Green horse stalls out under saddle. Suggestions? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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Question Green horse stalls out under saddle. Suggestions?

So I've had my 2.5 yr old gelding back from the trainer for about 2 weeks and he's been doing really well. I've done 2 solo trail rides with him and 3-4 rides with friends. I only go out for about 1-2 hours because he's so young. He's been going out about every other day.

Anyway, on one ride with my friend we were leading, he seemed to get tired and refused to lead so we put the other horse in front and he followed no problem. But on both my solo rides he has done the same thing. He'll ride great for a while, then stop and refuse to move.

The trainer told me he has sides of lead and I need really good spurs. I have decent spurs with mild-ish rowels and I tell you, I have never pressed and prodded a horse so much. He will just stand there and let you press and roll the spurs on his side really hard and it doesn't seem to make much of an impression on him. The minute he shifts his weight to step forward I release the pressure. He will usually take a few steps and stall out again.

I don't know if I need stronger spurs, a crop or what. I really don't want to get sharper spurs. But I don't want to teach him to ignore my legs either.

I'm glad he has a lazy streak, but I need him to respond better when I say move forward. We just trail ride, western, and we walk 99% of the time. I don't want to get into faster gaits until I build a comfort level with him at the walk, although I've trotting him a few times.

Anyway, suggestions on what to do when a green horse stops and refuses to move forward? At first I thought he was just getting tired, but today he was stalling on the way OUT on the ride. It might have been because he wanted to stay near a pasture of horses. I just don't want this to become a bad habit because he's a great colt and we should have a great future of trail riding together.
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post #2 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 12:34 AM
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I am just starting my 3yr. gelding under saddle, so far he's only been ridden in the round pen and probably won't be out till spring now with the snow here.
Anyways, I follow Clinton Anderson......I do the squeeze (of your legs), cluck if they don't move and then spank if they still don't move. With mine he's really sensitive and I want to take my time with him and not rush him. It took a week of working him in the round pen for short times and finally one day the light bulb went off for him and he walked off!! For the week before that I would squeez, cluck and then poke his butt with my finger and he would only take a few all I do is squeeze and he walks off. Being young they do tire easily but if he is doing it at the beginning of the ride he is learning that he will get out of work if he stops. Do you have a macante rein, that you can spank your leg or his butt with, sometimes even just slapping the side of your own leg will wake them up too. I don't know how reactive your horse is but I know if I whacked him on the butt with a crop or rope he would surely jump ahead, that is why I am able to just poke him with my finer and he moves off that.

My horses are the joy in my life.....
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post #3 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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My guy is not very reactive.....unless a dog runs up behind him. But I am thinking of trying a crop. Not a crop proper, but the kind barrel racers use that is two pieces of leather that slap together and make a popping sound.

That is a good point, to squeeze, cluck, and spank in a progression until I get a response. What is it that Clinton Anderson says......suggest, ask, tell?

He's a good boy, I just want to keep him responsive. He's a smart little bugger!
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post #4 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 08:37 AM
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Forward impulsion is the MOST important thing you need to develop in a green horse. Without good forward impulsion EVERY SINGLE time you ask for it, you have nothing to work with. Not only that, backing up and rearing are soon to follow if you accept 'stalling out'.

We ride every horse with long split reins made of heavy harness leather. We make sure a horse is ready and able to do anything that is asked of it, and then we accept nothing less. This 'sets the tone' for all that you ask a horse to do. Nothing should be 'optional' and nothing should be up for 'negotiation' with a horse. It should always be you ask -- horse does!

When we are riding a horse that decides to 'stall out' (which is VERY rare):

We ASK -- by smooching and bumping its ribs with our bare heels.

We TELL -- by bumping the ribs harder and tapping the rump with the ends of the heavy reins.

We DEMAND -- by using a strong 'over and under' spanking of the horse's butt -- as hard as is required to get willing forward movement.

This will always produce forward movement and the horse will then go back to listening to just a light nudge of the bare heels and a smooch.

We do not use spurs at all on young horses. The heavy harness leather reins correct temporary lapses in the horse's obedience routine. It is way to easy to just start bumping a horse's ribs with spurs for every request and ending up with a horse that is resentful, requires spurs to do anything, wrings its tail and becomes totally insensitive. If a horse can feel a fly land on its ribs and reacts to it, it can and should respond to a light squeezing of my upper calf. It is the brain that goes dead and not the ribs. Riding with spurs makes them go dead worse and faster than spanking the heck out of one when it ignores you and 'teaching' it to listen to our leg.

Spurs just become instruments of 'nagging' and 'pecking' when most people use them.

Remember -- The worst behavior you accept is the very best behavior you have any right to expect!
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post #5 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 08:46 AM
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The reason he is stalling out is because he's decided he's too far from home. When you trail ride, how hard are you riding? He may be running out of steam. Is his feed matching what you are asking him to do. If you are basically walking with a little trotting then he should be fine. Change up his routine on the way back. Make him work. Circle trees, rocks, etc. to get him listening to you. You will likely feel some resistance but keep it up until he relaxes, then allow him toward home again. He'll learn that the way home means work and horses like to conserve energy.
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post #6 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 09:05 AM
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personally think a ride for 1-2 hours is huge for a 2.5 year old!

hes a baby and hes trying you out - I do agree with the others - he must go forward...

Id also be shortening the rides a lot.... and finishing before he stalls - but if he stalls make him go forward...

hes probably got baby brain and is simply getting tired as well....
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post #7 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 10:20 AM
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I agree 1-2 hours is a long time for that age/level
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post #8 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! You have given me some very good advice that I will take to heart.

I think I need to be more assertive with him. Because he's just back from the trainer and he's my first green horse, I don't have a comfort level with him yet and I don't think I am being a strong enough leader/assertive rider.

I really am happy if he just goes out and walks. I think the trainer spent a goodly amount of time trotting him, but really I just want to go out and do relaxing trail rides. Trotting can come next year after we get to know each other better and he is older. I've trotted him a few times, but I really just want to walk him.

He starts out a ride with a little attitude, shaking his head and trying to trot without me asking, but I just keep him at a walk and keep on riding and eventually (maybe after an hour) he just relaxes and the excess energy fades away. (I keep him on a loose rein unless I need to correct something.) It's amazing how a youngster can go from high energy to tired so quickly. That's a new thing for me!

Cherie, your post is extremely helpful! I respect your advice so much. I don't like the idea of going to stronger spurs, and honestly, up until about a year ago I didn't even use spurs on my experienced trail horses, so that's not something I like the idea of, but rather something I thought I had to have because that is the way he was trained.

I am definitely going to go with some type of over/under type whip because that makes perfect sense and I am more comfortable with that than rolling the spurs on him with all my might. That just didn't sound right to me, but I didn't know how else to approach it. So thank you for giving me an answer that makes sense.

I don't want him to be a dull, resentful horse. I think I need to be way more assertive and not let him stall out at all. That's probably mainly my fault for not being assertive enough. And I hate nagging on him with spurs. So we have to fix that.

I'll let you guys know how that goes.

Hey, should I be riding him almost every day, every other day, ever few days or ??? Right now I've been riding him about every-other day. How long do you think our trail rides should be? Even if we don't make it out to the forest, we can still do about an hour just around the neighborhood. And that exposes him to cars, horses in fields, dogs, etc.
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post #9 of 25 Old 11-03-2012, 10:34 PM
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I think an hour and less is every other day is MORE than enough for a guy his age!
And if he refuses to "go".... well...

^^ That's my mom's 3 year old I was having... issues... with. I couldn't get her in a lope without kicking the absolute crap out of her. Problem solved.
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post #10 of 25 Old 11-04-2012, 06:26 AM
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Location: New Zealand
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if it helps theres a saying

3 year old - ride 3 times a week
4 year old - ride 4 times a week

etc :)

I follow that with mine at - 2.5 they will be going through growing pains as well - so will quite often get grumpy because of this especially if going through a growth spurt

Id be riding 2 - 3 times max for 30 mins max initially

I like the fact you are trail riding alot - nice for the young uns - Id be trying to expose as you are to as much as possible - you dont want them to pick up bad habits

something else that can help when they are a bit insecure is to either take another assertive horse or take someone on foot that can walk up to anythign scary etc....

green baby horses are so much fun :)

any pics?
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