Misbehaving badly

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Misbehaving badly

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    10-17-2007, 08:45 AM
Misbehaving badly

I was on a trail ride last weekend. I have had my horse for a month now and he is a 5yo gelding. He got away from me when I was tacking him up and had to be captured. In the staging area, he was doing little mini-bucks and shaking his head a lot. He was fiesty for the first 30 minutes on the trail before being great. I use a D ring snaffle bit with no chin strap. I received advice from several people to put a rope halter on him while riding and tieing, to get a chin strap/chain, to change his bit to something like a 3 piece shank, longe in on a line so he respects me more, and not to feed him sweet grain before rides to calm him. Do any of these things sound correct in order to get better control over him? I am a new rider and want to be safe. Thanks.
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    10-17-2007, 12:23 PM
Its not good to feed a horse before grain before a ride anyway. You should always have a halter on while tacking up. A horse can get loose in a bridle ten times easier. You may want to try a bit that has a little bit of a shank on it at first. You will need a curb strap with these though. You could try lunging him for 30 minutes or so before you ride that way he doesnt have so much energy. You need to help him release that energy before you ride because that could turn things negatively on the trail ride.
    10-17-2007, 12:34 PM
Yea, I wouldn't feed him grain before hand either. Especially not sweet feed.

I would stick with your D-ring snaffle. There is no need to get a different bit. Getting a harsher bit will not solve anything. Your bit is just fine :)

Has he ever acted this way before? Maybe he was in pain. Some horses will try to escape when they feel pain, usually these are the more sensitive horses. You could have blown past a few thresholds as well. Pay attention to his body language during saddling. If he objects to something, take the time to get him to be okay with whatever it is. Don't just ignore him.

You should ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS work with your horse before you get on! This is a pre-ride check, and it will let you know what side of the stall your horse woke up on that morning. If he is full of vip and vinegar, then maybe you shouldn't ride that day. Just play with him on the ground. There is NO shame in that! If he is acting fidgity or anxious on the ground DO NOT get on! Work it out on the ground.

If he starts acting up while you are on him, you can either decide if you feel comfortable working him through it in the saddle, or you can get off and fix it. Again, there is NO SHAME in getting off if you feel uncomfortable :) Maybe you shouldn't go on a trail ride if he acts up. Stay in an arena or go to a round pen and ride. Set yourself up for success. When you work him, ask him to go over, under, through, and across things. Up and down hills, changes of direction, something to get his mind with you. Don't just lunge him in circles. That's the worst thing you could do, and it won't tire him out.
    10-17-2007, 04:10 PM
Not to start any thing !!! But why such a young horse if you are a new rider? That part of the post may explain every thing!, are you takng lessons to improve your ridding?
    10-17-2007, 05:01 PM
I'll definitely stop the grain before riding. I had been taking lessons for several months and was told that I handle horses and ride well for my level of experience. I am 54 and a confident rider. The people at the barn say he is testing me. I am resuming more lessons this week focusing on ground work and getting the horse to respect me. My instructor also wants me to try a firmer bit with a chin strap, although the seller says to stay with the D ring snaffle with no strap. So the choice of bits is not clear to me. I don't want to hurt him, but my safety is a higher concern. The place I bought him from always had a rope halter on with the bridle, so I'll do that as well. The horse is great once he's had a little riding time, but he does like to walk fast and get to the front. He is a gaited mountain horse. He'll slow or halt when I ask, but then resumes his fast walk once I release pressure on his bit.
    10-17-2007, 05:25 PM
I broke my 3 year old mare with a snafle bit, and can be switched to a hackamoore at any time, yes she will test me at times but that's a 3 year old for you, how many times a week to do ride?, how long do you ride for and is it western or english?
    10-17-2007, 06:22 PM
I ride western. I have been going on weekend trail rides lasting 3 to 4 hours. I know I need to get any excess energy out of him before the rides. I would hate to drive 100 miles, set up camp, spend the night, etc. and then not ride due to him being fiesty. He is boarded at a stable with daily turn out. I don't ride during the week as the barn is 30 miles from home in terrible rush hour traffic.
    10-17-2007, 07:21 PM
I don't believe in "not" riding because he is a little energetic. Learn how to control your horse by riding in a round pen, arena, or pasture. That's like telling the horse "hey, youve got energy so Im not going to ride" then the horse picks that up and decides to act like that every time you ride. That's a no no. You don't want to get that in your horses mind or you are up against a good challenge. Learn what makes your horse slow down, what exercises make him think more (harder). Sometimes a harsher bit is needed. A short shank is NOT that harsh of a bit. Keep your hands soft and use neck reining. If he's not neck reined then give him direct cues. As soon as he listens release. Just because he is energetic does not mean you should give the ride up. It means you need to get him under the mindset that he is going for a ride and he needs to concentrate. Inexperienced riders and inexperienced horses often do cause troblems. I was 13 yo just learning to ride and bought a 3 yo unbroke mare. I had no idea how to train or where to begin. In a year I had her trained and bombproof as she could ever be. Nothing scared her. She could walk on or over anything. Surefooted as she could be and done anything I or anyone else asked. She drove cattle, she ran barrels, poles, swam in the river, followed trains, rode on the road, trailered, whatever. I believe anybody can train almost any horse as long as they take a step back and figure out how/what that particular horse responds to. Don't just say "he acted bad 'this day' and bucked a little" figure out what you can do to make him a little more focused. If he's got lots of energy give him something to do. A ride is a good thing. New territory, different terrain, new smells, new sounds. They are great. Get to know your horse. What makes him spook. What does he do when he spooks? Bolks, jumps sidesways, rears, bucks, what??? What gives him the confidence to move forward? Talking to him, being stern, letting him sniff and smell till he figures it out. Take your gelding over poles, small jumps, go left, go right, go backwards, keep a left lead, keep a right lead, make him think alot before you go riding. Give his mind something to do. Take a little time to figure him out and when you do you will see remarkable results.
    10-17-2007, 07:54 PM
I think you should stay with the same bit too, if its what he is used to. It sounds like he was just being snotty that day. I always keep a rope halter on my horse while trail riding and tie a lead rope to my saddle. If you don't have someplace to tie one, put snaps on the end of your reins so you can unsnap the reins and snap them to the halter. That's the first thing I do when I buy new reins is attach snaps to them. They make a great emergency lead rope that way. I have had horses that I had to do an attitude check with before mounting up its good advice and will save broken bones in the long run. Just doing a little yielding of the hind quarters backing up etc. for a few min. Before getting on. This is also a good time to check your tack to make sure everything is riding ok and not hurting the horse. Do some lateral flexing for a few min. Too after you get on to get them giving to the bit . I'm not a big fan of lungeing I think it just wears them out.
I too ride a mountain horse and its diffucult to ride with non gaited horses somtimes because they are a little slower. When I ride with our club I have to break away from the croud every once in awhile to let Vida do her stuff. I also ride with friends who have Peruvians and its a lot more fun I don't have to keep slowing her down because her "walk" is faster than a non gaiter. We ride at least 20 miles a week on our own and when we are riding with the group its tough for her to understand why she has to baby step.
I also have worked on her understanding the word "easy" it means slow down to her. I say easy and give a slight pull on the reins when she slows I release the reins and say "good girl". When I first got her she knew no voice commands not even whoa. She has come a long way in the 3 years I have had her.

I want to add that I ride Vida in an Imus bit and we both love it. If you decide to go to a shanked bit I would suggest this one. Its made for gaited horses. http://www.gaitsofgold.net/ It has really helped Vida collect up better.
    10-17-2007, 08:44 PM
Also my I suguest that you might consider part time boarding for the simple reason of that facts that you are only ridding on the weeks ends , that he is a young horse and needs all the work he can get. Plus it cuts down on expences,

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