Ring sour

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Ring sour

This is a discussion on Ring sour within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Horse training tips for ring sour horses
  • Working with ring sour horses

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  • 3 Post By waresbear
  • 1 Post By Cherie

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    06-28-2012, 09:15 PM
Ring sour

Lately my horse has become a little ring sour; when we near the arena gate he gets anxious and tries to not go in, but once he's in there he's okay. I take him on trail rides and after almost every ride I'll take him out of the arena and let him walk around our property. He never used to do this and I don't want him to get worse to the point where he won't do anything. I just want him to be happy with what he's doing. What can I do?
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    06-28-2012, 09:28 PM
What do you do when you ride in the arena?

If you just go round....and round....and round....and round....and round..... of course he's going to get very bored, very quickly.
Like if you went to school and had a teacher with a monotone voice, that made you do your 2x tables every, single, day.
    06-28-2012, 09:30 PM
I do HUS; I don't always ride on the rail, I do lots of circles, turns, transitions...and sometimes I jump, which he really seems to enjoy. Besides jumping, what are some more interesting things I could do with him?
    06-28-2012, 09:35 PM
When I find that my horse starts to get board or we have been doing the same thing for awhile I will do some figure 8's, weave him through some barrels, do some ground poles, practice stopping... Just go back to some basics that really get him thinking and listening :)
    06-28-2012, 09:42 PM
Cones, gates, poles, bridges. In fact, do those outside of the arena. Ditch the arena riding for a good while and work his butt outside of it. Use the arena to relax, he will change his mind.
    06-29-2012, 12:05 AM
Super Moderator
Getting arena sour is not nearly as much about what you do in the arena as your timing and what and how you leave.

What I get from your original post is that you ride out of the arena and quit riding somewhere else. You do almost the exact opposite of what I teach people that ride with me to do. When you are done riding, you ride your horse out and go out on the trails and then quit riding. It is my opinion that you are rewarding your horse for leaving the arena.

I usually work and 'drill' horses out in the pasture or on the trail when I can. When I am finished riding, I come back in to the arena, ride around a while and cool the horse out there if he is hot and then quit in the arena. I will ride a horse to the point in the arena farthest from the gate and stand quietly there for at least 5 minutes. Then, I dismount, loosen the girth and lead the horse out of the gate.

If I am working with a barrel racer, I have them walk the pattern, stop at the 3rd barrel, dismount, loosen the girth and lead the horse out -- using a different gate if possible. If their horse is hot, I will always have them cool it out while walking the barrel pattern and will always have them lead the horse out.

If I am working with someone over fences, the horse is cooled off walking around the jumps and again, dismounted at the point farthest from the gate and led out.

If I was working with a roping horse, he would always be ridden into the box, stand for a few minutes and be dismounted there.

Are you getting the point? The arena should be the last place he is ridden. It should be the place that he is walked, rested, cooled out and always dismounted.

Every horse should be anxious to go into the arena and should never dread it as place to only work hard.

When I used to show, as soon as I rode a horse out of the show-pen, I went to a work area and rode the horse a lot harder than I did in the show-ring. I NEVER rode to the barn or the trailer and put the horse up. If you want to make a horse anxious to leave a ring and to dread going into a ring, that is the way to do it.
    06-29-2012, 10:23 AM
I've dismounted and ended a few times in the arena, but not enough. Thank you, I will do that.
Would it still be okay to work in the arena, then cool off and end there, or do you need to work outside the arena?
    06-29-2012, 10:31 AM
Super Moderator
You can work inside an arena. The more things that you do outside of one the better off you are, but there is no problem with arena work. Just end it pleasantly, cool off there, stand around in there and always dismount there whether you work there or not.

If I know I am in for a fight with a horse, I really try to settle the problem out in a corner of the pasture or in an opening along the trail. This is a rare thing now that I only ride my own horses and do not take in outside horses, but it used to be a really big deal when I trained all the spoiled junk the public brought me.

In all of the years that I have done it that way, I have always had horses that had their ears up and looked forward to going into an arena. It really works, even with old lesson horses that make several trips a day to the arena.
howrsegirl123 likes this.
    06-29-2012, 10:06 PM
Thank you so much!

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