Horse won't move while leading!?

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Horse won't move while leading!?

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    08-12-2007, 07:04 PM
Horse won't move while leading!?

My horse will suddenly stop when I'm leading him (halter and lead rope) and absolutely will not budge!

He's easy to catch.... he's in a large, 30-acre pasture. I can walk out to him and put the halter on just fine. He'll lead for a short distance, but at that time he'll suddenly stop dead in his tracks and won't budge for anything! I eventually got him to move (turned him in a circle) and got him just outside of the gate....when he did it again. After much fussing and pulling, I got him to move again. I got him saddled and bridled, and he would not leave the barn. I pulled on the bridle and got him to go. We went riding for a little while and headed back to the barn. I took the saddle and bridle off, put the halter back on, brushed him, gave him a couple of treats, and began leading him outside (to put him back in the pasture). He wouldn't budge yet again! He wouldn't leave the barn! I ended up standing facing him, and taking 2 or 3 steps backwards. He'd look at me, then take 2 or 3 steps forwards. We did this a few times, before he finally moved.

I don't know what to do.

He obviously isn't liking what I am doing with him, correct?

I just got him a week ago. I rode him Friday night, and this afternoon. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I just worked him in the arena (did some Clinton Anderson-type round pen work, with a Liberty whip..... trying to establish his "safe zone" with me, and establish that I am boss). After we worked in the arena, I'd take him for a little walk (not riding...just walking with a halter and lead). I noticed on Thursday, he stopped and wouldn't move while we were out walking. I got him to move though. Then, Friday night, he did it a couple of times (before we rode).....and now today, he did it four times.

What can I do?

I don't want him to get to the point where, every time he sees me coming at him int he pasture, he takes off running because he doesn't want me to catch him. So far, he's really easy to catch....I don't want this "I don't want to move" problem to develope into something more serious.

How can I make him move while leading him?

I told a friend what he's been doing, and he suggested giving him a little (just a handful) of grain right after I get him out of the pasture. He said the horse will be really willing then, because he'll learn that he gets a little treat if he's good. But, I don't really want to rely on "treats" or a food reward, to get my horse to do what I want him to. The owner of the boarding place is a great trainer....really great guy, with lots of horse sense. He said with this Anderson round pen work, the horse eventually will learn that he is safe with you, and will want to be around/near you. He said this will most times make the horse easier to catch, and easier to handle (because the horse is comfortable being with you). He said the people that go into the pasture with treats and food to catch their horses, are going about it the wrong way. Is this true?
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    08-12-2007, 08:15 PM
I wouldn't bribe him with grain if you can avoid it, he'll come to expect it, and it won't solve the problem.

I'm thinking it's one of three things, maybe. One, perhaps he's scared or not sure about the areas you're walking him through. Some horses will turn to stone when they can't see/don't know what something is. Try following his line of vision or take hints from him to see if it's something tangible that's bothering him. If it is, he needs to be introduced to it so he can confirm for himself that it's not going to eat him.
Two, he's confused about how you're leading him. I know a few horses who WILL NOT follow you unless you're right around their head while you walk them. Keep in mind not to be too far in front or behind him when you lead, it may be confuddling him.
Three, he knows you're stumped, and he's doing it for some reason other than for just standing there. My horse will occasionally do it as a power play. What I do, is if no firm coaxing will start him, I whap his hiney lightly with the lead rope. I mean just enough to make a shocking sound, not enough to being even close to hurting. That snaps him out of his overconfidence, and puts his attention on me. Once he knows I'm serious about his behaving, he'll listen. Sometimes horses do it simply because they don't want to go lunging or riding, I'd still give them a whap, as it's obvious unacceptable. It only took a few times for my horse to get it. :)

You got him a week ago? You guys just aren't totally on to each other yet, if you've had horses before, you'll know it gets so much better. If not, it does, really. He's probably just not quite sure if he can rely on you yet, so he's being careful, especially if he's at a new place.

EDIT: This reminds me of the time I just got my horse, and he froze outside the barn after dark, when everyone else was gone. I was tugging at him for like, two hours in the biting cold until someone showed up and helped me. XD He was just scared, he was being lead by a stranger through new terrain in total blackness. I was totally clueless at the time.
    08-12-2007, 08:59 PM
When I got him last Sunday, we put him n a box stall until Wednesday. Tuesday and Wednesday, I took him out of his stall and to the arena for round pen work.....then for a quick walk down the driveway. He didn't start this "I don't want to move" stuff until Thursday. I guess in a sense, it IS unfamiliar area....since he's only been here for a week. But, it's not unfamiliar, because he's been in the same area -- and seen everything that's in the general area -- for a week now.

I tried giving him a good slap on the rump, but that didn't work.
    08-12-2007, 09:09 PM
Well I would either back him then walk him off or get the end of your lead rope or a whip and tap him until he moves. :)
How old is he?
    08-12-2007, 09:44 PM
He is a pretty laid back and easy going, 5-year old QH gelding. He was broke as a 2 or 3-year old, and has had a lot of miles put on since then.

I should also add that, I ride alone. I always have. The two times I've rode with him so far (Friday and today), he's rode out alone beautifully. He doesn't call back to the other horses, or even hesitate at all. He goes just fine. So, I don't think it's a matter of him not being familiar with his surroundings, or being scared with what's going on around him.

I started the round pen work with him on Tuesday, and Thursday is when he started doing the "I don't want to budge" stuff. So, maybe he just doesn't like arena work? He's started thinking that every time I go and get him, he has to work in the arena? (which, I guess I do. I work him in the arena for 10 to 15 minutes before riding).
    08-12-2007, 10:16 PM
Is your area have sand , dirt, or grass in it?
If it has sand or dirt it could be packing in his feet and making him sore!
    08-12-2007, 11:25 PM
The arena is kind of sandy, yet, not completely like sand. It's a lot like the dirt you find on baseball fiends (around the bases)'s sandy, yet not completely like sand.

I am thinking that perhaps he doesn't like arena work? Since, this weird behavior started after I started working him in the arena? He hesitated just a little bit when I was walking him in to the arena today (he didn't come to a full blown stop, but he did hesitate a bit).

When he's in the arena, he follows me around...halts when I halt...will move around me if I step towards his hind end/behind his shoulder)...etc. When I lunge him in there (I don't use a lunge line...just a liberty whip and hand signals) he does what I say, keeps his attention on me, and when I signal him to stop, he does; he stops, turns and looks at me, and walks to me in a relaxed manner for a head scratch.

I'll try riding him tomorrow night, without doing arena work first. I'll see if that helps.
    08-12-2007, 11:33 PM
The dirt thing is kind of funny I have never heard any one say something like that before. I would say that is not it. He is just lazy and is testing you to see what he can get away with,I gess you could call him smart. When he stops back him and then go the lead him, that way leading is easer than syoping and just standing.
    08-13-2007, 01:45 AM
I assumed he was lazy. The two times I saw him before buying him, he acted very slow and lazy. His owner flat out said he's a real lazy horse. They hadn't rode him for 1.5 years. So, I think either he's just not used to being led around, worked in the arena, and ridden often...... either that, or as you said, he's smarter than what his owner portrayed, and he's "testing" me.

He just seems to me that he just doesn't like what I am doing with him. He has never put his ears back, tried to bite, kick, or anything like fact, he's very laid back and easy to work with. And when I ride him out on my own, he has no problem with leaving the farm and pasture. He doesn't call out to the other horses, throw his head, play games with me, try to turn around, etc.

I think he just isn't used to being worked with on a regular basis, and is testing me.

Do horses usually follow their owner around in the pasture....?
I have been around several horses in my day, and have ridden quite a variety of horses. In my experience, there are some that follow you around the pasture and seek attention all of the time. His owner said that that is pretty much how he is (more like a big puppy dog than a horse...likes humans more than other horses...etc.) At his old place, he'd kind of meander around on his own....wouldn't run after the other horses after you got done riding him and put him back in the pasture. He'd walk around and sniff things, look at things, etc. If you'd go back up to the fence, he'd walk over to you and sniff you and look for a head scratch. When I go out in to the pasture now (at his new home), he doesn't come to me. When I walk away, he doesn't follow me. Could it be that he's still just adjusting to his new surroundings? Afterall, it's only been a week since I got him. He's only been in the pasture for four days.
    08-13-2007, 02:23 AM
Yeah, a slap's different than a stroke of the rope to a horse... what gets my horse going is a little fling of the rope on the belly (they're a bit sensitive there, so it's best to be quite light with that... it does get their attention.) Before I do that I'd give him a whap on the hindquarters in the very back, so it kind of swings over the tail and laps the other side, that really snaps him out of it, because he's not sure how I do it. XD It's got to be a bit of a surprise, I think. I usually don't turn toward him at all, I look like I'm still trying to pull him, the next thing he knows- he's getting a light spank.

However- I think that's more the dynamic of my horse and I, and we've known each other for years. XP The fact that you just got him makes me think it's largely his unfamiliarity with everything. I'm thinking it may just be a communication issue, you know? Ask a trainer or someone their who's done it before to show you some bonding activities, if not this particular thing, it'll quicken the communication lines set up between you.
If he wasn't thoroughly introduced to the place, it might not matter how long he's there. See if you can get him to move around and look at whatever tarps, tractors, or other horse-eating things that may be there. If it doesn't seem to be anything or any spot in particular, it's probably not the place itself.

I'm just thinking out loud. XD I wish I could see what it is that he's doing. What's his body language like when he stops?

EDIT: As for him not coming to you, I think it's what people around here refer to as the end of the "honeymoon period." Disenchantment, if you will? You guys haven't built up the dynamic of your relationship yet. He isn't sure if you're his "alfa" yet. Once you confirm your leadership, he'll probably turn into a puppy dog for you again. :) The nicest horse in the world will test it's owner, it's what they do to see where they stand with you.

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