I will start by talking a little about Pro:
In order (I'm not 100% sure when he was started under saddle though)
25 year old registered Appaloosa Gelding
- breeding stud
- gelded (8 years old)
- Used to tease the mares
- Started under saddle (I was told they just hopped on and rode, he knows nothing specific, when going down hills or with contact on the bit he popped his nose and sped up, etc. )
- Used as an endurance/trail horse
- Really bad habits - went to training
- Training - didn't go too well. When you took him in an arena he ran backwoods to the gate and went through it once I think...Hard mouth, hates contact with the bit, rears, finally he jumped off a bank with his trainer. (My riding instructor thinks it was fear, because horses normally don't jump off banks...). Had to lead him with a stud chain
- Got hurt (when he jumped off the bank), so owner going to send him to slaughter house
- My BO said I'd want him
- had to help him on the trailer (he could barley walk), got him an acupuncture treatment half way to my place...He could walk again when he got off the trailer
NO ONE told me I was given a CRAZY horse
Turns out he's the best thing that ever happened to me!
- He was pushy and stubborn
- Couldn't touch him when a mare was in heat
- Reared when you wanted him to stand still (only did it to me 2 times, my friend 1 time, and my BO 1 time)
- Hated the bit and still had a tough mouth.
- And would lay down when he had to stand tied
I got him and he was apparently a changed horse from the time he stepped off the trailer
I though they were kidding at first. Anyway...I got him in a few months he was better, then after a year he was ok, then at 1 1/2 years he was good, and from about 2 years were bonded, and he is 100% trustworthy (as much as you can trust a horse). And 3 year were just completely good.
- Now, I ride him in a halter and lead, everywhere including in the arena
- He can be around a mare in heat, even be ridden behind
- He was always bombproof, but we ride on busy highways, cross bridges, trails, etc.
- He does not rear
- Just a very nice horse
- Stands tied
I do everything but specific arena work and showing with him. Pro is still a bit pushy, and impatient, but when it comes down to it he's just a good boy. The thing with Pro is I have NEVER made/make him do ANYTHING. We just spent do much time together, and he's good now. He just changed on his own. He knows hes important.
So, what I would like to do is some showmanship and halter with him.
Here are his current problems:
- Slightly pushy
- Only sometimes walks right at your shoulder (he likes to be ahead or behind)
- Takes a few steps to stop after you do
- Hasn't got a whole lot of "try"
So, today I got the idea about possibly showing him...
What I did was used a little bit of Doug Mills "Training Through Trust", and just what I felt would work at the time.
I asked him to come forward when I asked, by:
- By standing in the position to walk off, then I added pressure to the halter and clucked. If he moved off we would walk. If he didn't I would start by moving my hand towards his shoulder, then going through with it and just touched him with the end of the lead rope, the I slowly increased the pressure until he moved off, then we walked.
So I got that fine, and he gets the idea.
- I really didn't know what to do when he got ahead of me. I tried making him stop and slowly back up every time he passed me, then I tried stopping and slapping him on the chest with the lead rope (hard enough to make it mean something) until he backed up a few steps. Both ways didn't even make him think about it...He stops, just about two feet ahead of me. I tried turning 90 degrees myself, then making him turn his hindquarters around and so on, until when he turned with me he was in the correct position.
For backing up (This worked REALLY well) I did this (Kinda from Doug's method):
- I would add a small amount of pressure to the halter, then I would say back and click twice, back and cluck twice (something he knows, he's just slow as molasses doing it), then if he wouldn't move I'd slowly bring my hand up, then move to the lead rope, and start just so he could feel it, then move up, and as soon as he did I'd release. By the time the whole session was done he backed up more willingly and without me having to go past the movement of my hand:)
Now, I know things don't happen overnight, and it may take an hour or a month, but shouldn't I have at least had a slight improvement, or see him kinda thik about it?
1) Do you think it's possible for me to take him to some small local shows?
2) What should I do about him being pushy to lead, and stop?
3) What can I do to get him a little more enthusiastic about his work?
4) Is it too late, and pointless to do any of this with him?
5) What do you think about how I handled everything tonight?
6) Because he's older, how much time would you work at this, and how often?
7) Anything else, what am I forgetting, doing that I shouldn't be doing, or should be doing?
Is this a bad idea?
He's just never been taught these things before. And has changed so much I would love to just top it off and get him to have a little more try, and not be quite so pushy.
So, you know everything about him, which I thought might help with the different training ideas I get...?
He thought me really quick that horses are stronger then a human, and if they DONT want to so something they WONT. I think his trainer figured that out too when he jumped off the bank:) This doesn't mead hes a terrible aggressive horse, but when I first got him I didn't respect horses like I should have, and I went overboard with things. He showed me the boundaries I think is what I'm trying to say...
I know I'll never be able to ride him in shows, but I'm ok with that because he was a therapy horse for a week last summer, and I rode him 3 times in the arena, and he was perfect. He was just like he is on the trails, a nice low and relaxed head, responsive, and he even picked up both leads (I think I just got lucky though
How does he look for a halter horse?
Thanks, and sorry it's so long!!!
Edit: Oops, I sure wrote a lot. Sorry again, but thanks for reading.