Three Year Old Stopping, Being Stubborn During Work - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 08-15-2012, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Three Year Old Stopping, Being Stubborn During Work

I have been riding my three year old colt for just over a year now. We have accomplished giving to pressure, stopping, turning, breaking at the poll, being soft and flexible, etc. However, we are currently working on circles OUTSIDE of the round pen, and most of the time he will give me a consistent trotting circle, but lately has been stopping when you squeeze or lightly kick to keep him going. He puts on the brakes, and now is starting to balk and back up several steps. Keep in mind that this is when we are riding at home in the pasture---so I don't think it is fear, and instead a matter of stubbornness, irritability, or possibly discomfort?

The problem is I am just getting frustrated and losing patience, and getting upset with him is clearly not working. And I know it is not the right thing to do.

Also, when we pick up a canter to the left, he will all the sudden take off to the right about halfway through the circle. Do I just need to slow him back down to a trot and get him back in the round pen? I obviously do not want to encourage this learned bad behavior.

Please--no "get a trainer," etc comments--that seems to be a lot of people's solutions and I need advice from others that I can work on myself. I am willing and able to work on exercises and advice from others. My "trainer" is my dad if I do need to bring someone else into the equation--he helped me break him and has been riding for years.

Thanks!!

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post #2 of 13 Old 08-15-2012, 10:04 AM
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This sounds to me like it could be a pain or discomfort issue. This horse is just 3 and you have been riding him for a year? At 2-3 years old they are not done growing and lots of circles and hard work is really not good for their joints and development. I would say step it back a bit and give him a break he is still young and shouldn't be doing so much.
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post #3 of 13 Old 08-15-2012, 10:05 AM
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If your father is experienced, what advice has he given you?

There are many reasons for why your horse could be acting up, from boredom to pain, or gaps in his training because you don't have the expertise to finish him properly.

Since you're not willing to seek professional help, there's not a lot any of us can do except advise ruling out all the obvious things and going from there.

If your father is experienced enough to train his own stock he can probably finish the horse for you, as well as give you the proper instructions.

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Last edited by Speed Racer; 08-15-2012 at 10:07 AM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 08-15-2012, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnF View Post
This sounds to me like it could be a pain or discomfort issue. This horse is just 3 and you have been riding him for a year? At 2-3 years old they are not done growing and lots of circles and hard work is really not good for their joints and development. I would say step it back a bit and give him a break he is still young and shouldn't be doing so much.
Thank you. Yes I have been riding for a year, but kept it slow and light work for the first several months. I didn't start asking more of him until this spring, because I know a lot of hard work is not good for their joints. Which makes sense. I totally agree and understand--but what I think is crazy then is the 3 year old horses I see running a barrel pattern, ready for competition. Makes you wonder what kind of work those horses went through.

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post #5 of 13 Old 08-15-2012, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Speed Racer View Post
If your father is experienced, what advice has he given you?

There are many reasons for why your horse could be acting up, from boredom to pain, or gaps in his training because you don't have the expertise to finish him properly.

Since you're not willing to seek professional help, there's not a lot any of us can do except advise ruling out all the obvious things and going from there.

If your father is experienced enough to train his own stock he can probably finish the horse for you, as well as give you the proper instructions.
Yes it would be ideal for him to finish him, if he had the time. He works with the horse occasionally, and has advised me to get him in the round pen for a while so he does not learn to veer off in the opposite direction during circling.

That is what I am looking for--ruling out the obvious and going from there. A friend of mine has said it may be boredom, which makes sense. He is young and his attention span is obviously shorter.

As far as gaps in training--I do understand that could be a possibility. I am not claiming to be a professional. However, essentially all I am asking him to do is the exact same thing he was doing in the round pen outside of it.

Should I have a vet look him over for pain, ulcers, etc?

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post #6 of 13 Old 08-15-2012, 10:24 AM
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I think you need to get him out of the round pen and stop circling. Circles are the worst thing for a young horse and in my oppinion roundpens are grossly over used.

Take him out on some light trail rides, or try doing some straight lines, working on getting him to be nice and forward and stay in whatever gait you put him in. He may well be hurting or just incredibly bored.

And its always good to rule out pain first, so a vet appointment is a good idea.
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post #7 of 13 Old 08-15-2012, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BlueSpark View Post
I think you need to get him out of the round pen and stop circling. Circles are the worst thing for a young horse and in my oppinion roundpens are grossly over used.

Take him out on some light trail rides, or try doing some straight lines, working on getting him to be nice and forward and stay in whatever gait you put him in. He may well be hurting or just incredibly bored.

And its always good to rule out pain first, so a vet appointment is a good idea.
Thank you, I like your suggestions. I have been doing the trail rides and working on straight lines, but should probably put more focus on them based on your advice. And will be calling out the vet!

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post #8 of 13 Old 08-15-2012, 11:01 AM
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You are right that loosing your patience and getting frustrated won't work. You must be patient and calm. When you get frustrated, stop and take a step back. Do something else that he knows how to do and is simpler. "Frustration begins where knowledge ends." from Clinton Anderson.

Just because someone is running a 3 yo doing barrels doesn't make it right. It also doesn't make doing less of it right.

At 3, their bodies are changing a lot. Are you using a saddle? One that fit him well a few months ago, may not fit him now. With filling out and building up muscle, your saddle might be hurting him.

It could be from pain. Could be boredom. Or it could be he's testing you. I wouldn't take him back to the round pen. Yes, it would keep him from going the other way but it won't teach him to not do it. I also wouldn't be going for repetitive circle on him. Do one circle then change directions. Two circles that direction. Do a figure 8. Keep him guessing what he's going to do. Repetition turns to boredom. Changes keeps him focused and attention on you.
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-15-2012, 11:07 AM
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When you are outside the round pen, are you riding or lunging? I have a Quarter who loves to change direction in the riding ring any time he thinks he can get away with it. First I had to pay real close attention to ensure I wasn't accidentally squeezing the opposite heel and cueing him to turn that direction. Second, I had to ensure that I always had enough rein collected up to provide him with a tunnel he couldn't escape from. Third, I would start with bigger circles, which will ask for an easier turn from him - and then progress from there.
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-15-2012, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by usandpets View Post
You are right that loosing your patience and getting frustrated won't work. You must be patient and calm. When you get frustrated, stop and take a step back. Do something else that he knows how to do and is simpler. "Frustration begins where knowledge ends." from Clinton Anderson.

Just because someone is running a 3 yo doing barrels doesn't make it right. It also doesn't make doing less of it right.

At 3, their bodies are changing a lot. Are you using a saddle? One that fit him well a few months ago, may not fit him now. With filling out and building up muscle, your saddle might be hurting him.

It could be from pain. Could be boredom. Or it could be he's testing you. I wouldn't take him back to the round pen. Yes, it would keep him from going the other way but it won't teach him to not do it. I also wouldn't be going for repetitive circle on him. Do one circle then change directions. Two circles that direction. Do a figure 8. Keep him guessing what he's going to do. Repetition turns to boredom. Changes keeps him focused and attention on you.
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I am using a saddle--all of this is occurring while riding. I have changed saddles since he has filled out more, and it appears to fit him--it is the same saddle I used on his dam, which is the mare I rode for years and still have. Obviously she has more muscle and is bigger than him. I have also checked the sweat marks to make sure they are even, as I have read that uneven and patchy sweat marks from the saddle may indicate a bad fit.

Thank you for your advice-- I need to change it up!

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