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TristaJean 07-01-2012 07:53 PM

Swerving towards arena gate?
A recurring problem I have is while riding my horse will swerve towards the arena gate. I've tried everything from bending his head to the side while riding past the gate, to using tons of leg pressure, making him change gaits as we go past, to turning him in circles. But without a fail, every time we go past a gate, whether it be in a field or arena, he will swerve towards it and try to leave the area.
He is sound, and has no problems when we're out on a trail. It's frustrating because it's caused us to be disqualified from an event at a gaming show.

Does anyone have any ideas? I'm pretty much up to my eyebrows in frustration. :-(

palominolover 07-01-2012 08:11 PM

My advice would be in your sessions with him do all your work by the gate. When you want to just relax or cool him out go away from the gate. Dismount away from the gate as well.

EvilHorseOfDoom 07-01-2012 08:15 PM

Do you carry a crop? If so, switch it to the outside hand when nearing the gate and if he ignores strong outside leg give him a good smack with it on the shoulder to remind him what he should be concentrating on. Also try doing large circles with the centre being X and keeping a consistent bend, he'll find it a lot harder to then turn the other way.

Edit: oh and as stated above, dismount inside the arena and away from the gate. And if you can, use the arena for activities other than just riding - take him in there for a bit of a run when it's empty, teach him to follow the leader and stuff.
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TristaJean 07-01-2012 08:15 PM

That's a good idea, It'll be a bit difficult with the weird layout of my fields, but I might be able to manage it.
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TristaJean 07-01-2012 08:17 PM

EvilHorseOfDoom: I sometimes carry a crop, and ive tried tapping him with it along with leg pressure and it just seems to make him more determined not to work.
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EvilHorseOfDoom 07-01-2012 08:24 PM

Don't tap, give a good smack. Should be nice and audible. It won't hurt him, I promise - I test all my whips out on my leg first and if they don't hurt me they certainly won't hurt him. I find the best crops are the ones that have a big, loose, soft leather flap (will try and post a photo) as they make more noise with less effort and elbow movement.

Make sure the outside rein is used as a block (think wall, firm and flat against his neck) when nearing the gate, while leaving the inside rein open. That is if you ride English. I'm clueless about Western :-P
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Sharpie 07-01-2012 08:25 PM

My guy will do that occasionally. I kick his butt for it, be it kicking him into a canter, or making him do a lot of intense lateral work. He wants to pull that, and he's gonna have to pay very close attention to my demands for a couple minutes to get that BS out of his head. I'd guess your guy just isn't impressed by your discipline- you may need to get bigger or scarier to get your point across.

DancingArabian 07-01-2012 09:28 PM

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Give him the chance to do the right thing the first time around. If he doesn't, come around again and give him a good hard smack and make him turn many circles around and around, then take him a bit away from the gate, and ask him to come by it nicely once more. Repeat as needed.

Be sure that you're not staring at the gate or tensing up in anticipation either.

Skyseternalangel 07-01-2012 10:38 PM

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Oh my.. that DRIVES ME CRAZY!!

My horse does this sometimes.

Just make it more work. Bringing your hands over (not pulling them but just positioning them) and giving him a figure to focus on like a traveling circle (think a spring or curlyque) or a figure eight will help in the 'problem area'

EDITED cause I felt like it.

ThursdayNext 07-01-2012 10:45 PM

HAHA! I watched my trainer deal with this gate-sour stuff today. She had the rider back the horse out of the gate before dismounting. Talk about a way to associate the gate with More Work.

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