Training 3 year old gelding. Follow us through our journey.
So I'm am training a 3 year old sorrel gelding named Buddy. And I thought I'd keep a training log of what I'm training and our trials and errors. I thought it would be a great way to discuss training horses, perhaps I can get some constructive criticism, and we can even talk about ways I can improve my program. I hope it can also help people with their own training. I notice when people talking about when they are training horses they only the good parts where it's done right but I want to share trial and error parts as well. Buddy is a little more challenging than the horses I've raised and trained or trained for other people so feel free to add any ideas that could help I love hearing different training methods and am always ready to learn more. This is the beginning of the second week of him being here so I'll catch you guys up on everything.
Buddy the horse. 3 year old gelding. Initial assessment shows that he is fearful and untrusting of people. Owners had a difficult time catching him he was not willing to come to people and a halter is kept on him to catch him in the pasture. He is an anxious horse and that bolts when afraid. Feet are difficult to pick up but other ground manners such as leading, yielding to pressure, backing up are excellent. No problems with saddling or taking a bit. He also yields to bit pressure well. He seems to withdraw into himself when afraid making anxiety worse. Often keeps head raised high in the air but with the petting and walking he eventually will relax some. He also flinches and backs away when initially touched. This horse has been ridden before but hasn't been ridden in a few months.
Training Day 1
First day of training: I worked with lunging without a round pen and whip desensitization and picking up all four feet. Initially was confused about lunging without a round pen which was expected. I started with small circles at a walk and slow trot around me. He initially would push into me but a few taps at the base of the neck moved him out, he would try to stop but tapping the whip on this hind quarters would get him going again. Within 15 minutes he had no problems lunging either way and I ended my lunging session there. I worked on his join up some as well but it still needed a little work. Attempting to sit on his back and see what he knows did not go well he bolted and crow hopped. I also injured my knee unfortunately trying to get on him again when he bolted which has hindered progress. First day of training was also odd as a strange tweaker came and said he was stealing buddy's soul. Luckily the police arrived very quickly. Don't do drugs people lol!
Video of weirdo lol
B2D720B7-982E-4DA7-8858-D8AADAB9B4EA-3797-000002F8BF2531CA_zpsec2510a6.mp4 Video by catnoles | Photobucket
During Week One:
While being unable to do much because of my knee I have been focusing on establishing a bond and trust with Buddy. Buddy is fearful of people, attempts to catch him or pet him gives him anxiety and fear. He is quick to raise his head high and gets bug eyed. So my goal for the week became getting buddy to come to me instead of him getting chased around like he is used to from his owners. His owners keeping a halter on him at all times has made him shy his head away when approached so I wanted to eliminate that immediately. I started by never grabbing the halter but reaching for the neck and shoulders. I'm not big on treat training but I did use food as a reward. He has learned he doesn't get to eat his grain or hay till he lets me pet him. This has made him improve so much I no longer need the halter the owners were keeping on him to catch him. Sometimes it would take about 10 to 15 minutes before he would let me touch him. When he walked off I simply stayed in front of his food and let him go off and come back on his own. I would approach when he stopped and looked at me directly. I made sure to never look him directly in the eyes when approaching. Once I was able to touch him and pet him all over I'd let him go eat his dinner. I can now walk up to him without him being fearful. By the end of the week he now greets me at the gate and he flinches a lot less when initially touched and he stopped moving away. All four feet can now be picked up without problem now. I also have been working on join up game and having him follow me using my body language only he is doing great at this now.
Day 2: Today the 23rd we did some more on relaxing and more trust building I got him to relax his headset some. We also did some work with pressure and release whip desensitizing. Also did some ground driving which he was great at. Still bolting when any attempt is make to sit on him. Planning on taking him to a friends and putting him in their round pen. Her husband is going to ride him for me to stop the bolting and the pen or course will keep buddy from going anywhere but a circle when he bolts. I would do this myself but my knee is still sore and giving me problems. I fell down when I put weight in the stirrup today when he bolted and hurt my already injured knee so definitely need some secondary help but I'm willing to accept I need help when I need it. I think once someone can get on his back again and stay on I think the bolting will stop. Me not being able to get on him when he bolts is not helping but giving him a release from riding because he won since I can't get on him. So this bump in training is frustrating if I can get him over this training could be much farther along.
Do any of you have any suggestions to stop the bolting and get him to relax some more I'd love to hear what you guys think. If I owned this horse I wouldn't push so much to ride him immediately but he's on a 30 day training program to get him going so time is limited. A friend suggested a supplement I believe it was called calming essentials do any of you have any experience with a calming supplement and did it help?
Does he know how to flex on both sides? To try and stop the bolting or moving forward when you go to mount what I did with a horse that was boarded here was you bend their head in towards you, that way if they go to walk off they disengage their hind quarters and less chance of getting kicked. I used a stool, every time I would move my foot to put in the stirrup he would start to walk off.....I pulled him around to face me, picked up the stool and put it down and walked up it again. Eventually he stood still.....I moved fast and not tippy toed around him with moving the stool (which he didn't like).
Clinton Anderson has a a method he uses for horses that bolt or move when you go to mount which is quite similar to what I did. It's called the human curry comb, you jump beside your horse and move with him, keep his head turned in....once he stops moving you retreat (with the pressure of jumping) and pet them, then continue jumping like you were going to jump on. Do that on both sides of him. You do this with no saddle on, when you do go to jump up you just lay across the horse, keep his head tilted in so if he did go to bolt you can slide down and pull him around to face you.....while laying over him you rub him all over on the side, pat his butt and swing your legs back/forth. Do not sit up on the horse, you can lay length wise with your legs on his butt (legs crossed), keeping his head flexed in.
Sounds to me he's afraid because he's not used to movement on the sides of him.....do a search for Clinton Anderson or human curry comb on youtube and you might find some vids to watch to show you how to do this.....have you done all the ground work with him?
Movement is not a problem I've worked a lot and watched him. I can do pressure and release whacking a whip next to him or above him on both sides with no problem. He stands and cocks a foot. But when you put go to get on he bolts hard and fast as he can. I twiste me knee and landed wrong because of that and had to go to the ER and he reinjured it today. He is fine with all his ground work but getting on is a whole different story. I may have to take him back to his owner's till my knee heals so I'm restricted to ground work at the moment. But my friend who is also a trainer is going to help me get someone on his back before I return him back to his owners. He can't be allowed to get away with this and unfortunately he has because he has hurt me both times I've tried to get on his back. So it's an interesting problem. I had an appy that used to do this but he wouldn't run quite as hard so I could stop him but this dude takes off.
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Do you bend his head in towards you when you go to mount? Having his head in helps so he can't bolt off. You hold his left rein so his head is turned in and then put that on the horn, don't let his head out if you are able to get on him until you are settle. If you get him where you can get on him, sit on him for 10 secs. and then flex him left to right before you get him to move off. That will teach the horse to not walk/bolt off as soon as your foot hits the stirrup....
Here is one of Clinton Anderson's vids on Youtube, do a search for his stuff.....
Downunder Horsemanship TV
" If I owned this horse I wouldn't push so much to ride him immediately but he's on a 30 day training program to get him going so time is limited."
Pushing him when he isnt ready is only going to make things worse. This owner needs to understand that you will get better results if they let you take your time to do things right. Riding before he has solid ground training and trust will only leave holes in his training they will have to deal with later. Just my opinion of course...
Well this horse was riding a few months back is the weird thing. Are there a few holes in this horses training obviously. And yes I tilt the horse head into me when mounting he runs blindly with his head in that position. Him doing that is the reason he injured my knee, he surprised me and I had to dismount in a hurry and I landed wrong. Honestly I think if someone could just get on this horses back and ride out that initial bolt i think he would quit doing it. That is the feeling that I get from him. I wanted to do a 60 or 90 day program with him but she wasn't interested. So I've been working on getting him to relax, working on the holes in his training, putting pressure in the stirrups, ground driving, lunging, join up, decreasing anxiety, lowering his headset on the ground but he is an anxious colt so we just take it slow and try to master something new one thing at a time . He has improved a lot but there's still plenty of work to be done. Honestly I think something happened with the owners and this colt that they aren't telling me about since I've see a video of them riding this colt without problems and then they suddenly needed a trainer. I'm thinking someone came off and never got back on.
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