Tantrum in the arena

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Tantrum in the arena

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    02-06-2012, 02:08 AM
Tantrum in the arena

Today, I wanted to ride in the arena for a little while (we usually do trails). My boy was not in the mood apparently and threw a little tantrum about it. He wasn't responding very well and I did not feel like I had good control. He did some hops and a tiny rear. Being a novice, misbehavior does scare me. I made him take a few more steps and just sat for a few minutes, so that he would not think that behaving that way would cause me to dismount. Then I led him to the round pen and lunged him for a few minutes to make sure that he didn't think his work was done.

What do you do in this situation? He's mostly a good boy, but occasionally he acts up. Did I do the right thing or should I have made him go around the arena? Sometimes he does this just as we are leaving the barn, but will settle down when we get moving along the trail.
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    02-06-2012, 02:33 AM
If you are a beginner rider, I would lunge him before you take him out and see if that helps. He may settle down and get in the working mindset a lot better for you if you can't get him to work for you under saddle right off. I would absolutely not tolerate any sort of bad behavior such as this. Little hops and rears soon turn to body crunching hops and rears if not corrected right away.
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    02-06-2012, 11:53 AM
Thank you. I do not want to tolerate this behavior what so ever. I have heard on this forum and elsewhere about how bad behavior starts out small and then takes off from there.

I do notice a big difference when I lunge him. I don't have to do it for more than 3 or 4 minutes. I circle each way a couple of times, stop him, relax and repeat. After that, he follows me around with his head lowered and ears pointed towards me.

I'm always worried that I'm going to do something that somehow rewards the wrong behavior and I don't want little things to escalate.
    02-06-2012, 03:34 PM
He may be playing because he is feeling frisky and knows you won't reprimand him for it, but i'd still curb the habit right when he does it, so he learns its a big fat no-no.

My western pleasure mare would buck and play in the roundpen like she was a bronc when lunging with a saddle, but if I got on her fresh, she knew better than to test me, lol. I'd try and get into the same habit with your boy, where he knows when to work vs. play. (Some people don't even let them play in the roundpen, but I don't think it hurts as long as they aren't kicking up in resistance. If you know your horse, you can tell the difference.)

It could really hurt you if you don't reprimand him now. If you can sit these small rears and humps he is doing, I would turn his nose sharply to your knee to get him to quit, then do very fast, tight circles with him a good 10 minutes. I'd do this every time he tries anything under saddle.

If you aren't comfortable with doing that and he still acts up after being lunged, take him to get ridden for a week from a more experienced rider, then take a couple lessons on him with them. Pretty soon, you'll be a pro!
tinyliny likes this.
    02-06-2012, 03:41 PM
If the worst he'll do is hops/tiny rears, as soon as he plays up I would give a quick sharp smack with a schooling whip. Then get him moving forward. It took me months to get the guts to do it but it really does work
    02-06-2012, 03:44 PM
Sometimes they are just 'feeling good' and act up and try to play, either way however good they are feeling they should not be stupid about it. When you're in the saddle they need to know that they need to behave.

If he acts up like that again, I would start by serpentining him down the wall, backing him up, doing tear drop turns etc...if he is still being stupid, it is okay to get off and lunge him if you work him harder on the line that when you are on him. Better to do that that put yourself in a situation you are not ready for.

If my mare is being stupid I work her harder. I am pretty comfortable up there so I wont get off, but if I wasn't I would get off put a long line on her and make her work hard, then when she calms down and slows down on the line I would ask her to stop and stand for awhile, then when she is standing and has reled I'd ask her to move forward slowly....if she does this and remains calm about it I'd ask her to stop again and I would go about remounting.

I have seen other horses have this done, in fact my boyfriend was taking lessons and an old hand decided she was feeling frisky and she tried to take off. Him being a novice rider was not comfortable giving her crap in the saddle, so the trainer got him off and put the mare on along line and made her canter around for a while...the horse tried to gallop or go uncontrolled and buck, she would push her harder. The mare realized that if she behaved she didn't have to work as hard and after that she was good. Differnet things work for different people put horses are by nature minimalists so when they're shown the best way to do the least amount of work they'll typically go that direction :p
sporthorsegirl and AQHSam like this.
    02-06-2012, 03:45 PM
I think you got good advice from TU. If you can ride throught the temper tantrum, and it sounds like that is what's going on here, then do so. But if you cannot, then don't go to the place where you horse offers that battle, because you cannot win, and every time he offers that battle, and you dont' take him up on it and win, then it reinforces the reward for offering that battle. So, either meet him and beat him. Or dont' let him create that scenario in the first place, Thus, preride lunging or working him in the arena just up to the point where he starts to fight back, then change and do something else.
That only postpones the need to have that little "come to Jesus" meeting with him, which if you have a trainer help you, will be more guaranteed to be successful and need only be done once, hopefully.
    02-06-2012, 07:29 PM
Today, we headed out on the trail and he tried the same thing as we were leaving. He gave his little rear and wanted to go back. I growled at him to knock it off and was grabbing the extra rein to give him a swat, but just the growl did it. He went along and did not act up again.

I am scared to give him a whack, but I know I will do it if I have to. Every time I ride, I feel like I know him better and I gain some confidence. His tantrum is kind of like a joke because it is so mild, but like I said before, I know this kind of thing can escalate. I want to nip it in the bud and not have it become a problem.

I told the boarding owner what he was up to and she said to do exactly what you all said. A whack and push him forward. Lunging for just a few circles each way, does get him focused though and seems to help. He isn't a horse with excess energy, so it's not like I have to work him in the round pen first. I just need him to believe I am his leader on the ground and saddle.
    02-06-2012, 09:18 PM
Waydago! Next time, all you'll have to do is show him that rein out of the corner of his eye, and he'll go for you. Just be aware that it's ok to "threaten" a little (i.e. Showing him the whip, without actually striking him) IF he responds. If one demonstration does not get a real change, then wait NO more than a secone, a half second, and smack him to make sure he knows it's real. Threatening, and threatening and blustering and such , without proof of impact, will only make your horse up his dare.
Growls are good tools~!
    02-06-2012, 10:59 PM
Tinyliny- "Upping" his dare has already happened a little. I used to lunge with a swinging lead rope. One day he stopped and looked at me head on and had this look in his eye that said, "You are not going to do ANYTHING with that lead rope, so I'm not going to move anymore." So, I bought a whip and have every intention of giving a little tap if need be. He takes me quite serious now. I also feel braver just knowing if I had to protect myself for any reason that I am in a much better position with a whip versus a soft rope.
I totally get what you were saying and I know that I have to make good on this threat. Freaks me out a bit to smack him, but I will do it if he tries to do that naughty boy stuff again! :)

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