Need Help. New Horse does not like to go uphill.
Ok, I bought a new horse recently, and I have just fallen in love with him. Once he got to know me, he has been relatively obedient. However, we have started trail riding a little and he does not like to go up hill. The first time that we rode this particular trail, he did fine. The next time, it was like he remembered that it was steep and simply would not go. A crop used to solve problems like this with him, but now it is like he has grown used to it. Recently I have had to dismount and lead him up by the reins. He is in fairly good shape and in great health. I think he is just a little lazy and stubborn. Any suggestions on what I can do to fix this? Please help....
Horses are rarely 'lazy'. There's probably a physical reason he doesn't want to climb the hill. He most likely has pain somewhere.
It could be anything from bad saddle fit, to foot issues, back problems, or leg pain. If he goes fine on the flat, it's obvious that something hurts when you ask him to go up hills.
I'm going to recommend you call your vet, as well as have your saddle checked for proper fit. You probably won't do any of that because I have a feeling you want a cheap, quick fix, but those are my recommendations.
When you get to the hill if he refuses to go up, dismount and lead him up. Take him back down, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat. Until he just rides up the hill. Next time you try this hill again, do the same thing until he'll just ride up it. Eventually he'll realize if he doesn't go up the hill he has to work. Another suggestion is to get him moving at the bottom of the hill. Move him back and forth, spin him, etc. And then ask him to go forward up the hill and reward him for doing so. Lots of petting on the neck and gooooooodddddd boyyyyyyyy!!!! I've never used a crop on any horses to get them to go through something and have had good success.
Speed Racer, in fact you are incorrect. I do not desire a cheap quick fix. He has been vet checked recently and everything is normal. Once he gets moving on the trail, he doesn't mind the hills at all. It is the initial hill that he does not want to go up.
I don't think dismounting and leading him repeatedly up the hill would work. That's less work for him to not carry a rider...that's just a considerable amount of work for the rider.
I think what you are suggesting would be more like lunging him at the bottom of the hill and only letting him rest when he goes up it?
I agree with SR though.. sounds like a saddle fit problem. When he travels up the hill, your weight causes a pressure point somewhere, which is why he'll go up the hill when you aren't on him.
He doesn't really want to go when I lead him either, though. Like I said this is only the initial hill that leads from the pasture to the trail. After he gets going, he moves uphill fine. It seems like he just does not want to. This is baffeling me. I don't think that he is uncomfortable because he has no problems with the other hills on the trail.
Maybe he's barn sour and just wants to go home. Is the hill in sight of your barn?
Vet checked, as in how? A complete physical, or just a quick once over? Unless a vet is looking for something specific, they can easily miss a problem the first time.
He could very well have muscle or joint pain somewhere, and it sounds as if the longer you ride him the easier it is for him to move. Arthritis, maybe? Or a locking stifle joint that warms up and becomes less painful?
There's some reason other than laziness for him not wanting to go up that first hill, especially if after he's warmed up he's fine with going up others.
How old is your horse?
Do you have a crop of some sort? He might have had a bad experience in his life. Is it only a certain area or is it all the time?Pick his legs up and try flexing them..see how he reacts to the movement...also trotting up hill helps..it's easier for the horse.
So other hills are fine!
Maybe there is something he is sensing.
My horse is the same with this one area. I have to roll my spurs to make her want to go down one certain hill. Afterward she is perfectly fine.
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