New TB - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 09-19-2011, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Palm Coast, FL
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New TB

I purchased a rescue TB last weekend, and he's starting to give me a bit of trouble. I want to nip this in the bud before I get a problem horse on my hands. He is very sweet and typically responsive, but I can tell he's pushing my buttons at the moment and I want to elicit the correct response to avoid a dangerous situation for myself and/or others. I'm a fairly experienced rider and have had to earn respect before, but I am a little hesitant since he was previously abused. First of all, he is not responding to halter leading...I go to put the halter on and he completely ignores me and tries to continue grazing. I refused to accept this, and popped him on the shoulder...he moved sideways and became very hesitant to let me near him again. As we are walking, he is very slow (which I have no problem with) but lately he has begun to halt completely and it takes great effort to get him moving again. I have refrained from popping him again because I don't want to increase his fear, but I also need to get his respect.
Under the saddle, he has begun to avoid arena work and fights me on turns. Other than that, he is responsive and a pleasure to ride. However, I feel that his avoidance and refusal are disrespectful as well. It's been a long time since I've longed a horse, but I am willing to attempt that as well if necessary. Basically, I am fearful of using a crop or whip because of his extreme reaction and I don't want to lose his trust this early in the game. I am thinking I will be working on groundwork for a bit...
AshleyCL is offline  
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post #2 of 4 Old 09-19-2011, 08:12 PM
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I'd say take a step back and do some seriouse ground work for a month or two. If he's not even responding properly to haltering and leading, you probably need to go back to the basics.

For haltering. Talk to him when you're coming to get him. Try to get his attention as you approach, and when you go to put his halter on, slide it over his nose, buckle it, then give him a nice scratch (wherever his sweet spot happens to be. My mare loves her jaw scratched, he might like his poll rubbed, or his neck.) as a reward. When you're about to lead him away, turn towards him, not away from him. Pulling a 1,000 pound animal is going to be futile, but pressure almost always works. If he doesn't move out, press against his shoulder with your body, and use your leadline to direct him which way you want him to go (bring your rope under his neck and tug that way) while pressing. He should eventually take a step that way, and that's when you begin to move forewards. Always make sure you angle his face in the direction you want to go. A horse follows his nose.

When he stops while leading, use the ask, tell, demand technique. First, jiggle your rope a little bit to catch his attention and ask him to move forewards again. If he doesn't, do as with haltering- push into him, turning his head in the direction you want him to go. If he still won't move, demand that he does. Begin forcing him to circle (pivoting in his back legs, not walking around in a circle), giving him the option of walking forewards after each circle. Do this until he complies, walk him a few steps, then praise him and give him a scratch, or, if you use treats- a small tidbit. Continue forewards.

I would also focus on yeilding to pressure and desensatising. It sounds like he hasn't had much experience with people, and what he HAS had has all been negative. You need his full trust and attention.

Begin with running the leadline over him, repeating yourself wherever he is nervouse, and flicking it around him. Never touch him with it when flicking. Then try using a whip. He may act up more with this, but just continue your work. Flick it, twirl it, rub his legs and back with it.

Teach him to yeild to pressure at the poll, the bridge of his nose, the shoulder, the hip, and to back up. Teach him to flex his neck for you when you put pressure on him with the rope.

When he doesn't listen to you, and doesn't respect you, use the ask, tell, demand method again. Ask him to listen to you by trying to get his attention. If that doesn't work, begin to get firmer and firmer. It may take a swat or two (I would advise using your hand, not a whip, as this could make a bigger problem for you later on) to get him listening.

Once his ground manners are good, then begin his saddle training again. If you did his yielding exercises properly, he should be MUCH more responsive afterwards, to both your seat, legs, and hands.

I'm not sure what you're thinking lunging will do for the moment I don't really see it doing any good, especially if neither of you are experienced. Just stick with the ground work.

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them are meant to stay till the end.
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post #3 of 4 Old 09-19-2011, 08:27 PM
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Location: Connecticut
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First, congrats on your TB. I have nothing but good things to say about them. Most are very smart with hearts of gold. They do need strong leaders, but it sounds like you're very capable of being a good leader for him.

I agree with Endiku. All of those things are signs of the beginnings of the same problem, respect. You don't have to put fear into him to accomplish respect. You do need to move his feet and let him know you can put him wherever you want, hence the lead mare. Once you do get him in a halter, use a long line, 14' or more and work on getting him changing direction when you say, standing in a patch of grass without trying to graze, and sending him between you and somewhat tight spaces, (something like you and a fence). Be very clear about what you want from him. While they are smart, TB's can get quickly frustrated if they do not understand what you want. Reward every try. If you feel he knows what you want but is just blowing you off, do not be afraid to pop him with the end of the rope to give him the idea. Try not to get hung up on his previous treatment. Horse's don't associate one person with another. He will greatly appreciate someone who is clear and consistent with him even if it involves some discipline every now and then.

When you're leading him, pay special attention to your own body position. Keep his shoulder at your shoulder. If you walk next to his head, he can swing his head around and pop you, and of course you don't want to be further back than the shoulder for the obvious reason. Make sure you are walking confidently with your shoulders square. Most people are very surprised how horses read into subtle body language. I can tell my horse whether he's allowed to reach down and graze by simply standing there and slouching my shoulders. If I'm standing square, he knows he is to stand there and do nothing. If he still plants his feet, either walk him in tiny circles or pop him with the end of the lead once until he gets the idea.

Got any pics of you new boy?

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #4 of 4 Old 09-20-2011, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Palm Coast, FL
Posts: 88
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Thanks so much for your input! I am definitely going to start from square one and get his respect. I will be trying these techniques today and see how he responds to them. He's such a sweet, calm boy that I think he should respond well. It just comes a surprise, because I'm used to flightier horses acting this way, and he was so receptive and compliant for the first week. I suppose this is his way of testing me, though. This is my Hank :)

Last edited by AshleyCL; 09-20-2011 at 07:27 AM.
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