What to do for defiant horse?
Help... I have an arab/saddlebred cross that is defiant. We have come a long way. He used to not be able to walk on a trail without prancing, would bolt, and will rear and has bucked (just once, but spectacularly) before. He hasn't done those probably since last december (the bucking incident). The rearing is not high, more like just testing you. I taught him to lunge. I can do circles and serpentines on him at a trot and a canter under saddle now, calmly. He's really responsive to your seat. My problem is that yesterday we decided to go on a trail ride instead of working in the area we use as an arena. The other person I was riding with was really afraid to push her horse, who was being a jerk and barn sour. He kept turning around on her, which of course worked up mine. The other girl says her horse is submissive and can't go in front of mine (dominant), so that sticks me out in front and wandering off by myself while hers has turned and gone home, until my horse realizes he's being left and wants to go too.
It wasn't fear, we'd been around that field twice already. Part of it is buddy sour, which is fairly fixable (work him with other horses, relax while he's 'by himself'). But the fact is, the defiant is still there, and it's an old habit that's come back. I'd say turn and go out into the field by himself, and he'd evade, dance sideways and rubberneck. I turned him tight in 5ish circles on the opposite side and then asked again, he took a step forward, so I released. He took one more and then stops. I squeezed and then he tossed his head back ( his old precursor to rearing) and then when I kicked him hard, he kicks up his heels. Since I had the halter on and lunge rope with me, I slid off and hit him every time he slowed down changing directions every other circle or so until I got tired. Problem was that when I got back on, he did the same thing and this time he kicks up his heels and wouldn't move except to back up, so that's what we did, and then I asked him to go forward. One step, I released, two more steps and then he says no, again. Should I have stayed on and kept circling the first time? Or did I just successfully teach him to threaten me? Should I have really got after him (whip if necessary)? Or just run him until he does what I want?
I stopped there, because the fence we were beside was electric, and he doesn't pay attention to where he's going in that mode. I lunged him away from the fence, then walked him on the ground to the middle of the field and let him relax. I'd say 'by himself', but he's fine going anywhere on the ground with you. I hopped on and rode home after that. So what to do? Yes, he knows what I'm asking, no he's not green broke. This problem went away completely in the 'arena'. He has also responded well to carrying a crop and threatening (not hitting) him with it. He's pretty wired already, I'm not sure that's something I really want to add.
Last edited by onholiday; 11-08-2010 at 11:41 PM.