Horse with bad anxiety when riding with other horses
 
 

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Horse with bad anxiety when riding with other horses

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  • Horse gets anxious when passing other horses
  • Anxiety horseback riding

 
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    10-23-2009, 02:51 PM
  #1
Foal
Question Horse with bad anxiety when riding with other horses

Hello I'm new to this forum and new to Natural Horsemanship.

I have an 11 year old Icelandic gelding with a wonderfully clam disposition and lovely gaits. This horse came to me with very little formal training. His previous owner mostly took him on short trail rides or down the road alone.

When I began riding him 3 months ago on the trails and in the fields nothing spooks him and he is not heard bound. However once I began asking him to trot or canter he became a little bucky and would squeal and jump. Through regular rides these behaviors have mostly gone away - he may occasionally buck going into the canter if I have not ridden him for a day or two.

Now I have been taking him out with a group of other Icelandic horses & riders (2-6 horses). He is pretty good at the beginning of the ride when we are just walking and slowly trotting or tolting. However as the ride goes on and the other riders want to trot ahead or begin to canter my horse gets completely anxious and starts tossing his head and wanting to buck or jump up on all fours. As we go into a canter sometimes he will buck terribly and try to rocket ahead. Sometimes I can ride him through the bucks and he will canter quite nicely to the end of the section. However once we get to another area of the ride he will go through the same routine again (bucking, jumping up on all fours, tossing head).

It also seems like the larger the group the worse he seems to be and he seems to get worse about halfway through the ride when he senses we are starting towards home. Sometimes he will even buck at the walk on the way home if I wonít let him move as fast as he wants.

I have tried riding him through it, keeping his head up - however he is so athletic and has a strong neck he still is able to sneak some bucks in. I really think he has a anxiety issue that is combined with the excitement of the other horses around him.

My goal is to be able to ride this horse with all the other Icelandic horses - however I feel like I have reached a point were it is not safe to take him out in the group. I can continue to trail ride him alone, however I feel like this isn't fixing the problem because he is so relaxed on his own.

This horse has not been a part of the Icelandic herd and some people have said he does not know how to behave with the other Icelandics since he has been separated for so many years.

Unfortunately we donít have an arena or riding ring to work in. I may be able to move him to live with two of the Icelandic horses with the idea that this would help him.

I'd really appreciate some suggestions on how to work through this problem.

     
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    10-23-2009, 03:42 PM
  #2
Weanling
I am not a trainer, but what if you start with some ground work, for "respect" issues and if he begins to get anxious when you are in a group ride, you could put him to work - make him move his feet (as Clinton Anderson says!) - whatever.....circles, backing - and you could incorporate the "one rein stop" into your training program. My friend SWEARS by Clinton Anderson and she uses his methods on her horses (one young, one older) and I have to tell you - she has had success working on the ground exercises to gain respect to the one rein stop for control issues. You may want to check it out. I think most of the Natural Horsemanship Clinicians are on the same page with most of your ground training for respect - you may want to check out your favorite trainer and see what you come up with! Best of luck!
     
    10-23-2009, 04:00 PM
  #3
Trained
I would practice working through your issues with one other trusted horse with you & until your horse learns he's not going to get his way by trying to run off & buck you should lay off riding in a larger group. Practice transtions together. Also what I do in preparation for fox hunting where your horse must behave & not pass other horses is practice riding behind on other person & getting my horses relaxed & listening to me & not the other horse. I will let the other horse trot/canter off but my horse has to do what ever I want, even if its turn & walk back the other way.
     
    10-23-2009, 07:18 PM
  #4
Started
I, too, suggest starting with ground work to develop a better level of trust and respect. That transfers into the saddle! I'd suggest the Parelli 7 Games. Works wonders!

It sounds like he gets impulsive when the other horses go, so the worst thing you could do is hold him back and pull with 2 reins. That only gives him power because he can lean on you and engage his hind end. So the ideal thing to do is to ride with people who are willing to take it slow and allow you to work out these problems. If they aren't willing to do that, then don't ride with them and find better people to ride with! Also ride with people who have calm horses (for right now, be picky about who you allow your horse to associate with). If he starts getting antsy STOP and allow him to settle. Rub him, let him know he's fine, back up a couple steps, then ask him forward. Do this approach and retreat until he's confident and relaxed. If at any time he gets out of hand, reach down with your hand and with one rein bend his head around to disengage his hind end. Do it slowly and gracefully, if you are rough that will only make the situation worse. You can also do a lot of transitions, leg yields, circles if you can, disengaging his hind end, those kinds of things to get him thinking back to you. NEVER let your horse run home, that usually creates an impulsive, hard to handle horse and it's not a good habit to get into. Also, if you at any moment feel afraid and unconfident and think to yourself "I think I should get off" DO IT! There is NO shame in getting off, it's not worth you getting hurt. Listen to your instincts, they will keep you safe. And the old myth that the horse "will have won"...........don't worry about that, it's a bunch of bovine fecal matter ;)
     
    10-24-2009, 07:23 AM
  #5
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spirithorse    
NEVER let your horse run home, that usually creates an impulsive, hard to handle horse and it's not a good habit to get into. Also, if you at any moment feel afraid and unconfident and think to yourself "I think I should get off" DO IT! There is NO shame in getting off, it's not worth you getting hurt. Listen to your instincts, they will keep you safe. And the old myth that the horse "will have won"...........don't worry about that, it's a bunch of bovine fecal matter ;)
I agree with this 100%. There is a time to ride it out, and a time to get off. I've known many folks that have stayed on their horse way beyond their ability to control it and have regretted it.
     
    10-25-2009, 10:45 PM
  #6
Foal
Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm going to start implementing some groundwork exercises this week. I agree I need to find some riding companions that have super calm and confident horses.
Thanks!
     

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