I've been riding horses all of my life, I actually got my first pony when I was three and have been riding, owned and worked with horses ever since (I'm 25)
I've worked with "problem horses" (There isn't problem horses, just problem riders) and I've successfully started and worked with youngsters before.
My husband and I decided to get a horse together and purchased a 2 3/4 (he'll be 3 in June) year old paint gelding a little over a week ago. We visited our horse four times and after a healthy Pre-purchase Vet Check we decided to get him.
Well, I'll just list what I've experienced so far...
DAY 1 - Saturday, Our first official day with our new horse. My husband and I get out to the barn, I go to our horsies paddock to say hello and he canters up to me. I stood my ground, he was very pushy, I backed him up a few steps and then said hello. After, my husband and I put some things away and went for a quick walk to check out the riding trails. When we got back the horse was running around, bucking, jumping, the works..!!! It was intense. We hadn't ever seen this side of him, what so ever. Before getting him out I figured it would be best to let him burn off some steam. The previous owner's husband was out there and saw the commotion the horse was making and figured we we're a bit intimidated. So he asked if he could show us how he lunge. And he did, the horse listened really well. He worked very calmly and listened to voice commands well. He worked well for my husband and I too. Although when your up close he was Very pushy. Also, he was right side dominant and it took a lot to get him lunging around on the left side. Almost to the point of running you over when trying to switch sides, It took two of us to finally do so. After, It was feeding time and he was so focused on getting in his stall and eating. Walking back to the gate was a slow trip. I had to stop and back him up quite a few times to get him off of me. I actually didn't feel comfortable leading him out of the gate because I thought I would probably end up going for a ski trip and I wasn't familiar with how he would react once we got out of the paddock. He's at least 16.2 (young, pushy, unpredictable and fussy) and I'm only 117lbs. I asked the the previous owners husband for a hand because apparently he's the only one who's handles the horse, which is very little. He's a very large and tall guy who pretty much just man-handled him to the wash stall. We get to the wash stall and find out that they haven't ever cross-tied him, so he had to be held as he walked all over the place while being washed down.
WHAT A FIRST DAY!
DAY 2 - We take him out to the round pen (which he's never been to before) I worked sending him in different directions and on voice commands. I used our lead rope instead of a lunge whip, no particular reason I just do that sometimes. We also worked on leading, giving space, and backing up. I wish I would have worked more on him moving away and trying to gain a mutual respect. We brushed him in the round pen after, and I felt like he still kept stepping in our space. I would try and back him up by kissing and clicking with pressure and release on his head or chest but most of the time he didn't budge and if he did, it would only be little steps only to come walking right back. When he wasn't listening I would have to send him off with lead rope. Only allowing him back when he walked in slowly then asked. But he would go right back to his pushy self, and lifting his head up! My husband thought I was being to harsh on him because he's so young and "he just wants to be loved, we shouldn't make him a scared and nervous horse" Well... our session ended there.
So there is my question #1.. I feel like a horse should respect our space - young or old! Safety should be first, and I feel like he's dangerous with how pushy, in your face and dominant he is. I'm pretty sure he knows what he's doing and even though he may seem like he's being friendly and sweet (ears forward and being curious) that he's trying to dominate and see what he can get away with. I understand you should be patient with young horses, am I being to harsh? Also, is it wrong to be sending him away by waving my hands up and tossing a lead rope? I want to build trust with him but I feel like he needs to understand that he can't walk all over me!
DAY 3 - I got out alone and figure I'll just spend quality time grooming him while I take him to graze very near by LOL. Feeling bad about maybe being to harsh on him I'm going to try to take a VERY calm and patient approach. Trying work on him backing up with wiggling the rope, rewarding him even if he takes one small step back. We weren't making much progress. It was very windy this day and he had his mind on grass and spooking. Come to find out he will bolt when spooking, and sometimes in my direction! Great, now I have a SPOOKY, large, young, PUSHY, unpredictable horse I'm trying to bond with. I didn't want to end on a bad note or trampled, so I did a little more quick exercises on standing still and turned him back out.
DAY 4 - YET Another Windy day, I'm at the barn solo... Horse very happy to see me, running up to the gate. Very PUSHY again. I get to the gate and he's almost knocking me over with his head and pushing up against the gait. I have to send him off with the lead rope and halter. He back up a little only to instantly come right back lifting his head and pushing the gait. I was more assertive about sending him off until I could get into the gait. Then spent at least 20 min of sending him off and waiting for him to ask to come in and not to be pushy. I finally brought him in for grooming. It takes forever to lead him anywhere with all the stopping and backing and I feel like he could run me over any second. I make sure not to get frustrated and try my best to hide my nerves.
DAY 5 - Did some lunging in the pasture, he was still pushy and spooky due to the very strong gusty wind, pretty much some 'ol. He does great longing, we used a lot of the pasture. Working on straight lines, small and large circles. He's really happy about lunging, he'll have a few bolts and bucks in the beginning and then really relaxes and starts to pay attention. But that seems to be the only time I feel safe with him (when he's away from me!)
DAY 6 - Saturday again, my husband and I got out to see him. I was happy that my husband was there and we could go to the round pen (I don't feel comfortable taking him there with no one out at the barn)
Well, my husband goes to get him, he's being pushy again and my husband works on sending him out until he ask nicely. When he starts to walk him out of the gate he just rushes out the gate and tries to take off! We lead him back in the pasture and he's tossing his head, pulling and being very unsafe. I get the longe line and ask him to walk first to calm down, then trot, etc.. he tries to take off a few times but luckily I hold on like a champ. He calms down, and starts paying attention. I made the mistake of starting him around on his good side, when it was time to switch sides it was a mess. I have him halt, then I get to his other side by moving slowly and petting him, making sure he's relaxed then ask him to move forward. He dangerously whips around to the point of facing me straight on. I tried everything calmly over, and over again. He was getting frustrated and we weren't accomplishing anything so I figured the least I could do is have him go around the other way to make sure he wasn't completely getting him way
DAY 7 - Sunday, it was raining and nasty weather but we still wanted to go and see our horsie. He wasn't pushy this time until I put the halter on then I just worked on wiggling the lead rope, harder and harder, at times having to hold up my other hand until he listened. And standing still before we walked out of the gate. Some how this finally worked! W00t w00t! And every time he tried to walk ahead of me, I made him circle (like a mini longeing circle) Finally he realized he wasn't getting anywhere this way. We we're able to walk to his stall on a loose rein. Yay! LOL.
It was a short visit but productive.
So, here's a little bit more information. He's kept to pasture by himself and seem to always have been. I don't like this. It's very important for a horse to socialize and I feel like this may be one of the reasons he's pushy and disrespectful. A lot of the other horses at the barn are kept this way I'm going to talk to the owner of the place (who is also his previous owner) about pasturing him with another horse? Also, The previous owner kept him in a stall with a very large paddock attached to it. I'm beginning to think he really didn't get much handeling at all! Like maybe she just kept him in that area all the time where she could just feed him there in his stall with that large paddock without having to lead him, because she does admit that his size intimidates her, and her husband was the one who handled him the majority of the time. She thinks he's pushy because he's just a big baby and he's not aware of how big he is. LOL!? Tell that to my 17.2 Hanoverian, I worked with him from the time he was 8 months old and never have had a pushy, I'm too big and don't realize I'm walking all over you problem with him.
So, if there's anything I can stress - PEOPLE, PLEASE handle and work with your youngsters, it develops such a safe and healthy bond between horses and humans. It's absolutely worth the time!
I understand it's not the horses fault for learning this behavior with people. I want to to whatever I can for him to develop respect for people and a positive behavior, and be safe!!
I feel like we'll have a big change once I can get him to the round pen but it's hard to even get him there. Not to run him around but I feel like it's safer, easier, and you can do a lot more with respect training than on a lungeline. Hopefully I'll be able to this week. Also, I have a chain lead rope that I'm considering using (not abusing) to walk him to the round-pen, I try my best to stay with natural horsemanship methods but I feel like my guy just doesn't get it. I feel bad considering it, because he's young and obviously hasn't been taught correctly, but I feel like he needs a little more enforcement until we can work more on respect. Any advise if I should or should not use a chain lead?
I really would like any advise possible on what I'm experiencing with my horse. Excersices, Books, Tips, ...Anything ! ! ! He's a really great horse, It's not what we expected and I know it's going to take a lot of patience and work. Thanks everyone for your time. Sorry again for how long it was.
My brat baby