Ways to get him interested......play drive
At the last barn Sonny used to love chasing me in both pasture and arena and rolling.
Rolling: He used to do that EVERY single time he was in the arena without a saddle on. I used to turn him out in the arena before I groomed him so he could have a nice long roll. We did that every single time and he seemed to enjoy all of it. But one day as he was rolling, me and another girl that I used to take lessons with where setting up some groundpoles to trot the horses over and the minute Sonny went down to roll she scared him!! :evil: Ever since then he hasn't wanted to do it infront of anyone, or in the arena. If he goes down in the pasture to roll by chance and he sees me, even if I'm not paying attention to him, he'll immediately stand up and run off. Now he's gotten better where he won't run off, but he will just stand up and not continue to roll. I know he does roll cause how else would his back get THAT dirty at times, but I feel bad that the one incident with that girl spooking him would not let him trust anyone while rolling.
Chasing me: I used to turn him out in a large pasture or the arena and just let him chase me. He'd trot/canter to follow me, he'd turn when I turned...so on and so forth. When I stopped, he'd stop and come up to me and nudge me to continue, and when I said that's enough he'd put his head down (lol). But since moving to the new barn he really has lost most of his interested in chasing me. He'll follow me no problems....but no chasing. I got him to do it once......but can't get him to repeat himself.
He has a huge play drive...he absolutely loves climbing on stuff...I'll let him step on the raised platform they have in the obstical course, and his eats were totally perked up, he became alot ligher throughout his body and would hop on then platform than off of it. Same goes with the tires filled with sand. He loves to go on them (though he doesn't realize that if he goes on in an angle it's impossibly for him to get his back feet on also lol). We'll do that both while on line or riding and he does enjoy it....but I know I'm not reaching his full play drive.
Any ideas of ways to get him more interested in playing? I'm going to spend a whole lot more time in the obsitcal course than I used to doing the stuff he likes, but I really want him to be able to relax and have fun in the arena with me like we used to.
hmmm...the rolling one is tricky, my horse will roll but if you interupt him he will stand only cause he thinks you bring food with you :roll:
maybe you could...hmmm...im not sure....lol you would have to talk to a trainer possibly or wait it out i think eventually he will realize that one girl shouldnt be coming back lol
chasing you, lol my horse does the same thing when hes convinced i have a cookie in my pocket, you could try that, get him to follow you with bribery lol but then it might turn into the bribery is all that will work...(my horse has a one track mind :roll: )
you said he likes to climb stuff...maybe you could somehow twist that into a better game...im not sure how but us humans have amazing creative minds im sure if you think about it for a while you'll come up with something lol
yeah I mean hopefully he'll realize that girl won't be coming back. And the only chance that she'd be at the stables is if she bought a horse. (she wouldn't like this stables anyways lol)
He'll follow me at a walk sometimes (not all the times), and at a trot (with me jogging) not really at all. If he follows at all during that it's he's walking lol. I've been doing alot of on-line following and I'm to the point now where I can just bring up my energy and he'll trot off to follow me.
I'm going to try to bring some random objects and see if he'll play with them, step on them etc. I'm going to set up some tires (small car tires) and have him step through them. He doesn't really like the jumping of the logs. I mean he'll do it no problem, just he never was one to enjoy jumping.
It's just annoying cause I don't understand why he lost all (well most) of his play in him. The rolling I can live without, but I'd love to see him be able to roll when he wants to and not worry about being scared.
I would just give him more time. His personality hasn't changed. The way he percives things has. He changed barns not too long ago. Think about it in his shoes. If you were to go to a new school you wouldn't be willing to be the goofball that you were at your old school until you felt perfectly comfortable. Especially if someone scared you or made fun of you when you tried it one time.
Didn't you go to a show for the first time this summer? That was new to him too. Even you are getting better and better with him and perhaps you aren't leaning on him for teaching as much and he notices that.
I think it is just a matter of his survival instinct. He is not as carefree as he used to be. I think it will come back to him. You just need to be a good steward of his trust. Perhaps there are other horses at the barn that he is not comfortable with. Perhaps and instructor or a visitor/student he feels threatened by.
It's impossible to know what he's thinking. Just realize that he isn't as comfortable here as he was at the old place and give him plenty of time and patience.
You obviously care so maybe look in another direction and see "why" he isn't as comfortable. The signs will no doubt be subtle but they are always there.
Dumas will jump up from rolling everytime our rooster crows. I think that it's because Dumas knows that the rooster protects the hens but Dumas doesn't understand "chicken talk" so he isn't able to disipher between a warning crow (possible danger) and a "hey good lookin'" ( I wanna make chickies) crow. :lol:
there are no instructors or people there that he doesn't like. He hasn't shyed away from anyone (besides one girl who was trying ot catch him in the pasture, but he never let anyone but me catch him)
I'm definately still leaning on him for teaching, I don't think I'll ever stop doing that. He'd gotten better in listening and being calm so that's why I took him to the fair.
At the last barn I wouldn't consider him carefree at all. He spooked at every little thing. If I dropped a bag of grain in front of him he'd spook, if I tripped, he'd spook. He was always on edge. He hated the barn owner, her daughter, her husband, her son-in-law, the barn hand...and 2 of the 4 girls that rode there.
There are no signs at all that are telling me he is uncomfortable at all. He's still the normal horse minus the play drive and spooking. Other than that his attitude, noisyness, etc is still the same.
I know he's herdbound, so I think possibly that he might not be comfortable leaving the herd...the BO told me that sometimes the horses low on the pecking order tend to feel insecure away from the herd...so maybe that's it. At the last stables he was alone...so maybe he's still getting used to the fact that he is "allowed" to be in a herd situation.
okie dokie....nevermind then.
Must just be because he's herd bound.
he is somewhat herd bound, but really all horses are to a percent.
But I just feel that that isn't the real cause of it. I don't know if it's something I'm doing wrong or what.
I know my friend was saying that each time she would switch barns her horse would act like she just sold him, but after a while he'd realize she's still coming back. Could that be the same with Sonny?
I know I did just recently get my hair cut.....maybe he doesn't recognize me? But you would think he could tell me by smell though.
He still is his normal jealous self and when he knows I'm waiting for him to come to me, if I pet another horse and totally ignore him usually (but not always...if he has food he won't) he'll slowly walk over to me.
Normally what I'd do in the roundpen (I have been using the roundpen at the moment due to there's been alot of people up riding lately and i can't really turn Sonny loose in an arena full of riders lol. And normally waht I'd do is I'd just simply walk around and around the roundpen and totally ignore him...my eyes and head are cast down, and if he happens to be in my way, I'd simply ask him to move, then continue. Also I've tried simply just walking circles around him and if he touches me with his nose I'd run off.
For the circling around him he would circle with me to see waht I was doing, but wouldn't chase afterme if he touched me.
I'm just trying to find ideas to get him more interested in me, and possibly ignore the herd for a bit. Even if it's just 10 minutes
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