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Cowgirls Boots 11-25-2012 07:40 PM

Am I handling this correctly?
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So firstly id like to say sorry for all the frequent threads lately. :lol:

So as many know I got my new horse 2 weeks ago on Wednesday. He's a 13ish year old Paint from Virginia. Supposedly an ex ranch/cow horse. Was bought by the lady I got him from around April and was used as a lesson horse and trail horse. He's super low on the totem pole and I suspect the other horses would chase him away from his grain as he could gain some weight. That being said he's now in my possession.

I've ridden him a total of 3 times since he's been home and he does have some annoying 'school horse' habits that I've been trying to adress. Firstly if he doesn't want to do something he will just stop and stand there. I give a firm 'eh!' And then make him move along by moving either forward or if he doesn't move on forward I pull him to the side and make him walk on. Today he refused to walk into the barn- not sure if my horses just don't like the barn or what but he hates the barn. He refused to walk in there after our ride and my friend ended up having to walk her horse through first then he followed no issues. Usually when he does this i make him work when he stops or i give him a firm tap.

I put him in the grooming stall and half the time he gets ancy and wide eyed over everything. He is usually never like this. I ignore it and go on with my business. Sometimes I feel like he's scared and the other half of the time he definitely does it for attention. The more I ignore it he usually gets the point to stop. Today he was being real bad so I left him on the ties and ignored him while I finished my chores. I took him out of the grooming stall and brought him on the ties in the isle and he seemed a bit calmer but still trying to get attention. I left him there and went on with my business and he eventually stopped. Once he did I took him off and brought him outside and walked around the property then put him back into his pasture.

Also- I know he probably hates ring work but regardless he tends to drift towards the gate. I make him work more near the gate but today my friend was trying to open the gate while still on her horse and my horse totally had his attention pinned on the open gate. I made him work away from the gate and when it was time to leave we approached the gate and I made him back out. He kept turning around so I made him back out, then walk forward then stopped and backed out. We did that a few times and he finally stopped being so ancy trying to rush out of the gate.

Am I doing the right things to correct him? I mean I'm not totally over my head because he's just the horse I've been looking for but being a lesson horse he clearly has some bad habits that I'm stuck to deal with!
Thanks =)
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AnrewPL 11-25-2012 08:06 PM

Sounds like you have some ideas on how to straighten it all out; so I guess keep at it. Though its kinda hard to get a good idea about it from a description, what comes to my mind about it is thinking about riding when I was a little kid, and then riding when I was a bit older (late teens) after I began to learn to ride and handle horses properly.
Most of the time I spent riding was doing cattle work and when I was little I would often be in a situation where a horse just wouldn’t cooperate, It wouldn’t go through a gate, or would want to rush through a gate, or any number of things. As I learned how to handle horses though all of that stopped. The reason all those sorts of problems stopped is because the person who taught me most taught me probably the most important thing I ever learned about horses; and it’s actually very simple. That if they don’t respect you on the ground, they won’t respect you on their back; and to get a horse respect you have to get it on the ground.
Now you might ask what does that have to do with the hiccups you are having with your horse? I would say that the little issues you are getting are not the root of the problem but symptomatic of the problem; probably a lack of respect. If it’s an ex-lesson horse it has probably learned to get the better of every beginner that has gotten on it and is now trying its shiftiness on you. It’s kind of to be expected really, horses are very socially hierarchical and do it to each other so it’s only natural they will try it on people too.
What I would suggest is not to pay too much attention to the specific problems you are having as such. For example if it won’t go in the shed, don’t get too stressed out about it and think that forcing it to go in the shed will ix the problem. As I said, my guess is that these things are just a symptom of a bigger issue. I’d recommend looking around for some respect building exercises that you can take you horse off and work on. Things like Pat Parelli’s lateral lunging stuff (just because that’s the stuff I learned), or if you think Parelli sucks, some Clinton Anderson, or whoever you prefer, it really doesn’t make that much difference, they are all more or less the same thing. If you do them right you should be able to insure the horse respects you and it will do what you ask no matter what it is.

Cowgirls Boots 11-26-2012 12:16 PM

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Thanks. Will try that!
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SwatRider 11-26-2012 12:43 PM

I fully agree that it sounds like you have some valid ideas on how to work on your "problems." I also agree that it sounds like just some disrespectful items that you need to work on from the ground. All "naughty" habits are amplified when you are finally on the back of that horse!

beau159 11-26-2012 03:14 PM


Originally Posted by Cowgirls Boots (Post 1772231)
Firstly if he doesn't want to do something he will just stop and stand there.

He may have "gotten away" with this in the past. MAKE him move. If nothing else, get his feet moving in a circle. Or carry a whip to give him one single hard smack to show you are serious and he needs to move those feet.

Today he refused to walk into the barn-

Read below about respect exercises! This doesn't so much have to do with the barn itself, but that he doesn't 100% trust you yet to follow you any where, or go anywhere you send him.

I put him in the grooming stall and half the time he gets ancy and wide eyed over everything.

He may never have been quite in a situation like this before, so it still may be new to him. Inside the barn may truly be a bit scary for him! It is okay on one hand to let him "deal with it", but you could also try to make him do things to focus his attention back on you (picking up his feet, asking him to move his hindquarters, asking him to lower his head, etc).

Also- I know he probably hates ring work but regardless he tends to drift towards the gate.

Pretty common. My horse has the same problem. What you are doing (working him by the gate, and backing him through it multiple times) is exactly what you should do. You can go a step further by getting him good and sweaty near the gate, and then trot him off to stand and relax for a few minutes in the corner away from the gate. When he rested up, go back to the gate and WORK. Get him sweaty. Then move him away from the gate and let him rest and stand for a few minutes. Give him the idea that the gate = work and being away form the gate is easy.

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First of all, no need to apologize! We'll help you with as many questions as you have.

Secondly, it sounds like you are on the right track.

Overall, all of these problems have to do with respect. As someone else already mentioned, doing some ground work for respect exercises would benefit you two greatly. I personally like Clinton Anderson's methods because he always explains things very well. Moving the hips/shoulders, lunging, sending, etc are all things you can work with him on the ground to gain his trust and gain his respect. Doing those things will help with the issues you have.

princessfluffybritches 11-27-2012 02:29 PM

Sounds like you're doing well! It sounds like the horse has tuned you out. He has "hung up the phone on you". And he's throwing all these behaviors on you so that you'll put him away. My favorite trainer told me at this point, say to him "beeen there done that" My horse decided one day that I was not going to get on. She kept bolting. So we went in the round pen and if I couldn't get on, round and round she went. I said to myself, "I will win this, even if it takes 8 hours". That was my mindset. I did win. Took an hour and a half. Day 2 it took 10 minutes.
I say give him a choice. If he stops and won't go further, (make sure it's by something you can tie him to), tie him up and leave him there. Or plan to make him stand there some more when he decides to move. You may have to wait a long time, but , the 2nd time will be much shorter. Don't lose your temper.

For a few times, when you get to where you're going and are going to turn around, give him a treat. Nothing works as well as that to get his attention. After a few times, he may really look forward to getting out there!

Cowgirls Boots 11-27-2012 02:58 PM

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This horse is a treat hound so I'm sure the treats will work. :D
It's something about the barn that he hates. He snorts and then gets diarreah....figures. And he will NOT walk into the front of the barn for some reason. He's weary about walking in the back part but hasn't refused to do it yet. So something clearly bothers him in the front half of the barn. Today he didnt want to go in so I made him move his feet. He's walk in two steps, I'd praise and ask for 'walk on' he walked on twice and each of those times I walked through the barn praising him the whole time and walked out. When he refused to go in I made him move his feet in circles around me and he gave in. I think he may just be nervous of my barn for some reason but he was starting to trust me!

I think it's partially him thinking he can get away with just stopping and him actually being a tad weary of the barn.
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princessfluffybritches 11-27-2012 03:54 PM

That sounds great! I think you have the training thing down. I just did that with my friend's horse. He wouldn't get in the trailer, so I did like you, hold, he moves and releases the pressure. Over and over. Sounds like the tiny circling works! I'll have to try that next time.

Cowgirls Boots 11-27-2012 04:48 PM

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He does the exact same thing getting on the trailer. Haha. Stubborn!
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