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- - Anxious Horse??? (http://www.horseforum.com/horse-training/anxious-horse-24/)
Hello, I have been leasing a 17 year old Azteca (1/2 QU, 1/2 Andalusian) who I have considered seriously buying. However, he has several issues that I am not sure of how to help him through. The positives is that he has the best ground manners and has been an excellent confidence builder. I would not mind helping him through these issues if I thought that he might get better. My trainer had brought him from his original owner. He had some bad training and arrived with an inverted (U-neck). His topline was undeveloped. Through lunging and some in-hand work he is beginning to develop a topline so he'll looking much better. My trainer had not worked with him until recently and had been using him as a school horse. However, most of her students were fearful of him because of his forwardness (he trots rather than walks, canters rather than trots). He never takes off on you,but can be stubborn and take over. He is, however, not a dominant gelding in the field and extremely docile otherwise. I'd seriously consider buying him if I could have a plan to retrain him for the following issues:
In general, it is very difficult to keep him round and on the bit when under saddle. He'll move with his nose stuck in the air. As a result he's hollow backed and stiff.
1. He's 17 years old and always wants to go. I'm not sure if that is just his personality or a matter of poor training where he was "rushed."
2.. He begins to ignore my signals when he decides the training should stop. He even ignores my stop signal (which he's rather good about generally).
3. He'll decide to rush on the lunge line and ignore my commands to walk
4. I'll know he's anxious because he'll chew/bite on the bit
5. It is very rare that he is playing with the bit indicating relaxation
6. Most of the issues of jaw tension and ignoring my signals occur under saddle, or when he is asked to do something he doesn't want to do (ie. something simply like continue to walk).
7. He'll give me his all and be wonderful until he designates a time when the training should end....at that point he completely ignores me.
8. Even in the field, he was very difficult to get his trust. It has been with much patience that he responds (without food) to my voice cues. Even so, he rarely comes quickly
He is extremely sensitive under saddle and would make an incredible mount if I could just help him work through this....Your help would be immense
Reaffirm what you know
Take the horse and start over from the very begining. Start ground exercises, treat him as if he doesn't know what he is doing. go slow and praise him (lots of praise) everytime he makes an accomplishment. KISS= keep it simple *NO EXPECTATIONS*
Build his comfidence not only in what he can do, but also in you as a leader! Or you can take him to a trainer, A good trainer( someone who is patient and gentle )
Re: Reaffirm what you know
At 17+ years of age and the former history he has, it is clear to me that what you are seeing from his actions are a result of a few things such as frustration, miscommunication, stubbornness, and possibly even soreness.
He could be getting sore easily. Horse with ewe necks and hollowed backs with very poor toplines and get back sore and muscle sore easliy. Even one ride on one occassion can hurt them. It's important for you to work this horse in shorter increments but more consistantly throughout the week and work up from that. This will help build his topline, stamina, and help him with trust issues and training as well.
A horse with a poor topline can benefit from training aids that will help him flex at the poll, round his back, and make him work his hind end. This will assist you in developing the topline during lungeing and riding. You can help him develop his muscles on top with lots of walking and trotting as primary exercises for conditioning.
You did not mention what seat you ride, or what bit/saddle you use? That is very important as well. He may have former training in a certain style and may be confused over new ques.
I think you should hold off on purchasing this horse just for now. Unless you can afford to keep a trainer on him and keep this horse for the long haul regardless of how this turns out, then I would recommend you postpone your decision for now.
A thorough vet check and maybe a visit from an equine chiropractor would also help this horse. Between a new training program and a good exam, i'm sure you will be able to build this horse back up to a rideable and enjoyable experience.
Keep in mind that horses communicate with us through their actions, their body language. Your horse seems to be telling you quite a bit that I covered here in this post. Good Luck and let me know how things go with him~ :)
I think it would be good for you to take someone who has an expirience with horses and training, and ask him for his opinion, cause he can see that horse, we cannot. It's hard to discuss what is his problem cause we don't know how you ride, on how hard or soft bit, and which saddle do you have. Maybe is problem in you and maybe it isn't. Maybe he was taught to do things which he is doing. This is not very "young" horse so you must understand that its probably beeing long time that he was ridden in such way you described and it's hard to change his habbits were they good or bad. But nobody says that it is impossible to make that horse to be good one who will listen to you. You must have a lot of patience and knowledge how to tell him that he must follow you, not his wishes. You must have a lot of love....
I imagine a very stiff and uncomfortable horse. I believe from your description, it is mainly from underdevelopement and miscommunication. What you may be asking this horse is over whelming and not in the correct order. Lounge. Do in-hand work and work on developement before progressing. Also, check his back. Is there any sensitivity? When a horse is not engaged in his hip and moving forward with the strength of his behind, he will tend to rush forward as you are describing. This looks like a sewing machine affect, rushing through everything without any relaxation.
Most importantly, be assisted with a trainer. I believe improper training and over doing it will only make this particular animal sore and tight. I would recommend side reins (use at proper height and angle). Work on relaxing rather then rushing. Working in hand will promote use of the correct muscles. The back and topline sound weak, be easy and patient. I wouldn't recommend buying this horse yet. He seems to be having problems with the most essential things to ride forward and correctly.
I just bought an azteca mare in october. She is not inverted, but has many of the same behavior characteristics that you describe in your horse. Docile, sweet on the ground, anxious, tense, speedy when i am mounted. Trotting has been improving, but she is bucking at the canter and definitely has a bossy streak. Sadly, i don't have any answers. I ended up here looking for advice. I wonder if being sensitive and anxious is an azteca characteristic.
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