Misbehaving jumping horses - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
I see it in some barns where young girls with wealthy parents ride, and are in a hurry to jump higher and bring home ribbons. They get bored of their plain jane horses very quickly, and get their parents to buy them a bigger, faster, and fancier horse. They don't want to wait, or train, they want to get the expensive horse home and jump, jump, jump.

My daughter's coach insists riders school on the flat, and do hunters before jumpers. You can't have any of that silliness in hunters. But other coaches are into bigger, faster, flashier, and let their kids ride without mastering proper form or schooling the horses properly. These are the same kids who regularly crash into jumps too.
I hate seeing wealth blamed on anything to do with horses. My family had a family run lesson/boarding stable for 50+ years in a wealthy area, from beginners to GP show jumpers. The most successful had a great work ethic, not the most money.

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post #12 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 02:24 PM
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I think it is important to consider alternative reasons why a horse may be 'poorly behaved'. I'm sure much of what people said so far is true, that is does come down to training error, but not all of those high-strung horses are the result of human impatience and incompetence.

I forgot exactly what stud it is that I follow, who throws foals that are particularly challenging their first few years under-saddle. The particular foal of his that I follow on social media that is now under-saddle and jumping pretty small jumps, bucks and carries on after the jumps. The rider clearly has other horses that are well-mannered and successful, and it is known that the particular sire of the horse throws babies with a bit of 'tude, that usually go on to grow out of it. I believe the stud was Bosch Blue, if I remember correctly...

The only 'mean' horse I worked around as a stablehand was one that got zero turnout, other than occasionally in a round pen. He was a big, hot half-Arabian, that was confined to a 12x12 stall. When I would enter his stall, his ears would be flat back and he would be snaking his head towards me, trying to bite. Getting a halter on him was a task, and you had be ready for him to try to drag you down the aisle way. I would be willing to bet if he got regular turnout, he would quickly turn into a different horse. He just didn't know what to do with his cooped-up energy, and dealt with it by acting aggressively. This particular horse was wonderful under-saddle, just awful on the ground and around the barn. I don't think any amount of correction would have helped him, he just needed a better management plan.

And sometimes, under-saddle with some of these explosively hot horses, it is more beneficial to let them act up, buck, and ride through it. What else are you supposed to do? Stopping would reward it. Yanking on their mouth would force the horse backwards in motion. Taking a crop to their bum would add more energy into the situation. Letting them act out and just continuing onwards doesn't reward their behavior or negatively add to the situation. I wouldn't consider handling the behavior this way a training error, or just showing off your ability to ride, but rather handling the behavior as it comes.

But, in the exact situation described, I would definitely say it is probably human error.
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post #13 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 03:46 PM
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I rode an amazing half-Arab mare - a true beginners horse with enough responsiveness for more advanced riders, very soft mouth and sensitive seat. Whatever I wanted - she did it with very little communication and a lot of eagerness. I wasnít jumping because she was too old for that but I can imagine she would be great at it as well (not too high though).

However, on the ground she was an absolute nightmare. Only barn staff were allowed to approach her and two people were needed to help me mount. She didnít move at all but she was trying to kick and bite at the same time. Iíve never seen something like that before. This mare was at a riding school with a lot of other horses which were all extremely well behaved and trained. It was one of those holiday dressage places and I watched at least fifty lessons over seven days, not one single misstep, pinned ear, spook or buck except for her ground manners. The staff were treating her very, very gently, subtly correcting her without making a big deal. I asked the owner and the lady said they tried every single non-cruel approach and nothing worked for that mare in the ten years they had her. Looking at how amazing their other horses were, I have no reason to doubt neither their knowledge nor their commitment. They just resigned to work around her quirks.

So, some horses are just born that way.
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post #14 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by updownrider View Post
I hate seeing wealth blamed on anything to do with horses. My family had a family run lesson/boarding stable for 50+ years in a wealthy area, from beginners to GP show jumpers. The most successful had a great work ethic, not the most money.
You're right, many girls from well-off backgrounds have a good work ethic. But the ones from poorer families have no choice. They don't have the luxury of having their parents buy them high-strung jumpers. They do have to deal with lesson horses who are dull, have bad attitudes, might have learned some bad habits but are rarely high-strung and out of control.
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post #15 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
You're right, many girls from well-off backgrounds have a good work ethic. But the ones from poorer families have no choice. They don't have the luxury of having their parents buy them high-strung jumpers. They do have to deal with lesson horses who are dull, have bad attitudes, might have learned some bad habits but are rarely high-strung and out of control.
I would have thought that if someone had tons of money to spend on a horse, they'd get one that could jump high AND had a good attitude and was safe, especially if it was for their child. Does such a horse not exist?

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post #16 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 08:14 PM
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They exist but there is no flash factor. I also think there is a tendency to get in over their heads for a variety of reasons and end up with horses that should have been passed on for something more suitable.
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post #17 of 39 Old 05-19-2020, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Horsef View Post
I rode an amazing half-Arab mare - a true beginners horse with enough responsiveness for more advanced riders, very soft mouth and sensitive seat. Whatever I wanted - she did it with very little communication and a lot of eagerness. I wasnít jumping because she was too old for that but I can imagine she would be great at it as well (not too high though).

However, on the ground she was an absolute nightmare. Only barn staff were allowed to approach her and two people were needed to help me mount. She didnít move at all but she was trying to kick and bite at the same time. Iíve never seen something like that before. This mare was at a riding school with a lot of other horses which were all extremely well behaved and trained. It was one of those holiday dressage places and I watched at least fifty lessons over seven days, not one single misstep, pinned ear, spook or buck except for her ground manners. The staff were treating her very, very gently, subtly correcting her without making a big deal. I asked the owner and the lady said they tried every single non-cruel approach and nothing worked for that mare in the ten years they had her. Looking at how amazing their other horses were, I have no reason to doubt neither their knowledge nor their commitment. They just resigned to work around her quirks.

So, some horses are just born that way.
I have only ever seen this once and the horse wasn't just being witchy, there was a serious physical issue at the root of the behaviour. Temperamentally speaking that horse was an absolute saint just screaming out to be heard.

It's not always an issue that requires correcting behaviours.

My mare went from a complete lamb to handle to viciously girthy. I put her on ulcer medication and within 14 hours of the first dose she was a different horse. She's still on the medication and still happy.

It may not be so simple with a horse like you describe. The issue could be deeper. Kissing spine can present in some very strange ways (almost all behavioural) and with mares, reproductive issues are a factor to take into account - a cyst or tumour on an ovary, for instance, would cause her a lot of pain.
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post #18 of 39 Old 05-20-2020, 06:53 AM
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I agree that this is just the nature of some of these horses, but there seems to be more of them in the jumper ring. I am thinking of one instance where a kid got bored of jumping her grade horse so got her parents to buy her a better one and, finding that this horse was very difficult to control, promptly put a harsher bit in her mouth. Within a few days, the horse was at shows, just barely under control with all the extra metal in her mouth. I honestly felt sorry for it. In this case, it is a coaching issue. The horse needed time to settle in, maybe a refresher on training before going out competing. The rider couldn't wait. Not really her fault if the coach doesn't tell her though.

Again, these horses always seem to be found in the same stables. There is another place that is known for their crazy jumpers. None of them would ever make it in the hunter ring. The horses all have to be bubble wrapped for trailering because they act up in the trailer too. Even with the legs wrapped, they still manage to hurt themselves. I don't know why anyone wants horses like this.
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post #19 of 39 Old 05-20-2020, 10:44 AM
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My riding teacher who was also a dressage groom said this syndrome is very common at higher level dressage as well. She was grooming for people aiming at the Olympics and many of the horses were nightmares on the ground. Their owners conflated "spirit" in the ring with being jerks. Plus, these people all had so much money they never groomed or handled their own horses, just were handed them ready to go. Like the jumpers, these horses are also under great physical and mental stress.

I find it totally reprehensible.

This is not to say there aren't tons of backyard horses with terrible manners! But at least their owners may plead ignorance or incompetence, neither of which applies to competition horses.
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post #20 of 39 Old 05-20-2020, 11:36 AM
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It isn't very hard to make a horse like that. All you have to do is push them hard doing the same thing every day and then put them away. Stall to arena to stall, like some kind of nightmare ground hog day.

The jumping and going fast is not what blows them up, it is all the other nonsense that is tolerated and the lack of proper training because it doesn't matter to the people that ride them. Some people even think (very incorrectly) that any horse that is that kind of athletic is going to be a basket case by nature and they make excuses for why their horse is a poorly trained mess.
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Last edited by jgnmoose; 05-20-2020 at 11:41 AM.
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