New owner, need help!
I have a new 13 yr old gelding. He's been with me for 2 months. I bought him for his superb temperment, calm, quiet demeanor and he was appropriate for an advanced beginner. He was most recently used in lessons for kids and adults. He's been at his new home for 2 months and adapted very well. He is (well, was) always a dream to ride. Point and go, easy to steer (basically turn with your eyes and he goes). He's field boarded (he was before) and recently barefoot after a bad shoe job. (no signs of soreness that we can see). In the last 2 months he has been easy to ride, except for at times, wanting to return back toward gate in the ring to rest. I am continuing my own lessons on him - my trainer comes to me, and we've had several great lessons w/t/c and he did great.
Over the last week I changed his feed to a more complete feed - he was on pellets and sweet feed but is a hard keeper. At the same time, coincedence or not?!....he has become stubborn, resistant about 75% of the time. I say this because on the ground and when being led, he is 99% perfect. He lunges, leads nicely...he is the horse I bought.
My problems are occurring when I ask him to go from walk to trot. I've been trained "squeeze, then cluck, then spank" with crop or my dressage whip. We warm up at the walk for a few minutes. He is slow and pokey, but fine. I ask for trot. He trots a few strides or slows down, I squeeze and cluck again, he STOPS. Pins ears, swishes tail and when I use my crop, he is now doing a little kick. I can't tell if he is trying to buck - it feels more like a lame attempt at kicking back (at what?!). He did this Tuesday and my trainer showed up and asked me to replicate it so she could see. The little stinker trotted and moved forward beautifully. NO issues.
He is also acting up badly when we try to ride to the field behind our barn to work hills. About 3/4 of the way there, he turns around, won't go forward, braces, pulls...we one-rein stop, side flex, back up, yield hindquarters...try forward and he gets more and more agitated. He isn't spooky at ALL. I've tried taking him out with another horse and he resisted the same way...but we urged on and finally got to the field after a battle and me actually hopping off as I was fearing a bit for my safety - he also does tiny rears....again, lame attempts but his fronts do come off the ground a bit - I did hop off and walked to the field with him, and got back on in the field and he rode around the field a bit anxious, but fine...and even wanted to lead. Nothing spooks him - deer, tarps, sounds, plastic bags - he is fine with things around his feet.
What the heck happened to my horse? Could it be the food change? My trainer doubts it and feels it is behavioural - that now that he is settled in, he'd rather just be lazy and be in his pasture...I also worry that it's me - he senses my anxiety when he starts acting up. If I "spank" harder I am afraid he'll buck but I know I need to get past that because right now he is winning. I have another lesson Friday and I hope I can replicate the issue so my trainer can guide me. I am usually a confident, good rider but his resistance has me stumped and worried.
Yesterday we had a lovely day of just a long hand walk (to the field - he was FINE), grooming and ground work. He was nearly perfect. It's when I am in saddle. If it's saddle fit, nothing has changed since I got him? He does have a back that needs some topline and I'm using a corrective pad, adjustable gullet saddle. I also noticed him tensing when I tigthen girth - he never did that before so I think of saddle fit again.
What would cause a horse to suddenly not want to work or move forward to trot? (he trots fine longeing) I find pinning ears, swishing tail and his other antics to be pretty serious...and perhaps one good correction would do it but I'm scared he'll buck (even though he never bucked). I would appreciate any insight or advice. Thanks!
Hm. I would trust your trainer if she thinks it's not his diet.
But maybe re-check his tack and make sure everything fits okay.
If it's not his diet or tack fitting and it's him just being a brat, be more firm with him.
My gelding is the same way. He loves to pin his ears and toss his head when I ask him to trot, but once we do a few transitions and he figures out he can't get away with it he quits.
He's the biggest idiot I've ever met, lol. He acts lazy but he loves to buck when he canters and randomly take off as fast as his nubby little legs can go. :roll:
My mare loves to stop when we get out in the yard [all she can see is that green grass] and if I ask her to move again, she does little hops. I usually turn her in a few nose-to-knee circles and push her out of the last one and she's fine. Don't know how it works for everyone else, but it works for me, lol.
Don't be afraid of a snotty horse. :wink:
It's almost garunteed that you'll be thrown off at one time or another in your riding career. Happens to the best of 'em.
Just be firm and bold with him and let him know your not going to put up with his crap.
Thanks everyone. :) I have fallen off before (on the lesson horses I rode). Didn't get hurt and I don't know why I am feeling so timid! Our ring is nice, soft sand so not a big deal unless he really REALLY bucks hard but I can't picture him doing this. If you knew or saw him you'd laugh just thinking about it.
So this is fixable, right? Sounds like it is. It's just so not his nature from what I knew and know of him....but I may have been fooled somewhat. My trainer thinks perhaps he did this with a few kids in the old lesson program and of course they let him get away with it.....I haven't ruled out pain. It seems that as soon as I start posting the trot, he stops...so could be pain and tack? The only thing I could do is have a saddle fitter out?! He does have a slightly concave back but with the corrective pad and adjustable gullet I thought we had it solved....and this is new behaviour - he didn't do this before with the same tack?! Hmmm.......
I would say the horse is testing you!
Behaves in front of the trainer bad without the trainer.....
Maybe have the trainer stay out of sight and watch the horse or if you own a video camera video the event and show to the trainer...
It will depend on how confidant you are as a rider as to whether this will be able to be fixed or not. And how much your horse respects you. Good Luck
I would try Parelli with him. He sounds like what Parelli calls a Left Brained Introvert. If you go to their website, www.parelli.com they have a few tips on how to handle each "horsenality." I would highly suggest getting into it.
Thanks everyone. Spirithorse, we are doing the 2 first Parelli games with him and my teacher uses both Parelli and Clinton Anderson techniques. I actually just ordered Gaining Respect and Control on the Ground by CA. I will definitely look up what you suggested though, to learn more about his personality. I'll post after my lesson tomorrow to let you know how it went. :)
If I am about to offend any Parelli fans please excuse me. Parelli sounds great and looks great. But the flaw I have with Parelli is that you turn you horse into a dog. A horse is a horse of course. Dogs are the ones you pet and love on and teach them to do fun tricks with treats and pets. Horses are another manner. Google Marv Walker. This guy is AMAZING. WAY CHEAPER THAN PARELLI (which I think is slightly a rip-off). He teaches a bonder method that really works! Believe me I tried it out on my grumpy disrespectful gelding last night and now i have him singing to my tune. Now I can touch him all over climb all over him and do just about anything i want. He teaches you to become herd leader in a way that requires no touching. Within an hour be became a totally different horse...or maybe I became a totally different leader. It will definately help his behavior.
Also is sounds as if you might be tighening the girth to tight. My trainer/boss sometimes calls a corrective pad a distructive pad. Seems to me you might be pinching his withers and they are getting soar or with your wieght in the saddle it is slipping down to far and with the help of the corrective pad might be pushing on his spine. Another thing i hate to claim is that sometimes the gullet changing saddles are not all they are thought to be. The change is only made at one point on the saddle where as saddle specifially designed to be narrow, medium or wide are constructed with that in mind all over the saddle. His pain sounds like buising....something that wouldn't have shown up in weekly lessons with your saddle. Gel pads work great for this kind of thing if you can keep them off the spine.
Well everyone, he was testing me. Today we put the western saddle on and took him straight to the "trouble zone" in the field, along the pasture fenceline to the "big field"...he has been refusing and acting up on the way down the fenceline. I was mentally prepared and had a strong demeanor (but made myself consciously relax and think "forward"). He immediately spun in his usual spot but this time I was ready with my one-rein stop in the opposite direction he wanted to go and then I yielded his hindquarters in a major HUSTLE...quick quick and when he did it a few times around immediately and strongly asked for walk/trot forward again in my direction. He balked some more - tried to back up etc....I kept on, yielding then asking for gait and it only took two or three times and he gave up and walked/trotted down the fenceline!! My trainer was there and was mighty impressed with my new attitude :) I was done with him bullying me around! We did this exercise several times, and I made him walk/halt/walk/halt back up the fenceline until he was backing up and hustling those feet and stopping on whoa on a dime. The more we did it the better he got. Then we about faced and headed down the fenceline again to trot. The second "trip" down, he balked slightly.....and the 3rd and 4th trip he went with NO resistance!! woo hoo! Then we hit the ring. My teacher saw him try his little kick thing when asked to trot and she told me to crop him with my dressage whip immediately after squeeze cluck. She assured me he was not bucking but he did try to pull the attitude...and once again, after I was strong and fixed it, it was done and he was fine. Now, I know he'll attempt it all next time but she said each time it should get better. I am so excited!! I feel like I accomplished so much today and I am no longer feeling "afraid" of his antics.
I do need a Western saddle though. I think if it weren't for the pommell I may have fallen off once or twice today when he spun and he did this little bolt/spook thing about 10 yards or so. The western saddle gives me way more confidence right now so I may get a cheap Wintec or an Aussie with horn.
I still may have a saddle fitter out at some point but I think his balking is purely attitude and today, we let him have it :)
Whoo hoo!!!!!! Good Job!!!!!
Way to set him straight you go girl! :D
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