After three years I've FINALLY got back in the saddle with my beloved Foxtrotter gelding, Loki. I first worked him in the acre sized pasture thats currently resting to regrow. No buck, no rear, responded very well to everything. I was honestly shocked, I expected bucking!
Afterwards I took him out into the field. He was rather hard headed and didn't respond as nicely as I would like. I had him go deeper into the field and started to work him around trees and whatnot and he would constantly 'avoid the bit'. I would ask to go right (leg cue, rein against the neck with slight pressure on right rein) and he would refuse, throw his head up, rear, etc. Same with left, or any type of cue for that matter.
He just doesn't want to respond to the cues, completely ignores me.
I'm riding him in a hackamore (Fleece-Lined Hackamore - Horse.com) currently. When ridden in a shank bit with no port (it has a very slight upper curve, but nothing else) he acts exactly the same. Head tossing, the works.
Any ideas? I'm going to be riding him quite a lot. Going again today x)
Heres the bit I'm talking about (kinda)
It's the 'R' bit. Very similar, except with an even lesser curve and longer shanks (not long long, but not that short).
Loki used to be ridden all over the place until the crash I was in three years back. Used to be an awesome trail mount. He does work off leg cues and (some) neck reining. I did ride him in such a bit, in a round pen, and the thing I didn't like was how high he held his head.
Go back to a snaffle. Re-teach him how to steer as if you were teaching a horse who's never had a bit. Those hackamores and the shank bits have quite a lot of leverage, so when the horse doesn't understand and the rider doesn't make it more clear, the horse gets frustrated because its a lot of aid that the horse cannot cope with. Make sense?
What kind of crash did you have, exactly?
Car accident, I broke my back and they stuck me in a horrid cast.
I worked him today with no head tossing or pulling. He did spook at a marriage mobile with balloons and cans galore (bolted, bucked, reared for twenty minuets then I did patterns with him until he relaxed).
He does work of leg cues, needs work on neck reining but thats nothing major. I believe I did try him in a snaffle at one point and he just played with it.
I'm thinking it's mainly a rider thing. I used to have NO confidence what so ever and it would scare the bejezus outta me when he'd do such a thing. A little tiny spook and I'd be in tears. I have no problem with it now, I just work him through it.
A very common problem that can induce head tossing and other fretting behavior is when a person hangs on the reins and annoys the horse.
So often riders respond "but I'm not hanging on" or "I'm not in the horse's mouth", but when I see them, or see pictures of them... Yes, they are.
A related issue is when horse owners or riders over-control their horse. Telling a horse with reins or lead rope, "No, No, No, don't do that" is a little like telling a 5 year old child "no, no, no". It just develops rebellion or resistance.
Start directing, "go over there, come over here, walk faster, turn this direction." Give directions you can enforce with reasonable consequences and without confrontation. Get his head so busy thinking "What next?" that the horse is doing exactly that: Thinking about what you want.
Make sure you reward with a complete release of the reins as the horse responds. No nagging by hanging onto the reins.
Remember, giving a cue, without the handler/rider being prepared with a reasonable and appropriate consequence/correction, just teaches a horse to ignore the human.
Hope that helps.
Good advise, Mike. I find that many problems occur when the rider does not understand that it is he/she that is causing it to escalate. It typically comes from lack of knowledge.
Much of the work can and should be started from the ground teaching respect and instilling in your horse confidence in you that you will not put him in danger but also that decisions come from you not him.
Mike, in another post, suggested getting a horse/rider to a "horseman" and not a "riding instructor". That is a good suggestion. One phrase I like to use is that some people have 20 years working with horses and some people have 1 year twenty times. It means that the amount of time you've been around horses does not equate to your knowledge of them.
Unfortunately, I don't have any horse people to point out the faults in my riding >-<
It's just me and my not-so-horse-savvy dad who rode some English 30-odd years ago.
How does one properly ride through a spook? Or handle a horse that has started to buck or rear? I was never in my life taught how to handle a bucking, rearing, or spooking horse. I was taught how to sit and how to hold my hands yes, but never 'If your horse starts to freak out'...
Yesterday Loki spooked big time, whipped around, bolted, and bucked the entire way back to the barn. I kept my reins and hung on until he started to slow down a bit at which point I whoa'd him, did a few circles in the arena/pasture and took him back out to the same place were he had spooked. I then had him do patterns around trees until he was relaxed and not jittery anymore, at which point I then took him back in and dismounted.
He spooked because of a marriage mobile with cans dragging and big white balloons everywhere. He hates plastic bags, and the balloons looked exactly like them. I'm working with getting him to accept such dangerous, frighting things, but the going is slow.
It's really hard to explain how to sit a buck or a spook. I find that it's better to learn how to avoid it then to sit through it. In a life time of riding, I still can't go the 8 seconds on a real buck. I can sit some crow hops but an honest to goodness bucking episode will send me flying.
What I've learned to do is to know when it's about to happen and how to channel that energy.
Things are always easier to prevent than fix, TwoGeldings. Start to feel when your horse's energy levels rise, and kill the fire before it ignites.
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