a horse with terrible ground manners! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-25-2013, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Location: North Dakota,USA
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Question a horse with terrible ground manners!

Hi -
many of you know that I just got a 10 yr. old paint gelding.... He was delivered yesterday, and I haven't ridden him yet, but HOLY COW does he have TERRIBLE ground manners!

I went and rode him, at his previous owners place, 2 weeks ago and he rode just AWESOME.... outgoing, gentle, and very responsive.
I made the mistake of not seeing him in the pasture though.
I did notice that he was mouthy and kind of pushy when he was being tacked up but the instant you land in the saddle, he's just awesome.

So my question is.... how can I fix this?

And does any one else know of any horses that stink with their ground manners but are gentlemen under saddle?

oh, I should specify that when I mean "pushy on the ground" I mean like his head is always in "your space" or "your bubble" and he isn't too careful with his feet... he also moves his head unexpectedly, so that your watching so you don't get wacked in the face.

He doesn't bite though..or nip... just weird.

thanks for reading through all of this :)
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-25-2013, 10:30 PM
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Congrats on your new boy! I would say the first step is no treats or food from your hands. It sounds like he has been a bit spoiled by food and thinks that mouthing you gets him food. I would also say that you may want to have a "bubble" of your own. If he enters without being asked he gets a correction (ie is back out of your space). This can work really well with some horses but really confuses others. I have a mare who is very polite and a "close talker" as Seinfeld would say. She likes being in your space and being touched (she likes to have her head hugged...she is special). The first person who broke her to saddle wanted her five feet away at all times, this confused my mare and upset her. That resulted in her being very crabby and ultimately started them on a very bad road. So, if the behavior is not getting better reconsider how you are approaching things. That said if this new horse being in your space bothers you than be firm and give corrections. Reward good behavior with pats and give it time. You two are very much still getting to know one another, establish ground rules and have fun.
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-25-2013, 10:42 PM
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When I bought my horse Red a year and a half ago, he was a same way. Very pushy and in-your-face.

Key points --> YOU NEED TO BE CONSISTENT WITH HIM. Always, always, always correct him when he gets in your space. Never let him get away with it. And practice, practice, practice handling him on the ground. I really am a big fan of Clinton Anderson because he does lots of ground work and explains what he is doing and why.

You should be able to easily control all parts of your horse's body from the ground: hindquarters, ribcage, shoulders, head. When I was teaching this to my horse, it found it very useful to use a whip, simply because it creates an extension of your arm. Very useful for disengaging those hindquarters! Eventually, you should be able to "glare" at his hindquarters, and he should move them away from you. Same with shoulders.

Plan to spend 10 to 15 minutes every single day working on groundwork, if you want your horse to respect your space. You should be able to move his feet in any way you want, by your body language. You can also work on getting him to back up simply from the jiggle of the leadrope and you "glaring" at his chest.

Also make sure that he drops his head when you ask, and leads willingly at the walk andn trot wherever you take him.

CONSISTENCY and PRACTICE will give your horse good ground manners.

As far as the treats comment goes ..... I don't buy that. My horses get hand-fed treats all the time. But they don't bite. And they don't get into my space uninvited. Because I've taught them to respect me. I just like to give them treats to spoil them.

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post #4 of 8 Old 08-25-2013, 10:44 PM
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there are just tons of threads here on how to get better ground manners from a horse. If the horse has a good temperment, and you have some knowledge of what to expect and how to get it, it should n't take more than one or two sessions to change him mind about how important your space is. But, you have to be conissitent. you are as new to him as he is to you, so take this opportunity to be the rider you want him to have, and never let him know any other kind, from day one. Easier to set a tone in the beginning than to try and go back and redo it after a wrong idea has taken root.
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-25-2013, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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so consistency.... got it :)

I worked with him(Parelli) for about 20 min. tonight...
I did:
1) tossed rope over his back from both sides
2) drug the carrot stick/string all over his body(both sides)
3 ) asked for him to move his hindquarters away
4) tried the porcupine game
5 ) hit his chest,with carrot stick, for him to back up.

He did pretty good with all of this but he certainly didn't have his mind on what I was doing... he was kind of like "scatterbrain"

But I'm just going to play the Parelli games with him, every day, and see if he gets better....what do you all think?
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-26-2013, 12:12 AM
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depends HOW you play those Parelli Games. If you do them with an expectation of a good response, and you don't stop until you get something BETTER than before, then you may see some changes. If you just repeat , day after day, the same thing and get the same response, you will make him even duller than when you started. It's not THAT you "play games". It's HOW you do it.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-27-2013, 06:20 PM
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i also have a mare that is very pushy on the ground. the way i discribe her is like a 16 year old girl all about her. i just got her a few weeks ago. its a slow process.
the problem i have is that she is all about food. i take her out and she wants to eat (she has enough food she is sure not stravining) but if i dont let her have it (which she doesnt get until i tell her she can) she throws a fit. rearing and bucking and kicking.
at a loss of what to do next for sure.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-27-2013, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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well my boy doesn't kick/buck/rear/bite.... BUT he likes to "lead" me instead of the other way around.. He also has NO respect for my bubble.. And shoves me with his head... after playing the parelli games with him, twice, I see a little improvement :)
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