I'm the leader - right? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-14-2010, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: St. Louis, Ofallon (Winghaven)
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I'm the leader - right?

My TB has good ground manners, but every once in awhile he decides he doesn't want to go forward anymore. For example, when I lead him to the grooming stall at the barn, he always stops. I will then turn him in a circle and step back into the grooming stall. Sometimes he'll follow. Sometimes he won't, and I either have to try to walk him to the other grooming stall (which he always goes into it) or I swing the lead rope around a little and that convinces him to start walking again. He also does this sometimes with the wash rack. Sometimes he goes in and other times he plants himself. What can I do to get him to continue following me?
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post #2 of 3 Old 08-14-2010, 06:49 PM
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I would keep his feet moving. That is, make him circle BEFORE he stops and plants himself. If he always stops in a certain spot, circle there. Or side-step him through his stopping zone. Or turn him around and back him up. He should learn that walking along nicely is much easier than circling and side-stepping and moving backwards. =]

You could also do some extra work in-hand. Teaching him to pivot on the haunches/forehand. Maybe teach him a trick like bowing or laying down.

Also, it may be likely that he associates the grooming stall and wash rack with something he finds unpleasant. You groom and ride, or you bathe him. To fix this, groom him and then work in-hand on a trick, or take him to the wash rack and just brush him, maybe turn the water on cold and just let it run.

I'm just spitting things out there, feel free to take what's relevant and ignore the rest. =]

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-14-2010, 07:07 PM
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Seems to me there are 2 likely attitudes behind this; Either he's a bit worried(obviously not terrified) about those places and what will happen there, or he just doesn't want to - doesn't like being there, subjected to grooming or washing.

In the first instance, I'd desensitise him to the place & the happenings there very gradually. Encourage his trust in you. that you'll never force him into anything 'dangerous'. Eg. if he baulks, I'd probably ask him again, in whatever non-forceful but effective way to come forward, but only ask for another step or few before turning out. Repeat this sort of exercise over & over until he's truly confident going in there... before using same gradual, approach & retreat lessons to desensitise him to grooming, washing, etc.

In the second instance, you can either just attempt to force him to do as you say, or you can work out ways of making it worth his while to 'play your games'. Use positive reinforcement(rewards) to get him to *want* to do as you ask. I tend to use a combination of the 2 tactics, with an emphasis on positive as much as possible.
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