I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing

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I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing

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  • Sometimes i don't know whether i'm doing the right thing or not
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    01-21-2011, 06:29 AM
Green Broke
I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing

I would ask my instructor but she has moved and I have no one else to ask. I'm a beginner/ intermediate rider and I was just bought a knew horse a few months ago. When I bought him I was aware that he had been out of work for about 8 months and I haven't been able to ride him a lot since I bought because of all the rain. I have noticed a few things he needs to work since I've had him he seems to be herdbound. Whenever I take his buddy to ride he is constantly calling out and running up and down the fence while I'm working with her. Then if I ride him as long as she is close & in sight he does what is asked but if he can't see her or she is far away he tries to go in the direction that she is in but he gives in pretty easily most times. Then he also tends to take off with you if a horse runs past. If he is excited and you ask him to trot he can sometimes take off at the canter. When this happens I normally just slow him down (which can sometimes take awhile) and then let him settle down and ask again. This wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't so hard to stop once he gets excited he can become quite hard to stop. He just chucks his head up in the air and goes and ignores you when asking him to slow. So I normally slowlyturn him in a circle and this normally stops him pretty fast. The last thing is he tosses his head a lot I've had his teeth done and he had some stuff that needed fixing so I don't know if he has just gotten into a bad habit. But he also does it when you ask him to trot and he can get quite violent to the point that it nearly rips the reins out of your hands. I also had a thought that maybe it had something to do with him not liking contact. I have just started at a walk only having contact whilst encouraging him to continue going forward then releasing when he gives to it and stops trying to pull against it. All of this seems to have gotten a bit worse since I fell off him (from him taking off on me) a few weeks ago which made me lose a bit of confidence with him. I don't think he would buck or rear and generally he is very willing to please you. All I know of his past is he was used as a barrel racer but wasn't fast enough and I got the impression he was very spoilt by one of his last owners. He is very sweet and I don't think he means any harm and he doesn't do this as often as I have probably made it sound. I was just wondering if what I am doing is right and if there is anything else I can do. Any thoughts would be appreciated if you didn't get confused by it all and sorry for it being so long thanks.
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    01-21-2011, 07:25 AM
Green Broke
Sounds like he is herd bound, no respect for you and is thinking for himself. So he needs some major one on one with you. Where he wants to be make him work. Where he is uncomfortable let him rest. I love how you used the one rein stop to slow him down. Sometimes that's what it takes. When he's throwing his head up acting silly, you are not on his mind. He is acting for himself.

You need to get his attention on you when he does that. Before you ride, do you lunge him?
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    01-21-2011, 07:28 AM
Green Broke
No from what I know of he hasn't been lunged before I normally do some groundwork with him before I get on though.
    01-21-2011, 07:53 AM
Green Broke
What is groundwork to you?
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    01-21-2011, 08:23 AM
Green Broke
Well making sure he is walking and stopping properly with me, backing up, moving his front and rear end away from me with pressure (if that makes sense). I've been having a go at the 7 parelli games. I just kind of worked all of that out myself so I'm not sure if I'm right about it being groundwork. I was planning on having a go at lunging him even though nearly everyone tells there is no point in doing it.
    01-21-2011, 09:44 AM
Green Broke
I agree with mbender that he is herdbound/buddy sour, lacks respect, and doesn't see you as his leader, which is why he's thinking for himself. I feel your examples for groundwork are correct. Just remember that whenever you are leading your horse, you are either training or untraining your horse. If he was to run past you, into you or pull on you, and you don't correct it, you are untraining. You must keep him in his place at all times.

When lungeing your horse, if all you do is make him go around in circles, it doesn't do any good. For it to do any good, you can only let him go for 2 or 3 circles at most and then change directions. More than that, he will lose his focus on you. He won't be good at changing directions at first and that's ok. It gives you something to work on. As he gets better, don't let him go around as much, change directions more often. I like to get them to the point where they change direction quick enough to make a figure 8.

Not only getting a horse to move, but changing directions, is what gets respect from them. You need their respect before you get their trust.
    01-21-2011, 09:44 AM
Take a look at some of these videos...they might help. Horse Training with Chris Irwin | Horse Videos – Horse.com Video Library
    01-21-2011, 09:45 AM
Green Broke
What you are doing is fine. Those are basic methods of getting a horse to listen (pay attention to you). How long you do that is one factor though. Lunging is very helpful! Lunging is not to tire a horse out, but used to see where he is at mentally.

Getting him to focus on you. See where his weakness lies. Clinton Anderson has a dvd out called "Lunging for Respect". I'm not preaching that you get it but a suggestion that you could use for your confidence.

If a horse isn't mentally ready before you ride, you will not have a good ride. You will have some issues that are safer worked out on the ground and lunging. And you certainly don't want to do the minimal groundwork time for preparations to ride.
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    01-21-2011, 10:29 AM
A barrel racing horse is most always ridden with a tiedown which helps them balance/brace off of. If your riding your horse without a tiedown that is most likely the problem with him flinging his head. My mare came with a tiedown until I decided to train her out of using one. However, we did some barrel racing at those times I did put the tiedown on her. The first time I rode her without the tiedown she flung her head until I could see the tip of her nose. What I did was tack her up with a Western version of a running martingale. The Western training fork is one continuous length of small guage rope(note: I made my own) and has a big loop that goes over the horses head and fastens with a snap to the front cinch then it splits with a ring at each end that each of the reins go through. The training forks on the market are made of rubber surgical tubing After a while the horse learns that he doesn't get anywhere with flinging it's head. I could ride my mare without the training fork in a short amount of time.

It does sound like your horse has little respect of you. Working at establishing you as at the top of his "pecking order" is important. Doing a lot of in-hand work/ground work will help you reach that goal with him. For his running away with you try to find/ride with someone who knows that your horse will take off with you if they canter or gallop past or near you, at least until you have established a working relationship with him.

Wishing you the best of luck and most importantly, Be Safe.
    01-21-2011, 04:31 PM
Green Broke
Thanks for all your thoughts. For some reason I never thought of it being a respect thing he occasionally has his moments but generally you barely have to touch the lead rope for him to respond to you on the ground. I'll work on groundwork a lot more now though

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