Roundpen sour? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-25-2009, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Roundpen sour?

Alright, so I have an 11 year old OTTB gelding. He was raced for almost ten years and did extremely well, but surprisingly I've had no real problems re-training him. He has a very collected trot and he walks at a normal horse pace, but he isn't really ready to branch out in to our barn arena (which is rodeo sized so its quite large) but he is completely round pen sour. I can only lunge him a few circles at a time before he starts to get confused and turn his butt to me, throw his chest at the rails and stop at a few choice spots along the rail. I've had other, more experience people try at lunging him, and he seems to do the same thing. As for riding, forget about it. As long as he's in the round pen, he runs straight to the gate and tries to nudge it open. If he can't get out, he throws fits, spins around, and doesn't listen to me at all. I don't ride him with a bit, I use a hackamore, and from the ground on draw reins he listens well to it. Any help?
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-25-2009, 11:07 PM
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Forget working him in the round pen. What you are describing is a horse who is very unconfident and he needs you to take a step back and really focus on getting the relationship right. A lot of times, round pens have ruined more horses than they've helped.
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-26-2009, 12:10 AM
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I agree. Racehorses spend the majority of their young lives being worked to death in roundpens. It may not neccesarily be abusive, but that's the first thing implanted into their young minds before being locked up in stalls constantly and forced to run in yet more circles.

I can guarantee the round pen is just bringing back horrific memories for him. Is it possible for you to just play with him in the round pen? Feed him in there, brush him in there, and just create a really fun environment? It may or may not work, but I think it's your only chance of re-conditioning him to realize roundpens aren't bad.

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post #4 of 13 Old 09-26-2009, 02:43 AM Thread Starter
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I should also add that he didn't start out like that--I've had him for almost four months and he's only developed this attitude within the past few weeks. Before that he was perfectly willing and responsive on both his strong and his weak side....the attitude in the round pen has also come with an attitude when hes single tied (he'll turn and eye me with his ears pinned when I brush him or if I try and step in to his head space to brush his neck) but if I'm just standing and holding the lead rope, I can do whatever I want to him. Lately I've been told he's also been getting a bit more aggressive with his pasture mates/possessive of the gate when its time to come in or be turned out.
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-26-2009, 11:27 AM
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I think the issue with the roundpen and the issue with brushing are two seperate matters. When a horse is in a round pen and he turns his hind end TOWARD you, that is usually a sign of unconfidence because the pressure is too much and he CAN'T look at you....it's not a matter of he WON'T look at you, it's that he CAN'T. It's so bad that he tries to get out. If a horse was being snotty and dominant, he usually comes at you, not turn away.

For the brushing, all you need to do is make sure you have his permission to brush him. Innately he might be a confident horse so when you blow past a threshold he's trying to tell you about he gets offended instead of being scared. Allow him to sniff the brush before you brush him and allow him to tell you if you have permission to brush him.
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-26-2009, 02:03 PM
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JSB
I read 11 yo Thorobred, ex racer for 10 years, 4 mths at new home with new amateur owner, becoming assertive,, doesn't like round pens.
So perhaps this TB - a breed known to have intelligence as well as speed,
has been retired to a nice gentle home which he has now got know as being a soft touch.
He is in the prime of his life, he is used to racing fast against his mates in a straight line and now he is being asked to go round and round in small circles learning how to walk properly - when he believes he already knows how to walk and run properly.
JSB - have you asked yourself if he is bored, maybe overfed and certainly under worked - compared with his old life?
The cure? - that's more difficult to suggest - perhaps he still wants to race in the Pensioner's Derby?
Over here many such ex race horses are put to steeple chasing or hunting or team chasing. Such sports they are good at.

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post #7 of 13 Old 09-26-2009, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Barry Godden View Post
JSB
I read 11 yo Thorobred, ex racer for 10 years, 4 mths at new home with new amateur owner....
Yes, and no....I've owned horses before, but never an OTTB....and before I got him, he'd been at another place where he was NEVER worked or really handled and fed something like 80% grain and 20% hay. Now we've got him on a much healthier ratio, so there was some wait gain/fat building involved.

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Originally Posted by Barry Godden View Post
JSB - have you asked yourself if he is bored, maybe overfed and certainly under worked - compared with his old life?
The cure? - that's more difficult to suggest - perhaps he still wants to race in the Pensioner's Derby?
Over here many such ex race horses are put to steeple chasing or hunting or team chasing. Such sports they are good at

I do actually plan on retraining him for something, I haven't decided what yet--I want to get him to a controlled canter, instead of charging head forward. But his style of trot and the lack/unwillness/confusion about cantering without a saddle on suggests that he may have been trained as a cart horse. That's a whole other post all together, as soon as I can take a video of it.

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Originally Posted by Spirithorse View Post
For the brushing, all you need to do is make sure you have his permission to brush him. Innately he might be a confident horse so when you blow past a threshold he's trying to tell you about he gets offended instead of being scared. Allow him to sniff the brush before you brush him and allow him to tell you if you have permission to brush him.
I started doing that, and sometimes that helps and sometimes it doesn't. I've just started cross-tying him, which he stands all but perfectly for.

Thanks for the help you guys xD
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-26-2009, 06:31 PM
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Maybe you should have him checked for ulcers. A lot of times horses will show symptoms like that if they have an ulcer problem.
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-26-2009, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Last edited by justsambam08; 09-26-2009 at 11:03 PM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-26-2009, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Well, he doesn't have any signs of ulcers, most notably his appetite hasn't changed at all (I frequently have to fight with him about stopping to graze as we're walking and can't seem to pour him grain fast enough) But I do have a chiropractor coming out this week to take a look at him and see if that might have something to do with anything. But if she doesn't find anything, then that will definitely be something to consider.
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