Impossible Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-14-2012, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Impossible Horse

Hey there! I was wondering if I could get some advice on my horse. I'm having a lot of trouble with him. He's seven years old and he has a lot of bad habits such as biting, rubbing against me, and sticking his leg in the fence (if anyone could tell me why he does that, I would love to know because I've never had a horse do that before). He has been ridden before but I'm not going to attempt it if I can't trust him on the ground. He tends to always do the very opposite of what I tell him. He's just plain impossible. I've never exactly worked with horses like this. I've only ridden and worked with horses that were at least fairly well behaved, but I've been watching training videos and doing a lot of research and nothing seems to work for him.

I've tried lunging him with a lunge whip (I don't hit him with it) and he doesn't even move away from it, he just keeps coming closer and closer to me then he tries to rear. The man that bales hay on our property trains barrel horses and saw that I was having trouble with him one day and came to see if he could get him to listen. He started to lunge him and he DID use the whip on him and it still couldn't get him to move very much. He eventually just gave up. I felt so bad after that though because there were marks from the whip all over him. I don't like hitting the horses. I should have said something but I didn't because I knew the guy was more experienced then I was.

I've also tried to do Parelli's Seven Games with him without success. For example, with the first game, "The Friendly Game", he'll let me rub him anywhere and he doesn't mind but he won't stay still for very long. He'll start to try and push me around or he'll bite and yank on the lead rope. He has absolutely no manners. In game #2, "The Porcupine Game", he tends to always move toward any pressure, definitely not away from it. He just keeps coming as close as he can get to me. Since I couldn't master the second game with him, I didn't move on to the next. I've also tried some different things from other trainer's videos, such as Chris Cox. Still with no success. I don't know what to do now.

I would GREATLY appreciate any advice I could get. Has anyone else worked with a horse like this? It's like he's the opposite of a prey animal, he's not afraid of anything (or he just has a different way of showing his fear). I know he doesn't think of me as the leader, and to be honest he's starting to scare me because I never know what he's going to do.

Well, thanks in advance for any help!
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-14-2012, 06:31 PM
Green Broke
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Honestly, I would suggest finding someone to work not only with the horse, but also with you if you are wanting to keep this horse for yourself. He doesn't understand what you are asking of him, and you are not experienced enough to explain it to him. The behaviors you are seeing are not just unacceptable, they are dangerous - you both would be better served with some professional help.
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post #3 of 14 Old 01-14-2012, 06:49 PM
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Your horse is not 'impossible'. He has no respect for you or his boundries.

As mentioned above, I would suggest getting a trainer in to work with you both. Rearing is a SERIOUSLY dangerous habit.

I'm assuming you've not had him very long? Phone the previous owner, if possible, to get a better idea of what he has, hasn't done and what tshirt he's wearing. What quirks he had with them, and how they over came it.

As for lunging, I wouldn't even do that till he is aware of your personal space.
Get a trainer, until then I would suggest just leave him to being him in a field providing he isn't causing and trouble, or danger to himself.

A trainer will help you both, rather than a serious accident happening.

Good Luck.
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-14-2012, 07:21 PM
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Agreed with the others, 100%. It sounds to me like you're on the right track as far as the sort of exercises to use, but need help with your timing, feel, and execution to be effective and get the message across to your horse. That's not something that can be learned from a DVD or article. Please do find someone to work with both of you before your horse's behavior escalates further. The behaviors that you're describing are nothing to mess around with.

To comment on whip use... sometimes horses need a pop. A pop with the whip is nothing compared to the blows that horses will dish out to one another in a herd situation. The trick is using the whip properly. Ask (body language/energy), suggest (bigger body language/stronger energy/verbal), encourage (yet bigger body language and physical contact of the energy). Repeatedly striking the horse without getting the response is as useless as being overly passive. The key is to be effective with your energy and tools, and that's something that everyone, no exceptions, struggles with at some point.

It's very important that you find someone to work with you as well as the horse - it won't do you any good if the trainer has his respect and sends him home without giving you the tools to do the same. I've seen it way too many times; the horse is a gem for the trainer, but a holy terror for the owner because they either won't or can't follow through. Respect doesn't transfer over.

Good luck!
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A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-14-2012, 07:24 PM
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Agreed. Anyone who says giving a horse A smack with a whip, purely for the desired effect of respect (not beating the bejeebus outta your pony) is talking codswallop.
Cruel? Why turn your mare out with my mare, knowing she kicks and put shoes on her back feet... my whip isn't going to scrape a whole lotta skin off my horse's rump...See what I mean ;)

Also, there are some fab threads in training that may help. There is a lot of this that happens, and you need to establish who is 'boss'
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-14-2012, 08:55 PM
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I agree 500% with scoutrider (and everyone else on here...). That's basically what I'm trying to say, in case my complete lack of communication skills confuses you, lol. Anyway.

Do you know anything about his past? That will help.

I'm sure there are people on here with much better advice and more experience than me, but I have had some experience with these kinds of horses, and it's pretty tough. I'm a pretty soft person with horses, so I have to keep in mind that sometimes, you have to give up love to gain respect- you may have to be harder on him. The trainer that was trying to lounge him was going a bit too far, hitting him hard enough to leave marks, but don't be afraid of being tough. Just remember: you have to find middle ground. Firm enough to get the message across, but not harmful. Smacking him with the end of the lead rope in the chest when he's crowding you won't harm him. If a horse can get kicked straight on by another horse and be okay, there's not much a human them self can do to them. Like has been said, it's about how you're using the whip that counts.

Is he with other horses? Watch him with other horses if you can- its always good to watch horses interact. It will not only give you necessary knowledge about how horses interact, but if you're watching him, how HE interacts, its even better- it will give you a LOT of insight.

Also, remember to always stay calm, patient, and be diligent- whenever I work with a difficult horse, I breathe slow and deep, and get rid of all emotions, and if I can't, I stop what I'm doing until I can, unless in a rare occasion when stopping isn't possible, although that's not often. And even if it takes half a day longer, I never stop on a bad note. That's important. Even if it's a tiny give from the horse, it's something. Like the trainer, who was hitting him- I'm assuming (correct me if I'm wrong!) that after a while of not getting anything, he just stopped. This tells the horse that even if he's getting hit, if he just doesn't give up, you will, and he'll get what he wants.

One more question to ask yourself/ keep in mind when working with him- what do you do when he does these things? That's a key component. For instance, if he's pushing into you when you try to lounge him and you even subtly back away or give in, he's going to notice. Even if you're smacking him with a whip, like that trainer, he's going to see that. Your body language is very important.

Hope this helps... I'm no trainer, this is just what I would do, judging from what I've read about him. I do agree that above all, though, your number one priority right now if you plan on keeping him is to find a trainer to work with both of you guys. Good luck!
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post #7 of 14 Old 01-15-2012, 01:47 PM
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To the OP, how long have you owned this horse?
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post #8 of 14 Old 01-16-2012, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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I've actually had him since he was 3. So about 4 years. I had problems with him in the beginning so he ended up staying with a friend and his horses for most of the time I had him while we looked for a trainer. We still haven't been able to find one though. They either don't work with both the horse and the owner or we couldn't get a call back from them. A friend of my Mom's is a good trainer but she lives an hour and a half away and she said she was too busy to come out to our place. He is back in our pasture now and I thought I could maybe work with him some but now I know that I don't exactly have enough experience to handle a horse like that. So I'm not sure what to do.
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-16-2012, 02:57 PM
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Have you thought about selling on to someone with experience and finding yourself a been there done that horse?

Riding is supposed to be fun, not a dangerous sport.

Hope it all works out.
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-16-2012, 03:07 PM
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This is a tough situation for you, and I sympathize. It took a long time and getting chastized quite a bit by my coach/trainer to learn how to take charge with horses. I hate to say it, but unless you can find a trainer to work with him and possibly you, you might think about selling him. I know it's a hard decision, but in the current situation neither of you are happy. He needs a leader and you need a horse that has established ground manners. No matter what though, you need to work on your confidence with horses. I hope things work out for you both one way or the other.
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groundwork , impossible , training

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