Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Breinigsville, PA
• Horses: 0
Hello everyone! Two weeks ago, I adopted a 16.2 H percheron. The dentist estimates his age to be close to 30 years old (a bit older than what we expected). From what we know, he was originally purchased at an auction, most likely came from the Amish, and was used for the last year or so as a trail horse in the Poconos. He couldn't keep up with the 4 one hour trail rides / 7 day a week schedule, so he was put up for adoption, or was going back to the auction. He is safe for anyone to ride and very sweet. He is my first horse in 10 years. I grew up riding and showing hunter/jumpers, working as a groom, instructor, worked on Standardbred racing farms, etc. At 20, I was diagnosed with Rhumethoid Arthritis and left the horse world. At 30, I desperately wanted to be around horses again and always wanted to find an older horse who had paid his dues and deserved a good home to live out the rest of his days. I chose Noah because he is dead quiet for a rider and I really need to work on my confidence after working with so many flighty jumpers and race horses over the years. Since leaving horses, any time I have gotten on, I tend to expect horses to spook and in turn make them more nervous until they do spook. I wanted to find something that was slow, quiet, good natured, and just wanted to go for an occassional trail ride or trot around the ring. The first time I got on Noah, I was more comfortable and confident than I had been in a very long time. Even at his age, Noah is not showing any stiffness, health issues, or dental problems, so we are fortunate enough to be able to focus on keeping him healthy.
Anyway, I am boarding him at a farm that does Parelli. I have never been around any type of formal Natural Horsemanship before but am really interested in learning and I think it will be something that will benefit me and Noah. I haven't had a chance to take any lessons with the trainer yet, but am hoping to once Noah is out of quarantine and settled in. He was just moved to this farm last Tuesday and is still seperated from the herd for another day.
Here is our problem. In the two weeks that I have had him, he has been testing me a little bit more each day. I know I haven't been firm enough with him, but I'm not sure what to do that will gain his respect. I believe he is Left Brain Introverted, according to Parelli's chart, and have never had a horse quite like him. He has been testing me and is obviously winning. A few days after I brought him home, he started swinging his hind end away from me when being groomed on the cross ties. It started only once or twice, but now, he is doing it every time, all the time. He’s actually trying to turn himself all the way around. I thought he might have been uncomfortable on the cross ties and hoped he would feel more secure being single tied. Nope, he’s still getting progressively worse. Since he’s swinging away, I’m not sure how to correct him. I’ve had plenty that swing towards me, but I’m getting the feeling he is outsmarting me and is starting to realize he has the upper hand. When I’m leading him, there are times when he walks nice and quiet behind me and a minute later he’ll be pulling ahead and walking into me. What I would have referred before as needing to remind him of ground manners, has progressed into blatant pushiness and not showing any respect. When I was at the barn yesterday, I only had him tied for about 10 minutes before I gave up (I know, not a good thing to do) and turned him back out. I was getting frustrated and nervous and didn't want to make things any worse. I started to think that I might be better off waiting until he’s had a chance to get out with the herd and feels more settled before trying to get him to focus on working with me. I’m used to cranky mares & flighty thoroughbreds but this seems different. Is it wishful thinking to hope that he’s still getting used to things and irritated that he can’t be out with the rest of the horses? He's also extremely unhappy that he can't get to any grass since his quarantine time is being spent in the round pen.
What kinds of things can I do to encourage respect with a horse this big that now knows he's in charge?