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LadyDreamer 11-06-2012 10:12 PM

Runs Backwards
I was just curious to see how other people would handle a horse like this.

Three year old gelding, not broke to ride. Is not afraid of anything. He is safe to trim, stands for the farrier, is easy to tack up, can go all day, you can spin stuff around him, jump up and down, etc and he doesn't bat an eye, and he long lines well. Has no issue with a stuffed and weighted pair of pants being thrown over him or riding him. However, when it comes to a person leaning over his back and then asking him to walk forward, whether the person remains there or not, his brain locks up and he won't walk forward. Instead his first response is to get mad, run backwards, and occasionally throw himself. That is even when a person leans over him, stands back up, and then him being asked to lead forward.

Other than sending him down the road or fighting him into submission, I was just curious how others would handle and work with a horse like this. One who will run backwards and throw himself.
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Spotted 11-06-2012 10:24 PM

I think he is scared or unsure and doesn't know what to do. Can you sit on a fence beside him?
It may take time as he has to get use to things above and behind his head and his back, and weight on his back. repeat and give praise is my motto. try just an arm and praise him then lean and praise. He will get confortable.

Lins 11-06-2012 10:33 PM

I'd tie plastic bags, pompoms, any random scary stuff onto his saddle and lung him/round pen him. Have him experience commotion above him and on his back. That way, a person that he trusts won't seem so bad at all. Take your time, as its easy to screw up a horse like this. Baby steps and make sure you don't push him too far. He needs so be pushed a little past his comfort zone and be shown that he is still safe.

Keep us updated, and let us know how he goes.
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Janna 11-06-2012 10:38 PM

He ok with the saddle?
Lol I'd do it with our pond behind him so he runs into the water. Or a sturdy fence he will run into.

Had a mare that don't like to load, I let her hit the fence and the lady that has her said she's not had a problem since.

Ace80908 11-06-2012 10:39 PM

My filly did this on the ground as an evasion technique - she was scared, she'd run backwards. I tried to avoid the confrontations that would freak her out, and build her confidence. She did it less and less, but eventually when she ran backwards to evade something I was sure she understood, I ran backwards with her and then ran her backwards some more - we literally ran backwards across my entire 5 acre pasture. Then when we stopped (on my terms), I calmly went right back the the lesson.

For your guy, make sure he understands what you are asking - if not, can you pony him so he is used to you above him... that's how i got Ivy used to me above her. If you are sure he understands, I would let him run backwards, flip himself, whatever - then go RIGHT BACK to what you were doing, calmly with no fuss. Like Spotted said, he'll learn.

smrobs 11-06-2012 10:54 PM

You're 100% certain he's never been ridden before? I've dealt with that issue (not serious enough to the point they would throw themselves, but the running backward isn't uncommon) in several horses that had already been to another trainer but it's not often seen in a horse on their first few times a rider tries to get on.

In all honesty, if he's okay with everything else you've done with him and generally seems to have a good temperament and isn't willing to fight, then I'd nearly bet that something is hurting him and hurting him bad. For a horse to throw themselves down, which is a very compromising position for them, there has to be something seriously wrong and with him only having problems when a rider gets involved and if he's never been ridden before, I'd lay all my money on pain.

LadyDreamer 11-07-2012 08:28 AM

Thank you all for your responses!

Yes, we raised him, so we know he hasn't been ridden.. He has a...buzzy and objectionable temperament when working. In the crossties, leading to and from anywhere, while standing for the farrier or standing to trim his ears or while being saddled he is a gentleman. And he was gelded well and before he started behaving like a young stud. It is people on him he has the biggest issue with.

Where he gets locked up is when you ask him to tak a step forward after leaning or laying over him. He will stand there fine, we have even stood until he was licking his lips, his head lowered, etc. then we would stand up and ask him to go forward, without being on him, and it is PANICFIGHTAHHH!!!! It took us about an hour the last time of working with small steps and repitition before we could lead him in a circle, with the person still laying over him. When learning the other things like, lunging and longlining, he was very... Expressive. When he gets mad, the first sign you get from him is the head shake. When you start to get that, it is as if he is turning off his brain. He stops thinking. He stops trying. He starts fighting.

Not blaming bloodlines, but he seems to have gotten every foul trait his family line is known for. His dam's sire was full brother to a very nice show horse and would have been one too had dad not been in a car accident. All of his foals have been...buzzy in one way or another. The broodmare suffered a head injury as a two year old and started throwing herself if any pressure or pain was put on her head. She has gotten over it, granted not much is asked of her, and she has never done that or shown any bad behavior in front of her foals. We chocked that up to her injury, and because she was "my baby" (I was 12. She was my first one that I broke to lead by myself. You know how 12 year olds are with special ponies. 13 years later though, she's still my girl) we kept her as my broodmare. Her first foal was the most solid thinking, safe and sane horse ever foaled. Trustworthy, and had he not died, would have been a kidpacker at four. This colt, by a different sire, is the second child. Where the first had the general build of his mother, looked just like her, this colt favors the sire. He is finer, more compact, "prettier", has every bit of physical talent that both parents could give. Every BIT. He is so very talented. Smaller eye. Her third colt(a coming two year old by the same sire as the second) looks like a black version of the first colt, only of better quality. Finer, more talented. And while he isn't as laid back as the first, he is just about as wonderful. He has those huge melting eyes you could drown in, and he wants to try. He hasn't put a foot out of place and really acts like he wants to do. I guess if they look like mom, they will be fine.

The colt I am having problems with just does not want to work at all. He wants to quit and get mad and fight. When he does it, it doesn't *feel* like a fear response. This feels and looks every inch of a "go to hell" response.

How we do colts(this happens over several weeks, all in an orderly progression) we start by standing on the block, being able to jump up and down beside them, etc. and then we lean over them, put a little weight in the saddle until we are laying halfway over them and being led in a small circle. Our biggest trouble spot is that point where you go to throw a leg over, if they take a jump with your leg just coming down on the other side, you are screwed, so we have the pair of jeans stuffed and weighted so that we can get the visual issue of something like a leg coming over the back down to the other side isn't an issue(it makes US feel a lot better about that step). We let them wear the pants when we do our daily work. We are relatively clumsy with them as a real person can be getting on and off. We don't tiptoe around them. We progress to us swinging a leg over and sitting there. Getting off and on. Then leading with a rider astride. Then progressing from there. That is the basic jist of what we do. In the starting stages they are longlining and learning how to guide and stop etc.

Dad's been training colts for 40+years. He has a plan that I trust, but I am just hunting for more ideas. Part of the reason I love my dad so much is that he is always open to trying something new. He isn't one of those gruff, set in his ways trainers. Thank you all for your input. I WISH I was set up for and experienced in ponying. I thought about that and was curious if it would work. It probably would, if only for the fact that it is the one thing we cannot do. Lol! Thanks much!
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