Standarbred scared of trotting poles - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-30-2013, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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Standarbred scared of trotting poles

I have just started leasing a standarbred gelding. He is established in all 3 paces so i decided, now it being the 5th week ive leased him i would introduce some trotting poles. I was quick to discover he was not going over them. He stood there right infront of them and no matter how forward he was everytime he stoped just before them. I went home and researched it and everywhere said either walk him in hand over the pole or leave it in the paddock with him. Today after i did some dressage, i untacked him and went back to the arena to try leading him over them, he did the exact same thing. He just stopped. He doesnt rear or back up he just stops, even with temptation from a carrot. Im guessing i have a server case of stubborness on my hands because he doesnt seem to be frightened. Does anyone know what i can do to make him go over the poles?
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-30-2013, 11:54 PM
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My friend has an OTSTB and he didn't like poles at all, keep in mind they're trained to stay way from the white poles..

She had walked him over them for weeks

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post #3 of 8 Old 11-30-2013, 11:55 PM
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I wouldn't put him off as stubborn. I've met many more scared horses than stubborn ones. What is stubborn anyway? Do horses really not want to do things just to piss people off? Nope. Horses aim to please. This guy probably thinks these poles are unsafe, or that it's a better idea to go around then, etc. His reasoning probably makes sense to him, so don't get mad at him.

He may be scared, but he may show fear in a different manner than other horses. When afraid, some horses run and rear and spit fire... And other horses "shut down", dissociate, and lock up. He may be locking up out of fear.

Walk him up the pole in hand. You should know how close he's going to get before he wants to stop. Walk him just shy of where he always wants to stop and let him stand there. When he's comfortable, ask for another step. Get him there step by step.

Or walk him in circles around the poles under saddle. Make your circle smaller and smaller until you're almost walking over it. Get him close, and then take him away in a bigger circle. Approach and retreat. Eventually, make a very tight turn and see if he even tries to step over the pole. Reward that try. Work for small successes.
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-30-2013, 11:59 PM
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Yeah, what brighteyes said. And start with one pole. In hand. Be prepared for anything, total stop to a huge leap and anything in between. let him sniff, let him touch it. And lots of praise for any little attempt to get close.
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post #5 of 8 Old 12-01-2013, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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I understand what you are saying. The thing is he get right up close to the pole, so close that he is touching it with his hoof, he just does not step over it. I will try using your technique of circling and rewarding small success
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post #6 of 8 Old 12-01-2013, 12:34 AM
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My yearling filly was afraid of ground poles. Try lunging him over them. So lunge a few circles right by one and slowly push him closer to it. Treat it not as something he has to go over but a new obstacle. How would you do it if it was a tarp? Water puddle?

One thing I also did was kind of zig-zagged walked her around them.
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post #7 of 8 Old 12-02-2013, 06:03 PM
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This will sound out of left field, but it works when my OTSB does not want to go past or over something. I back her up a few steps and then turn her around to go forward. Have you tried having him back over a single pole on the ground? or back between two poles?
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post #8 of 8 Old 12-02-2013, 06:04 PM
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Or other option, put his hay/grain on the opposite side of the poles. He has to walk over to get dinner. The stomach is a great motivator.
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