Won't Go on Trail by Himself
Butterscotch, one of the horses I'm working with regularly, seems to greatly dislike going on the trail without at least one other horse present. I'm the type of person who likes to go out whenever, which means I don't always like having company. I fought hard with him yesterday, but nothing I did worked.
As we started to leave the barn area, he turned on a dime and tried to go home. I spun him back around. He walked sideways, backwards, sideways, and ended right back into forward position. We made several of these circles. He jumped around, backed up, side stepped, and reared (not very high, just enough to show he was cranky). I tried to shorten my reins, lengthen my reins, have one long, one short. I tried to just make him circle, but he wouldn't without somehow maneuvering toward the barn. Eventually, I gave up for both our safety and took him back and worked him in the arena for a bit before just walking around the area that surrounded the barn.
I'm considering walking him out there on foot, halter and lead. If there's not too much fighting, I'll do it again with him wearing tack and mount him out there and see where it takes me, but I'm really stumped. I've never fought with a horse so hard and didn't have some kind of break through, if even for a few seconds. He was freaking determined!
He is insecure and barn sour. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Even if he gets really unruly, get off him and continue walking away from the barn, going back only let's him win and it will be worse the next time. Start with small away from barn outings. Don't go back until he is under control. Little by little go further away. Change up the ride, go around trees, etc. Keep his mind busy and his body moving forward.
I don't want to be a downer but there is a recent, extensive thread on this very same issue. I don't recall which subforum it is in, but it is here someplace.
My want to try a couple of different searches.
try riding out to where he starts getting nervous, then ride back to the barn and do some trotting and other more intense work, the walk him out on the trail again. Repeat. Also if he starts pulling that stuff again, get off, lunge him untill he feels like listening, then get back on. All out horses ride out by them selves, although some really dont like it. Its a safety thing for us, if one person needs to ride for help because a rider or horse is injured, and the horse wont go, it can be a big problem.
I'd of fought until he got too tired to fight back, but there was equipment and fencing he kept getting to close to. I really, really didn't want to let him win. I'll try hopping off and leading him into the trees next time he starts pitching a fit. While I did ride him back, I road him hard and walked all over the place for awhile, so he might of got to go back, but he didn't get to quit working. Ugh, I hope I can fix this. If it gets worse, I'll say something.
Also, sorry if there was a thread on this. I didn't spot anything right off hand, but y'know, there's probably a dozen threads on every situation ever mentioned on this forum. :/
Have you tried going out on a trail with a buddy and having that buddy slowing move their horse away from you ? If so and he get's nervous, they can come back to you..I would keep at that, this way there is someone there should he get very upset and you do not want to be alone for safety reason's...I would continue this until the other horse is a good distance and your boy is comfortable..
Sounds like you got a bit of work on your hands!
As mentioned before I would probably get on and do a bit of warm up work around the barn to get him loosened up first. Then I would really put him to work loping circles, roll backs, back up, lope off turn back again and really get his heart pumping right at the barn. The thing to remember is you need to make the work intense and not a lot of fun for your horse. I don't spend a lot of time just loping in circles either because its not engaging his mind at all so only do three or four circles then stop roll him over his hocks and lope him off the other way. Lope small circles, big circles and just make the barn a work place instead of a place that he knows he will get rest at.
Once hes worn down a bit break him down into a walk and ride him away from the barn. If he wants to be a jerk and come back to the barn let him and put him straight back to work again then after a bit ride him off from the barn. once he walks off away from the barn just let him relax and don't get into his face or ask a lot of him for now. All you want to do is just get him to associate the barn with work and away from the barn as rest.
I went to a clinic that had a mom and daughter in it with two horse that were inseperalbe buddies because they had been raised together and one never went any where with out the other. The instructer had all of us stand at one end of the arena and the daughter put her horse through some really intense work as described and then rode to the other end of the arena. After about 10 minutes her horse wouldn't hardly look at his buddy because if he did she would put him right back to work. I hadn't seen this done before but it worked like a charm and now i se the same method when I am training rope horses that balk at going into the box.
Hope that helps and rember be safe in what your doing!
Thank you everyone for advice, I'm going to try what's been said thus far and call this "concluded" until I see how things go. Thank you so much to everyone who replied! You all always help me greatly with your wisdom and advices!
I only ride out alone on a solid horse who prefers being alone. That's because I'm still a beginner. I ride very close to the barn where my lessons are (I can always see the barn when I'm riding) so it's not like I'm far away, but anyway....
My trainer said there are 3 kinds of trail horses
1) those that will ride alone regardless of their rider
2) those that will ride alone only if the rider is experienced and confident which makes them feel confident
3) those that are scared to ride alone regardless of their rider.
for these types of horses she said she will go back and forth between the barn and the trail, slowly getting further away from the barn each time. This way it eases the horse into riding alone and they see that going away from the barn is okay.
Another trick is to go out with another rider and slowly work on separating, then coming back together. Keep repeating. The idea is for the horse to slowly build confidence in being alone rather than just make him go cold turkey.
I don't know if this a bad idea or not, but one of the women at the barn said that she would give her horse treats during points on the trail. He loved peppermints so he'd get a peppermint for each 1/4 mile or so. He started to associate the trails with being something yummy and said that she could tell his mind was on getting the treat not on being scared. LOL such a horse way of thinking.
I'm not a beginner, and (a much needed boost to my ego) my 'boss' said she trusted my riding skills. I felt very flattered, since I've lived and breathed horses my whole life. Again, I've got enough things to try. I'm determined, so it'll happen. ;)
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