Keeping a horse going - The Horse Forum
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  • 2 Post By AnrewPL
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-28-2013, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: In a pond somewhere Australia, Queensland
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Keeping a horse going

Hey everyone!

I'm going to start working a ladies green broke Welsh Pony twice a week for a few hours, and take him to comps and pony club etc.. I haven't met the horse yet but the owner has told me everything about him, and sent me a few photos. I will start working him sometime this week or next week. She has told me his only problem is that when he gets scared he doesn't shy, he just stops and won't move. I have been thinking about this and i really don't want to get off the horse and lead him past or go over and sniff what scared him because this will teach him if he stops i get off or if he sees something he doesn’t know its ok to go over and sniff it. I will also NOT use spurs or whip him, so does anyone have any ideas? I want to be prepared for when it happens.


Gotta Gallop,
Cane Toad
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-28-2013, 10:56 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Work him there. Don't even pay attention to it. Pretend it's not there. Work circles, figure eights, move his hips, move his shoulders, counter arc, sidepass, anything. He can't have any time to be scared of it if he's working and thinking.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-29-2013, 03:07 PM
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I am actually currently training a horse with a similar problem, except mine is an 18 hand Hanoverian, but the method works.

Just to be clear from the get go, I have never hit this horse, but I do carry a dressage whip. He is fully aware that by carrying the whip, I have the means of forcing him to go forward, but I always ask nicely and he responds by moving forward. I have done this for about a month so far and we have worked through a lot of his fears. I now only have to carry the whip about a quarter of the time. Carrying the whip is not a bad thing, it is misusing it that is bad.

No matter what happens, even if he is nervous or scared, I agree with SorrelHorse. Make him circle, make him keep moving. I don't care if he is cantering or walking, just as long as he is moving forward. You can always slow him down later, now you just want him knowing that stopping and then not moving is not his way out.

WARNING: If he keeps stopping at scary things, eventually he might become a rearer. It doesn't always happen, but I have had to work with some that started this way.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-30-2013, 02:53 AM
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Have a ground person with a lunge whip help you. This allows you to use light aids while asking the horse to go forward and the person on the ground can "back you up". If the horse has previously been trained to lunge then hitting or even touching the horse with the lunge whip will not be necessary.
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-30-2013, 03:24 AM
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It really is not all that complicated.
Make it clear that you would like the horse to continue moving his feet. Eventually with consistency, clear corrections and a good deal of praise you might one day even get a bolt!
I am riding a young PRE who had a similar problem, I still don't ride him with spurs and often a light tap with a dressage whip was all he needed to "snap out of it".
Once the horse is consistently on the aids, the stopping will no longer be an issue. It is very easy to do. Make your directions very clear and easy to follow, but do not exaggerate cues. My turning aid is simply a shift in weight, my stop is sitting down harder and going and stopping are also from my seat. A light horse is ridden from day 1. They can feel a fly on their side, they can feel your weight shifting, and it is surprisingly easy to put an aid to it. As soon as they understand your aids and the corrections, the horse is usually a very willing participant and will continue in his same way of going before, during, and after a spook.

Good luck!

They say money doesn't buy happiness -- well happiness doesn't buy horses!
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-30-2013, 06:55 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
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The horse has probably never been given a reason to have confidence in the person on its back; and so we get scenario A)

Horse sees something scary and freezes up, so rider thinks “ooooo, poor horsey it OK”, person gets all compassionate and caring for the horse, wants to show the horse that they will protect it, and take care of them, gets off the horse, leads them past the “scary thing”, gets back on, and rides to the next scary thing thinking the whole time “I really showed my horse that I will protect it. Yay”; and then they have trouble with a horse freezing up and cant figure out why or how to fix it.

The trouble is, horses don’t feel comfortable when their human starts getting all protective and stuff, what THAT tells them is that there IS something to be scared of.

What I'm guessing you will have to do with this horse is to teach it that it can have some confidence in your judgement, and to have a healthy dose of respect for you ( really, the former follows the latter). Get some good respect exercises going on the ground to get it started then carry that through to its back and you should be OK. And don’t be afraid to have a quirt or a pair of spurs ready if you need them, its better to have them and never need to use them than to need to use them and not have them. And, use them right once or twice and you shouldn’t have to use them again, they are only as tough, or harsh, as you make them.

What you will have to try to get is scenario B)

Horse freezes up when it sees something scary. Rider, who had their mind on the job at hand and was focused on where they were going/what they were doing, thinks “what the hell?” looks at horse and says “what's your problem, c'mon, lets go” and asks horse to continue like there is nothing there (which is almost always the case anyway); then makes the horse get its act together if it doesn’t keep on as it was in the first place.

Get its respect and show it, and continue to show it. that it can trust you, don’t go getting worked up about anything when it does, and it will trust you and it will keep walking out with no problems.
I guess at first you might not be able to get it going straight out, you might have to just loosen its feet up a bit, maybe get it moving sideways back and forth and/or back it up or something , to get it unstuck. But focus in your own mind on getting it moving and remain cool and the horse will pick up on that and, if it respects you, it will trust you and soon enough it wont bat an eyelid at what used to make it freeze up.

Trouble is, when you give it back to the owner, don’t be surprised if they come back to you complaining that its still doing the same old stuff, freezing and not moving.
dashygirl and Cherie like this.
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-30-2013, 10:21 AM
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I'm working a TWH who had mastered the art of spook and spin. With some correction I now have her freezing then thinking about spinning. Much nicer then walking calmly then being suddenly on your back watching your horse run from you, lol. Now that I'm much wiser to her games I don't let her stop moving straight no matter what. I use legs and my voice, as soon as she hesitates with that I go right for the ends of my split reins and give a couple hard whacks, plus my legs. The name of the game is never letting her stop in the first place. Then, at a more convenient time, I'll try to work them around the thing that was scary. The more things you can get them to chill out about the more the tend to "generalize" things.
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-30-2013, 01:57 PM
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When he stops, perhaps you can turn him around and then ride him forward again in the original direction? Not sure if this is a very good tip, but shouldn't hurt to try anyway
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-31-2013, 09:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2013
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For whatever reason my gelding is a problem with a specific corner in my arena. He loses if focus whenever we near it and rides like hes going to be attacked. I simply work him on the other side of the arena until its time for a break, then I calmy walk him to the corner in question, drive him as deep as i can without a problem and relax. After a a couple minutes im back to work. Its helped me a great deal, make that corner a good place.
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