What Approach would you take with Riley?

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What Approach would you take with Riley?

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        12-23-2012, 11:44 AM
    What Approach would you take with Riley?

    This isn't a 'help me' thread, but more of a 'discussion about him' thread. I will welcome all your opinions, and I won't get offended by any. I promise not to dismiss anyone's suggestions, nor defend myself. Oh, and I also promise not to huff off part way through this thread declaring that "I know what I'm doing and none of you understand me".

    Riley - 7 years old, pure Canadian Horse (I have his pedigree) but nature threw in some latent draught horse DNA so he's 16.3 and built like a shire. Early years unknown, then bought by S who kept him in her large herd where he was Top Cat. S's husband took him trail riding in the mountains for a week, and S did lots of 'Trec / trail obstacle' training with him. In spring of this year he went for trial with the RCMP but was subsequently rejected by them. I don't know why they rejected him, that doesn't worry me.

    He then re-joined the herd until I bought him in September. Then I broke my arm, so have been able to do little with him since.

    What I have learnt of him so far:

    He is top of the herd. He will try to boss people around too, and if he were living with a novice horse owner he could easily be a thug. During his first week here I made it clear to him that the following aren't allowed:

    Barging me
    Nipping for treats
    Jealous behaviour towards other horses when I'm petting them
    Putting ears back or lifting back leg anywhere in my direction.

    He's clever and once I had established with him that I demand respect, he now gives it to me.

    He will free-lunge in the round pen, but if I put a lunge line on him I will expend more effort getting him to move than he will in moving. When he free lunges, he moves because he understands what I am asking of him. If I forget to concentrate on the job in hand he will immediately stop working and put his head down to investigate the weeds growing in the sand. He is not afraid of a whip at all.

    I have ridden him in the Western saddle. When holding a whip he is responsive to the leg and happily forward going. When being ridden without holding a whip he is sluggish to the leg.

    I don't think he would spook at anything. His response to a threat is to stop and look and think.

    Ha ha having read that back, I'm not sure what my problem is! I think that he's sooo confident in himself that I am unused to dealing with this type. I think that my question is how would you make the best of this personality? What would you do with him to engage him and have fun with?

    Thank you for reading.

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