Need help with a five year old.
I bought a 5 year old green quarter horse gelding (not so green) I have started him on the barrel pattern and hes excelling nicely. The only thing is his ground manners, when we grain him he will threaten to kick us (but wont I decided to see if he really would) and throws his bucket all the time. hes super jumpy and hes not my first green horse, way more jumpier then all the other ones. and when i do ride him and ask him to turn he throws his head and rips the reins out of my hands. what can I do??
Somewhere along the line he's learned that kicking results in food. When it appears he is going to kick, turn your back and slowly walk away taking the food with you. Walk about 20' and only sneak a quick peak to see what he is doing. Only when he settles down do you approach again and again leave if he acts up. Under no circumstances do you leave the feed until he is quiet or you will reinforce his bad behaviour. You need to always do this altho he may figure it out and behave but it's within a horse's nature to test periodically. When a horse throws the bucket he's just trying to figure out how to get more. As for the turn issue, stand by his shoulder and ask him, not tell, to bring his head around with gentle little tugs. Start with just a few inches then push his head so it is straight. This exercise teaches him to relax at the poll. The goal is that he will bring his head around toward you, not just his nose, and not pull on the rein and demand his head to straighten. This needs to be done on a daily basis for at least a week. Only when it is good from the ground should you do it from the saddle. Don't do the barrel pattern at this time. You need to resolve this first. If you don't and you try running barrels, I can guarantee he'll cut wide on #1, and bump #2 with his shoulder probably knocking it over.
He is showing that he does not respect you. You need to do ground work with him and earn his respect from the ground first. You also need to do a lot of desensitizing activities which will help with his jumpiness. A horse that is ripping the reins out of your hands is not ready to be running barrels. Gain control of his five body parts before you ask him to start running around barrels. Teach him the alphabet before you ask him to read. Be safe.
Carry a crop or lunge whip with you when you feed and if he picks up a foot or gives a threat, nail him and make him get out of ykur space untill you leave. This can get very dangerous. And when he tosses his head when you turn him it could be a bit issue, but if its not give him a hard slap on the neck with your hand because hes testing you.
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First and foremost, please don't take offense to what I am about to say as I don't mean for it to be a personal attack.
Second - why would you continue training for barrels (or any discipline for that matter) if you don't have a solid foundation to start from?
More often than not, I find that the problems that people have with their horses (both on the ground and under saddle) stem from poor foundation training and/or a rider who is unwilling to be the leader the horse needs.
From a training perspective, I would never have my horse run barrels if I didn't have his respect at all times on the ground. I would seek help from someone who has a proven record of starting horses with a solid foundation. If that isn't an option, I highly suggest that you refrain from working under saddle until you have solid control on the ground - flexing/yielding from pressure/respecting space/etc...
A crop or heavy hand is not going to solve anything for the long term, but providing a solid foundation to your horse's training will only set you up for good things in the future.
No Im not "running" him on just simply trotting and walking. Hes fine and all just when I ask him to turn a barrel. He did go for 6 months of training for reining.
Regardless of the speed you're going with the horse, the fact that he is disrespectful on the ground is an indication of one of two things.
1) He has holes in his foundation training.
2) He doesn't have a strong leader that demands respect.
All I am trying to say is that trying to build a solid horse with holes in foundation level training is like trying to build a castle on sand. I could be severely wrong, but I have never had a horse (that I've gained the respect of) threaten to kick or show ill manners.
Nonetheless, I hope you can solve your problem. :)
If this horse actually had any training by a 'real' reining horse trainer (much less 6 months) and he is 'ripping' the reins out of your hands, something is very, very wrong.
He either has a very bad tooth, is very badly bitted in the wrong bit or is being ridden with faulty techniques. Something is very wrong. May I ask what kind of bit he is in?
If a horse is showing this much resistance, he is far from ready to start on a pattern, even slow. It is not because he can't be guided around the pattern. It is because he has major problems with resistance and you do not want him associating the fights you are getting into with an arena or least of all, the barrel pattern.
You need to figure out why he is 'on the fight' with his bit or with your hands. You need to get him 'soft' and obedient in the bridle and get a willing attitude going with him before you set him up for a future of failure and fights going around the pattern or even going into an arena.
If I am having problems with a horse, we go to the pasture and find a nice, level open place to work it out. I may bring 3 or 4 bridles with me. I may bring 'eyes on the ground' to figure out the problem. But, one thing I do not want is for the horse to get on the muscle or on the fight in an arena. It can carry over into years of problems and a less than willing horse in the arena.
As a matter of fact, we do almost all of our training out of an arena. When we bring a horse back to the barn after a training session, we will go to the arena to 'finish' it. A very brief uncomplicated round or two in the arena, a nice long rest on the far side of the arena finishes the session. Then we get off on the far side, loosen the girth and lead back to the barn. I never have arena sour horses and I never have horses horses that dread a pattern or a place by doing this.
ANY horse that is going to be trained on a barrel pattern should be VERY broke without showing any resistance to lopeing slow and fast circles, loping small and big circles, changing leads and 'checking' from big & fast circles to small and slow circles without dropping a shoulder or throwing their hind ends out of lead.
If you lay a good foundation, you do not have to come back later and try to fix problems.
I don't think anyone here can help you with your situation if you are unwilling to have an open mind and consider that what the majority of us are saying may be a possibility and a solid route to go.
I sincerely hope that you remain safe and that you're looking out for your horse's benefit and not your own.
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