Need some help *understanding* my horse
I bought Red in May. He is 6 years old. I have spent the entire summer trying to figure him out, as he's much different personality-wise than any horse I've had before. His previous owners spoiled him and he never really even left the farm, so he's been having some big changes with me being his new owner.
One issue that is arising that I do not like (and probably I am not handling right) is that he sometimes threatens to rear. Rearing is a NO in my book and I do NOT want him to learn how to do it. It has only happened a handful of time, but yesterday was one of those days.
I was over at a neighbors house (not quite 2 miles away) because he lets me use his outdoor arena. I practiced our barrel pattern, as he's still learning, and then my neighbor rounded up his steers so that I could track one around the arena on Red (which he did very much seem to enjoy, and quite cowy with ears pinned!).
When we were done, I was just sitting on Red, talking to my neighbor. He had just gotten a good work out so he stood nicely for the first 5-10 minutes. Then I can tell he doesn't want to stand anymore. Red is very much a go-getter. He's never been one to want to stand still, no matter how tired he is. I never have to ask this horse a second time to GO. He goes. However, I wanted to continue talking to my neighbor. Red continued to protest when all I wanted him to do was just stand nicely. It wasn't exactly a rear that time, but it was a little crow-hopping thing. Either way, not acceptable. I worked him in a few small circles for a few minutes, and then asked him to stand still again. He did initially, but then eventually wanted to go again.
Well it was about time for me to get going home at that point, so on our way out of the arena, I wanted to practice opening and closing the gate (like you would in competitive trail). I did it when I got to the arena, and Red did pretty good, despite his first time doing it on an actual gate.
Well him being pretty "annoyed" we'll say from being made to stand still already, he wasn't liking having to be patient working the gate. When I was attempting to close the gate, he DID come up off the ground a little on his front feet. Technicially a REAR. And it's my fault for that one because I didn't do anything to reprimand him necessaryily, because I just wanted him to be calm next to that gate! I could tell I wasn't going to be able to get that gate closed, as he just wasn't even listening to me at that point, so I made him do some sidepassing nicely in the direction I wanted to go, and called that task a day.
On our almost 2 mile ride him, he wanted to go-go-go-go-go. Therefore, I wanted him to WALK. And frequently STOP and STAND. He didn't like it.
I'm thinking in my head that if I want to stop and just stand, he should. Period. Looking back now, maybe this isn't the best approach for his personality. Maybe I should just accept that he's a go-go-go-go type of horse and not ask him to stand still if he doesn't want to? But then that's letting him have his way......
When we're about a mile from home, I asked him to stand again. This time, he comes up off the ground a little with his front feet. REAR. It's not much, but it's still a rear. I'm ready with my hands low and to the side. I pull his head to the left, and make him MOVE his feet. NOW. In a circle, for a good 10 seconds, and getting a good firm verbal reprimand as well. He stood pretty nice after that. And then we continued walking home.
I was pretty furious with him at this point, so I just walked him the rest of the way home so I wouldn't do something stupid in my anger.
Just to note, when I ask him to stand still, there is NO rein pressure on his mouth. When I ask him to stop, he gets the seat cue first, then the verbal cue, then the rein cue (in that order). I release the rein pressure immeidately when his feet stop moving. I keep my hands low and/or near the saddle horse; never up in the air.
Also, I've been working really extra hard all summer to have good soft hands and always release pressure immediately. Because he really hung on his snaffle bit when I bought him (I don't like to blame the previous owners completely, but...). We've been working a ton on flexing both way, breaking at the poll, and giving to the bit. He's improved tons, but he still can improve tons more.
I suspect because I am not letting him move in any direction (forward, backward, sidepassing) and just asking him to stand, he feels he's gotta go somewhere (UP).
Sorry this turned into such a long story, but I am still trying to "figure him out".
Should I just not expect him to stand still, because of his personality?
Or should he be made to stand still, no matter what?
Opinions? Thoughts? Advice? Have you had a horse like this?
∞•*˚ Βгįťţαňγ ˚*•∞
It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.