more times or until he drops his head and just stands there like he is bored. Same is true with the saddle.

Now, when you cinch him up, hold the lead in hand (not tied) and if his ears go back, give him one hard jerk and say "Ah!". Then start to cinch him up again. Never, never, NEVER let him bite or nip at you when you cinch him up. Either jerk the lead-rope hard or let him run his nose into a sharp nail you are holding in your hand, but bad manners that include aggression MUST HURT. When they do, they instantly go away.

The main reason most horses get cinchy or ill when they are being cinched up is because people cinch them too tightly when they first saddle a horse -- maybe recently or maybe years ago. NEVER cinch a horse up tight when you first throw on a saddle. In this horse's case, I would barely cinch it up just tight enough that it will not slip to the side should he shake. I would use a breast collar so that I could leave it even looser than I normally would until I could see if he was less apt to react to being cinched up loosley. Some horse are a lot more comfortable if they are walked a few steps and then tightened up a little more. Some horses need to be cinched up in about 3 or 4 increments before they are tightened up enough to step on them. It takes extra time and extra care if they are already cinchy.

We start all horses out -- from 2 to 22, by loosely cinching them up when we saddle them. We let them stand that way while we bridle them and then tighten them up some more. Then, we move them a few steps and tighten them all of the way up to mount. I have ridden so many colts in my lifetime, I still cannot make myself step on even an old horse without leading it off a few steps (un-tracking it) before I step on.

I have inherited many, many cinchy horses over the years. Some are really broke, but still cinchy when saddled. Some just lay back an ear, attempt to bite or just bob their heads around and threaten to bite while others set back or lay down. Some run backwards and throw themselves up-side-down or 'flip' when saddled. Some go into a bucking fit. Some just 'blow up' as a way to avoid being 'cut in two'. Almost all of them are man-made and almost all of them are from being cinched too tightly when they are first cinched up. Some are still doing it -- sometimes 15 years after they were initially broke. Some start doing it when they are 15.

An acquaintance of our does not own a horse that is not cinchy including one the flips. I finally told him one day that the only common denominator for all of his saddleing problems was him. I told him that if he was not so impatient and took an extra 2 or 3 minutes getting a horse saddled, he would not have all of them setting back or flipping. Of course he was pi$$ed. I was just tired of helping his wife get a saddle on one safely when she wanted to ride with us.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-06-2013, 08:51 PM
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Slow down your cinching, as you tighten the cinch go really slow as soon as you start to see him start to bin is ears stop let him stand for a minute then tighten a little more. If he turns his head toward you push his head away very quickly, some don't like to hit their horse me I would smack him on the mouth with the back of my hand or at least the neck. his bad behavior is two things you are pushing the cinch a little to fast and your horse doesn't respect you. Be nicer about cinching and a little more aggressive about him respecting you.
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-06-2013, 09:01 PM
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You're babying him. Insist he stand quietly to be tacked. Hold the lead in your hand and if he steps away at any time, turn a tight circle until he stands still. My two year olds have NEVER had a rider and that stand still to be tacked.
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