I have a 7 year old mare who has a bit of trouble whoaing. She wasn't ever trained, just had the bucks rode out and taken on a very long trail ride and sold as a dead broke mare. Fast forward 4 years and she's my new project. I don't ride her much since she doesn't whoa and I don't like to fight with her and break down our trust. I've mainly been working on pressure release and flexing and basic ground manners/desensitizing, but I do get on from time to time and ride around the lake in a halter. She walk/trot/lopes on the lunge line on command and is very willing to learn anything I throw at her. Here is my problem - She HATES to whoa. She slows down from the lope to the trot, and the trot to the walk, but when I ask her to whoa, she puts her nose out and walks through the bit and ignores it, or she does whoa (after about 30 seconds of asking) and will stand for about 10 seconds before pulling the reins from my hands or doing a mini rear and trotting towards the barn. She doesn't have anything wrong with her teeth or mouth (vet recently checked), and I don't have a round pen/arena to ride in. I've tried EVERYTHING and I just don't know what else I could try. What I'm doing now is getting her to move away from pressure (in a halter) and then I will move on to a hackamore, and then to whatever bit we find that she likes and respects.
What constitutes as "trying everything"?
The first thing I would do is get the notion of you "breaking her trust". Your horse has lost respect for you and your only doing damage to, not good, by letting her get away with this behavior. Then letting her drag you to the barn.... Not good in the least bit.
First I would say find a reputable local trainer and have them get on her and teach you.
In the mean time you have to make not stopping the most uncomfortable thing. She needs to look forward to stopping. Practice on the ground first, say whoa and back her up. Keep doing it until she stops dead in her tracks. On her back you can try one rein stop. If you say whoa and she does listen pull one rein until her head comes around to her shoulder. She will be stuck moving her bum around her front end, not comfortable. When she stops you release ASAP! If that doesn't work you can try this. Ask her to stop, if she doesn't want to listen work her HARD in a 5-less then 10 meter circle. When she starts huffing and blowing ask her to stop again. This will show her that stoping is actually a good thing and she will look forward to it. If she doesn't stop keep her feet moving until she is tired and ask again. Once she stops pause for 5 seconds and walk on, don't make her wait to long. Gradually build on the time she can stand still for.
Well, that's what I tried last time, for a while and she got kinda mean and was harder to work with and hard to catch. I've been trying to work through this since October/November of last year and everything that anyone has suggested has helped. I worked through it once, but she slowly got back into being weird again. She wasn't really trained as a young mare, just taken on a long trail ride and sold as dead broke, so there might be some fear of pressure on her nose/mouth (she was known to rear before the people I bought her from bought her).
I can't go to a trainer, or that would have been my first choice. Can't afford it. :/
Hiring a trainer shouldnt be very expensive. $50ish dollars a session. If she has been doing this for a year and you haven't stopped her I'm gonna say you need professional help.
Horses don't have feeling like that. She is not thinking to herself "mom is a big mean poopy head", she is trying to pull one over one you. Also, just because a horse was broke out by saddling her and riding her out doesn't mean her training wasn't proper. Many people choose to do it this way for a variety of reasons. You said she can WTC fine so I'm sure this is an issue of her taking advantage of you.
You just have to stay consistent with whatever method you choose. Whoa mean stop, you MAKE HER STOP. No more banging and excuse making for her.
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Sounds like you should work on lunging. When I first got my horse he wouldn't respond to just the word, he would just slow down a little. What I did is when I lunged him rather than a slow "whoa" to get him to stop I would shout a sharp "ho!" at him and if he didn't stop in the first 2 or 3 seconds I would yank on the rope and back him up. Now when I`m riding we can be doing a nice fast trot/canter and all I have to do is sit deep and say "Ho" nice and loud and he stops immediately, no reins or pressure on his mouth. It took him about a week to have it down, good luck! :)
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