Horse: 2; Rider: 1. What would you have done?
I have the pushy horse that's been bucking a bit and shedding my 13 yo daughter. She's been very brave and is getting better, but he's been getting more of an attitude, so I recently decided to have her ride school horses for a while.
Well, today, he got the better of me, too, and I'm feeling pretty glum. I'm going to worst case scenario in my mind and wondering if I'll ever be able to trust him again, because I really did let him win today.
Went to ride at 3 pm, and feeding time is 4:30 or so. I hadn't ridden since Monday, except bareback for 5 minutes yesterday. I was the only one there. So, he was keyed up from the time I cross tied him. I took my time before I tried to get one. did about 15 minutes of ground work, walk, trot, stand, etc. When I tried to get on he was the worst 'he's ever been. He usually walks forward a step or two, but today he sidled away. so, more ground work. Walk, trot stand, until he would stand for me to get on. Sadly, at this point the groom who does evening feeding drove in, and he knows her truck.
When we trotted it was a weird, mincing trot, and I could tell he wanted to act up. I don't think I tensed up. I'm pretty sure I didn't, actually. But then he bucked. Like fairly big bucks, back end and front end. Well, I just didn't think I'd win that battle today, I wasn't sure I could make him trot on without more bucks, and the size of the bucks made me wonder if I could stick with him if he really went to town. So, I got off.
I don't really know how to lunge, but I put a lunge line on him with the reins under the stirrups, and he cantered around me for 3 or 4 minutes. But then when I got him to stop, I couldn't get him to trot on the lunge. so, I trotted him around the ring in hand for another 5 minutes or so.
This is where I should have gotten back on, but I didn't.
When I took him down to the barn I brushed him like usual, and then put him out. I figured if I put him in his stall he would think dinner was coming any minute, and that putting him out would be better.
I really feel like he got the best of me tonight and wonder if he'll just keep getting worse. My trainer will say he just hadn't been ridden in a week, which is true. And riding at feeding time is always chancy, but he needs to be able to be ridden when I can go!
So, I will plan on riding him tomorrow morning, and hope I can be brave if he's a jerk again.
What do you think, am I over reacting? I am now pretty sure I need to do some very extensive ground work with him (I think I want to rent Clinton Anderson DVDs and spend the winter doing that). I am also going to ask the trainer to teach me how to lunge him. What else, anything?
One other suggestion that I have is using one rein to stop him from bucking. When I am riding a horse that feels like they might act silly, I will keep one rein shorter than the other. When they decide to act the fool, I will take their head around to one side and apply leg to the same side their head is bent to. Work him in a tiny little circle like that until he is breathing hard (or you get dizzy, whichever comes first :lol:). If you get dizzy before he stops acting stupid, then switch sides and turn him in the other direction for a minute. Push him to spin as fast as he can in that tiny little circle and make him work. If he starts leaning on your hand, don't be afraid to give him a little pop with the bit to remind him to not lean. You do that every time he acts up and he'll figure out quick that being stupid=work. 10 minutes of that will suck the piss and vinegar out of a horse faster than 3 miles on the lunge line.
No matter what you decide to do, the next time you work with him, give yourself enough time to follow through in addressing his excess energy. By letting him stop while he was still being a butt, you trained him to be a butt. Pick a training strategy whether it be Clinton or whomever, and follow it to the letter. Cold weather always gets most horses in testing mode. You have be very clear in what you want and follow through until you get the desired response. From the second you get on his back, have a plan and ride every stride. Make his do something different every few strides so he has to pay attention to you. You'll be surprised how well horses respond when they figure out you have all day to sit up there and get it right. Most cave quickly and turn into saints. Good luck.
Today was a better day. I paid more attention to how to lunge, and did that first (my first mistake yesterday!). so we did w/t/c both directions. He was jazzed up! bucked etc. at the canter. Then I got on and we trotted both directions. I didn't feel confident to do much today, but I did do what I set out to. One of the teenagers rode him for me this afternoon.
But yeah, I'm going to have to be on guard with him now, which is too bad because I've had him for a year, and up until yesterday, I really did trust that he might play around a little but would not seriously try to buck me off. I'm not so sure of that anymore ...
I'm sure you'll do fine. They all push their limits this time of year.
Yep, he's been pushing it since the weather changed. Grr. But thanks, I'm sure it'll come out OK. And smrobs, thanks for the tip, I will definitely try that, too, if I need to!
I agree with the other posters, especially with Smrobs on the one rein stop, and work his tail off when he is being a jerk.
You were on the right track; even though you got off you still worked him, so he didn't fully win, although I would have atleast practiced mounting, and dismounting so he still realized it was 'saddle time', but what you did was not wrong, nor should it set you back. I often recommend if a person gets overly nervous on a horse that's acting up to get off, and work the horse from the ground...there is no reason to get thrown, and the horse is still getting worked, so either way "he loses".
Definitely try not to put a time constraint on him either...if it takes you an hour or two hours to get him focused ON YOU, then that is what you do...don't be afraid to work him into a sweat; he likely NEEDS that, if he is being such a pain. Don't let weather, or the fact that it "might" be feeding time deter you, or be an excuse for him to act like an idiot...the more he acts like a jerk, the harder you need to work him, so he starts realizing that he can't get away with those things.
If you want to rent the CA vids, you may consider just joining his no worries club...you would have access to ALL of his videos; both tv, and his training series stuff! I joined earlier this year, and have LOVED it...I haven't bought alot of his tack or anything, but the access to the vids is SO worth it!
:-) Thanks, mom! :). I had seen the no worries club suggestion elsewhere, maybe I will do that. I have read his book on groundwork, so I think I'd only need to see the videos a couple times to "get"it. I like this plan, because when it's winter and it's evening and no one is around at the barn, I can do a lot of groundwork.
The one-rein stop can be a good tool but make sure you teach it. It helps a lot of people, but if the horse doesn't know it he'll just end up spinning or falling over.
To me a problem seems to be consistent work. Keep doing work everyday, whether its just lunging, or ridden.
Teach him to yield his hindquarters, and when you feel him get ready to buck, go sideways, or do a turn pushing his hindquarters out and around. If his legs are crossing over he is going to have a difficult time bucking.
MaryMary, I like the pic with the ribbons, the girl in the back with all the blue would aggravate me though. :evil: haha. When I first got my horse, he was awful, he doesn't buck, but he would run me into the wall, take off, run himself into the wall, and just generally act like a crazy horse. When he would do something crazy, I would swiftly take his head to his butt and make him work on tiny circles.. He figured out really quick who was boss. Smrobs describes exactly what I do :-)
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