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Would you work with this horse?
So here is a brief background of what has been happening. Recently I sold my horse, the horse I was originally training was taken to another barn so she could be half leased, and that left me horseless. After taking some time away from the barn, I came back to an offer to work with a green broke, 8 year old arabian mare that had more than enough potential to make it all the way to the top. I accepted and began my work.
We started on the basics, ground work (Which she was already up to par with, with an incredible start to more advanced ground work), and she already had a lot of the basics of riding down. So she had the know how of moving away from pressure at the walk and trot, was working on collecting and engaging her hindquarters, and was overall a dream to work with, right? Wrong. I could almost call this horse bi-polar. :lol: We had the usual quirks, but she is the ultimate unpredictable horse.
We're working on holding still while mounting, which is going great. Sometimes she'll hold perfectly still and is a dream. Until you ask her to move. She has a tenancy to do either one of two things a) Dig her feet into the ground, and after some prodding to move, whether it's with some force, or gently, she will explode, generally rearing, flinging her head, and "jumping" forward or b) Rushing forward as soon as you mount, flinging herself around, refusing to walk/trot straight, and the only way to get a safe walk out of her is an emergency stop. She is a horse that you must work with daily, because if you take a single day off, she turns into a beast the next time you ride, which is difficult for me because sometimes I am just unable to be out there.
She also has a tendency to buck when aggravated. For example, today she was doing perfectly well, until halfway through our ride, when asked for a jog, she pinned her ears, refused, and let out a nice, big buck. This happened several other times when asked to do anything but walk around the arena. We worked through it, and just when I thought she was behaving, she started up again.
She is deemed healthy by the vet, the farrier comes out regularly and she doesn't have any health problems. The tack fits fine, it has been checked. I've had a trainer work with me, and the only advice I've gotten from anyone is to toughen up. The problem with this mare, is the more you ask and push, the more she becomes upset, annoyed, and reckless. Sometimes you're forced to work through it though.
Luckily, she doesn't grab the bit, and responds well to lowering her head and relaxing. I feel as though I'm progressing with her, and at the same time, I am not. Would you work with a horse like that? I want others opinions on the matter. I plan on continuing to work with her only because I see the progression I want. I don't let her get away with any of it, and she is corrected, but is doesn't seem to do any good at certain times. She's great on the ground, and isn't all that bad in the saddle. She knows what she is suppose to do, and when she behaves, it is a fantastic ride. :wink:
Some horses, not matter how well bred or how perfectly they are conformed just don't have the mind to become great broke riding horses. She sounds a little bit dirty, which isn't great. A firm hand and a fair mind may serve her well. Work in very small increments and stop as soon as she offers a willing mind and good work ethic. Give her a couple of days off a week also, she could be souring.
She is a retread and has come to you with baggage. Yes, it would be easier if NO ONE had worked with her, but I see a horse that has been rushed and downright resents training. She is testing you to see what your breaking point is, so that she can live a life of peace grazing...ad nauseum.
I would take her back to colt starting. Ask for perfect behavior leading, backing, haunches over, forehand over. Make sure that is totally trained to stand tied. I'd tie her up, in the shade, and bring that book that is along as "War and Peace" and let her stand there tied to a post while you read--just make sure that you are far enough away so she can't hurt you if she decides to have a fit. I tied my two geldings up many times last year--they are in the back yard--and gardened for 6 hours at a time while they waited. (They did not bring any baggage to my back yard, just green.)
I would load/unload/load/unload in the trailer.
She needs lots of repetition. This will instill in her that YOU are a benevolent leader and she will become more confident in you bc you will praise her efforts, even if you are asking for things that you believe she already knows.
This horse is nervous and doesn't trust people. It is your job to fill in the holes in her training by starting her over.
Thanks for the advice so far. I will certainly take it all into consideration.
She was started a while back, and pushed too hard, too fast (Put into a curbed bit too soon and having a bunch of things basically drilled into her). I have been doing a lot of basics with her, both on the ground and in the saddle. Her owner is pushing a lot more, asking me for lateral movements (at all gaits), a relaxed canter, and various other things right off the bat. It doesn't help either of us, and I've considered backing down multiple times. I still enjoy the horse and her personality though, which makes me torn.
She moves off of pressure, turns on the forehand, backhand, backs with the slightest pressure, trailers without problem, and ties like a princess, both hard tied and in cross ties.
She sounds spoiled-- I was thinking tack untill you said it was checked- arabians can be hard to fit- saddle night not pinch but skirt can be too long too- id like to see a picture of her all tacked up.
something else-- you might just be out of your league with a horse like this- - Doubt shes unrideable- just might be too much horse for you? horses notice when you let them get away with the smallest things- it explains her good manners in hand and bad under saddle-- Not to offend you- im sure youre a great trainer. :thumbsup:
What do you do when she bucks, rears, etc...?? Some horses you need to react to them when they do that and others you need to ignore it completely like it never happened. That is how it is with the horse I'm working with. If she rears I just sit it then forget it ever happened and ask her to walk on or whatever. Try approaching issues differently. I would love to work with her, sounds fun!
Toto-I've thought of that... and I definitely don't think of myself as a fantastic, perfect trainer. Her personality is different, something that I've never dealt with before. She is very smart and knows what she can get away with, and I'm trying beyond hard to pick up all the bad things and throw them away. It's not easy though.
It's disturbing that the owner isn't as patient as you are. Forgot this mare's potential. I would calmly sit down with the owner and explain things are you see them. I would be very frustrated to be able to ascertain the problem and solution, then be submarined by the owner's demands.
There are MANY, MANY people who are desperate for a good trainer and greatful for your efforts.
If she doesn't like your training, move on. Sorry, I think I skimmed your original post.
Youll just need to keep her constantly simulated with your riding- dont let her have the time to get all fidgety and acting crazy-- when you get on her instead of kicking or prodding -turn her.. if that dont work try to get her legs moving with your reins not her body( with her body with the reins- no way to not make this sound right, lol.. sorry)- that seems to turn in to her bolting.. what i would do is turn her head to my left then to the right to get her body off ballance and move from there.. just one little thing, lol.
All I can add is that this horse is going to need a lot of time and work to get it right and has the potential to cause you some sort of injury
If she was your horse and you have the experience and feel confident you can turn her around then I would say if that's what you want then go for it
She isn't your horse and whats to stop the owner from selling her on or wanting full rights to her again at any point - you might not ever get the chance to enjoy all your hard work if you do succeed
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