So Spirit and I have come a really long way. I think I've finally gained her trust riding and we are doing really good together. She neck reins perfect and you barely have to tell her when to turn, even at a canter. However we've been having two problems. When we get to a certain point away from the farm she'll plant her feet and refuse to go any further. I don't wanna be mean and keep kicking her or keep yelling at her to go or anything like that, I'd rather work on this in a more natural horsemanship approch. If I get off and let her on she'll follow, but not when I'm in the saddle. Her other problem is that she hates standing still. She'll start backing up or dancing around, and when I do get her to stand still she paws the ground. Its not horrible, she just seems super nervous when shes still. Shes perfectly fine when were moving. I know she's still a little herd bound or mate sick, whatever you like to call it, but shes getting better. Shes starting to trust me as a leader and its made a huge difference.
Any ideas? I'd like to stick with a natural horsemanship approch if possible. I'm thinking this is something that might just take more time.
Sounds like she just has no respect for you. Keep trying to get her away from the barn. Like you said, she is probably buddy sour. How does she ride with other horses? When she is pawing like that it usually means she is anxious, or bored. Sounds like she is a bit anxious. If she backs up, try backing her up ten times harder. Horses don't like that. Try making her do a tight circle and then kick to go forward. Everytime she stops, pull for another circle. I wouldn't get off of her because then she will learn that that's all she has to do to get you to give up. Once she realizes that you are not going to back down she will respect you more and listen. Once you've reached a goal, quit for the day on a good note and try it again tomorrow.
Put her in a round pin and chase her with the stick. Horses gain dominance by being chased. If she kicks at you, she is showing little to no respect to you at all. It's a good way to judge your relationship and it's a good way to gain a good one.
When she gets to the point that she refuses to move, what you need to do is unstick her feet. You can't do that just by continuing to kick or kicking harder. Turn her in a little circle and ask her to continue on the way you were going. If she sticks again, turn her in a circle the other way and then ask her to go on. Enough of that and she should figure out that refusing to move is actually more work than just walking on out. If that doesn't work, don't be afraid to give her a little pop on the butt with a bridle rein to get her going (but have a good hold because some horses freak out a little bit the first time that happens).
As for standing still, circles again. When she gets fidgety or prancy, take one rein and push her into a tiny circle/spin. Keep her going with leg cues until she's breathing pretty good, then stop pushing her but keep her head to the side until her feet stop. Once her feet stop, then you can let her head loose. If she immediately starts to move again or gets fidgety, then take the other rein and do the same thing the other direction. It takes some time and you will likely get dizzy, but it works.
You haven't gained her trust if you haven't gotten her respect at ALL times. They are one and the same to a horse.
NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP does not mean that you have to use mental telepathy or some 'magical, mystical bond' to get a horse to respect you and do everything you ask. It simply means you use methods that the horse understands.
So, in order for you to get this horse's respect, you are going to HAVE TO make this horse understand that it has to go forward EVERY time you ask it to. As a matter of fact, it would not stop going forward when IT wants to. It would not 'stall out', ever. When you have to constantly 'urge' or 'nag' a horse to go forward, it does not respect you very much.
When we sell a trail horse, we tell people not to point it off a cliff unless they are wearing a parachute. This, of course, is just a figure of speech, but it reiterates that the horse will go anywhere you ask it. That means that the horse will hop off of a 4 foot drop into running water -- because we do that on all of them -- without a horse in front of them. They load in a trailer they have never seen before in the middle of the night -- done that, too.
You need to get a pair of long, heavy harness leather western reins. Then, the next time your horse stalls out, you need to spank it good with an 'over and under' motion and MAKE it go forward -- right then and there. A couple of good spankings and it will soon quit stalling out and will take you seriously -- which it obviously does not do now. [You use the 'over and under' motion because it spanks them on both sides and prevents them from spinning to the left when you spank them on the right or visa versa.] When you are through and the horse is going forward freely, you then take the long reins and swing them around to quell any fear that horse might develop to the swinging reins. Very quickly, the horse learns that the stalling out caused the spanking and not the reins themselves.
THIS IS NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP!!! Horses understand this action perfectly. It is exactly what another horse would do only the other horse would use its teeth. If the horse is dumb enough to just stand there and not move quickly enough when a lead horse pins it ears and shakes its head toward it, it would get a large hunk of its arse removed. I know this to be true because I have watched it happen a thousand times. The offending horse will have hunks removed and will have teeth marks that take a week or longer to heal. THIS IS natural horsemanship. It is making a horse understand who is the boss -- who is in charge -- who they need to listen to -- who is the leader. It tells them that when you say "Go!" they need to do just that and not stand around and argue or defy you -- like your horse is doing now.
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