Retraining our horse?
 
 

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Retraining our horse?

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    04-30-2011, 05:04 PM
  #1
Banned
Retraining our horse?

Hi all! I'm pretty new to this forum.

We have a two-year-old American Paint Horse that has a bit of Arabian in her, so she is naturally high-strung. She has quite the "attitude" - if you must call it that. I'm afraid we've been letting her dominate over us for the past few months and it shows..hopefully with some consistent training and work we can change that.

We sent our horse, Roxy, to the trainers to be broke last year in July. When she got home, she was the best horse I've ever rode. Willing, trustful, responsive. Roxy's very smart, I only had to teach her something a few times before she got the hang of it. She rode absolutely perfect for the first few weeks.

But unfortunately her smartness kicked in and she bolted on me. Now, I've never had to deal with a bolting horse (although I know now) so I was thrown off and Roxy won. She bolted on my brother, too, and won over him also. Pretty soon Roxy started being in control and we didn't know quite what to do about it, being inexperienced ourselves.

A few weeks ago we got to know our neighbors really well, they have at least 20 horses and are very very helpful with our horses. They sold us two well-broke geldings, actually. Anyways, we brought Roxy to them and she tried bolting on them as well. They said pretty much to sell her. She'd be too much for us to handle and too dangerous...

But we don't quite want to give up on her. She's a great horse once she learns to respect you. So recently I've been riding her bareback with only a halter on. She does so so well, you'd never imagine her bolting... She neck reins, stops, backs up, and turns smoothly. She's just a little lazy. I feel like she's a ticking bomb, just gaining our trust and then waiting to explode. But that's probably just me, because it's so shocking to be able to ride Roxy like this.

We've been thinking the two geldings we can just ride around bareback have helped calm Roxy down quite a bit. She seems them getting praise and wants attention, so when its her turn she wants to be like them. She rides just fine with them around.

But we haven't tried the saddle and bridle on her yet. She saddles up fine, but I'm scared riding her like that so soon will bring back memories.

So what I plan to do is keep riding bareback for a few more weeks, and eventually start to ride with the bridle out in a little bigger area in the pasture. I don't want to get her in the wide open quite yet, I want to stick to confined areas - but we'll go bigger over time. I just want to take things slowly, so that she knows there is no reason to bolt.

I know she'll test us by bolting again, but hopefully now that we know how to disengage her hindquarters, we can try to work through the problem. I just don't want to quite sell her yet.

Does this sound like a good plan? Any advice? What would you do?


The two geldings are named Royal and Flip. They are very well trained. I'm learning off of them each day and transferring that to Roxy..I expect Roxy to behave as the geldings do. The more she watches them (especially when I ride) the more she wants to do what they do. But she's still high-strung out of the pasture...you can't work with her anywhere outside a fenced area...suggestions?

(Thanks for reading, sorry it was so long - forgive all typos xD)
     
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    04-30-2011, 06:00 PM
  #2
Weanling
Maybe she is in pain? Does her tack fit ok?
     
    04-30-2011, 09:51 PM
  #3
Banned
We haven't had the saddle personally fit to her, no. It could be the saddle...if we hop on her with the saddle we'll know that's the problem because she's been doing pretty well bareback, though we haven't done too much with her yet.
     
    04-30-2011, 10:35 PM
  #4
Green Broke
I'm confused. How old was she when she went for training if she's only 2 now?
You said she was great for a few weeks after her initial training then got bad. Did you work with her & the trainer so you would know how to ride her? Can you take her back to the trainer so he/she can assess the problem?
     
    04-30-2011, 11:41 PM
  #5
Super Moderator
If Roxy shows any improvement since you got the two geldings it is NOT from watching them and mimicing them. This is totally unlike horse behavior. Rather YOU are learning from the geldings, so that when you get on Roxy, you are bringing a greater confidecne to her and she learns from THAT.

Horses are intensely affected by the attitude of the person who rides them. If the rider has confidence, the horse can draw from that. If not, the hrose is left with no source of leadership, so they take over. And this sounds like what Roxy did soon after leaving the leadership of the trainer.

If you want to keep this mare, you would be smart to take her back to the trainers, and YOU spend some time with this trainer watching and learning from him/her. Have the trainer train you , so you can keep up the training of your mare when she comes home.

A bolting horse is not to be laughed at and if you feel she is a ticking time bomb, then she may act on that. Who wants to ride that?
     
    05-01-2011, 12:12 AM
  #6
Banned
When Roxy was at the trainer's, we went and visited and watched how he rode and rode the exact same way. I think it was a matter of Roxy testing us and we let her get away with it.

I do agree about the rider having more confidence, I feel much more comfortable on Roxy now that I've been riding the two geldings, and I agree that it helps to ride with confidence.

Tonight I rode her in our barn, probably a 8ftx8ft area, not big at all, but perfect for doing circles. And I did tons of circles in both directions with her. She was so so calm. She gives her head nicely and turns very well and lightly. She seems like an absolute pro at backing up. At first when I pulled back on the reins, she wouldn't do anything, so I just rubbed my legs up and down against her sides and instantly she tucked her head and backed up. I swear, she tucked in her head so well that her chin was nearly touching her chest.

Oh, and we rode with the bridle. Seems to be no problem. I'll probably ride her for another week in this little area so that we can deal with any minor issues before they become big problems.

Like, for example, she did have a bit of a head tossing issue. She messed with the bit and jigged her head for a little while tonight, and normally she would've gotten a bolt out of that if we had been in a larger area, but I turned her in still tighter circles and disengaged her hindquarters until she gave her head nicely, then let her go back to the larger circle. So we got over the head tossing problem for one night. I think if we just work on the smaller problems like that, it'll prevent them from becoming worse, you know?

I'm not sure about riding her bareback in an open area. I'm afraid that once she sees the pasture she'll want to run. Do you think I should try riding her bareback outside while she's doing so well with that, or rather get her used to the saddle so I have more control? If I did try just a bit bareback, I'd then get her used to the saddle and go from there. I'd ride with just the bridle otherwise.

Our "outside" is a little cement area right outside of the barn which she also rides fine on, and then right adjoined to that is a 15ftx15ft mini-pasture area before you head on into the bigger pastures. I think I should try riding her in the little small area and do the same thing we did in the barn - circles. See how she does. Then maybe start moving into a bigger space, just a few laps, and growing from there. Maybe having someone lead her a lap in the bigger pasture at first. But first I'd start in that little 15ftx15ft area...does that sound alright? Any other suggestions?
     
    05-01-2011, 12:56 AM
  #7
Showing
I would not ride her bareback until every bit of that bolting business is behind her and she is much more broke.

One thing I wonder, how often and how hard did you ride her when you brought her home? The only reason that I ask is that, as a trainer myself, I know there can be a very big attitude change for the worse if the horse goes home and is only ridden lightly 2 or 3 times a week or less. At the trainer, she was likely being ridden fairly hard probably no less than 4 times a week. This may have all started because she was fresh.

From the sound of it to me, she probably is a little bit too much horse for you. I know that you don't want to hear that, but a greenbroke horse (especially one who is naturally high strung) is a recipe for disaster with a rider who isn't experienced enough. If you are really determined to keep this filly and help her to get better, I really do think that you will need some help from someone who is very experienced with horses and training; whether it be the next door neighbor or a professional. Bolting is a very dangerous habit and it can be very hard to get a handle on it once it's started.
     
    05-01-2011, 10:18 AM
  #8
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerxy    
Tonight I rode her in our barn, probably a 8ftx8ft area, not big at all, but perfect for doing circles. And I did tons of circles in both directions with her.
Oh, and we rode with the bridle. Seems to be no problem. I'll probably ride her for another week in this little area so that we can deal with any minor issues before they become big problems.

Like, for example, she did have a bit of a head tossing issue. She messed with the bit and jigged her head for a little while tonight, and normally she would've gotten a bolt out of that if we had been in a larger area, but I turned her in still tighter circles and disengaged her hindquarters until she gave her head nicely, then let her go back to the larger circle.

Our "outside" is a little cement area right outside of the barn which she also rides fine on, and then right adjoined to that is a 15ftx15ft mini-pasture area before you head on into the bigger pastures. I think I should try riding her in the little small area and do the same thing we did in the barn - circles. See how she does. Then maybe start moving into a bigger space, just a few laps, and growing from there. Maybe having someone lead her a lap in the bigger pasture at first. But first I'd start in that little 15ftx15ft area...does that sound alright? Any other suggestions?
Was the 8'x8 'measurement a mistake? That would be a tiny stall. All she could do in that would be a tight turn, no bigger or smaller circles.
Again I'm confused.
     
    05-01-2011, 10:30 AM
  #9
Foal
Bolting is a huge problem and even the most confident of riders loss confidence when they have been bolted on.

You sound like you are nervous of her 'ticking time bomb', and who wouldn't she has cleary scared and out smarted you. 'Joe' [myhorse] bolted on me once, and I was scared to ride him in open areas, but I worked myself through it by going back to that place lunging, then riding him and that's what you need to do. You need to ride her through it, she may be bolting, but keep her going; make her tired , and be the boss. If you think its the tack, don;t waste time, and get it fitted properly, if the tack is not the problem lunge her in open spaces.
     
    05-01-2011, 10:37 AM
  #10
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by natisha    
Was the 8'x8 'measurement a mistake? That would be a tiny stall. All she could do in that would be a tight turn, no bigger or smaller circles.
It was probably more of an 11ftx11ft space, I'm terrible with measurements. I wanted to start out small so she would have no intentions of bolting.

I could try riding her today with the saddle and see what she does, if that's what you suggest. Would you suggest lunging her with the saddle on in the place we're going to ride, or without the saddle? Would lunging get her more hyped up and tell her "Hmm, I'm running in this place now, so am I supposed to when she's on me?" or would it not do that?
     

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