I just started working with a three year old. She is halter broke, but nothing besides that--never had a bit in her mouth or a saddle on her back or anything.
The owner has had her since March and before that the horse didn’t have much human interaction. The owner definitely loves on this mare.
I put her in a round pen-- nothing. She has no interest in going forward. She also has no fear of the whip. I cracked it next to her- nothing. Lightly hit her butt- nothing besides a few steps at the trot. She didn’t seem upset or anything-- just very unresponsive. I don’t want to work the whip harder because I want to encourage positive forward motion.
Like I said, she’s very calm to objects, people etc. I’m thinking about saddling her up next time just to give her some type of ‘annoyance’ that will encourage her to just run around and buck a bit.
Any advice on this? I’ve never encountered a 3-year old like this that has essentially zero training, but also seems bombproof and doesn’t want to run around AT ALL.
It is one thing to 'love on' your horse. Its another thing to love on the horse so much that they have no respect. Does the horse move away from you if you step into her space? (I don't mean just meandering into her space, I mean: shoulders back, breasts/chest out, head up, big, strong step into her space) If not, then most likely unless the horse is somewhat high-strung (so to speak) anyway, the horse isn't going to move away from ANYTHING you do reliably. If the horse DOES move away from pressure on a leadrope easily, the fix should be pretty simple. With the horse in a simple halter and lead rope, stand just behind the point of the shoulder and tap the hip with a dressage whip (24-36 inches) with the leadrope in the hand that is toward the direction you want the horse to go, and the dressage whip in the opposite hand. Keep on tapping (not hard enough to sting if you were doing it to your own leg) until the horse moves forward. As soon as the horse moves forward around you, quit tapping, but keep the dressage whip level with the ground, and at an angle that adjoins the hip. When the horse slows, resume tapping, I usually also like a voice command: WALK ON (or something similar). When you want the horse to stop, first point the whip at the ground, then say 'whoah' (or halt, or whatever your preferred word is) then give a quick, sharp tap on the lead. If there is a break or hesitation, give a moment for the horse to respond, then repeat until the horse stops. Repeat on the other side. Some horses pick it up really quickly, other horses will make you tap til you think your arm is going to fall off! Always remember to stay just behind the point of the shoulder with your body and keep the whip pointed at the hip (should make a fairly even triangle with your body being the apex of the triangle, and the horse being the base of the triangle).