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WesternBella 04-11-2012 09:43 AM

Is there any way to make my horse like being ridden?
Ok, so most of the horse shows signs of not liking riding at all. He will do anything he can to not come in when I go out in the paddock to catch him, resist getting the saddle pad, saddle, bridle on. He also resists being mounted and once we are riding, he tries to stop a lot & try hard to get to the exit.

I have ruled the pain issues out over & over again, and there is nothing I/my trainer/vet could find.

I'm thinking it probably a behavioral/respect issue...we are working on it a lot.

I just wanted to know if there are any ways to make him enjoy ri ding? Anything I could do while/before/after to make him happier or enjoy the experience??
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MN Tigerstripes 04-11-2012 10:02 AM

If you've ruled out pain issues (teeth, back, ill-fitting tack, cold-backed, etc) your next step is to look at the way you ride/train and what discipline you are currently doing..

What are you using him for? It's possible he doesn't enjoy it or that he's arena sour.

How well do you ride? Are you popping him in the mouth? Bad timing? Slamming on his back? Is your release consistently off?

How do you ride him? Do you warm up/cool down? Mostly slow stuff or fast stuff? Do you do different exercises with him or are you focusing on a particular area of his training?

BlueSpark 04-11-2012 10:03 AM


I'm thinking it probably a behavioral/respect issue...we are working on it a lot.
Bingo. He sounds super disrespectful. Its funny, I just worked with a horse like this. He got away with behavior for a while and got disrespectful(not as bad as your guy though) He got a few very strict butt kicking sessions. We did lunging with lots of direction changes and transitions, were extremely strict on him staying out of my space at all times(huge pet peeve) and the first couple sessions we did tonnes of trotting, circles, figure 8's, stopping, backing and flexing, all on the side of the arena he wanted to go(by the gate). Whe I was satisfied he had improved and we could end on a good note, I trotted him to the side of the arena he didn't like, walked him and got off. By the end of 3 sessions he was fantastic, all the disrespect was gone.

Think of it as working for a boss you don't respect. Pretty soon you don't support them and grow resentful. If your boss was firm but fair and honest, it would be much easier to follow their lead.

Island Horselover 04-11-2012 10:28 AM

Yes, I agree. He needs def. more respect and probably lots of ground work done with him. I always like to reward the horse once you catch it with a little bucket of grain or let it eat some fresh grass for a few minutes so there is a motivation for the horse to come when you are there - even though I am not a big fan of training a horse with food... Spend some time with him or her and when you saddle him up correct him right away, do not let him take a single step and if he does (same for mounting him) correct him right away, lets say he takes a sidestep when you put the saddle on, put him back in the place where he was before and try to put it on again until there is absolutely no movement. Take your time and be calm and relaxed to show him that there is nothing bad happening and reward him. While riding do some exercising with him to make the ride more enjoyable for both of you, once he does something you ask him to always remember to release the pressure, that shows him that he is doing the right thing... it might take some time but I am sure that your relationship will improve and he will soon enjoy coming on rides :0) Good luck to you and your horse and happy trails!!!!!

Palomine 04-11-2012 12:27 PM

While your vet/trainer might have "ruled out pain issues" unless x-rays were taken, and other diagnostic work done, you don't know that pain isn't a factor.

Too many times, the tests needed are cost prohibitive, or worse? Can't be done locally. But you can not rule out arthritis, bone spurs, broken/cracked bones, or what have you without them.

And could be peritonitis too, horses will hide a tremendous amount of pain, until it is unbearable. And could also be an abscess deep in muscle tissue? Could be dental issues, or even broken bones in jaw.

Without intensive tests? Pain could be the root cause of this.

Conversely? Since none of us can see you or this horse, it is also impossible to tell if this horse is merely having you on, by acting up. Depending on your skills, or the individual toughness of the horse? He could be perfectly fine, and it is basically you that is the problem here, either in a mismatch of you and the horse, or that you are too timid a handler/rider to come out on top.

There are some horses that are extremely tough, not so much in terms of meanness, but in terms of they are determined to come out on top, and it takes a really strong mindset to overcome that. A "kinder, gentler" trainer/rider/handler may not be able to handle the horse.

Case in point? We had, at Saddlebred training barn I worked at, an extremely talented gaited horse, who was tough as nails, stubborn, and very willful. He went, after much wasted time, to a trainer known to take nothing from a horse. He got upper hand on him, and won consistently after that, because the horse knew he could not best him.

I would do more vet tests, to see what is going on if you can, to make sure pain isn't a factor, without them? You won't be able to rule it out.

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