Having a minor set back with stall issues.
I have been having a minor set back with my horse.
Lately when I put my horse in he wants to barge out the stall, it's like he doesn't want to be in there at all.
Yesterday I put my horse in his stall, he barged out and walked into the back where the grass is and he turned around and looked at me like "I don't want to and you can't make me" and than when I go to get him he runs off in the other direction and won't let me catch him for a good 5/10 minutes.
I know I have to work with him on it but I don't know where to start.
When he's finally in there, he's all anxious. He'll grab a mouth full of hay and than walk over to the door and look all bug eyed and continue doing the same thing over and over again.
How can I fix this?
Just start by spending small amounts of time with him in the stable - how often is he turned out? He should have a fair amount of time to exercise and be "free". Does he really need to be stabled? If hes not enjoying it and there's no reason - why worry? Start with small amounts of time - give him something to do. A toy to play with, a ball or maybe some hay in a hay bag. Allow him to feel safe in his stall and know that there is no reason to break out.
Does he have a run he can go out into? How big is the stall? Is it well secured? - If hes breaking out is there anyway you can stop him getting out so easily, although the only issue I can see with this is that he might hurt himself trying to get out. But, just start with small time periods - being there with him and then trying to allow him to stay there by himself. Does he have a friend? Which you could put in the stall next to him to allow him to become more relaxed - if he has another horse around it may distract him.
Basically, make the stall a safe, fun, comfy place for him. Let him know that he should want to be there and that nothing will hurt him :)
He's turned out every day depending on the weather. I don't like to keep him out when I hear it's going to rain. Lately he's been out for weeks on end because, it's been beautiful.
He doesn't have a run he can go out into, I have to physically get up and go over there and put him out. The stall is probably 20x20 maybe bigger and it's well secured but sadly he's able to break out, the little smarty pants. As for having friends, he has one next to him and across from him so he's able to see other horses when he's in.
Its just another respect issue. Him barging past you coming out of the stall is the same as him dragging you behind him while leading. Some horses have more problems respecting space and leadership in enclosed spaces, like stalls and in stall door ways, because a closed space means no place to run, should then need to escape.
What worked for me when we had a pushy young gelding was doing it over and over again, asking for him to a) wait for me to walk out first and then b)follow me calmly. Don't expect the first few times to be perfect, give him the reward of leaving when he at least shows effort in slowing himself down. I would close the stall door behind me enough so that he couldn't get out, then put his halter on and ask him to stand while I opened the door. When his feet moved our the door, my feet did not move (This is IMPORTANT. If you move your feet after he has, you've lost the respect game that day) and he got to back up all the way back into the stall again. And then we tried it again. And again. And so on.
I agree with tblver its a respect issue, but it also could be a fear thing. My mare has free run of her stall, with a door opening up to the pasture and she can come and go as she pleases, she will stand in it all day during the summer, to escape the flies, and hot sun. But if I close the door and lock her in, she starts acting like yours does, paces non stop, and circles the stall, (and what a mess to clean that up in the morning!) She always has a buddy in the stall next to her so she is never alone, just doesn't like that fact that her escape route has been closed off. This past winter she was locked in the stall for 3 days because of a blizzard that we had, and let me tell you when I finally opened the door she bolted out so fast if the snow wouldn't have been almost up to her stomach she would have fallen! Bucked and kicked and ran around for a good twenty minutes, and then voluntarily walked quietly back in the stall cause it was still so **** cold and windy outside. I have noticed that if I play the radio in the barn the horses are quieter. But some folk say not to do this cause it mask noises and the horses can easily be spooked. I figure, Mask the noise, that way they don't hear as much going on outside, and therefore they don't worry about it. To each his own I guess.
What I do with all my horses to head off this type of behavior is teach them to stand quietly prior to release. It's also safer because it teaches the horse not to charge off stomping on a toe, swinging their head over yours (and misjudging, knocking you flat), etc.
First I make them stand quietly for a couple of minutes before even thinking about removing their lead line from their halter. As they learn standing quietly leads to faster releases you can decrease the time.
Only after, they have stood quietly will I reach up and release the lead but the horse has not been released yet. Keep your hand by the halter so you can quickly grab it to keep them from walking off. If they try to walk off, start over. I like to use a verbal command (OK) to let them know they are now free to go do as they want.
Once they have it down with the lead, it will take only a short time to get them to stand quietly as you remove their halter. If they lift their head after the halter has been removed to drop it off faster then leave, put it back on and start again. It helps if you can find a way to maintain contact/control of the horse as the halter is dropped off. Unfortunatly that is a mix of your height, horses height, age, agility, strength and training. You may or may not find the right way for yourself. Once again, make them stand there until they are released by you.
As a side note, I've also taught my horses to lead with nothing more then my hand under their jaw. This training does help train them to stand quietly as the halter is dropped because they know my hand under their jaw means they are still under my control. Another reason I do this is for pasture catching, the lead is always a clue you plan to catch them up. No lead keeps them guessing if I plan to walk up to scratch them and maybe give them a treat or if I plan to toss a saddle on their back.
Why are you keeping him in a stall?
This is the same horse that your recently took to some event to do pony rides that you said was safe for anyone to handle now?
[quote=Faceman;1124392]Why are you keeping him in a stall?[QUOTE]
Because of the rain. I know it sounds stupid but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Especially with all this lightning we have been getting around my area lately.
I am probably dense, but I don't quite understand...if there is no meaningful reason to stall him and he doesn't like to be stalled, why would you want to stall him in the first place? It sounds as if he has run-in access and can go in his stall when he wants to or needs to, so why would you want/need to confine him?
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