Stopping the game - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-01-2010, 06:42 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Ohio, USA
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Stopping the game

So, Hoover has a new game, but it's a little bit of a dangerous one. He's taken to charging in and out of this stall. It's worse coming out of his stall, he's almost knocked the door off the hinges. I'm not the one who lets him out all the time, but he's also doing it to me. Last Saturday, I backed him off the door to try to get him to walk before letting him out. He walked out the stall door, then charged down the hallway, and stopped at the barn door to look at me. He knew he just did something I didn't want, because as soon as I started down the hall with my "angry" walk, he bolted out into the paddock with this "crap, I pissed off mom" expression.

He and I are going to have a "discussion" about this behavior this Saturday. How would you guys get him to stop?

"Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. And live like you ain't afraid to die...don't be scared, jut enjoy the ride." - Chris LeDoux
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-01-2010, 06:49 AM
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Tie him in his stall for a few minutes everyday.

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post #3 of 6 Old 04-01-2010, 07:47 AM
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I like to stop mine halfway over the threshold and either let them stand for a moment or back them back out before bringing them in or out of the stall or the barn. If the horse refuses to stop, or to stand until I say to move again, I correct by disengaging the hindquarters and repositioning the horse back over the threshold and trying again. Also, I like to occasionally back the horse into the stall. It throws them for enough of a loop that they start to think about what they're doing. Another option is to just walk in and out, in and out. If you repeat the process enough times charging starts to lose it's allure.

However, this takes consistency. If the people who are moving him when you aren't there aren't willing to keep up with correcting him (I wouldn't expect them to, he isn't their horse), that consistency will be lost. You'll need to polish up what he learns pretty regularly, I expect.

The charging can also be a manifestation of more general leading issues.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-01-2010, 07:56 AM
Green Broke
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I'm not the one who lets him out all the time, but he's also doing it to me.
Got a question,,,, who else lets him out? Is he boarded? This sounds like a learned behavior. Someone is letting him get away with it. Not a good behavior as you said. He could hurt you or someone else. If you "discuss" this with him :), discuss this with the other people letting him out. I hope you can fix this before it becomes a habit. Good luck.
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-01-2010, 09:34 AM
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I had this happen at a boarding barn as well. My horse was on layup from an injury sustained from another boarder's hose so I stuck her and my other horse into a smaller private pasture and told the BO to accept it or pay my vet bills. Well they accepted it but it meant that they had to walk an extra 100 ft out the back of the barn through the slop to get to my horses and they led them in together, 2 at a time. Well, they hired some people who weren't very horse-minded, and my mare being the complete genius that she is decided to have a little fun with them. She would dance, and power walk and get real close to them when they were leading her. So instead of being smart and either A. asking for help or B. giving her a good tug on the face...they started letting her drag them to the barn and into her stall. She has a total homing beacon to her stall and can be very prissy about getting there yesterday to make sure nobody stole her dinner. Well as you can imagine, this escalated to them just opening the gate and her running to her stall from the field. This was fine while she was trotting down the little lane, but then she proceeded to fly through the concrete aisle, through the cross tie and grooming area into her stall. She would also go after horses that were blocking her entrance to her stall or if her stall door was closed. I'm sure you can imagine how SAFE that was...and of course I was told that my horse was unmanageable. Where I had a huge cow, told the BO where he could shove it and then told him that I'm not the one letting her run loose through the barn and that she didn't do it WHEN I got her out of the pasture so it must be an employee problem.

I fixed it by demanding to show ALL his workers HOW TO LEAD my horses and by giving them a chain and telling them to use it. The first time the person who had started the behavior problem went to lead her she tried to take off and the leader gave a tug on the chain and my mare went...OH CRAP THEY LEARNED!! And put her head down and walked quietly beside them the whole way into the barn.

Now it doesn't sound like your horse is this far along in the behavior yet but he very easily could be. You have two options for this horse. You can put a chain over it's nose and let it run into the end of it. When your horse tries to rush ahead of you plant your feet and grip the lead and let them hit the end of the chain and feel the bite. They should stop if not back off in a hurry. Then once they realize that the chain means stay with me, then you leave the chain but add a second leadrope and if they rush you pull first on the plain leadrope and then with the chain to enforce the tug on the lead. This generally reconditions them to learn that pressure on their nose means stop or slow down and where they should be in relation to you at all times.

The other thing to work on is getting your horse to wait patiently. I would start by opening the stall wide open but not letting your horse into it. Stand in the aisle about 10 feet away from it and make your horse stand there. Then move a few feet closer and stand there, continuing this until you're right near it. You can either employ the chain if needed or use a dressage whip and tap their chest or neck or shoulder or hip or however you want to disengage or back them off. Once you're close to the doorway is the hard part. You can let them jig and dance and whatever at first as long as their shoulder doesn't get up to yours. If it does, then you back them off. If they try to rush past you, then you back them off. Make them learn to stand at your shoulder until you say go. Then when you can get them to calmly stand at your shoulder in the doorway then you walk them in and turn them back to face the door. Then you do the same thing only in reverse. Start at the end of the stall away from the door and work up to standing in the doorway and moving through it without rushing out.

Word of advice if you do this though...1. Make sure that the door is WIDE open for this activity so you're giving yourself the maximum amount of space. This is in case your horse does charge through the door you hopefully will not get slammed into a door frame or wedged in one with your horse. Also, make sure that your barn is sealed and there are no horses in the aisle at that point. So if your horse does charge out, let them go if it could be dangerous for you. Collect them again outside or inside, whichever way they charged and try again. 2. Make sure it is not during or near feeding time and take all hay/grain out of the stall. This is work time, not feed time and you want their attention on you and not the delicious food right out of reach.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-01-2010, 11:56 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Annie would do this when we took her off to our trainer's barn. Especially around feeding time.

How we got her to stop:

I would take th elunge whip with me and every time she tried to ram through me, I would crack the whip (Not hitting her, God forbid, just making sure I got my point across) and drive her backwards. She responds well to a whip so it worked out well. I would go in, crack the whip, and make her stand in the back of her stall until she relaxed. Once she was relaxed, I would try and walk her out again. If she repeated, I would proceed to drive her backwards. She soon learned that every time she tried to run out and over me, she would be delayed that much longer. When she walked out pleasantly, I would scratch her under the neck where she likes it.

I had someone at the barn mention a differant technique too. (Just some random stranger walking by....didn't know him.) Every time she charged out, use the rope to drive her in a mini-lunge circle around you. Basically its "You wanna move? Okay, let's move!" trick. So the idea behind that is that she learns that every time she charges off she has to do more work than she really wanted to, and starts thinking maybe it would be easier just to stick with her mom and be good. I generally use that technique for the horses that like to run ahead of you on the lead rope.

Hope this helps, they've worked pretty well for me in the past.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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