Issues on the way home... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-04-2012, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Issues on the way home...

I realize this post is going to be rather long, so here's a HUGE preemptive thank you to anyone who reads and responds :]

So, meet Demon the quarter horse.




I just started leasing him this week, though I have been riding him for the past few months. He is a very good boy. Definitely a work in progress, but good none the less. He is a gem in the arena, the only problem is that we don't have an arena at the barn. Generally this isn't a problem. We just use a flat part of one of the fields and everything is fine, but that gets a little boring after a while. Plus there aren't any real jumps. If we want to ride in actual arenas it's as simple as a ten minute hack to the Radnor Pony Club Grounds. Or we go out on the trails and do our flatwork (or jumping if there is someone else riding with me) out there. The problem starts towards the tail end of our ride (if we are on the trails) or the hack back from Rador.

I don't really want to say he is barn sour because he is great until we're headed home, but I guess that's the best word for it. I also hesitate to call his behavior truly dangerous, though with an inexperienced rider (not that he's ever ridden by one) it could be an issue. I mostly just find it entirely annoying.

He never tries to take off towards home, but he gets incredibly excited and will prance the entire way back, be it ten minutes or an hour, once he realizes we're headed in a homeward direction. He NEVER tires. Luckily, his body works slower than his mind so it's easy to stay one step ahead of him (which is why I hesitate to call him dangerous), however, half halts either result in a change of gate to a fast walk for a few step or simply the throwing of his head. They're effective to keep him from taking off and for controlling the speed of his trotting/prancing (which I never allow to get any faster than the speed of a walk), but not for stopping him. If you restrict his forward movement too much he'll simply turn his body sideways and trot sideways until you give him room to go forward again. Trying to stop when he gets excited results in sidestepping, spinning, or backing up which are all very dangerous considering a lot of the trails that I have to take to get certain places are next to roads. So that's pretty much out of the question. I've tried circling every time he gets too forward, which merely results in a fight to get him to turn, a reluctant walk as we're doubling back, and twice the energy once we face home again.

I've also tried allowing him to do his thing (though controlled) on the way home, and then going into the field and working him until he calms down. Which does work to get him relaxed, but has done nothing to solve the problem on the way home.

So essentially, I'm out of ideas. I do my best to stay relaxed and calm when he does this (which is fairly easy considering I don't usually find the behavior anything more than annoying) and that really doesn't help. I know my riding isn't always perfect, but I've seen him do this to two other people and my trainer/his owner is aware he does it as well, so it's not just me. Unfortunately, my trainer has a lot of other horses to ride and lessons to teach and he is not her top priority (One of the reasons I'm leasing him. She would like to shape him into a solid, good horse).

So, now that you have all the back story, what I'm asking for is ideas. I'm open to almost all suggestions, so please, suggest away! I'd like to fix this so that our rides home can become a time to relax, enjoy ourselves and cool down after a demanding ride. Again, thanks in advance!! :]

"The art of riding is keeping a *horse* between you and the ground."

Last edited by xeventer17; 05-04-2012 at 07:08 PM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-04-2012, 07:18 PM
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I have the same exact problem.

I haven't fully solved it, but I have been able to control it and reduce its intensity by doing several things.

You are on the right track in slowing him down and making him work when you get home. However, he still associates jigging with going home.

You gotta build extra time in your rides to do this. What you have to do is get home and then leave again. Even go back to the Pony Club, or wherever. The point is going back away from the place he wants to be.

Be prepared for a fight. I've had to actually dismount and drag my mare by the reins while tappping her with a whip to go back away from the barn when she thought we were done.

Gotta do it over and over and be consistent.

I'm still chuckling at all of Demon's antics, because Calypso did the same exact things down to the sideways jiggy trot.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-04-2012, 07:34 PM
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My gelding does the same thing. I make a lot of stops, and turns and stuff on my way home. If he starts going faster than the speed I asked him to do I move his butt over and make him do circles, then make him stand, facing the direction he wants to go. if he stands still we can walk home some more but if he tried to go before I let him, we do it some more. Sometimes I throw a little backing up in there, like if he tries to walk forward from a stop without being told to I make him back up. then stop, and repeat till he stands till i say go, and on then we are on our way again . He's gotten sooo much better and the last few times hes actually walked home with his head down with just a few reminders.

may not work with your horse but it's done wonders for mine..

of course the first few times took a long time to get home.. lol we were doing lots of circles and backing up. time consuming but good in the long run.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-04-2012, 07:34 PM
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My paint does that although he is more severe. what i have done is if he starts pulling or going faster i turn him around walk him the other way until he calms down then head back 2 the barn. i do this again and again. There is no quick fix to this, you have to be calm and patient. Good luck
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-04-2012, 07:47 PM
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Pretty horse!
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-05-2012, 01:53 PM
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Hondo did this for a while. I just started turning him in the opposite direction of where he wants to go when he starts going fast or gets worked up. I make him go faster in the opposite direction. Then I stop him have him turn towards home and hold him in a stop for a minute or so then cue for walk. We have done well at this and now he will walk the whole way home. In fact, I now make it a point to not cue for anything faster than a walk on the way home. I plan to continue the "walk home only" policy for a while until I feel he understands that rushing home will only get him going in the opposite direction.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-05-2012, 02:18 PM
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I do two things. One is to turn them and head away from home when they start acting up. Once they are calm they are allowed to turn back towards home again. If they act up then they get turned around again. Rinse and repeat until your horse gets it.

Second thing I do is once they calm down going towards home is start riding them back and forth past "home". Home changes depending on your situation but could be a driveway, trail, pasture, trailer, whatever. Basically I'm doing the same thing to them you would do in an arena with a horse that keeps trying to turn out the entrance every circuit. Get them to understand coming up to that point doesn't mean you get to stop working.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-05-2012, 02:40 PM
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Some good advice here. Another way to make home not so attractive is to tie him up for quite some time and do not feed him as soon as you unsaddle. If home is associated with rest and food that will definitely be a magnet. Work the horse hard at the barn. And that means a good sweat not a gentle 'glow' then take him away from the barn and rest him. And take as long as it takes till he walks 'home' on a loose rein.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-05-2012, 02:55 PM
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I have one of those too! He is buddy sour to his friend. If I go out with our other horse or a friends horse he does not do this. GAh! I can use all the ideas you all have to offer also. I guess I am just saying, "I FEEL YOUR PAIN" Hang in there!! And keep me posted maybe we can all stick together!

Edit: At least you don't get the spin around on your way out!!! And once I get him out, he prances back!
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