Stubborn Mule - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-28-2007, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Highlands, Scotland.
Posts: 200
• Horses: 1
Stubborn Mule

I have a really bad problem with a pony (13.2hhish, grey Highland x Connemara gelding, 24 years old) called Murphy i excersize.
Out hacking, he's great. Often very frisky, and you dont need to tell him twice to speed up. Basically, a rocket on legs.
But, as soon as you get into an arena, he just stops, dead, and WILL NOT move. You can get him to walk on a few reluctent paces, but as soon as you tickle him with the whipe, or nudge/kick him on, he stops, and leans back on his heels. The only way to get him to move after that, is if someone chases him with a lunging whip, smacking it against the ground, and even then, he is barely at trot.

Its getting really annoying now, as i cant school him AT ALL. He just, won't move. Anyone got any ideas on how to motivate him, and how i can get his stubborn bum to move?
Thanks for the help!
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-29-2007, 12:00 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Florida
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Here are a couple quick articles that may help you. :)

Horse Won't Go

A common question I hear is what to do about the horse who doesn't want to go; he's dull, lazy, stubborn... and other creative words people use!

I like to examine all horse behaviors by categories. If you think of an engine having three systems; air, fuel, fire, you know that if any one of these systems is not working, the entire engine will not operate properly.

Horses also have three systems that operate in a specific order; the RESPECT system, the IMPULSION system, and the FLEXION system.

Therefore, if there's a problem in the second system, IMPULSION (won't go), look for the problem in the first system, RESPECT. I'll save FLEXION for later.

What to do?
1. Get more respect from your horse. In my Savvy System, Level 1 Partnership is all about respect and eliminating opposition reflex. By teaching the Seven Games on the ground and developing freestyle riding skills, the horse's attitude greatly improves because of the new level of communication, trust, and respect.

Getting the "go" right
Most people are told to kick a horse to go, which is ridiculous when you think about it from a horse's point of view. Imagine if you were kicked in the ribs on the way to the dance floor... what would your attitude be towards that dance partner? Would you even want to go?

By using four distinct phases of polite assertiveness, the horse can quickly become a willing partner; happy to take our lead to the dance floor.

Phase 1 – Smile with all your cheeks! Take a long focus, stretch your hand out in front of you with the reins, and tighten your cheeks. If the horse has not moved forward from this suggestion, continue through the phases and be ready to release as soon as there's forward movement.

Phase 2 – Squeeze with your legs, starting at the top, then all the way down to your heels (turn your toes outward to make smooth contact). This is not a strong squeeze. If you are straining or getting cramps, it's too strong! Remember, a horse can feel a fly land on him.

Phase 3 – Smooch while holding the squeeze, do not let go with your legs.

Phase 4 – Spank. Start by spanking yourself lightly slap your shoulders from side to side with the end of a rope (like the 12' Lead section of the Horseman's Reins on the Natural Hackamore).

Allow the rope to grow longer and keep up the flapping rhythm until it starts touching your horse on the sides of his hindquarters, letting it get progressively stronger if he has not responded.

The moment your horse responds, release your legs, quit spanking, and keep smiling. If he stops or slows, repeat the phases again. Always begin with Phase 1.

Common Mistakes
• Probably the most common mistake is kicking out of habit, quickly losing whatever respect you just earned, so really keep a watch out for this.

• Another mistake is to keep squeezing and/or spanking after the horse has made the effort to go forward. This feels unfair and confuses the horse because they don't know what the right behavior is.

• Be sure to put slack in the reins. It's a common habit to put contact in the reins when the horse goes forward. This is sometimes enough to confuse a horse trying to do the right thing.

Begin each time at Phase 1 and be prepared to go to Phase 4.
Finally, be sure there's enough 'life' in your body when you ride. Think about how fast you want your horse to go and bring up enough life in your body to stimulate that... then let the squeezing, smooching and spanking support it. Your horse will learn very quickly how to get in tune with you.

I can guarantee that just reading about this will not fix the problem. Go out and play with your horse. I'll bet you'll both find a new level of respect and communication for each other. Happy dancing!

Motivating Lazy Horse

Think of things from your horse’s point of view, how does life look from his side? What’s in it for him? Is he as excited about going riding as you are? When a horse is not nervous or afraid, sometimes what emerges is a rather laid back Horsenality™, one that has decided that hanging out with his pasture mates and all the grass, is way more attractive, less stressful and fun than going riding. These horses are often called Lazy or Stubborn, but really they are just unmotivated and the normal approach of spurs and whips just makes them mad.

Rather than resort to mechanical approaches, use psychology to motivate the horse. When you know what makes your horse tick, you’ll have fantastic strategies to apply that will get him running to meet you at the gate! Find out what is important to your horse, because there’s a lot to learn about horse psychology in there and a very informative section on how to motivate the lazy horse so you can have a calm, fun ride, without all the frustration these horses are good at causing!
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-30-2007, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Highlands, Scotland.
Posts: 200
• Horses: 1
Cheers! I will try some of those tips. Hopefully that will get him to move on.
Thanks for your help. Anyone got any good excersises of activities that will motivate Murph?
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-30-2007, 06:07 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Florida
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I use an exercise called Point To Point with horses who need some motivation. If you are in an arena, walk the horse to a corner of the arena and then stop. The harder it was to get him there, the longer you wait. This creates incentive. These kinds of horses are motivated by rest, scratches, and food. Once he has more forward movement at the walk, try the trot. Once he has forward movement in the trot, try the canter.

If you are outside of an arena, move the horse to a really good patch of grass. At first don't make the distance you travel too far away. The better he gets at moving out, the longer distance you can go. Eventually he will be very motivated and you can do what you want with him, because he knows eventually he will get to graze or rest.
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