Horse refuses to move forward - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 11-03-2011, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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Horse refuses to move forward

Lately, Sky has been refusing to move forward. She will keep backing up until I stop nagging or just stand still. This is not an issue we had when I first brought her home and at first I thought she was just getting buddy sour since the first time she did it I was trying to take her out alone. But since then she has refused to go forward even with another horse and today she refused while I was riding just in the corral. She also refused to go into a trot but gave in after I nagged her enough. I am realising now that it is a respect issue and she's testing me.

So I am really unsure of exactly how I'm supposed to be handling this in the saddle. I am aware that she needs major ground work done with her as she seems absolutely clueless in the round pen, and I plan on bringing in a trainer I used previously, but money is an issue right now. So until then, I need help on how to handle this in the saddle. The first couple of times I used a crop to get her feet moving which worked just fine, but I don't want to have to carry one with me. Today I didn't have the crop so when she would start to back I would turn her in circles as that was the only forward action I could get out of her. Then I would back her a ton, and then stop and ask her to go forward again. It took a couple tries but this eventually worked, talk about annoying though.

Her previous owner did mention that you could use spurs on her but not that you HAD to. She moved just fine when I tried her and for the first month after that. Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 22 Old 11-03-2011, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Whisper22 View Post
She will keep backing up until I stop nagging or just stand still.

Then wait her out and do nothing.
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post #3 of 22 Old 11-03-2011, 06:29 PM
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It's a trust and consistency issue. Start her training over from the ground and build up from there. A key step must have been skipped. Your horse should willingly go with a gentle ask. Nagging her will just make her shut down on you or eventually buck you off. Start over and be safe.
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post #4 of 22 Old 11-03-2011, 06:54 PM
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How are you asking?

I don't like to nag them.

I ask them politely once. They ignore me so I say "Hey, c'mon now" and then if they ignore me again, they are going to work their little behinds off until they do what I want and only then do they get any release.

For backing, I like to use that to my advantage. There will be many people who disagree with it because some horses will resort to backing to get out of working but I have no had that issue.

So if the horse balks. I stand at their shoulder, cluck, and ask them to move. If they refuse to move I may ask them to disengage their hindquarters once or take a step back to refocus them on me. Depending on the situation I may give them a small tap on the hip with a dressage whip while still at their shoulder. If they ignore me again, I turn and face them, make myself big and scary, and then send them backwards across the arena. Fine, you want to back? We will back.

They usually look at me like I have gone completely nuts and then I can feel them wanting to give up. When they're showing signs they're ready to start paying attention to me, I will try again. They only get 3 chances, I refuse to nag.

It's the same in the saddle. If I ask them to go once with my seat and leg, and the horse refuses I may give them a tap with my heel and cluck. If they don't respond they will get a kick/over and under/pop with a crop. I don't stop kicking/tapping/using my over and under until they trot a pace. When they trot, I stop kicking/tapping/whatever.

They soon learn they're not going to get to test my limits and get away with it.
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post #5 of 22 Old 11-03-2011, 07:03 PM
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Oh, forgot to say you might want to make sure that there isn't any kind of pain issue. Sometimes a horse that is in pain will try to back out of it. Check her back for soreness and make sure she is tacked up properly. I agree, never nag. :)
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post #6 of 22 Old 11-03-2011, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Spyder View Post
Then wait her out and do nothing.
You just keep coming up with these wonderful pearls of wisdom.

PS. Love your new siggy!
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post #7 of 22 Old 11-03-2011, 07:19 PM
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1,2,3 1,2,3 always progress and never stop till they do what you want.
You need to get in the round pen and get it worked out on the ground so you know she understands what you are asking. TYou can beat a horse half to death and it wont work if it doesnt understand what you want. Get her in the round pen get her moving the direction you send her. Verbal que 1, light physical que 2, (wave lead around) heavy physical que 3, (wack her on the withers with a carrot stick till she moves. Get her doing this left and right around and round until she responds to the verbal ques. From the saddle same thing, verbal, light heavy. You are not gonna get her responding to 1 right away it takes time, A friend of mine uses a piece of lead line with a leather clacker hanging from the horn. just picking it up usually gets the horse moving.
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post #8 of 22 Old 11-03-2011, 07:19 PM
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I'm at work so won't go into a huge in depth post, but what jumped out at me in your first post is that you said she'll back until you stop nagging. You've just taught her that you'll take the pressure off if she backs, and she's won.

If you're going to put pressure on a horse, you absolutey MUST follow through with it until you get a positive reaction of the horse moving from that pressure. When you get into the habit of asking, and then giving up faster than the horse, you run into trouble and the horse will start to push more and more which will eventually become dangerous to both of you.

Horses learn through the release of pressure, hence we only take pressure off when we get the reaction we want - and is also why it can be pretty **** nerve wracking when you're sitting on something that feels like it's about to leap off the face of the earth if you keep your leg on! But if you take the pressure off at that point, you have taught the horse that blowing up will make him comfortable.

So, if you put your leg on, and want your horse to go forward, you'd better keep your leg on until it takes a step forward. You don't need to 'kick kick kick', just let your leg stay on the horse's side until it steps forward. IMMEDIATELY reward even the smallest of forward movement.

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

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post #9 of 22 Old 11-03-2011, 07:24 PM
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Ditto what Kayty said.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #10 of 22 Old 11-03-2011, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Sahara View Post
You just keep coming up with these wonderful pearls of wisdom.


No actually Cindy Ishoy did.
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