woah....bad horsey...won't get left lead and attitude prob - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-14-2008, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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woah....bad horsey...won't get left lead and attitude prob

First off, sorry I haven't been on in a while...life is crazy at the moment.

So this Sunday we were having a part jumping lesson, part training thing...so since I don't jump with Sonny the BO wanted me to ride one of her horses. Sure, fine...so I got on her 7-8 year old Paint gelding, Lucky.
He's trained in western pleasure and dressage, but can jump and is a good jumper so I saddled him up.
The BO usually rides him in a training fork (http://www.chicksaddlery.com/Merchan...001/P-1051.JPG but the one she uses has elastic on it)...but I HATE using them...it makes me feel like I can't get in contact with the mouth, gives them a false headset, and most of her horses are sooo dependant on them that htey won't listen without them. But I still choose to ride her horses without them and did so with Lucky.

I did some flextion excersizes with him, and then asked him to go on the bit. At first he kept fighting and fighting me...and at times I had to turn him in tight circles to calm him down (tried bucking and rearing on me). After a while I got fed up, so I got off and switched bits to my Eggbutt Snaffle...thinking it was his bit (a double twisted wire western bit...don't know the name of it), and he did alright, but you could tell that he was kinda hard mouthed. I walked him around until he got used to it, but he was still being rather frisky. So after he started behaving, we did some jumping and he did good...only knocked over the fence twice). Then I just was trotting him around and then all of a sudden he rammed my hip against the wall of the arena, then backed himself up into the corner, knocked over a barrel, did a half-rear, tossed his head up (hitting me in the jaw) and would NOT listen as I tried to get him to do circles. It took me maybe 3 minutes to get him over his fit and then back to normal. Sadly I didn't get to work with him anymore because then the BO made me get off, and put a young girl on him and kept saying that Lucky just didn't like me....but when I pointed out that she doesn't have him on the vertical and that she herself (the BO) that we are going to work on getting the horses head on the vertical, she said that Lucky didn't like contact on his mouth and just ignored the rest. *rolls eyes*
Anyways...question number one is: how can I stop him from having his little fits? He'll do fine and then out of the blue act up. He's fine i he has the training fork on...OR if there is NO contact whatso ever with his mouth. I know it's not the bit...cause I didn't have my reins that tight...he had enoiugh room to bring his head above the bit. He acts fine wth the trainin fork on and you have a tight rein..but not without it. I think he's getting too dependant on the training fork...it's a crutch for him and I think he feels secure with it.

Also, Lucky will NOT get the left lead (meaning the correct lead while going counter-clockwise). No matter what we try he will NOT. I've tried asking the right way....asking the wrong way...asking weird like...not asking with my legs...asking only with my legs...turning his head into the wall...turning the head into the middle of the arena...I've tried everything I can think of..but he still will NOT pick up that lead.
He does it when we lunge him, and occasionally he'll get it, but then he'll switch. I thought at first it was a leg problem, but he does it while lunging him and did it for one girl when we all were tryin to get it.
Any other ideas on how to get the correct lead for him?
Clock-wise he gets the correct lead all the time
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-14-2008, 11:56 PM
Green Broke
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Ok, for the bit pressure one I would do softening exercises... would it be okay if I copy and past it from another thread, because it's kinda complicated and long? if it is then i will :)

Do you have a small round pen you can work in? Duke WOULDN'T pick up his left lead in the open or in an arean so I had to put him in a small round pen where he pretty much had to be on the left lead to go around in the circle. I did a lot of picking it up, dropping it, and just cantering on the left lead. Now he picks it up even when we are going straight and it's a lot less awkward when he is loping.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-15-2008, 12:43 AM
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I think you're probably right about the training fork being a crutch of sorts. I too disagree with the use of devices such as that. Despite the name, it doesn't tend to 'train' them to do anything, just make it easier to force them into a headset, and often actually just gives them more to resist.

Sounds like the bo is also a rather heavy handed rider. Perhaps the horse was never taught(or was un-taught through her riding) to yield softly, but using such a harsh bit is also not helping matters IMO. I think you were also right to change this. I'd expect him to be 'hard mouthed' until he's taught he doesn't need to in order to find comfort. Remember that 'hard mouthed' means he's learned to ignore or resist discomfort & even pain because he doesn't know how to avoid or alleviate it, not that his mouth is actually hard & doesn't feel lighter pressure.

If you are to ride this horse regularly, I'd start by teaching him on the ground, then on his back at a stand, to yield(respond softly with understanding) rather than resist or escape the pressure in frustration, confusion and often fear. I would personally forget riding 'collected' with 'contact' until he's learned how to yield to the basics. I think the bo was right on that point - he doesn't like contact(likely because of her treatment) - and doing this before he's ready will most likely hinder rather than help.

I would also want to check his back & saddle out good & proper, along with teeth, neck, feet, etc. as his 'fit' actually sounds like a reaction to pain - he put up with it for so long, then he finally couldn't any longer, so exploded 'out of the blue'.

If it wasn't from pain, I would guess it was either that he was confused & stressing out from the start - perhaps just because of the different way you treated him than he was used to - and the longer it went on, the harder it was to cope, until he finally blew up. On the other hand, it could have been testing you out - you're *asking* him to do things that he's previously only been *forced* to do, so he thought he'd see how much leeway he had.

With the rest of the story, I'm not surprised that lead changes are not easy. If there's a physical problem, particularly with his back/saddle or his feet, it may be literally difficult or impossible for him to do it under a rider. Ensure this isn't the prob before you start on further training for this. Good luck with him. Sounds like this boy is finally on a good wicket if you can work with him.... & keep that bo away!
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-15-2008, 12:02 PM
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is it me or does your BO sound unfair? (and in this case unsafe too)

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post #5 of 8 Old 07-15-2008, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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he didn't seem completely hard mouthed, he'd listen PERFECTLY and then all of a sudden go into "OMG I'm going to kill you" mode ....and then switch back to "Aren't I acting perfect?".

I don't think it's pain because he'll be perfect and then all of a sudden (without me changing anything) he'll start having a fit.
The saddle fit him fine...no pinching or anything...and his teeth seem to be fine also.

He listened to everything I asked when he was in his good mood, but then he went into his bad mood. It's kinda like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde attitude.

We've tried doing circles with him, using half the arena, then smaller and smaller...and he'd switch for the circle, but then switch back. And if he happened to keep the correct lead, he wouldn't switch the back.

I don't know if the BO will let me ride him again...I do want to work with him and get him better, but I doubt the BO will let me.

If I have another one of these accidents where she makes me get off a horse for asking him nicely (I wasn't forcing his head, or wiggling the reins...just a simple half halt when he raised his head above the vertical...and would stop when he lowed his head and then I'd tell him he was a good boy and give him a pat on the neck) then I"ll probably just quit lessons. No use continuing IMO if you can't even try to get a horse collected without a training fork.

Yeah definately feel free to copy and paste...I don't want you typing for hours on end because of me lol
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-15-2008, 02:18 PM
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Ok, well IDK what to tell you about his multiple personality problem.... Maybe just work with him a lot, but if your BO doesn't let you then that's a really big problem.... Honestly I think it will take A LOT of work to get him better, and it'll be even harder since other people are riding him and can hinder your progress..... even I'm frustrated because of this....

ok, here's what I'm copying from myself :) it may not solve all of his problems, but you can use it on ANY horse to make them better so I figured, hey why not throw it out there anyway?

so here ya go!

Stand still on his back with your body relaxed so that he won't back up. Take hold of both of the reins. Try to hold one a bit shorter than the other so that it's harder for him to lean on the bit. The best place to put your hands after you have hold is up against your thighs. Because it is more to the side and straight back instead of back and upward it is easier for him to understand what you want. Also, because you have your hands up against something stationary it's easier to tell when he softens.

At first he will probably feel tight and maybe even like he's pulling on the bit. Yes, this does happen even if they have vertical flexion, but we're working on softness and lightness and then head posture will follow. You need to hold your hands stationary until you feel him soften up when he's NOT moving, if he's backing up just wait for him to stop. When i say "soften up" I mean that he will bend his neck better and loosen his jaw to you. That's him pretty much saying ok I give. The instant you feel him soften give him release give him a giant release from pressure. The best way is to kinda throw the reins onto his neck, but if he likes to go, this isn't always the best idea, and i just move my hands really far forward quiker.

At first it is a really long waiting game and just hang in there! Even if you feel like you aren't getting anywhere, he'll catch on quick. Just don't give up, and if he's taking FOREVER to soften the first few times tighten that shorter rein a tad bit. Oh, another thing! Start with a little bit of tension at first when he's still getting the idea, but later you can add more. It's really great being able to see them learn how to soften up, and they are sooo much more fun to ride!

After he has a really good idea of how to soften using the exercise you can have him soften for longer times, maybe 3 seconds then release, then 5, and so on. Also you can do this at different gaits. Just start from the begining of the exercise for each gait, but when you are moving it's a really good idea to have your hands on your thighs because it's hard to tell when he softens otherwise.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-16-2008, 08:16 PM
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sometimes when i school horses that have problems with their leads they have bnalance issues. The horse needs to be flexed and bent the correct way.
I find that riding striaght forward down the long side in trot, then halfway down do a turn randomly, over exaggerating the bend and ask then. be sure your not holding the inside rein too hard, horses wont canter if you dont allow with the inside rein.

as for the going crazy 3 minutes hardly sounds like a huge issue, could it have just bee the weather? bad day? unfamilar rider? excited when jumping? he couldve been testing you out?

you did mentrion not being able to work with the horse again, so theres nothing you can really do to solve to problem-exept learn from it. when horses spaz out, to me its a spur of the moment thing, i do what i have to do at the time..
remember to always push the horse forwards and to try to keep it off of the forehand. One rein stops stop horses bucking and is a great way to check the horse back, to start over.
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-16-2008, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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when he was spazzing, I'd give him a slight squeeze with my leg (due to when he was acting good, if I tried tapping him with my legs he'd bolt....weird) and then hit his shoulder/hindquarters, and give him his head so he was on hs forehand more. If that didn't work I'd turn him in circles until he calmed down.
I've handled stuff like that before so I knew that I was doing.

I have ridden Lucky before, so it's not that I was unfamiliar to him...I've known Lucky for a year...I don't think it's testing at all...and no it definately wasn't the jumps lol.

Well Lucky was trying to rear not buck.....he tried once to buck but only once and for that I immediately did circles
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