Retraining to be patient when tied
I have had my dads horse for 3 months now. We have 3 other horses. My dad has had this horse since he was 3 and he is now 12. My dad always hand fed him treats and while he groomed him would give him grain. He is very pushy which I am working on and I do not hand feed him treats now. I do not give him grain either while I am grooming him and he won't stand patiently. He will paw the ground and chew on his lead rope and whatever other mischief he can think of. Can I retrain him to stand quietly? My dad never lunged him and it's been so wet and muddy here the place I lunge the horses is to muddy and slick. I will untie him and do some ground work to make him listen. (such as backing him up, walking into his hindquarters). But not being able to lunge him I'm not sure how to work him hard. Any suggestions? (We just moved to this new place and don't have a roundpen yet, but I really want to get one put in!)
My horse had the same issue. She liked to paw, and swing her back end back in forth in cross ties whenever I first got her. Can you get access to cross ties? I would tack her up and ignore her behavior, then wait around until she stopped to take her out to the arena. Then, after riding and untacking her, I would just leave her in them until she became quiet again. She learned within a week. Now she's a pretty patient horse in cross-ties.
I would tie him up when ever I can. Such as when I muck out stalls I would tie him up and ignore him. If I feed I would tie him up and occupy myself with other stuff like sweeping, cleaning buckets, and other stuff. When he calms down and is quiet then I would untie him and let him be. Biggest thing here is repetition I think. When he calms down and is quiet I would rub him and reward him (not with treats if that fires him up again). Show him that he is going to be ignored until he is quiet and waits.
I would suggest tying him up in his stall when he eats his feed, making sure he can reach it, and then tying him up while you groom with a hay net, then putting hay in front of the cross ties while you tack him up, and slowly reducing the hay/feed in favor of an area he likes to be groomed, they all have their spots. Decrease the hay and increase the grooming in that one area over time.
The other think is to make him know you are the boss, and I would do these things at the same time. You don't have a round pen, but you don't need one, you just need to move more yourself if you are in a field or pasture or whatever you have. Every time he is pushy, make him move, when he is nice, he can stand.
I agree with tying him at every opportunity you have. The only thing that will cure an impatient horse is just to make them wait.
My mare was really bad when I first got her. She would paw if she was left alone (and sometimes when she was not alone) for 10 seconds.
Now after 2 weeks of being tied up for 20-30 minutes at a time every day, she is much better. She stood completely still last night after my ride for about 30 minutes.
The key is to wait them out. You need to reward them for standing quietly. Even if quietly is only a minute or two at first. Never untie them while they are pawing or being impatient.
Thanks for the replies. I will tie him up more and ignore him and then reward him when he is patient by petting him or untieing him. My dad used to give him treats after picking his feet but I just give him a good stomach rub which he likes and he has been fine.
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