New rider questions - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-06-2011, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
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New rider questions

My dd is loving her horse (14yo gelding). She rides him every day. He has made huge improvements since he's gotten settled in. But, we have a few issues.

He seems to be a little "home sour", when he gets more than 100 yds from home he tries to come back. I've been instructing dd to MAKE him go, keep turning him back, not let him win.

When she does want to come back, when he gets in that 100 yd radius he tries to run home, she couldn't stop him today (she knows what to do if this happens, but didn't remember in the moment). I told her to pull one rein around and make him stop that way, and walk the opposite direction (away from home) and try coming back again... repeating until he walks home like a good boy.

He spooked a tiny bit for the first time today, I brushed him, then threw the brush on the porch, the clank of the brush scared him and he jumped a few feet and got jumpy. I repeated the brush throw several more times, he jumped every time, but it did get less scary for him. He has never acted scared of anything prior to this.

How do you think is the best way to handle these situations?

We are new to horses and really enjoying learning about them and being around Tucker. Dd is 10 and doing really great.
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-06-2011, 05:48 PM
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hey did right by the brush just keep doing it. if something scares your horse just keep doing it until he relaxes and doesn't respond to it. whatever you do do not let the horse run back home you told your dd right just turn the horse and walk away from home. what I do when my horses do that I turn them around I pick a spot lets say a light pole thats 10-20ft away and i'll walk the horse to that point then I'll turn the horse around and go home and repeat as needed till the horse decides he wants to walk home
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-06-2011, 06:14 PM
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You sound like you're on the right track!

My first horse was terribly barn sour when I first got her. Keep doing the one rein stops when he starts to run home. Have both hands on the reins, slide one hand down and pull back to your hip. If he doesn't listen, bump really hard with the outside leg. If you are consistent with this and don't ever let him go any faster than a walk heading towards home--unless he is being obedient and listening to you--he should get over this fairly quickly if you are consistent.

As far as him being jumpy, he could just be getting used to his new surroundings. If you've had him for a while now and since he is 14 years old, I think he could use a bit of desensitizing. Good for you for keeping on tossing that brush around. As long as your horse is in a safe surrounding, let him experience a whole bunch of new stuff. Simple things as flinging a lead rope over their back, waving your arms in the air can really spook a horse. The more strange things you put your horse through, not only the more docile he'll become but he'll gain confidence not only in himself but in his owner. :)

Good luck!

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas Edison
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-06-2011, 06:20 PM
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About the brush thing, you're absolutely right. With my horse, I took whatever he was scared of, to his nose (or the nose to what scared him), until he was comfortable with it. So try throwing the brush after he smelled it, from his nose to the porch, that might help.

When he's trying to go somewhere you don't want, there are 2 things I usually reccomend:
1 - you did it, put him into a circle until he stops, then take him the way you want. Do it as many times as needed, until he understands he is not the boss.
2 - work a bit harder before going out with him, make him a bit tired, so even if he pulls somewhere he won't be as strong, and the rider has more time to react (very usefull with kids and new riders).

Besides this, you can only be pacient. Horses are a bit like people, each one reacts to the same thing in a different way, and takes a different amount of time to learn new things. So take your time, get to know your horse, and in a few months not only will he have stopped this, as you will be able to predict these types of episodes by the smallest changes in his behaviour.
Hope it helps some ;)

Good luck

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~ Winston Churchill"
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-06-2011, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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We've had him a little less than 2 weeks, but have only 10 days of consecutive riding (we needed help at first). He isn't perfect, but we are really learning a lot. Reading this forum is helping a lot. Dd is planning on starting tomorrow to really focus on little issues. We have a list started of things to work on him with. Here they are if anyone wants to give specific advice on what to do about each.

1. Of course, the not wanting to leave--she plans to go back and forth in the uncomfortable range out of his comfort zone, hoping this will work on the not wanting to leave and running back issue. (once she gets him through the "zone" he does fine, it's just the little stretch where he really, really doesn't want to go any further)

2. He isn't perfect when mounting, dd is short and has a hard time getting her leg up into the stirrup and he doesn't stand really well grounded, he'll move around on her.--She plans on mounting and dismounting over and over.

3 He doesn't really like to cross water--she wants to work on that by doing it over and over.

4. See the running thing... He sometimes is hard to stop, she needs to learn to one rein stop him and I think she should work on spinning him in a circle...

5. We are going to throw the brush some more, he never got completely over it today. :)

Last edited by Porch Swinger; 01-06-2011 at 06:36 PM.
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-06-2011, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Imihsas View Post
2 - work a bit harder before going out with him, make him a bit tired, so even if he pulls somewhere he won't be as strong, and the rider has more time to react (very usefull with kids and new riders).

Good luck
We have just been getting him out of the field and putting his saddle on. We've never ground worked him (or any horse). And really don't know what to do.. If even acts up a little, I'll spin him around me and make his back feet cross, but that is the extent of it. What are some basic exercises to start with?
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-06-2011, 06:40 PM
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1. Yep, I would keep taking him out there. Since he is new to the surroundings, he may just be nervous out away from the barn. I wouldn't go out there to work the living snot out of him but definitely be consistent in circling him to a stop when he starts bolting home.

2. I'm 21 and still pretty short and have a hard time mounting without something to stand up on! If he's not standing still while she mounts there are many things you can try. One is to have him stand next to a building or wall so he can't swing his hindquarters over. You can also tighten up the outside rein so if he does try to circle around her, his hindquarters will go towards her instead of away. Something key to remember is make sure the saddle isn't twisting really bad on his back while mounting causing him discomfort. As well, patience and practice is only going to truly solve this problem. Make sure he is standing square and back him up if he moves off and she's not ready.

3. You can also practice sending him through water on the ground. Many horses respond better when you do it first on the ground.

4. When you are doing the one rein stop and the horse has fully stopped, make sure she doesn't give the rein to him right away. He can't be pulling on the reins and putting the whole weight of his head into her hands. Wait until he is not pulling and gives his face to her; he will reach his head a little closer to his stomach.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas Edison
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