Help with riding/handling a horse that is unpredictable

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Help with riding/handling a horse that is unpredictable

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    08-25-2012, 08:58 PM
Help with riding/handling a horse that is unpredictable

I have recently taken a close to 18 hand dutch warmblood "under my wing." He receives close to no attention from anyone besides myself and he has no work. The main reason for his lack of care is his somewhat crazy demeanor. He is the sweetest horse, but unless constantly engaged on the ground or undersaddle he is nearly uncontrollable so I've heard. There are stories floating around the barn such as when being riden he is perfect unless he gets bored. If you so much as stand still to talk to someone else for a minute he has been known to buck, spook, and/or bolt. He has also been standing in the aisle of the barn while his current handler stopped to talk to the farrier and he simply decided he was bored and forcfully trotted out of the barn (being so large there was no stopping him). Please help, any suggestions for handling him besides the obvious of keeping him engaged. I would think that once he gets more constant work that should improve him too, but another problem is that he recently had his shoes removed so he is very sore. Any suggestions for that too? Thanks everyone who can help.
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    08-25-2012, 09:08 PM
Hi and welcome,
My first question is why are you working on this horse and not its owner? I just ask because if you are concerned citizen or barn friend and not a trainer you could get hurt and liability is a concern. If he is not your horse don't work with him unless you are a professional trainer.
That said in my humble opinion being bored is not an excuse for bad behavior. Life is tough and we are not always engaged in our life mentally. Really, we are just asking him to walk around a circle for an hour. He can be bored for an hour. I would start on the ground. I would work on standing still. That might mean that you take him into the ring or round pen and ask him to stand. The instant he starts to move without you telling him to you get after him. Run him until he is happy to stand still. Fuss over him and then ask him to walk or trot. Then give him a whoa command. Make him understand that you control his feet and his pace. I am not a trainer and I am sure someone will have better advice.
    08-25-2012, 09:19 PM
Thank you, I was thinking something along the same lines. And because you are wondering I am deciding to lay attention to him because I don't believe that any horse should be neglected no matter how minor it is so I'm doing everything I can to fix that and although I am not a professional trainer, I have trained quite a few horses to a degree.
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    08-25-2012, 09:36 PM
Is the owner okay and on board with your training ideas? I know you feel the horse is neglected and underworked. I can respect those feelings but monkeying with a person's horse without their consent is a great way to get hurt and/or sued. If the horse is being fed, watered, vetted and getting basic hoof care there is not much that the owner is doing legally that is wrong. Which means if you get hurt working with a known dangerous and predictable horse without the owners consent you are out of luck.

In addition, horses are smart and will figure out that what flies with one person does not with the other. It can confuse a horse to have two sets of rules. So, I would talk to the owner so you can both be consistent in whatever training you decide to pursue.
    08-25-2012, 09:41 PM
Well, the owner doesn't do anything with the horse so it would only be my set of rules and I have full permission with the horse. I was actually asked to help, so there is no worry about that.
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    08-25-2012, 11:31 PM
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I want to know a lot more about the situation before I make a recommendation.

Is this horse boarded in a stall?

Is this horse turned out any?

Is he receiving a lot of grain? He shouldn't be.

If no one is working this horse, why is he not just turned out?

I think you are in way over your head, especially if he is not getting a lot of exercise.

While you may think he is being neglected, the truth is that no handling and being turned out would be much more preferable to poor handling that allows him to get away with things he should not be doing. No handling beats poor handling every time. A big, strong willed horse can get very spoiled very quickly.
Palomine and boots like this.
    08-25-2012, 11:45 PM
He has a stall but is not frequently in it, only bad weather, he is outside almost all the time, but only in a paddock about the size of two stalls filled with mud or in a round pen. Not mich grain, he is skinny. I don't literally think he is being neglected, he is just not recieving the amount of attention that he should be. He isn't insane or mean at all, just needs some training.
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    08-26-2012, 12:01 AM
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Why is he skinny? Does he get plenty of hay to eat? He could have ulcers which can contribute a lot to bad behavior.

His turnout is completely inadequate if he is not in a place where he can run and play, preferably with other horses.

Actually, 'attention' being paid to them is not a requirement for a happy healthy horse. Adequate feed, water and exercise along with proper health care, etc are all that a horse 'needs'. Attention is not on this list.
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    08-26-2012, 12:11 AM
Everything you describe sounds like one very stressed out and confused horse. As someone above said, you could get after him everytime he does something wrong, or you could find out what is causing him stress, and fix it (be it turnout, lack of confidence, etc.)Once the stress is eliminated, it is usually much easier to fix the other problems. Both will get you results, you just need to find out what method this horse needs. Is he acting up from dominance, confusion, or fear? You need to know which on it is if you are to get to the route of the problem and fix it.
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    08-26-2012, 12:47 AM
I have a horse that is about the most perfect equine citizen you can imagine - but left alone, he forgets, gets bored, does what he wants.

Fair enough really. If I go back to visit family in my home country, I cannot tell him I doing this - and when I get back, he is an ass, totally different horse.

I would put aside the things you have heard about the horse. I do this with people too, I hear them, but I make my own mind up. I'd like for you to do the same with the horse.

Just get out there, spend time with him, work him. Trotting out of cross ties, is just a bored horse with no manners - he is not rearing, kicking out etc.

I think he probably just needs some time.

behavior problems, sore feet, training advice

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