help- normal for young horse?
I am just joining the forum although I have been getting advise from you for quite some time. I have a couple of question regarding our new horse that I really could use your experience on. I spent the last 30 minutes giving backround but somehow lost my whole post so this time I will just ask the questions and see if you can help. If you need more information I will be happy to give more information
2 months ago we added another horse to our herd of 3. He is AQHA 5 yr old gelding. We bought him from our farrier who trains and until recently has shown very sucessfully. He no longer has the time for showing so he offered us Zip who had been in the pasture for the past 1.5 years and only been ridden in the ring about 15 times.
We only ride pleasure. Zip was bought for my husband as his 27 year old appt is blind at night and we want to start taking the horses on overnight trips. Would not be fair to take Chief to a strange place when he cant see. I am working Zip for my husband as he only rides occasionally.
two questions :
1) When riding Zip with our horses if they come anywhere near him he lays his ears flat. He is the low man in our herd. He does not attempt to kick but I think he is paying to much attention to the "herd". I guess I am not the leader yet. My other horses are not allowed to threaten another horse when I am around. Of course I have had them for 3-6 years. If they do they get a firm "stop it" and they do. At this point I dont know if ZIP is afraid and if I should get on him about it. Also dont know how to let him know this is not appropriate.
2) Zip has bucked me off twice. 1st time we were in our little field that I kind of use like a big round pen as it is surrounded by trees with just one opening. We had been working on verbal such as walk,easy, whoa, jog,ect. He did great so then I wanted to work on getting him to go straight to a lope from a walk. My friend was on one of my horses at the other end. Next thing I recallis waking up on the ground. I did not kick him just gave him rein and a little heel. I woke up on the ground. Kim said he gave two bronco bucks and off I went. He of course ran over to the other horse. I got back on and we went on a trail ride and loped some with no problem.
The next time was this past weekend. We were out riding and I had Zip in a nice slow lope when my friend came up behind us ( not directly behind but to the side) running with Jack. Zip went crazy and started bucking like mad. About the time I got him stopped I fell/slid off. I know ithey say its not good to run up behind another horse but with my other horses it is not a problem. they might try to speed up but listen. I could understand if Zip would have wanted to speed up but he just started bucking. Of course we will be careful in the future not to do this until he has some miles on him but I still dont understand the buckingl
Do you think he was afraid since Jack is dominate or got excited or what?
I know I am doing something wrong and I want to get it corrected because I dont want to turn this sweet boy in to a real bronco.
I plan on taking him out by himself tomorrow so any advise would be appreciated.
My guess (and its purely a guess) is that he hasn't gotten himself straight in the herd order yet and has not started to see you as alpha/lead mare.
I think if you continue to work with him, establishing your place above all others, he should settle down. Do lots of ground work, making him move his feet, yielding front and fore, that sort of thing. He will have to find his place in the horse herd himself, but when he is with you he should always see you as alpha. I would start off on the ground before you get on his back till you get the issue under control. Please try to stay safe and I hope you get lots of good advise.
Welcome to the forum by the way :D
if he's only been ridden 15 times and it was a year and a half ago, i'd say that's a big part of your problem - this horse sounds very green to me. your friend should also know better than to come galloping up on you, that's not smart in so many ways.
the laying his ears back at other horses to me just means that they haven't gotten it all straightened out among themselves, however, you need to watch it because if he decides to kick or bite (or gets kicked or bitten) you're asking for trouble.
i would say put him in a round pen and lunge him to take the edge off, tell your friends not to act irresponsibly and then pay close attention to what this horse is telling you. i know everyone expects their horse to react and respond like a champion all the time, but for a green horse, simply avoiding situations that might escalate badly, sometimes that is the most successful ride you can ask for. the horse doesn't know what your goal for the ride was, so don't baby him, but try to make sure that everything seems like your idea and then end the ride on a positive note - the best trainer i've ever met (kevin wescott) always says that the end of the last ride is the beginning of the next ride, however you end up tend to carry over to the next ride.
If you have access to an arena, and preferably one with at least 2-4 riders (maybe something you can arrange?) bring him out there with a halter, with you just on the ground. It sounds a bit like he is traffic shy. The bucking comes from his lack of knowing what else to do.
Have the riders just be riding about, occasionally venturing closer to you. If your guys acts at all like he wants to just jumpf or joy at all of the excitement, give him a job. Shake the rope at him to back him up, send his hindquarters out and away from you, have a flag and wave it every time his attention goes elsewhere but you..etc..
Just keep re-directing his attention back on you. You have to vary it up, so that you remain interesting enough that he pays attention. If you feel he is not dangerous, have the riders pass by you from the front and behind, and try not to allow him to pay attention.
By teaching him to pay attention to you when the going gets uneasy you'll build a better partnership with trust and understanding.
When you ride him, and you feel that claustrophobic episode coming on, turn him in tight circles until he refocuses his attention back onto you again. And any time he IS paying attention to you, grande reward. Make him feel safe when he's with you.
The ear pinning game, gotta love it..hehe...not.
There's a few things that have worked for me in the past..One gelding I had seemed to have a similar situation and every time he pinned his ears I'd pull a small bit of his mane, then let go when he stopped pinning his ears.
That, or just simply give him a job. Every time he isn't paying attention to you, tell him something to do. Serpentines maybe, or just bending his neck from right to left. And again, I cannot stress this enough, when he's with you, love on him like you never thought possible. :)
It's basically the same concept of the theory that you make what he wants to do uncomfortable or unpleasant, and what you want like a slice of heaven.
Don't treat him like you do your other horses. Just because your other horses tolerate certain things, doesnt mean he will. Treat him as his own individual. Stay safe. :)
Keep us posted
I'm no expert but I would advise against punishing him for just pinning his ears because that could turn him into a horse that doesn't give any warning signals before he kicks or bites. My dog is like that, the person who used to own him punished him when he growled so now he just bites without a warning growl which is pretty scary since I'll be petting him and he'll just lash out, with no warning. He's getting better, I'm working on desensitizing him to the situations that make him bite but an angry horse is a whole lot more dangerous than an angry dog. It probably also depends on the personality of the horse but since you don't know your horse well yet I'd advise against teaching him that way... Other than that, the advise sounds great! Good luck!
Thank you all so much for your comments and suggestions.
I will keep you posted on our progress.
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