My horse hates her tack - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 60 Old 06-28-2012, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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My horse hates her tack

When I bring out her saddle and bridle, my 4 year old, Vanna, looks at it and runs away. She lets me catch her pretty easily and bring her to where I need her to go. She stands to put the saddle on but blows out when I tighten the girth. I walk her out a few times until it fits her. She holds her head up really high when I go to put on her bridle but I pull it back down and she takes the bit (I use a full cheek snaffle). When I ride her, she responds well to what I ask, but she is still really green and I can occasionally have problems that I work on. Am I doing something that makes her hate it? Or does she just want to stand around and do nothing?
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post #2 of 60 Old 06-28-2012, 01:06 AM
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She probably hasn't gotten used to it yet. Maybe you're inadvertently hurting her with how you tighten the cinch or perhaps the bit clangs her in the mouth so she's not looking forward to the process at all.

I'm not there so I don't know, but I do know it's better to tack up slowly and carefully than fast.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #3 of 60 Old 06-28-2012, 04:25 AM
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Reasons could be physical - saddle fit, too tight girth, back pain, tooth/bit pain, etc. Or it could be purely mental - she has just learned it's not nice or it's done a bit roughly.

So number 1 I'd want to rule out/treat physical issues, to make sure it's all comfortable for her. No. 2 I'd want to turn around that association & get her happy about being tacked up & ridden. She's only 4yo, so I wouldn't be doing too much/hard riding yet anyway, & perhaps she needs more education yielding to pressure without a bit first too - I personally want a horse going very well & softly & willingly in a halter/bitless before adding a bit to the equation. But whatever the details, she's 4yo, so I do think it's important you make it all Fun & Good for her, to set her up for a happy life.
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post #4 of 60 Old 06-28-2012, 04:35 AM
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You might want an experienced horseperson to help you out and see what's going on with her. Could be your technique, could be the fit, could be some pain issues or it could be she would rather laze around instead of doing work. Whatever the problem is, you need some hands on help resolving this before it gets out of control. Good luck!
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post #5 of 60 Old 06-28-2012, 10:03 AM
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Sounds like she associates the tack with bad things. As others have already posted, check for pain and pay attention to how you are tacking her up. I would work only on tacking up until she no longer has an aversion to the tack. No riding, no lungeing with the tack until she is OK with it. Put it on, do her feet, do her mane and tail, walk her, trot her, hand graze her. Even turn her out in the paddock with full tack, no reins and stirrups, and always under supervision. Tack her up for feeding time too.
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post #6 of 60 Old 06-28-2012, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Her tack fits her very well so that's not an issue. I'll try doing it a different way and see if that works better. The only reason that I can think of for her hating it happened almost two years ago. I was riding her at a walk and my brother was near the woods with his bb gun and he shot it and she got spooked and bolted. I fell off and she ran to the barn and the saddle fell to the side. I fixed it, calmed her down, and got back on. She kept trying to bolt so I got off when she was calm enough. She ended up being fine for rides after that. I've been riding her since she was a year and a half. I haven't started cantering her until she was three. I broke her myself and I'm still working with her, so I know her best. I know that she likes being lazy but works if I ask her to. Once I'm on her, there's no problems involving the tack. I know for a fact that she won't get out of control. She's a calm horse who almost never has an issue. If she does, we fight it out and we're fine again.
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post #7 of 60 Old 06-28-2012, 02:05 PM
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I have to think that it's not the tack she dislikes but the work. Everytime she gets tacked up, she has to work. If she can avoid being tacked up, she won't have to work.

She is very young still. You may be working her to hard or too much too early. JMO, starting her at 1 1/2 is pretty early. How hard and how long do you work her? What kind of work are you doing with her? It can't be all hard work. Some should be easy and pleasurable for her.

Horses figure humans out really well. She may have your number. Are you having any other handling problems, such as her being pushy or disrespectful? My wife's horse is like yours to you. She has problems with him. However, I don't. He will try the same things with me but finds it gets him no where. I won't put up with crap from any horse. I don't ask for respect, I demand it.

How are you fixing or correcting her when she acts up? From your post, it sounds like you just keep struggling to get her tack on until she finally let's you. What I do is make them do what they want to do to avoid being tacked up but with a lot more energy than they want to. If they want to move, they're really gonna move. If they want to hold their head up, I'll make them back up until they bring their head down. If they turn their head away, I'll make them move their whole front end away.

It could be that your horse has some holes in its training. How well does your horse yield to pressure. Correcting behavior is one thing but we also need them to know what to do before getting after them when they do it wrong.
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post #8 of 60 Old 06-28-2012, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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I only canter her if she has a lot of energy and it's not too hot out. It was pretty hot today and I only made her walk. She confuses me so much. I brought my saddle and bridles out. I put my 15 month old in one and grabbed hers. She stood for me to walk over, barely moved her head, and let me put it on. I patted her and told her she was being good and walked her over to the fence. I loosely tied her on a post and grabbed my saddle. She stood for that too. I praised her again and walked her out and tightened my girth again. I got on and she was fine. I worked on teaching her barrels and I didn't have a single problem. I rode her for about 20 minutes at only a walk and got off. I guess she just doesn't want to work some days. I never over work her. If anything, I don't work her enough. I know that a year and a half is young but my vet even told me that it was fine. I only weigh 110 and my saddle is another 10-15 pounds so I'm not putting too much weight on her. I don't ride her if she doesn't feel up to it. By that, I mean there was a time where she must have twisted weird when she rolled or something and she didn't want me to touch her back. She made it very clear that it was bothering her so I didn't ride. Her and I are very close. If her gets out of line, I let her know. If I'm pushing her too hard or doing something that she really hates, she'll let me know.
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post #9 of 60 Old 06-29-2012, 12:15 AM
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Her tack fits her very well so that's not an issue.
OK, but especially as she's still immature, it should be carefully checked regularly, because things change. On a mature horse it's a good idea to check/adjust saddlefit at least 6 monthly or otherwise if there's any weight gain or loss.

I've been riding her since she was a year and a half. I haven't started cantering her until she was three.
Now that disturbs me, especially as your vet supposedly gave you the all-clear to do that! All I can think is that he's either not very knoweldgeable about equine development or he's in the racing industry or otherwise doesn't care for the horse's wellbeing. Regardless of how heavy you are, you're riding a youngster who hasn't finished developing, who's bones aren't fully set YET, let alone when she was only 18mo.

I mean there was a time where she must have twisted weird when she rolled or something and she didn't want me to touch her back. She made it very clear that it was bothering her so I didn't ride.
...or she's got chronic back problems from being ridden since she was a baby, which happened to be worse at that time. What did you do about that, aside from not ride her that day?
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post #10 of 60 Old 06-29-2012, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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Please don't criticize my vet. He said that he doesn't see it as a problem as long as it's light work. With her back, I didn't ride her that week, actually. I didn't do anything with her. it was that one time that her back her and it hasn't bothered her since. I don't ride her regularly but I'm going to start so I can get her better at whatever I want her to. Please don't criticize my training either. If you saw me ride her or rode her yourself, you would see that she's actually fun, easy, and safe to ride. If I was hurting her, she would make it clear to me. If she did make it clear, it would be during a ride or before I rode her and I would have it checked out.
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