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wordstoasong 08-23-2009 02:05 AM

few issues driving me crazy!
Murray has a few issues lately that drive me crazy. I believe it's on my own fault due to not riding him often. I now try to see him every Monday for 2 hours or more. Here are some of my issues with him.

1. Mounting = nightmare. Mounting is a nightmare. He doesn't stand still. He swings his hindquaters into me or backs up. It takes a great deal of time for me to get on him. Even when he is walked or lunged beforehand. I had him almost take off on me while I was standing on a mounting block. Luckily I had slipped my foot out before he ran off. When I have a friend or even my coach with me, it takes one to hold him while one gets on him.

2. Headbobbing and shaking. Murray throws his head up and shakes it around constantly. I know it's not his tack at all. It fits him nicely. He does this at a trot and sometimes at a walk. He even does it when standing. I can have contact or no contact on him and he still does it. He holds his head up high to (what I think is) avoid the bit, and I can't seem to make him stop this.

On the ground, he acts like a dog (follows me around) but if I try any ground work with him, he gets mad and tries to fight me off. He is really a good horse, but I'm having these small issues with him that I wish we can over come. I would like to have him in some dressage shows next year but would like to get past these small things. Thank you.

xxBarry Godden 08-23-2009 05:45 AM

Someone once said we spend time in this life not money. Murray at 2 hrs a week is not seeing enough of you. That leaves 6 days a week he doesn't see you at all.

Mounting. He has to stand still for you - otherwise it would be a serious problem for you out on a trail if you had to dismount. It is also a sign of gross disobedience. He must not move off until you, once in the saddle, ask him to.

There are really two stages to try.
One. In the arena you lead him regularly from the ground on a training halter which works on the poll and the nose. Get him used to seeing you by his head. Make sure you use a training halter and wear boots with strong toe caps. Lots of going round and round in circles. Lots of stops , lots of stands, Lots of sharp bends. Get to lead him so that he follows with minimal pressure. He must come to recognise your voice, your smell and your touch.
Two. You tack him up. You lead him to a mounting block A strong horsey friend holds the horse - if necessary from a lead rope attached to a head collar fitted under the bridle. He is lead to the block and asked to stand.
Everytime he fidgets - you lead him off and bring him back. You repeat the exercise until he stands. He must come to understand the word "stand".
No shouting. No waving of arms. Just quiet firm pressure on the lead rope. And quiet but firm words of instruction.
Use the finger tips to push him into position.

It is impossible to train him to stand without a mounting block and a friend to help - but it is very important to do.

Head Shaking.
Numerous possibilties including
Badly fitting bit - is it too high or too low?
Teeth When was the last time his teeth were treat by a horse dentist?

Scoutrider 08-23-2009 07:24 AM

What bit do you use? Is it adjusted correctly? You should be seeing only the beginning of a single wrinkle at the corner of Murray's mouth. Any tighter and the headstall pressure could be causing him to throw his head or otherwise "misbehave," any looser and the bit can be "washy" in his mouth, something most horses don't like much better than a too tight bit.

You've already gotten some good advice on training him to stand still for mounting, but at the end of the day I think your mounting issues are a symptom of the lack of groundwork and control on the ground. Can you be more specific about what he does when he "gets mad and tries to fight you off?" What are you asking for when he exhibits that behavior? IMO, get control of Murray's shoulders, hips, ribs, etc. on the ground, and that control will carry over to mounting time.

I agree with Barry Godden that you need to spend more time with Murray, if at all possible. Contrast that with the 16 hours a day that he spends eating (if he's turned out or has free choice forage), the 4 hours a day he sleeps, and the remainder of the 24 hour period that he spends exercising (if outside), or staring at the wall (if stalled). I also have a suspicion that if you see him even every other day, and groom him, lead him around, hand graze him, otherwise bond with him, you may find that groundwork becomes less of an issue.

Hope that was somewhat helpful, and good luck!

wordstoasong 08-26-2009 10:35 PM

Thanks for the info on the mounting problem. I will begin thoses steps with him.

As for the question on the bit, it is the correct size for him. I have not changed his bit since purchasing him and it sits correctly in his mouth. I however do not know when the last time he teeth were checked, but I can have a look into that as well.

lb_cake 08-27-2009 05:17 AM

Definatly sounds like respect issues. He needs to go back to the basics. Lots of flexing, moving his feet, backing and groundwork. Not standing quietly while mounting is unexeptible. He needs to learn your personal space too. Yielding the hindqaurters and forequarters. Also, he needs to be worked with almost daily. If he is spooky he needs lots of sacking out too. My horse was a live wire and now since he has been worked daily, is so much more mellow and calm. He stands quitely while mounting and is doing awesome! :-)

anrz 08-27-2009 04:24 PM

For the head-tossing issue- something no one has mentioned yet: does the bit have any sharp points/areas that have been scratched or just from wear and tear? Just run your hands over the bit and check for any sharp bits. There was a horse at my barn who tossed her head and tried to evade the bit; there was a sharp piece that was aggravating her.
I would definitely try and find the time to go out to the barn more often. Some horses are fine with just one or two rides a week, but others need to be ridden every day, or almost every day, to stay consistent in their training. It just depends on the horse, and Murray sounds like he needs to be worked with more often.

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