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katiekins224 06-06-2011 09:01 PM

Horse refuses to be lead from his pasture, help :)
I have recently started working with an 8 year old Paint Horse. He had 60 days of professional training when he was four, and was apparently really, really good back then and competed in barrels and games, could stop & turn on a dime, and was going to be trained for reining but his owner ran into financial issues and wasn't able to do that.

Since then he has sat as a pasture ornament.

In the two weeks that I have been working with him, he has been wonderful -- he ties, has good ground manners, stands for saddling/mounting, has great breaks, and rides in a loose ring snaffle.

Anyway -- the problem that I am having is that when he is far away from the gate in his pasture (relatively large pasture...4 acres maybe) he will let me attach a lead to him, but he will not move. Not at all. I can turn him and he will step, then stand -- ears pinned back and not happy at all. He is very buddy sour and a few times I have lead another horse along with him until we reached the gate, but this no longer works anymore.

I have dealt with my own stubborn horse who sometimes plants his feet and doesn't budge unless i tap him on the butt with the end of the lead/pull him with all of my strength, but this new horse is much taller and stockier than my little arab X. Even a tap on the side with the lead doesn't give him the motivation to move. He just pins his ears back further.

I have tried pulling, tapping him with a lead & a lunge whip, treats...I don't know what to do anymore.

This doesn't happen every time...and I don't ride him every time I take him out of his field, sometimes I take him out to graze or simply groom him, so it shouldn't be that he is associating me with hard work.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks :)

totallynuts 06-07-2011 02:34 AM

Hi Katie
Your horse isn't taking you seriously. I know this sounds nasty, but instead of a series of little threatening taps, hit him once, hard, under the belly and show him that you mean business. Right now, he knows that you won't hurt him but if you keep letting him get away with this it will start affecting his other work that you do with him because his respect for you will fall until he doesn't see you as a dominant anymore. If you aren't the dominant, he'll feel that he is.

I have a horse that used to do this and he does still have his moments in the paddock and on the ride but never with me. The final straw was throwing someone across the paddock because he didn't want to come in. He hasn't done it since :wink:

jody111 06-07-2011 02:42 AM

As said above he needs to se you as a leader and right now hes not... he needs to be made to move forward.... I would practice moving and controlling his feet in general - forward backward sideways so you are in control... and then just slowly move him away... try lunge him as well so he used to moving forward...

and never try to drag him as you just wont win!

smrobs 06-07-2011 03:02 AM

I agree with the other posters. When he plants his feet, then give a tap, if he still won't move, then give a whap, if he still won't move, then it's time he has a "come to Jesus" meeting. I mean, you do whatever you need to do to get his feet moving even if it means leaving welts on his butt. That may sound harsh, but some horses need to be reminded by the alpha mare (you) that they aren't running a dang thing and you can and will make them move. The instant that he does move, then release all pressure immediately. A few times of that and he should stop that nonsense. Lunging him in the pasture will be a great way to reinforce the training that you are controlling his feet and movement, not him.

apachewhitesox 06-07-2011 03:11 AM

I have a horse who used to be like that he didn't pin his ears but he would not move at all.

I ended up having to just stand next to him ready to lead him and be ready whatever his reaction (kicking,bolting,jumping etc) and and give him a big wack on his stomach about where the girth would sit.

I also worked a lot with him on groundwork, moving his feet a lot and proving to him I could make him do it if I wanted him to move.

katiekins224 06-07-2011 05:09 PM

Thanks everyone for the advice! Definitely need to establish myself as dominant over him...I guess I'm so used to my horse who I have to be 'kind' with -- he was really abused in the past but I had to slowly gain his trust. I could never use a whip with him in the beginning or else we would be back to square one as far as trust goes.

I'll definitely use all of your recommendations tomorrow..was going out there today but i had to take home and babysit an injured bird from work...ill definitely report back on how it goes tomorrow!
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franknbeans 06-07-2011 06:31 PM

What smrobs said x100. So not be timid......;-)

Daisy25 06-07-2011 08:35 PM

I always like to thread the chain of a lead rope through the halter. That way, if a horse isn't listening, a sharp tug on the rope will get his attention.

(A chain threaded around the nose of the halter falls across the "pressure points" in his nose. You don't need to use a lot of force.)

mammakatja 06-14-2011 01:46 AM

I've got one that used to plant his feet when he didn't want to go to certain places including entering the roundpen, heading towards the waterhose, or just the spot where we saddle up. And mine also came from an abusive background. He was actually given to me knowing nothing more than to lead on a halter and barely that at 8 years old. So anyway, I put him in a rope halter and my lead for him is a 12 training rope with a leather popper on the end. I highly recommend both of these. And now put these two items to work. It doesn't matter if he was abused. He's taking advantage of you. Forget the whip, forget tapping and asking and definitely treats. When he plants his feet, you take that lead in one hand and drive him forward by twirling the poppers and you make him do circles around you. If he throws up his head or tries to back up, you twirl that end longer and longer and closer to him and pop him with the ends on his rump if you need to. It won't take but a few tries. And don't ask for leisurely walking circles. You drive him around you 6, 7, 8 times at a lope if necessary. Pull his nose toward you while you're driving him so he pays attention. Then stop him and walk away. If he plants those feet again you go right back to making him do circles and don't waste any time. Be aggressive in your actions. You do that over and over and over. Eventually he will figure out that its much easier to just follow rather than work your tail off doing circles all the time. You will eventually get to the point where you can drive him just by tilting your head at his hind quarters. With my guy, if he hesitates now, I just look at his hind quarters and get into that drive position and I can literally drive him through gates or towards anything he used to balk at. He was really bad at balking while leading and has gotten totally over it since I made him work as punishment. Hope that helps!

JustDressageIt 06-14-2011 02:16 AM

Personally, I don't like to hit the stomach - it's a more vulnerable area, and really doesn't give a cue other than "I want to surprise you." Getting after the hind end, in my opinion, is a better idea as you would then be driving them forwards, encouraging forward movement.
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