Horse problems after a year in training. - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 58 Old 03-25-2013, 08:36 AM
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Mollymay -- Your horse is spoiled! I am afraid you have no idea of how or why a horse behaves like they do. You need to study 'Horse Psychology 101'.

He does not behave when the trainer is around because your trainer feeds him. Ain't ever happened.

He is not bored!

He doesn't try to 'upset' you!

He is simply spoiled and disrespectful under saddle. He has found that he can only do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. You have never made him suffer serious consequences for NOT doing what you ask him to do. This is totally a lack of respect.

The very first time he 'stalled out' and refused to go forward, you should have spanked his butt good and hard and it would have all been over with before it ever got going. Instead, you looked for reasons why and tried to humor him and as a result, he figured put that he did not have to take you seriously.

Horses are 'creatures of habit'. This means that they do things just because they have done them before. They may have had a 'reason' they did something the first time, but they will continue doing the behavior after that just because they did it before. The one thing that is consistent with them all if that once they have done something disobedient, they will continue to do it until someone gives them a good reason not to do it.

People need to understand that horses become spoiled because they can. It is not a 'personal' thing to them. They do not behave correctly because they 'like' a rider or handler and they do not misbehave because they want to upset someone or do not like them. When you 'open' a door to them and 'close' all others, they go through the open door. You did not close the door behind him when it should have been closed and he has found that he can 'back out of doing what you want'. This is not uncommon and is always progressive. It leads to rearing, spinning around and doing 180s, running backwards and falling up-side-down when a hind foot gets caught on something and eventually can lead to rearing and flipping and refusing to go forward at all -- even with other horses around.

A confident rider will be able to get on him and he will either not even stall out or a quick spanking or spur will tell him that he better get his butt in gear and go forward. This is ultimately going to have to be something that you have to handle.

When I used to get horses in like this for re-training, I got them straightened out, rode them out in the pastures and on the trails by themselves and then, had the owners come and ride them out under my direction. I told them that their horse would only 'stay straight' as long as they were able to put enough pressure on it to make it mind. Otherwise, they needed to sell it and start over.

The best trainer in the world can teach a horse to do anything that horse and that trainer is capable of doing; BUT I have not met the trainer that can take anything out of a horse's head. This is why so many spoiled horses go back to the bad behavior when they get home. A trainer has to spend more time training the owner / rider than the horse. The horses 'fix' a lot more quickly.

One thing I would definitely do is get this horse out of the arena and get it over being 'barn sour', 'arena sour' and 'herd bound'.
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post #12 of 58 Old 03-25-2013, 09:12 AM
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A horse that buddies up too close to other horses in the field and has issues in an arena alone but does great with others is probably a very insecure horse. With his amount of experiences in life, it may seem very frightening to work in an arena alone. This can be especially true if many people ride in the arena and things get moved around or new items show up in the corners so it looks different to him all the time.

When an insecure horse is with buddies, he will look to them and see that they are not upset. This will make him feel confident. When he is on his own, he might be frightened about moving toward a corner where a scary object is or the lightning comes under the door wrong. It's like how you might be out at night with a group of friends and not notice anything, but if you go outside after dark alone you will notice every sound and shadow.

What I do with horses like this is try to build their confidence. Before riding I will walk the horse around the arena and show them things to help them relax. This only is necessary when they are green and not used to working alone. Then, when I ride I try to change things very quickly and give them a lot to think about. Instead of going around the perimeter, I do circles small and large, serpentines, and frequent gait changes. If the horse does not want to go toward one side of the arena, I work hard on something and gradually work the horse toward the area they are afraid of. Soon the horse grows confident about working alone.

It takes some time for a horse to figure out that when he is with you he is safe, and then he will begin to look to you for calming reassurance instead of horse buddies. Green horses feel that when someone is riding them, they are all alone.
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post #13 of 58 Old 03-25-2013, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Oregon
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Cheri: I do agree that he is potentially arena sour. In the summer we have so many outdoor arenas and a few trails to ride. It's a bummer here because it's still a mud pit everywhere, but I'm going to try walking him in the least muddy of the arenas hopefully this week. I'm trying to show him I'm the boss and use the spurs I wear, but he stomps and tosses his head and like I said does little rear/hop things. I'm not giving up though. He did this last summer and I overcame this issue and I will again. Gottatrot: I do know he acts up when I put out cones at the very beginning like as soon as I get on him. If I don't put out cones at all he does better, so I don't know if it's because it's something small on the ground or if he just sees prime opportunity to act up because I'm asking him to work hard.
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post #14 of 58 Old 03-25-2013, 10:50 AM
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he's intimidating you by throwing temper tantrums, like a spoiled kid.

but he stomps and tosses his head and like I said does little rear/hop things.
honestly, take the spurs off, put him in a snaffle, carry a crop and get his butt working. when he "does little rear/hop things", smack him good with the crop. be prepared for a jump forward.

I really beleive buddy sour horses are looking for leadership and you need to set firm rules and boundaries(and enforce them!) for your horse to veiw you as leader. I have owned and worked with dozens of horses, and after the first two weeks I have never seen any buddy sour/herd bound behavior.
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post #15 of 58 Old 03-25-2013, 11:04 AM
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Ok, so I had the same situation, my horse was super responsive in the arena when with other horses. Once we were alone she started to pin her ears, not wanting to go forward, it happened once and thats it! You have to act fast. What I did is, I attached a long lead rope to the horse, got on, started riding and as soon as there was any sign of the horse refusing or pinning the ears I jumped off and started lunging her and let her work, show her that any of that behaviour is NOT ok, again it is about timing, you have to act really fast and you need to have lots of time on your hands to deal with that issue. Remember to stop at a good note and dont push to hard but stay firm and let the horse work for bad behaviour! Thats just what worked for me in that situation. Good luck!
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post #16 of 58 Old 03-25-2013, 11:09 AM
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(IF the vet finds no pain, and likely they will not...) What I often see is a horse which is ridden too low/too closed/onto the forehand, and finally they learn not to go. Rider pinches with leg, releases contact and the horse learns well and truly to say no. This (lack of going forward to the leg) is something that was rarely seen until the time of precipitous (longitudinal) flexion.

So, first question: Does the horse 'go' when on a lunge? Is it only when mounted? HOW are you asking (very specifically).

How to cure it? Go back to lunge, touch where legs would be (behind girth). When mounted, keep the horse higher (much higher) then ask the horse to go (NO pushing/pinching), and perhaps turn the horse. Why they learn to stop is that there is no contact, and pinching which contracts the belly. Likely it will take a rider experienced in retraining horses, and with a clear methodology. The other thing, perhaps you can carry a bat (noise), tap the horse on the shoulder/get up in two point/and canter on (w/o pinching/holding with the legs).

Horses really do not 'test' riders nor do they get bored IF the rider is creating reactions properly through their actions. Neither do they plan to irritate/upset the rider (that is the rider's take on an issue). Horses merely take the path of least resistance given what the rider's requests created. The problem is that the rider many not know what choices they are presenting, and the strength they are giving to the horse because of their own actions. It has nothing to do with firmness per se, but rather with CLARITY (of aids/timing/progressive training).
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post #17 of 58 Old 03-25-2013, 11:12 AM
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Do you do any lunge work with him? While the horse I worked with wasn't as adamant about refusing to go forward (no bucking, rearing, etc), we broke a horse of her habit of backing up out of control by having her rider ride forward while on the lunge line. We were very clear and consistent in our cues, and after two rides on the lunge, she understands that there is a certain cue for backing, and a rider on her back isn't it ;)

Hope the vet can give you some answers. While he may just be protesting loudly because he doesn't like being alone or in the arena, it is always a great idea to check for sore back, sore mouth, etc.
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post #18 of 58 Old 03-25-2013, 11:15 AM
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This horse has done a better job of training you than you have done training him. Any time a horse acts up and you back off and take pressure off of him, you are training him to act up. It is as sure as if that was what you set out to do.

You DO NOT have to coddle horses and baby them around things because they are insecure. This only shows them that YOU are insecure and unsure of yourself. They need a strong confident rider/handler that can show them YOU are not insecure and YOU can be counted on as their herd leader. When you ride this way, a green colt with a half dozen rides will go anywhere you point his head.

Read the sticky I wrote that is at the top of this page on the Forum on how we train a confident trail horse. All of these same things apply to any horse -- not just trail horses. Accepting anything less than full compliance with anything you ask, just produces a frightful horse that is always looking for excuses to not do anything you want.

If you ask a horse to go forward and if they don't immediately comply, put hard pressure on them, move out faster and get them too busy to hesitate. Be in charge -- every step of the way.

Remember --- "The worst performance you accept is the very best performance that you have any right to expect."


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post #19 of 58 Old 03-25-2013, 11:17 AM
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We can't ask him what is wrong so it requires detective work. Try to figure out what is the common denominator each time he misbehaves...the same weather (windy and loud), the same saddle, the same time of day (close to feeding time), the same issue with arena setup with scary objects, etc.

This is not spoiling a horse. This is understanding that this horse is an individual, unique from every other horse. I believe it is much better to understand a horse's motivations rather than just pushing them through everything. Pushing them will get you through today. But if you do this a few times and a horse has legitimate reasons for his behavior (pain, fright, confusion over what you are asking) then he will start to believe that you will not listen to him.

From what I have experienced this creates horses that either begin to speak louder in hopes of being heard by making their behavior more drastic (rearing, bucking, etc.), or else become dull, or else begin to quickly throw out behaviors in hopes that this is what you are looking for so they avoid punishment. I've been on horses that have been trained that if you say "jump" they say "how high." When you ask gently to "stop" they will slam on the brakes. When you lightly ask them to turn they will throw themselves in that direction, even if it means hitting another horse. Loud people create loud horses.

I believe in this quote: "If your horse doesn't do what you say, he either doesn't understand the question or else you are asking the wrong question." Except I believe there is one more component to this which is the horse saying "I can't because ____." So we have to listen to horses too and not just order them around.

Say a horse refuses to go forward through a narrow space. You can either sit on the horse and spin and rear and back while he refuses, or else you can ask him three times and if he can't figure it out, get off and lead him through. For every horse I have tried this on, the horse did not think he "won," but instead realized he could go through that space and was more than willing to be ridden through the next time. It's thinking of a different way to pose the question to the horse.
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post #20 of 58 Old 03-25-2013, 11:19 AM
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I should clarify, as well - this horse was trained on the lunge before being ridden, so to go back on a lunge line put her in a familiar situation. When the rider cued forward, before she had a chance to back up, the person with the lunge also cued her forward, that way she was getting lots of reinforcement that what we meant was "forward"!
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