Looking for advice on 11 year old, unbroke gelding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-25-2011, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for advice on 11 year old, unbroke gelding

Hi everyone, I am relatively new to the forum and am looking for some positive advice / input...

I have an 11 year old gelding; he was bought at auction by a neighbor, who then gave him to me as a companion horse. He was being ridden by 2 girls at the auction, but once she got him home he wouldn't let anyone on him. So we are assuming he was sedated.

I have worked with him for a few months and he is now fine with a saddle, bridle, bit, voice cues, lungeing, etc. He is basically perfect on the ground - to include standing for farrier, vet, baths, grooming, clipping, blanketing, etc. He doesnt react to the feel of the saddle or the stirrups swinging around and is now desensitized all over his body. He is not afraid of normal 'spooky' things or the whip.

However, as soon as I put my foot in a stirrup or make a move like I am trying to get on his back, he pulls away. The couple times I have put weight in the stirrup he pulls away and bucks a few times. I have put weight on his back with a feed bag and pushed down in his stirrups with my hands and he doesn't react to that at all.

I spoke to a few trainers, but the only ones who want to assess/work with him seem like they will be really rough with him and I would feel terrible sending him to someone who might ruin his otherwise 'puppydog' personality.

Has anyone had a horse like this, or does anyone have any ideas on how to get past this step... (I know a lot will say to get rid of him; but other than that... ideas please??)

**** also he has been checked thoroughly by a vet and farrier and has no apparent health problems or injuries
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-25-2011, 02:27 PM
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I would probably call out a chiro to check out his back to make sure he isn't out somewhere that would cause mounting to be painful for him. Also, make sure that your saddle fits him well, there are some threads stickied at the top of the "horse tack and equipment" sub-forum that talk about saddle fit.

After all that is ruled out, then you can be pretty certain that it's a training issue. The thing about habitual buckers is that you can't always be nice to them and get a result. If they have been taught to buck from some certain stimuli (in his case, it's mounting), sometimes it requires a trainer to be a bit rough to correct the behavior. Being rough and being cruel are 2 completely different things and a good trainer can be rough without terrorizing the horse or changing his personality.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-25-2011, 02:36 PM
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This is complicated, but I'm glad you posted it.
He sounds frightened of being ridden. His experience with your friend reasserts that his fear is geniune. EVERY person who has tried to ride him and given up is further evidence to this horse that being ridden is scary.
I had one like this. I sent her to my Amish farrier/trainer to retrain, and she tried to kill him. She was good on the ground, etc., too., all 14'hh of her. You COULD ride her, but she had a "Timer", and was done...in about 1/2 an hour.
If you cannot train this horse yourself ALREADY, you may have to get rid of him.
I had an OTTB with back problems, but he would only react when my DH rode him, and then, when he was tired, he'd try to lay down with the rider.
If you're game to retrain. it's gonna be a long haul until you can safely ride him. It might mean working for 1-2 years before he trusts YOU on his back, maybe less.
Bless those who keep these horses as pasture pets. I am not one of them. If I cannot ride a horse to whom I've indentured myself as servant--maybe SLAVE?!?!?--I sell them. I've sold a few at a loss, too. Then, again, most people don't do ALL of the cleaning, MOST of the training, and haven't just put ALL of 400 bales of hay, stacked, in their loft like I just did. LOL
When I first got my horses, they were all broken. Two years in was the first time I had a gelding to break, and I was grateful that I could ride my finished horses after I schooled the newbie. (BTW, that horse was my "Corporal," unpapered Arab, headed for meat at an auction.)
Good luck on this. =D

Last edited by Corporal; 08-25-2011 at 02:40 PM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-25-2011, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick responses! I agree that he is scared - you can see it in his eyes - and I can also see that he isn't fully understanding the situation. I'm not giving up on him just yet; I appreciate the advice...
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-25-2011, 03:28 PM
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Without seeing the horse it is difficult to guess what his trigger may be, however, some horses are afraid of people being 'above' them. That may be his problem also. Try standing above him on a mounting block, ladder or anything. Start with him in a stall or other place where he can move a short distance away if he feels the need. Progress to closer & held as he tells you he can tolerate it. You may need someone else to hold him initially.
I've found the safest way with these types is (once they are calm with you above them) is to lay across their backs bareback with their head slightly tipped towards you. Pet/rub them. Slide off & repeat.
Good luck.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-25-2011, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natisha View Post
Without seeing the horse it is difficult to guess what his trigger may be, however, some horses are afraid of people being 'above' them.

I've found the safest way with these types is (once they are calm with you above them) is to lay across their backs bareback with their head slightly tipped towards you. Pet/rub them. Slide off & repeat.
Good luck.
I agree. I've started a couple that were like this. Since that time I try to pony all the horses I have to start.

I agree with the starting bareback. Nothing in your way if you need to make a quick dismount. As Natisha suggests, have a handler help you out.

Not so sure the whole thing is fear though. He could of simply figured out already that you aren't going to expect much out of him. The action/reaction thing. I pull away and play buck, she lets me be done for the day.
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-25-2011, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natisha View Post
Without seeing the horse it is difficult to guess what his trigger may be, however, some horses are afraid of people being 'above' them. That may be his problem also. Try standing above him on a mounting block, ladder or anything. Good luck.
True-hadn't thought of this. Too bad you don't have my setup, which has a catwalk to the manger in my shelter, from a door from the loft. I like to "scare" new horses my throwing down hay for them. I am quite safe. After awhile they ignore me. Then, I can lay down on it and feed them carrots, which they have to reach for. Nobody is scared of things above them for long. Could you replicate this?
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-25-2011, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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You guys may have hit the nail on the head... if you climb up on a fence that he is standing next to he takes off and is gone. I just haven't tried from the aspect of mounting block, ponying, etc... thanks!

Corporal - I can try to replicate it to a degree. There is a deck over the entrance to the barn, so I can start with that. I also have a relatively tall mounting block so I will try all these thing (as soon as the storms clear up!)
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-25-2011, 08:51 PM
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One thing I've done on my filly - who had thrown me with a good buck my first ride on her - was get her used to yielding her head to me. Then, when she was comfortable with her head turned to me - and I mean her nose was almost at her shoulder - I would drop my stirrup way down and then go to mount her.

I made sure to hold her nose there as I went to get up. A horse can't really buck with their nose glued to their shoulder. I would stand in the stirrup and wait as she spun and skittered and fussed. And eventually she stopped. Then I stepped down - the reason the stirrup is so low is so it's not as big a shock as if you jump down. Then I pet her and went to get on again, holding that nose to her shoulder again. Only when I could stand in the stirrup WITHOUT her moving did I quit and do the other side the same way.

This method accomplished two things, she got used to the feel of being mounted, and she got used to seeing me up out of both eyes.

Only after the horse is quiet about letting you stand there with your weight in the stirrup should you go to actually get on. And the first time you do, snug up that rein so that if your horse gets it in his head to buck you can spin him around, disengaging his hind end so that he CAN'T buck.

**Good luck** keep us updated

A canter is a cure for every evil. ~Benjamin Disraeli
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-25-2011, 09:02 PM
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great ideas and advice here. I am learning a lot .
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