my horse is too smart for me! Help? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-05-2009, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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my horse is too smart for me! Help?

I got a TB hunter jumper schoolmaster a little over a month ago and things are going relatively well. He was extremely pushy on the ground, we did a lot of ground work (yielding hind and fore, lateral flexion, lunging for respect, etc) and he got a lot better. Well I just moved him to his new barn a week ago and he is pitching fits and now acting like a TB.

Main problems are him refusing to stand while tied outside, refusing to stand still in crossties, starting to be pushy again. When I tie him to groom and tack up, he dances around, paws at the ground, works his mouth and sometimes threatens to bite me. I know he isn't scared, he's just throwing a tantrum. I'm not sure how to work through this (he's my first owned horse so I'm pretty new to this)- my tactic at this point is to walk him past things he acts up around over and over until he calms and then we move on. I put him in the crossties last night and made him stand until he stopped dancing, pawing, and working his mouth (20+ minutes) and then took him outside to rest/graze for a few minutes and then did ground work in the arena (he was great for this). I think he just likes testing me over and over, there are really great days and really awful days. Any suggestions? Is it just the new barn? Is my gelding secretly a mare?? Help the newby please!!
tealamutt is offline  
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-05-2009, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
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The best thing you can do is what you just did. Let him stand there and do nothing to him for a long time. When my horse gets to new places I do a lot of work 'around him' and just let him stand and get used to whats going on. (Sometimes I spend an a couple of hours cleaning the alleyways and doing random stuff without even touch him while hes tied).

When hes quiet do simple stuff like lead him in and out of his stall a billion times, back him up into the stall calmly, back him out, do circles in the alleyway, enter and exit the barn a million times... people may think you are crazy but trust me, it works haha. My horse is pretty level headed and it takes him about two weeks to settle in, I don't know your horse but it may take him longer to settle in but you will eventually get him to be calm again.

Horses will always test you but this kind of testing maybe just because you are so new to him. You always got to be 'ahead of the game' hehe.
RedRoan is offline  
post #3 of 11 Old 09-05-2009, 12:55 PM
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There is a thread a little ways down the list called "problems with my mare". I found a lot of the advice in there extremely helpful, especially in understanding things from the horse's point of view. Take a look and see if any of it helps you the way it helped me. :)
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-05-2009, 12:59 PM
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I think you are on the right track as well. Some horses never stop testing. Hopefully your boy will learn you are top herd boss and that will be the end of it.
The "patience tying" is a common training practice too.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-05-2009, 07:13 PM
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Hi there Tealamutt,

When I moved my horse from my parents ranch to the state I live in he took a while to adjust! He is also a TB, but I feel this is something that a lot of horses do when they first arrive to a new place.

I did a lot of ground work with my horse. Many of the same things you have already mentioned your doing.
My horse also had some foot and other issues when he arrived.

Slowly he started to come around and act more like himself.
When he arrived I walked him all over the place. In every area and every arena the facility has.

So keep up the good work and I guess the main thing is to be patient.
My horse is also in the process of learning that pushiness does not fly with me. lol
One day at a time.
Half Pass
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-05-2009, 07:21 PM
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Haha! I totally think my new Paint is too smart for me. Well, almost. I've caught on to his little tricks :) Just do ground work and try to work him out. My little four year old is ALWAYS trying to sneak a snack of grass when I'm lunging him. I've began where I cluck him forward, and he doesn't listen, then I crack the lunge whip a little. He usually picks his head up. But lately, he tries to just duck the other way - Which throws my balance off! I keep behind him now, no matter what kind of ground work I'm doing. Don't necessarily show him who's boss, but show him that when he's on your time, he has to listen. He gets to eat grass and do whatever he wants for the rest of the day anyways!

You basically have to take steps and show him that you aren't meant to be walked all over - He thinks you're a pushover right now is how my trainer put it with me. Which, when she mentioned it, I totally understood. His little antics now I learned to stay calm and just fix it, rather than get frustrated.
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-06-2009, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Miloismyboy View Post
There is a thread a little ways down the list called "problems with my mare". I found a lot of the advice in there extremely helpful, especially in understanding things from the horse's point of view. Take a look and see if any of it helps you the way it helped me. :)
Thanks for the tip Milo, that thread was incredibly helpful to me. Thanks for all the other suggestions on here too, this board is so great and supportive!!

I had a much better day with my boy yesterday- I think the small successes the night before payed off. He was still a stroppy man but kept his head a little better and was quite affectionate after our ride. I put a friend on him after a lot of ground exercises and me riding for about 15 minutes and he was so ginger and careful with her (she is very green). Every time she'd try out a rising trot and start to lose her seat, he'd carefully slow down and stop, waiting for her to rebalance and ask him to move forward. He was definitely trying to take care of her. I think once we develop a lot more trust he is going to be that sensitive kind horse I know looking at me through his incredibly gentle eyes.
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-09-2009, 04:28 PM
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Well, that's a pretty sudden change in behavior considering the reason provided (location change). I'm guessing that there's more at work here. Do people other than you handle him at this new location? If so, and they are ambiguous in their cues or treat him differently than you do, it's possible that that is contributing to the problems with your horse.
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-09-2009, 11:57 PM
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Actually, a location change can bring on a whole host of behavioral problems, especially if they were ever present before.

To the OP, I think you are on the right track; just be more persistant than he is, and always end on a good note.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
mom2pride is offline  
post #10 of 11 Old 09-10-2009, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Well I found out that he was being fed alfalfa instead of grass hay. I think it was making him high, because now he has been off of it for almost a week and we have been working a lot on the ground and he is coming right back to his usual self. Still having some issues with the cross ties though, so I wonder if he hasn't had some bad experiences there. I hate jumping to that as an explanation but a trainer friend helped me out today and came to that conclusion, given that he basically explodes when you try to cross tie him. Coming along in all other areas though, so we'll just have to keep working on it! Thanks for all the great advice.
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