Need help getting horse moving - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-11-2010, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Need help getting horse moving

First of all, I am pretty much a beginner at this. I was somewhat interested and involved with horses as a youngster. Now that my son has reached 10 years old he has taken an interest in riding. He has been taking riding lessons and is learning alot, even teaching me some of the things he has learned. Now that the introduction is done, here is our dilema. My wife's parents have 3 horses. One is about 25 years old, one is about 14(paint horse) and one is about 10 years old(palamino). All of the horses are mares. The 14 year old paint is the horse we are working with. She was broke by a local trainer about 10 years ago and I rode her a few times after this and she was definitely green broke, but still rideable. Recently, after spending many hours in the pasture with the horses over about a 3 week period I decided to get brave and get the saddle out. I saddled the paint and rigged her up with our bridle that has a snaffle bit. I mounted the saddle and she stood perfectly still. Great right. Well, that's all she did. She wouldn't move an inch. I squeezed in with my legs and also tried to gently bump my heels to get her to move, no luck. The next day I put on the bridle and just hopped on bareback. She did fine and gentle, but still would not move for me. I would lead her away from the other horses, hop on, and she would move, but only toward the other horses and would not take direction from me to turn either way. Later that afternoon my son and I walked out to the big pasture, haltered the palamino, bridled the paint and led the palamino in to the water trough. The paint followed with my son aboard, but still would not take any input from us on direction or move when we wanted her to. She would only move when the palamino did and only in the direction of the water trough.(BTW the trough is our usual meeting place with them and nearby where we pet and groom them). I really don't want to use spurs to get this girl moving, that's why I am posting here in the Natural Horseman section. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am sure that with a little more time and patience we will be able to make some progress on our own, but I just want to make sure we are headed in the right direction. Thanks, Mike and son Dallas.
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-12-2010, 10:43 PM
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Hmmm, there are a few things to consider. How long had it been since she was ridden? Did the saddle fit? Was she sore? Did she act angry and fed up? Or did she just look lazy? And another thing i thought of, when she was previously ridden, was she always ridden away from the other horses? If so, when you saddled her she might of thought that she was moving away from the other horses and didnt want to leave them. If this is right, she wanted to be with a herd. She moves with the pally so she defiantely wants to be in a herd. A horse seeks safety in a herd and by riding her away from the other horses, you are taking away her safety. As you said that she would only walk towards the other horses, this would be my first guess. Its all about understanding the herding instinct. Dont punish her if she walks back towards the other horses as you are telling her to go against her herding instinct. Try to eventually turn her around away from the other horses but ride in the same paddock as them. But then again if it is just plain stubborness, as you said you were a beginner, get an experienced horse person to work with her for a while.

Sorry about my crappy explaining and about the heap of jibberish. But i really hope i have helped :d

good luck with her

Cross Country- The act of hurling yourself and your equine partner at a stationary object with poise and grace while attempting to survive...
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-13-2010, 12:42 AM
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The mare is wanting to stay with her herd, for sure.
I wonder, have you observed her in the herd and found where she is in the hierarchy? Top, bottom, middle? I would guess middle or lower, no?
Usually the horse nearest the top doesn't mind so much being ridden away from the herd, but it's not written in stone.
I respectfully disagree with Pinto Tess, I don't like to ride my horse in the same pasture with the herd. I think it's better to work with them apart from the herd. You will be more likely to get the horse's mind to be with you, so if you have that option, I would try that.

If you do have to ride in with the herd you could try riding her toward her buddies and then away a little, then toward, then away.
Also, there is the philosophy of making work hard when they are near their bud, and easy when they are far awaay, but if you can't get a forward out of the horse, you might find it hard to "work" her at all. Still, you could try by riding her toward the buds, when you are close ask for a vigorous trot and work hard in circles nearby the buds, then move away from them and let her rest. Repeat and repeat and maybe she will accept going away from them and just walking easily in the area that is far from them. It's a strategy that works, if worked.
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-13-2010, 12:52 AM
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My paint can be lazy sometimes too. :)

I might have somebody lead her while someone is riding her at first (in an enclosed area without the other horses, if possible). I have found that my horses pay more attention to me when I am riding them away from each other--close enough that they can see each other, but not far enough away that they panic because they are separated. I'm assuming these mares are all pretty bonded to each other?

As other members stated, I would check the saddle fit, as an ill-fitting saddle can make a horse reluctant to move. When was the last time this mare had a bit in her mouth? I've found that after I have done lots of groundwork with my horses, they respond better to being ridden in a halter and reins, since that is what they are used to from the ground.

| Kubie, Appaloosa (RIP) | Patches, Pinto Arabian Pony | Scotch, Paint Quarterhorse |
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-15-2010, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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I appreciate all the advice. She definitely is attached to the herd. The three horses are grandmother, daughter and granddaughter, so they have been together all of their lives. As far as the hiearchy, it seems as though the youngest horse is more of a leader than the other two. She is certainly the most curious and comes running when she sees you standing in the pasture. We are working with her with a halter right now, she will lead with my son setting on her bareback. As far as our paint, I will try to separate her in the other pasture, but only at a distance so that the other horses can still see us. I am sure that with a little patience we can get her going. THANKS.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-19-2010, 01:26 PM
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When i am getting my lazy horse to move, I don't go straight, I make her turn. We taught her to yield to pressure in the hind quarters, so when I want to turn her right, I move my right leg back so she bends and that gets the feet moving. Someday we will go straight...
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