Where to start?

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Where to start?

This is a discussion on Where to start? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        07-08-2010, 07:51 PM
    Where to start?

    We were given an arab/paint mare. She's 6 years old, and has been handled by inexperienced people and then mishandled in the past. She's sweet and smart...and like most arabs has a memory a mile long. She's fine on the ground. Very good ground manners. Under saddle is a different story. You can lead her around tacked up just fine. As SOON as a rider gets on her back she refuses to move. Plants her feet and refuses to move. We've tried coaxing, waiting patiently for her to choose to take a step and rewarding (didn't work, she never took a step) and none of it works. I know a previous "trainer" tried making her move by beating her with a crop, and just bullying her. I'm at a loss, and ready to give her back. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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        07-08-2010, 08:14 PM
    Say "walk" and cluck your tongue when you are on the ground. Praise/reward when she walks. Do that until she walks every time. Then, have someone mount, and someone on the ground give the prompt.
    And, try riding with another horse, maybe.
        07-08-2010, 08:16 PM
    Have you tried getting her to lunge with a rider? Just a thought, might work.
        07-08-2010, 08:23 PM
    Yes, I've tried both of those. She'll respond just fine to walk and a cluck w/o a rider. I'm talking, a rider on her back, and another handler on the ground with a lead rope. She walks fine until the rider gets on her back, then nothing once on is on. No amount of treats, clucking and "walk" commands will get her to take a single step. As for lunging, same thing. She behaves BEAUTIFULLY to commands w/o a rider. As soon as a rider gets on her back, with or without, a handler on the ground, she won't move. I've worked with and rehabbed plenty of green and abused horses in the past, but this is something I've never encountered before, and all the "normal" methods aren't working. Seriously, it's ONLY when she has a rider on her back. I'm at a loss.
        07-08-2010, 08:26 PM
    Have you tried ponying her ?
        07-08-2010, 08:31 PM

    You are a skilled rider and have experience in training green horse and have the facilities and tack for such a job including a properly fitting saddle and the horse has been vet checked for pain issues.

    You are in good physical condition and accept the risk for a major accident where you are hurt and have insurance to cover all medical bills for yourself and the horse.

    You have professional help from an experienced equine trainer.

    You are over 18 and accept legal responsibility for your mistakes.

    With all the about checked off.....

    Pony the horse with all tack on the horse for about a week over all kinds of terrain.
    Use a skilled and trained horse to accomplish the task.
    Pay attention to the overall conditioning of the horse.

    Good luck
        07-08-2010, 08:32 PM
    You could just sit there. I mean, like for hours. Until she gets bored and walks. . .
    I also think Ponying is a good idea.
    Or, lead her away from home, or a bucket of grain, and then mount and head back. . .
    Good luck!
        07-08-2010, 08:57 PM
    Example:When you have a foal that you are trying to teach walk on a lead you pull them off to one side...not forward. Have you tried to flex her to one side and cue with your leg to try to get her to step off in a circle? A step in any direction is a step in the right direction, right? Even if its a studder step ...always reward!
        07-08-2010, 09:13 PM
    Originally Posted by GypseCowgirl    
    Example:When you have a foal that you are trying to teach walk on a lead you pull them off to one side...not forward. Have you tried to flex her to one side and cue with your leg to try to get her to step off in a circle? A step in any direction is a step in the right direction, right? Even if its a studder step ...always reward!
    Yes, we've tired this too. She just plants her feet and refuses to take a step. She honestly reminds me of a mule with her actions. *sigh*
        07-08-2010, 09:57 PM
    First of all, I HATE this problem. It's the most frustating one to solve. I don't know if this will work for you, but I recently learned this while reading a John Lyons book. It was suggested for horses who refuse to move forward when out on trails alone. The first time I used it, and every time since, it worked like a charm. It's incredibly simple, and I have no idea why it works so well. It's fantastic, so I don't really care. Here's what you do.

    No legs. Leave them hanging at her side, but don't tap her with them. Next, one rein at a time, leave one slack and pull the other one slightly to the side until she starts to follow her nose. A few steps later, drop that rein and pull the other one sideways until she follows her nose that way. It's like a weaving drunken walk, but it gets them unstuck so you can go back to walking straight. I'm thinking the reason it works has something to do with the lack of legs. Without legs, in the horse's mind, you haven't asked for forward movement which is what they didn't want to do in the first place. I've shown this technique to a few people at my barn and was delighted to see it work instantly with them too. Give it a try. You have nothing to lose.

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