The Stubborn Horse - The Horse Forum
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  • 1 Post By Foxhunter
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-15-2013, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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The Stubborn Horse


Just wondering if anyone can help me out with a bit of advise with my 10 year old Belgian Warmblood Gelding. He is a fantastic horse who i've now owned for 4 years during this time he broke his right fore leg and has now been in full work for 2 years and is competing at elementry dressage. HOWEVER my horse has a bad habbit of spotting something he doesn't like and will not go forward, whether its a cone on the ground, a branch, a shed or a sign at a competition. He will go past anything in hand, on the lunge and by following another horse during each time he is not scared. I know he will be taking advantage of me as a rider, but can anyone offer any tips on what to do during this situation WITHOUT kicking and whipping my horse. I can in most cases get him past everything in the end but not without a bit of a battle.

Any help would be appreciated :)


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post #2 of 9 Old 01-15-2013, 06:20 PM
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Sounds like a lack of respect for you!

There are several ways of dealing with the horse that naps.
1. Battle, big stick and spurs.
2. The waiting game. Sit on him until he is bored enough to want to go forward and then make him wait some more so he goes when you say so.
3. Turn him and reverse him past it.
4. Circle him until he is dizzy and then make him go past.

Take your pick!
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-15-2013, 06:33 PM
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The best thing to do is when he starts to think, nope not going. Put him to work hard. Back him up do spins, stops...etc. Then when he starts to think, "I am tired" Go over to the thing and stand there for a bit. Do this with everything he does not want to go to. Soon he will learn its just a pain to stop and say no.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-15-2013, 07:24 PM
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Too much ringwork and he's sick of it?
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-16-2013, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments. My horse has full respect for me on the ground but when riding i can saddly agree that he may be less respect granted. I will just need to keep at it i think and see how he goes.

As for the comment regarding too much ringwork, my horses work load is constantly varied from hacking 3 times a week, schooled twice or lunged. He has 2 days off a week for his pamper days and when out at competitions is not over worked throughout the day.

I am saddly agreeing with the fact that he has little respect for me as a rider as unfortunately i am not one for taking a dominant step by kicking him constantly or whipping him. I may give it a try and see if i act more assertive with him and firm and see what happens. Fingers crossed!

Thanks again for replying.
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-16-2013, 09:17 AM
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I say it starts on the ground. If you are assertive with him in the stable, by correcting every little unwanted movement and this can be taking a step forward when it was not asked for, you will then have the respect when you are riding.

I am a great one for poking! If a horse does anything little then it gets a poke with a finger - in the chest to get it to move back or, on the neck if it makes a face along with the word "Eh!"

I have a very fit horse here that will try it o every now and then. He decided that there were dragons and demons when I tried to go through a farm yard that he had been through many times. His thing is to plant and then run back. There are many issues with this horse and a big stick/getting angry puts him in battle mode so, I let him run back, turned him and made him go backwards past where he planted. Turned him and he ran back again so I did the same thing backed him further down the farm. The next time I turned him he walked forward for a few yards, saw something and thought about running back. I finger poke by his withers and firm leg, he decided it was not worth the hassle and immediately lowered his head, relaxed and walked on.
It is knowing your animal and his reaction to your commands that determines how you get past a problem.
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-16-2013, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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See on the ground i have every authority with him. I can leave my stable door open and he wont go anywhere. He puts a step out i just say back and he does it. Our groundwork is fantastic and i have full respect from him, but he is very strong minded whilst riding!

Love the reverse technique though! he is a master at rein back so im sure he will not reject to doing this. Might pop out a few obstacles at the weekend and have a wee day getting him learnt who is boss lol wish me luck!
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-16-2013, 01:41 PM
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The best thing to do when a horse is stopping like that is to ignore the object of anxiety or fear. The rider should do no more than glance at what the horse is spooking at. I dont not think this is a respect issue but a lack of confidence of the horse to rely on the rider. A confindent rider makes a confident horse. Do not let the the horse sniff its object of fear but put your eyes forward and ask the horse to walk on get the horse to focus on you an what your doing instead. And a great way to do that if he won't go forward is to turn him to the left or right main thing is get those feet moving. Do a circle and come back and ask the horse to go forward remember eyes forward to the place your going not the scary object. Another thing is dont assume he is going to spook at anything anticipating fear from him makes him think she's getting anxious about that weird thing over there maybe I should too. Do the same when on the ground. I recommend reading the sticky at the top of this forum how to train the fearless horse. It's full of great advice! If you do this right you can teach your horse to rely on you instead of worrying is something gonna hurt me. If the horse sees your not worried they don't worry an they move on. That's why I can take a young horse I haven't rode but for maybe 30 days and take him to a rodeo with me and he has no problems. Good luck and be safe!
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-21-2013, 04:49 AM Thread Starter
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Hi thanks for your reply, however he is not scared of the objects as he has walked over or walked past the object many times with a horse leading or going over just with me as a rider. He just decides sometimes he doesn't want to go over or past the object anymore. I circle him away so he no longer thinks he is going over or past the object, if he refuses and begins to reverse i encourage him to walk left or right to make him go forward again, once over the object or past it i move him up to a trot to encourage him mind to be forward thinking but after 4 years of having him he still tries to refuse certain things, i admit that i have been soft on him so this has encouraged the behaviour so maybe just having more or a firm hand with him and being constant he may come out of this behaviour. I know its not ill fitting tack as i have has a saddle made to fit him costing me a nice 2,000, he is in a snaffle bit and has a lovely fitted bridle. Fingers crossed that with a bit of determination i will get this behaviour out of him
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