Need a dangerous trail situation dealt with.
So as everyone should know by now, I'm now one proud and happy owner of one Butterscotch. I love him to bits and he's still the same personality. However, without a proper, safe, training barn to work him at consistently, I am having some serious problems with his behavior riding.
I keep in check with my positioning. It's really frustrating and I find myself short tempered in this 100 degree whether. Before the ride is ever over, I'm dehydrated and ready to pass out from trying to keep him from killing us. Granted, he does do well once I get him out and going, but getting that way is a hard task.
He backs up without a care on where it takes him (ditches, steep 3 footer hills, barbed fencing). Every time he gets close to that, I instantly stop what I'm doing and relax because I'll panic otherwise. I've used a crop as encouragement to move forward. I've sat back and squeezed, I've leaned forward and squeezed, I've kicked, I've clucked, I' dismounted, lead him around, remounted, I've made him circle, and I've ever used an egg-butt and the typical western bit (y'know, the kind every other western bridle comes with).
I'm stuck. I'm not sure what to do, and I really don't want to borrow my friend's spurs because I don't trust myself. I'd lunge him, but a multitude of factors won't allow that.
So, for the love of god, does anyone have any ideas that will help me?
Have you tried riding him out with a partner or riding buddy? It sounds like he is barn/buddy sour.
Circles? Tight little circles that keep his feet moving around and around?
I'd also suggest lunging and groundwork. You don't need a roundpen to do it. If you don't have an enclosed arena and feel you need one, maybe you can use his pasture?
I really do wish I could ground work him. It helped before, even when I could lunge him. (I'd just have him follow me around for the sake of manners and it did good for in the saddle, too.)
And yes, but not too god-awful tight. It's basically the only way to make him stop backing up and move forward, then I can stop him and try to think out my next move. Otherwise, there's no stopping him from backing up until he hits something or finally realizes I've stopped my own actions.
Edit: Am I going to have to hire a trainer?
A horse that loses all forward impulsion and backs up blindly is really dangerous. I've known them to back in front of cars and trucks and to roll up-side-down on a rider when their hind foot hung up on something. It is not a spoiled habit to be taken lightly.
I would suggest getting some help as you do not appear to know how to get better forward impulsion. Some knowledgeable person needs to assess whether this horse is 'broke' enough to put in driving lines and make him go forward and get him guiding well enough to ride or whether this horse needs to be started correctly from scratch.
Spoiled horses that have learned to do this need an experienced horseman to straighten them out.
Where do you live in Oklahoma? I am a long way from NE Oklahoma (140 miles SW of Tulsa), but I may know someone that lives near you.
Vinita is a long way from Sulphur. I can no longer take outside horses. I have very severe arthritis and can barely ride at all.
The only horses we take any more come with their owners and we coach / teach the owners what needs to be done.
Getting old and crippled is not all it's cracked up to be --- BUT it beats the heck out of the alternative!
Buddy sour horses are a pain in the rear and it's not a quick fix.
The good news is you don't have to travel to the trail to fix this (unless your barn has trails, in which case yeah for you). If you can't make progress on your own or it gets worse... Get a professional trainer sooner than later. You already have a bad habit. No need to ingrain it further and make correction that much harder.
Get the buddy and head outside. Leave the buddy tied to a trailer or other secure location (provided that horse is safe to leave tied). Start by riding your horse away from buddy. At first sign of balking, hissy fit, whatever... start circling. You can take him closer to buddy, but keep circling. Not a slow easy circle, but one that really moves his feet. Then move out again and repeat and repeat. The concept is to make staying near or going towards his buddy lots of work, and giving him a break when he moves away so that it's the easier option for him to choose. This may take quite a few sessions. Keep working the distance farther and longer time away from buddy. Sooner or later he's going to get the idea that hanging with his buddy is a whole lotta work and going out on his own is easier.
Out of curiosity, does he only act up under saddle or does he do it on lead too? Will he follow you out on a walk or run away from the barn?
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