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Kaitlyndobinson 08-20-2013 12:12 AM

Horse jumping arena gate while in work
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So this is a new issue for my horse and I'm not sure why he is doing this or how to fix the problem. I have a 15 yr old TB gelding and a miniature mare that cannot be separated. They are at their happiest when they are working together so I always free longe them together in the indoor arena. My TB likes to work and he is usually a complete gentleman. Lately he has been clearing the arena fence while longeing only to stand there and wait to be let back in. I have seen him do this when I leave the mini in the paddock but lately he is doing it even when she is with him. He doesn't seem like he is unhappy or unwilling to work when he hops the fence, it's almost like he just gets excited and wants to show it.

Background info: at one point I was schooling him over fences until I learned that he had a broken tibia in his youth, ending with him having 3 pins in his leg (not disclosed when I bought him) and I stopped jumping him for fear of reinjury.

Why could he be acting like this? What can I do?

EquineBovine 08-20-2013 02:25 AM

He may feel pushed or crowded by the mini.
Sounds bloody dangerous. Lunge him on his own and see what happens.

Kaitlyndobinson 08-20-2013 08:26 AM

No actually it's not that because as I said they are at their happiest and most cooperative when they are together. When I bring him in Without her is when he acts dangerously. He gets panicky and wont work if she isn't there. Its been that way since I got the mini, i have tried putting them in separate fields and working them separate and it hasn't worked. He even jumped the paddock fence once. Longeing them together in a large arena is fine because they space themselves out. Also they have been working together for quite a while and this problem is only just starting.
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Shropshirerosie 08-20-2013 09:09 AM

He is extremely pair-bonded to the mini, and in his mind you are not important AT ALL. It is dangerous because you are not really in control of his actions, and it is not good for any of you because you will never have a safe ride while his mind is more interested in his friend than you.

I understand that you have tried to reduce the bonding by separating them, and that is hasn't worked. Well - you must try more, and succeed.

There are many here that can give you good advice on training issues, so I will only suggest a couple of things:

1 put the mini away out of sight when you are working the TB. Always.
2 lunge him on a lunge line, not free. If you are not proficient at this, then get a trainer to help you.
3 if any of this is on the edge of your skills, or out of them, then get a trainer involved. Otherwise this is going to get worse and someone will get hurt. You will also have a TB that is no good to anyone, and that is not fair on him.

It CAN be done. You can cut this bond. And it really is imperative.

Kaitlyndobinson 08-20-2013 09:26 AM

That's a really good point but not 100% informed. I know they are incredibly bonded and it is an issue that I'm working on but he DOES listen to me when he is working and is actually very eager to please. I don't work him on a line because it is very hard on his joints and I was advised by a vet to keep him free longeing which as I said, he is a gentleman for (obviously excluding his new jumping fences issue). I have seen him jump the fence when she is not around and while I realize this isn't an ideal situation I also feel like if they are behaving themselves and it is less stressful for them to be together then why not? Right now I'm dealing with the issue of him hopping the arena gate and I'm just not 100% that it is related to the mare..
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Elana 08-20-2013 12:20 PM

He is a 15 year old Thoroughbred and he may be jumping the fence because he LIKES to and has learned how and that he can. There are horses like that.

At 15 maybe you would be better off simply NOT free lunging him at all considering the tibia with screws in it. Just ride him. If the Mini is along and it is no issue, then ride him with the mini along and don't make it an issue.

Quite honestly, there are times when you must pick your battles. If the situation is not a problem, don't make it a problem (the mini along business). If at some point you get another horse, the thing to do would be to not let this sort of relationship get started in the first place (imagine trail riding etc. with a loose mini along.. not so good).

Jumping the gate is the problem you asked about. Since lunging on a line is out, simply stop lunging altogether. Ride.

Kaitlyndobinson 08-20-2013 01:00 PM

Now that seems a lot more relative to my current problem, thanks :)
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Palomine 08-21-2013 10:58 AM

Quit lunging. No need to.

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