New horse, New problems?
I recently got a new horse (Nero) he is really great but I have a few problems:
-When I lead him he sticks his head way up and keeps trying to look at every little thing. And when he isn't doing that he rushes to where ever we are going and it takes all my strength to stop him from pulling me along.
-When he's tied up he moves so he's parallel to the railing and when I try to push him over/ask him to move he wont budge, unless he wants to.
-Nero doesn't seem to understand space. He just wants to be patted and cuddle constantly and when I refuse he pushes into me until I move away or do what he wants.
-We don't seem to have a bond. He doesn't hate me, but he doesn't particularly like me either.
Nero is 6 years old and came off the track last year, he's been checked by the vet before we bought him. He was professionally re-broken and spent all his time up until now with teenagers at a riding school.
If anybody know why he does these things and/or how to fix them please tell me!!
This sounds quite similar to a horse I know, who came off the track 2 years ago.
A lot of horses stick their noses up/out and also their heads up because they've got anxiety/fear built up inside of them. When horses have anxiety they tend to get nervous ticks and habits, just like us.
You say he tries to rush to wherever yo two are going. Personally I think that's caused by fear.
When he moves parallel to the railing while being tied up and won't budge, that sounds like a bad habit that he learned somewhere in the past and has gotten away with.
I've also noticed that a lot of racehorses have a lack of knowledge when it comes to personal space. I believe it's because of the way they were handled in the past, and also a lot of the race horse farms I see have the horses either in their stall, on the hot walker, or on the track conditioning. And what time they do get in pasture they are often turned out alone with only maybe horses on the other side of the fence as company, so when they were younger they never got to really learn the basic social skills in a herd, which would definitely help in a lack of knowledge of personal space with people. That being said, it doesn't mean that that's what's happening. It could just simply be a lack of respect for your personal space.
As I haven't seen your horse, I cannot say for certain that any of this is what is happening, but it's what I personally think is most likely going on. I hope this helps :)
All those behaviors are showing you lack of respect for you and your space. You have to teach him to move out of your space and only allow him in when you invite him. Clinton Anderson has a good book called Establishing Respect, that will help you fix the problem.
One exercises to teach him to move out of space is take him to an open space, take a training stick and draw a circle around yourself, he is not allowed into that circle. Use the stick and ask him to back up to the end of the line, then make him stand there. If he tries to come in back him up again. Make him wait, then lean forward and ask him to come to you, when he does rub him if he gets pushy make him back up again. Practice moving him out of your space and then invite him in. For now I would not tie him to groom, groom in the open where you have room to move him, if he gets fidgety yield his hind quarters with energy and make standing still the easy thing, and moving around the hard thing. When your leading him same thing if he wants to run ahead of you or not pay attention yield his hind quarters with energy, make walking with you easy and anything else difficult. Good luck to you.
Use a knotted halter and hold the rope about 30" down the lead. This will give you far more control. He's used to being held under the jaw or near the bit. If he starts to bring his head into your space as you walk, flap your elbow. If it clips him he'll be more mindful. Just flap it every once in a while to keep him thinking about it. If he starts to get ahead of you turn away from him abruptly and walk the other way. Don't look at him. Let him feel the yank. Stay focused on where you are walking. Warrick Schiller on youtube has an excellent video on this. Race horses are not taught to lower and relax when on the lead.
Thanks everybody! I will try these ASAP :))
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it sounds like you will be best off to get a trainer to come and help you on ground manners with this horse. I know that sounds cliche, but in the long run, all those problems are really YOUR problem. you need some help learning how to get what you need from him, regardless of whether he feels like it or not. To do that, you need an outside helper who can show you the body language and the way to utilize the leadrope, and any other tools.
the very first thing you have to let go of is your concern whether he likes you are not. worry more about whether he is going to hurt you or not. reach out, pay someone to help you . it may take only a few lessons for you to get an idea of how to effectively deal with this horse, who barely "sees" you as worth a second glance, let along any kind of obedience. get some guidance, first hand, face to face.
Why does he do what he does?
- Lack of respect.
- "spent all his time up until now with teenagers at a riding school"
His head held high is usually caused from feeling trapped. This happens because he probably has been lead while holding the lead close to the halter. Give him some space and you will have more control. This goes against human instinct of " confine to control".
He invades your space and won't move because he doesn't respect you or think of you as a leader. I agree with getting a trainer to help you or checking out Clinton Anderson. Ground work is what you need to do to gain his respect. You have to show him that you can move his feet or any other part when and where YOU want.
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try not to pat him when he wants to be patted. I know its hard but just try to ignore him.
Basically your OTTB is only trained for racing on the track so I recommend you logon to http://www.tranquilityfarmtbs.org/pdf/retraining.pdf.
I hope you find this useful I know I did when I first started re training OTTBs.
I have to disagree. You dont have a few problems. You only have one problem, and once it's fixed the other issues will fall into place. As already said, he doesnt see you as his leader. He's not necessarily being 'bad', he just simply doesnt see the need to show you the respect that he would to the lead horse in a herd. You need to be the lead 'horse' in your herd of two.
Rule #1-he is not allowed into your space (think a hula hoop sized circle around you) unless you have invited him in. YOU can go into his space (think an oval shape around him) anytime you want to. No exceptions. Simply making this his (and your) new reality will make a huge psychological impact that to him screams that YOU are the leader.
How do you keep him out of your space ? first of all you must be aware, all the time, of his intent, yes, just the intent of leaking into your space. Each time, you either create a commotion-flapping your elbows might work--or, better yet, teach him a back up cue that allows you to stay in place, but gets him to back away. He who moves his feet is not the leader. He who stays put, but causes the other to move their feet is the leader in horseville.
You can learn this and much,much more by 1) studying a Natural Horsemanship's program-ie Pat Parelli, Clinton Anderson, Chris Cox, Dennis Reis,etc....., or 2) A good trainer in your area who either is a self proclaimed Natural Horseman, or leans in that direction.
Rule #2-Following Rule #1 does NOT translate into needing to be 'mean' or hitting the horse !! In fact, be as soft as possible.....but as firm as necessary to get the response of him moving out of your space. If you always start with the firmest request,a very human tendency.... you will soon dull him.
Hope this teeeeny bit of info is helpful to you! This is a very large topic with loads of great educational materials out there.
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