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Problems riding out from barn any advice appreciated
Ok so I have been working with a trainer with Benny(it helps when I can communicate in asking Benny what she all ready knows to do) anyway my trainer has been a God send. Only issue is now I have lost my job and we have to revamp our bills get everything straight before even considering taking more lessons. Benny does awesome in the arena except for her lack of wanting to trot. I have her now lunging on a line(I could never get her to do that before) even over poles. My question is about riding tho. When I'm riding from the barn in any direction no matter what I do she turns back to the barn, she will turn her head toward the barn and try to circle back. I get firm with her shorten her reins but her head still looks toward that dang barn. It cam be dangerous because she doesn't want to listen that way so alot of times I turn her into a circle and ask her to continue, but after a dozen times it gets quite irritating. Of course I don't take her back different things work at different times. The last time I jerked her opposite reign 3 times and she went straight, it worked but then she was anxious trying to jog then trot(which I can handle if she would pay attention to my ques. Now when we go out of the barn area all the way around, she fights the gate, then once we are out she again keeps turning toward home, but this time instead of a quick walk in which she does this it's at a jog and again not paying attention to ques or her surrounding. She almost tripped up last time, went down to her knees luckily she wasn't injured. Any ideas??? Oh once she relaxes she's fine it's the first 10minutes that I have to fight her with. Doesn't really make for an enjoyable experience for either of us.
This problem is going to take some time, but it is very fixable. Take this as an excellent learning opportunity for both of you. First, you need to make sure she will mind you and show respect perfectly from the ground. First question: How does she behave when you lead her away from where she wants to be? Does she look back the same way or show any other kind of resistance?
Im throwing my name in the mix, because this is EXACTLY what my horse does. only when riding tho...not being led away. so im going to "read" in.
Okay, one thing you can do is look up ground driving, starting with one line in the round pen and then work with with two once they feel comfortable.
You can also do some gentle bonding away from the barn, via groundwork and taking a break and grazing. Lunging on a line away from the barn helps too. Basically make away from the barn stimulating and fun as well.
Also when she looks to the barn, do everything you can to drive her forward.. if she tries to look, half halt and take her in a few serpentines away from the barn. Or a nice lengthy trot. just be careful.
I think it's a combination of further developing the relationship between you and her (not only making yourself part of her herd, but you being alpha mare :D) and providing variety. Working more at the barn while having more fun time away (think treats and grooming at the end of the pasture instead of at the barn) helps. Don't immediately dismount at the barn either. That's reinforcement for her current behavior.
I just bought a little TWH who showed to be quite barn sour at his previous place. I have a paddock that all new horses go into for a few days before I'll turn them out with the herd. They can touch noses but they're not in the same pasture together. His behavior (constantly calling out to the other horses) tells me just how herd dependent he is. The constant neighing went on for two days. I felt sorry for him, almost put my mare in there with him but then thought "I don't want him bonding with her, I want him bonding with ME!" So I'm spending a lot of time with him and making myself his comfort. He's looking for a friend and I'm it. :lol:
Today was a lot better and he started nickering and neighing when he saw me come out to the barn. I'm going to take advantage of this and keep him in there at least through the weekend...if he keeps improving. I'm working him some, asking him to back, yield, etc each day while also just spending some quality time with him. I've never had one this bad before so I'm hoping that this tactic will help jump start working on this issue.
I have to agree with RockinD, Look at it from your horse's perspective, where does she get the most rest and comfort where do you "argue" with her the most? If it is uncomfortable for her either physically(work) or emotionally(worried) to be away from the barn of course she is going to want to be at the barn where she spends most of her day relaxing. So I would concentrate on doing as much of my lesson as close to the barn as I can(circumstances permitting) and when she has earned a reward take her away from the barn as a relaxing reward time.
Also, if she is dictating to you where she wants to be, she is not looking to you as her leader, she may need you to be firmer, or she could be needing you to be softer. You will probably have to figure out which she needs by trial and error, see which she responds to better. I usually start by being more compassionate and soft with my horse, then if there is no improvement in the next 4-6 lessons then I ask my horse to put on his big boy panties and do as he is told. One way or the other I get the feed back I need to progress with his training.
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