Hates to be Tacked
So, I ride this 16.3 hh horse that hates to be put on crossties and just walks in circles in his stall (when I groom him and put on his tack) and tries to bite when I tighten his girth. I would like some advice on how to manage this horse so that he doesn't become dangerous!
Should I always be gentle and make him stand using a lead in one hand while I groom and tack up?
Should I stop him from circling and put him back where I want him each time he moves?
Any advice would be great!
My horse is a sweetie but he hates getting the girth tightened too. He was a former western horse and at his old barn when he was young, they used to cinch up the girths real tight and leave them there all day.
With this problem, I usually tighten the girth as slowly as possible so that he doesn't get mad and toss his head up as i tighten it.
If your horse stall walks, then you might want to use a leadrope and do a safety knot to something in the stall, or a bar on the door if there is one. Does he walk circles in his stall even when you aren't taking him up?
First check out all physical issues.....tack fit, sore back, maybe a chiro needs to come out, and you might want to consider treating him for ulcers. Horses with ulcers will be cinchy, and if he doesn't have ulcers, treating him for it won't hurt him.
If you can rule out all physical issues, then I'd suggest you go back to basic ground work and get him desensitized to movement and the tacking up process. I'd suggest learning the Parelli 7 Games to prepare you for getting him over his issue with tacking up.
You need to get some respect from him. Untill you do I wouldn't tack him up in a stall. You have nowhere to go if he decides to kick at you or smash you into the wall. When you groom him stand your ground. If he tries to walk over you stick a currycomb handle in his ribs and if you need to jab him hard and make him move away. He must know that you are as invioble as a brick wall. Don't try to be nice get with it and get it done.
Definitely check him for ulcers. You don't have to have him scoped - just treat him for a few weeks and if there is improvement, you know that's the problem.
Ulcers can make them girthy and resistant to being brushed/pet/etc. along their sides, stomach, chest. He could be walking away because these areas hurt him.
Thanks for the quick response!
Lenny is a 13 year old Thoroughbred. He hasn't been ridden much (in a year or so) before I started to ride him a few weeks ago. It appears that this horse had an incident when younger and HATES cross ties as a result.
At first, I would let him walk around me and I would talk to him and try to calm him down. I started to wonder if I was basically saying, "It's ok to give me a hard time about tacking you..."
I have started holding onto his halter to make him stop walking around when I put all the tack on. He calms right down when I put the bridle on. So, maybe I can try starting with the bridle and hold the reins while tacking.
Also, today, I started to move him back to the spot I wanted him in when ever he decides to walk away from me in the stall. He didn't like it and was swishing his tail in irritation. I am hoping this will communicate "No, stand here because that is what I want you to do."
If this horse is treating me with disrespect, would sending him back to where I want him to "stand" a good way to say, "I am in charge?"
If I shouldn't tack him in the stall, what are other safe options?
Would you recommend me working with him in the stall to get him to stand and move when I want him to by pressure/release during times when I am not riding him?
If a horse doesn't like to be cross-tied, would it be safe to try to tie him in halter?
I am curious about the Parelli games that was mentioned. Where do I get access to more information about that? I would love to build this horse up.
He is nervous with me, because I am nervous with him! :) I am green but, willing to learn!
Thanks for your time!
I will check that out! They are the areas he seems to be responding to.
I would check through physical issues first as that sort of behavior while tacking always makes me think something physical. In response to your other questions- I agree with Kevinshorses in that you should not allow these behaviors and you need to establish some respect. A horse walking in circles around me drives me nuts. I usually deal with it by aggressively making them move their feet away from me and in the direction that I so choose.
As for where you should tack him- again I agree with Kevinshorses. Don't do it in stall as you'll have nowhere to go. I also think that the stall should not be associated with ground work and schooling. So I would not tack him up in the stall or school him in the stall for safety reasons and also for my owner personal reasons. If he is phobic about cross ties try to find a safe place to straight tie him OR work on the cross tie issue. Tying with a halter is an essential skill to me and, with few exceptions, a horse who is well versed with giving to pressure will not pull, there are always exceptions but generally speaking.
If you feel nervous about working with him you are only going exacerbate the issues. Find someone in your area that would be willing to come out and give you a couple of pointers.
You are right. I will try to work on tying him in the isle and then work on cross ties separately. The pacing and avoidance has got to go!
I should add that the horse isn't mine. I lease him. I will talk to the owner about the ulcers.
There is a cheap way to treat for ulcers, which I have done and have had success with. You can get U-Guard 2X powder at a tack/feed store or in a magazine, it's cheap and it works.
You can to go www.parelli.com to check out what they have to offer. They have a great DVD on the 7 Games you can get (check ebay) that will teach you how to do them.
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