HELP! crashed and burned holsteiner jumper
   

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HELP! crashed and burned holsteiner jumper

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  • Holsteiner jumper
  • Are holsteiner horses difficult to handle

 
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    04-11-2010, 10:27 AM
  #1
Foal
HELP! crashed and burned holsteiner jumper

This horse is the reason for the post but we need help. This 17.2h, 10yr old holsteiner has come to us for rehab so he can be rideable again. The story starts after 5 owner/trainers have gotten to him and now he's landed at rehab, both for his head and his hind end.
This horse is incredible to look at but not work with: he is pushy, dominant, fearful, gets big eyed but doesn't spook. He gets tense with new people or handlers so we don't allow anyone but 2 of us to work with him. He is distrustful and unpredictable and will rear in defense and sometimes strikes out. His whole MO is to get away from you and or the situation as quickly and defensively as he needs to get. Now this horse weighs 1400lbs and is a big boned horse who has obviously gotten away with being pushy and dominant and unpredictable for years.
So why put all the time and effort and risk life and limb to save him you might ask? Well deep down into the very being of his soul, I feel there is a horse who is deeply misunderstood and just wants to please but is afraid of the repercussions if he does do something wrong. I've started to gain his trust a little, I can halter him, lunge him, walk him through the woods. We have even gotten a rider on him but he wants to and does bolt, crow hops and bucks. The vet discovered he has a right lower hip and failed all flexion tests. Any suggestions? I need the most natural way for this big guy and if I can get to the soul of his being, he would once again be incredible.
     
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    04-11-2010, 10:57 AM
  #2
Started
I would forget about riding him at this point. You need to start from the ground up. I can relate to your situation, my horse was going to be put down for his aggressive behavior....no one could do anything with him. I was his last chance and I knew there was a phenominal horse underneath all those horrible opinions and bad experiences. It's going to take A LOT of time with this horse but kudos to you for wanting to help him! I totally support your decision to work with him.

I would highly suggest looking into starting the Parelli program with him. It's by far the best way to approach this situation and you also might want to consider getting a Parelli Professional in to help you if his behavior is too extreme.
     
    04-11-2010, 10:57 AM
  #3
Green Broke
My first question is this, how much time do you want to spend on him??

I am asking because this seems very similar to a situation I was in years and years ago with my Quarterhorse who was abused at the track, then bought by novice riders who tried to force her to jump even though the horse was originally slated to be "put down" because of cracked withers. Absolutely no trust in people and no trust in other horses and she acted very much the way you describe this guy.

With her it took time, a LOT of time, I'm talking over a year to really get her to trust in people again enough to allow them on her. I started by putting her in a nice big 2acre pasture with another horse who wasn't dominant, but wouldn't put up with bad manners either. She was there for 6 or 7 months just learning how to be a horse agaiin. The first few months were filled of strictly "play dates" where I would bring her treats and play with her in the field. No halters or commands, just playing tag, scratching her favorite places etc until she finally started to look forward to my visits.

Then we bumped up to playing with the halter. I let her grab it and flip it around and act like it was a complete toy and soon she was letting me put it on her with ease. We started playing new games, or what we humans call doing ground work and I just basically kept gradually building her up as if she had never had any other training. As she would start trusting one thing I would continue on for a few more weeks and then go up to the next step. I think it took a good 9 or 10 months before I was actually riding her again, but when I did it was with no problems.

I was eventually able to put her back in a stable (I couldn't before because she would lunge out and bite people walking by and also kicked a stable hand at her previous stable and busted his knee up bad when he attempted to clean her stall). Soon I was able to take her into the arena and work her there and on trail with no problems...and then took her on some big public trail rides. About 2 years after I got her, she was successfully being ridden by a 10 year old beginner rider and was a completely different horse.

Some of these ideas may work for you, some may not. My biggest word of advice is be extremely patient and really really get to know this horse until you can tell exactly what he is thinking at all times. It sounds like this guy will need a LOT of time, especially time to just be a "horse." I agree with you though, I think somewhere in there is a really really good horse......and one day that good horse will come out :)
     
    04-11-2010, 11:12 AM
  #4
Foal
Thanks for the suggestions and replies. It gives me some hope and some feeling that he is not hopeless and for some reason, I knew this was going to be a really long time invested. I guess when you feel it so deeply in your gut but others are telling you just to forget it, the frustration level mounts and you wonder, " what am I doing ? How much time do you want to waste for this creature?" But when you look into those big brown eyes and he puts his head down to you for the first time, it gets to me. I guess its a feeling of love for these creatures that keep me going forward and not giving up. Thanks for sharing!
     
    04-11-2010, 12:14 PM
  #5
Started
I know exactly where you are coming from! We drove from Missouri to North Carolina to pick up my guy and after seeing his stall aggressive behavior (which was extreme) I went back to the hotel and thought, "What have I gotten myself into? I'm not sure I have the skill and savvy to deal with a horse with behavior this extreme and dangerous." Knowing that I was his last chance, and going out later that night and observing him in the pasture and giving him a few treats and thinking things over made me realize that I COULD do it. It wasn't going to be easy, it wasn't going to be quick, but I wasn't going to turn my back on him like everyone else had. I didn't ride him for almost 3 months because we had so many issues to work out on the ground first. When I did start riding him he would threaten to rear when asked to go faster than a walk. I had a few people think I was crazy for taking him on, but thank goodness for my circle of very close friends who supported me and talked things out with me when I was doubting myself! Support is key! Today you would not know my horse ever had those dangerous behaviors :) He is such a love with a brilliant mind, he has so much talent and potential. He is still a challenge even to this day, but in smaller and more subtle ways. He's a very independent horse who can still be very dominant over people, if you don't know what you're doing ;) and I think he will always be somewhat of a challenge, but it's been so rewarding seeing him become who is TRULY is and not who those idiots that call themselves trainers made him to be.

If you ever need to vent or talk things through or anything feel free to PM me anytime. Challenging horses like this are very....eye opening.....but boy do they teach us a lot! Have fun learning, stay safe, and don't give up on him....there is a wonderful horse and a beautiful mind underneath all that :)
     
    04-11-2010, 02:29 PM
  #6
Foal
Thanks for your time and comments. I am learning that all horses are challenging and some can make or break you.... that's your body and your heart. This big boy needs a strong person but a kind person who understands its not all about the shows and not how high can he go. I've recently found out that he crashed level 6 and has never been right since and if we even have xrails up in the arena , he tends to make a wide girth around them. So between his pelvis and his brain, I don't think jumping is in his future again. Patience is key, kidness and comfort for him just now and I believe with some support , we can make him a horse again but respectful and trusting of human contact . Thanks for sharing and the invite to pm.
     
    04-11-2010, 03:10 PM
  #7
Started
Kudos to you for trying to help him out. So many people try to "mechanically" fix problems like his, just so they can keep riding him, and then throw him out once even the "mechanical" things don't work on him anymore.
My thoroughbred didn't have any dangerous behaviors, but she also had never learned how to be a horse. She was always in a barn, never got out with other horses, never went out on trail, was only ridden in an arena, and when I got her was VERY high stress "gotta work gotta work gotta work". She had no concept of relaxing, and taking a day off. I would turn her out with my dads horse every day (he knew how to be a horse, and was a very relaxing presence for my horse to be around), and after a year or so, she really learned how to relax and breathe. I also took her out on trail rides after almost every ride, just as a cool down, brain break for her, and after she got over the whole "oh my gosh where are the arena fences" issues, she positively loved going on trail. I believe that it is what kept her sane through all my shows, and pony club, and working almost 7 days a week.
It will take time to gain his trust, and I can guarantee that for every two steps forward, he'll take a step back, and you just have to keep in mind that he's just trying to process everything, and has to step back into his "safety" zone every once in a while. He will not be fixed overnight, and you can't get impatient with him, not matter how long it takes. He will be very frustrating at times, but you got to just keep your head in the game, and keep going.
If you stick with it, I can guarantee that the reward of gaining his trust, and the things that he will end up doing for you will far outweigh the time it took to get there, all the trial and error, the banged up body parts, and headaches trying to figure him out. Keep us posted, and put up pics. I wanna see this horse lol. He sounds like he's a beautiful horse.
     
    04-12-2010, 10:10 AM
  #8
Foal
The place I would start with a horse like this is very clear direction on where he can place his feet. This will help with two issue's,his need to leave when the pressure is too much, the second being his pushy lack of respect for your space. The two things are important the first for his brain the second for your safety. The good news is alot of this can be done with some basic leading exercises. The focus being direction ,see if you can get him to follow the direction of the lead,where ever it moves. Work towards doing this with slack to the line. The goal again is as the slack comes out he is already moving . Where he is moving is an opening , not a dead end. When he gets that feel it will bring comfort to your direction not pressure. The first layer on this is the hardest part to break through, then the results will come faster. This will get you to the inside of the horse. Sometimes the pressure put on these poor horses in the interest of competion rips their brains out. When you are working with him give him the luxury of saying NO I can't handle that. When that happens you wouldn't stop working , you would rephrase the question to something he can handle. That is why it is also important to have a base line of things you can do together. I am new to posting on this site but will start to put in some pictures. One of the horses I am working with now displays many of these traits. The second time I was able to get a well timed release,the result was the beginning of communication. If you choose a pressure /release method of training,reverse the order. After awhile you can leave out the pressure and just release.
     
    04-12-2010, 10:44 AM
  #9
Weanling
Sounds like you have a fun one, I'm jealous. I personally would stay away from any NH gurus at this point (parelli, CA, etc) because although it sounds like his problems on the outside are mostly behavioral, it sounds like it is stemming from physical. Most of the NH programs include a lot of disengagement and lateral movements that wouldn't be the best thing for a horse in his condition and would actually make him physically weaker.

Yes, the most important thing that you can do right now is show that you are capable of being his leader. Don't focus too much on moving the feet, but instead control the feet, which in some situations means making them stay still. The more physically compromised a horse is, the stronger they will test their leader, which is what makes a horse like this so difficult to work with. The fun thing about this kind of horse is that once they trust you as their leader, they will completely spill their guts about everything, they are just looking for someone who understands their problems. Once they realize that you are trying to help them, they put everything they have into what you are offering.

To fix any problem, you have to fix the source. So often, we look to what is obvious on the outside, the behavioral issues. However, most of these behavioral issues are just stemming from their instinct of self preservation when their defensive mechanisms are compromised. That is what needs to be fixed, the body. Unfortuantely, many NH techniques do leave out the technical points behind the biomechanics of the horse, and behavioral training can override the physical defenses and does in many cases. It makes the horse safer to handle, but physically breaks them down overtime. I know a former Parelli professional personally who left the program because she realized that every horse coming in with a serious behavioral problem had an underlying physical problem that was being completely ignored by following the program.

I have found the trickiest part here is proving and maintaining leadership while understanding what is going wrong in the horses body and making sure that what you are doing isn't making that worse. Don't worry about riding him right now, just do what you can to make him feel safe and secure, because until you get his trust, you will not get anywhere with training. Once you have his attention, there are a lot of things that you can do from the ground to improve him physically before compromising him with the added weight and imbalance of carrying a rider. Long reining work does very well with this type of horse as long as the person on the other end is skilled with what they are doing and can time their corrections well. If you can find someone who specializes in physical correction (yes, they are hard to find), that would be to your benefit.

These horses are usually very intelligent and the truth is that with everything he is doing, he is very clearly communicating with you, all you have to do is listen and guide.
     
    04-12-2010, 12:57 PM
  #10
Foal
Thanks for the suggestions. I think this might have happened by accident but I think it might be in fact, what you were referring to in your comments.
This am when I was putting hay into his pasture, he decided I wasn't doing it fast enough and charged me so I would drop and run... well I didn't and I started running towards him instead... which made this guy almost fumble and he retreated quickly. He stopped turned around , looked at me as if I was the one who was a bit crazed, he licked his lips, put his head down and approached me like a gentlemen. I think I scared him or at least took him a bit by surprise that his bullying didn't work. I think if I call his bluffs , he is a big marshmellow on the inside . I dont' know if I made this all worse or whether it made him think... I guess tomorrow am I will see his reaction to me taking out his hay.
     

Tags
bucks, dominant issue, jumper, rearing problem, rehabilitation

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