horse tantrum - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-03-2018, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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horse tantrum

hi all, I'm just wondering how you would handle this situation on your horses.

where I hack we always go through a small field to get to a bigger field where we have a gallop, my mare won't gallop away from the mini field but she will gallop towards it (ik this is bad since she just wants to run home) but once we get to point between them I normally try to turn her so I can go round the big field again.

this hasn't worked ever but in the mini field there are many paths branching off it so sometimes we go up through another path to the top of the big field but other times, like today, she starts to trot or canter in the mini field as soon as I ask her to slow down or turn, and then she'll bomb it down on of the other paths, towards home, and have a proper tantrum, just stomping around and refusing to stand or turn.

I've been considering just walking her through the big field and trotting her around the little field for a while but the issue is that with all of the paths around the little field I don't trust her not to get frustrated and charge down one of them again, also would I need to do the same in the paths because she used to try and run to other paths on another route but eventually stopped (except that whole route was just at walk)

any advice will be really appreciated, thanks

stomp stomp, gimme food
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-03-2018, 02:15 PM
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Horses are creatures of habit. Your mare is not "having a tantrum" like a child would, but acting out of the habit she's been allowed and taught - that the field is meant to be galloped through in a specific direction. Your goal now is to reprogram this habit and mix things up a little, so that she learns to listen to you, not to just follow the program she's been conditioned to always follow.

If she's prone to "bomb off", I'd suggest starting out with walking here there in hand. Instead the field being a gallop zone, show her it can be a relaxation zone - walk her quietly up and down the field many times, until she's completely calm in all spots of it, let her graze, do a bit of work in hand - lunging at the walk and trot, yielding her hindquarters, stretching and flexing softly. Let her think and relax.

When she's good in the hand, start riding, if possible - with another horse&rider to accompany you. Start off at a walk and only trot if she's truly calm and responsive. Whenever she starts speeding up or aiming at home, ride her in circles, working on a good, soft lateral flexion throughout her whole body, yield her HQ, if it's in your repertoire - do some shoulder-in, leg yielding and other lateral exercises that make her think and concentrate on your ques.

I would strongly suggest that you forget about cantering and galloping in these fields until she is completely calm and responsive at the walk and the trot, as well as stopping softly and changing directions away from home whenever you ask. You may, however, walk back home, canter her in the arena, then walk back to the field - thus, the fields become a place to relax, and home - a place to work, making it less appealing to just bomb homewards. Good luck!

I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-03-2018, 02:17 PM
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Take a lunge line with you and start making her work near the mini field. I mean really, really WORK. She needs to start realizing that going back to the barn isn't where all the good stuff is, and her pitching a wobbler about it only makes things worse.

Conversely, start making going out a really nice thing for her. Get or make a nose bag and give her a small feed out on the trail, or some treats she really likes. Take one of those nubbly curry brushes and give her a good rubdown.

To break habits, you have to break routines. She's started to associate going on the trail with work, rather than having fun. She needs to flip these associations, but it takes time.

Just make sure that you have a plan in place before you go out, and don't get tempted to fight her when you're in the saddle. Work through her tantrums on the ground first.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-03-2018, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saranda View Post
Horses are creatures of habit. Your mare is not "having a tantrum" like a child would, but acting out of the habit she's been allowed and taught - that the field is meant to be galloped through in a specific direction. Your goal now is to reprogram this habit and mix things up a little, so that she learns to listen to you, not to just follow the program she's been conditioned to always follow.

If she's prone to "bomb off", I'd suggest starting out with walking here there in hand. Instead the field being a gallop zone, show her it can be a relaxation zone - walk her quietly up and down the field many times, until she's completely calm in all spots of it, let her graze, do a bit of work in hand - lunging at the walk and trot, yielding her hindquarters, stretching and flexing softly. Let her think and relax.

When she's good in the hand, start riding, if possible - with another horse&rider to accompany you. Start off at a walk and only trot if she's truly calm and responsive. Whenever she starts speeding up or aiming at home, ride her in circles, working on a good, soft lateral flexion throughout her whole body, yield her HQ, if it's in your repertoire - do some shoulder-in, leg yielding and other lateral exercises that make her think and concentrate on your ques.

I would strongly suggest that you forget about cantering and galloping in these fields until she is completely calm and responsive at the walk and the trot, as well as stopping softly and changing directions away from home whenever you ask. You may, however, walk back home, canter her in the arena, then walk back to the field - thus, the fields become a place to relax, and home - a place to work, making it less appealing to just bomb homewards. Good luck!
thank you, I'm not sure about doing ground work there since I loan her (sorry forgot to write in the original post) and I doubt her owner would be comfortable with me doing that, however I have no issues with stopping her from cantering in the field, maybe ill hop off there and let her have a snack.
the issue with the circling is that thats what her old loaner did right before cantering so she always gets a bit crazy with them but ill just have to try and see how it goes.

I've already started working through this if it is because she believes the field is only to go in one direction as she now goes around the out side the whole way (she used to go around in an L shape) but still has some issues when leaving the path around the outside since she gets so strong. I would worry that all of my problem solving on the other paths is just her forming a new habit for the next loaner to break...

stomp stomp, gimme food
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-03-2018, 02:31 PM
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If you are limited in the methods you may apply in working with this horse, then I'd just walk with her in the fields, walk for as long (in separate rides, of course) the horse needs to settle down and understand that the fields do not equal obligatory galloping. If she starts speeding up going home, just turn around and walk another loop through the field, and so on, until she agrees to walk home calmly. If she gets ramped up even from that, hop off and walk her in hand, letting her graze on your own accord. And, as I mentioned before, resist temptation to sneak in even a little bit of faster work until she's really accepted that the rules have changed and fields are now for walking! It might take some time, but it will be much safer for both of you.

I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
/James Wright/
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-03-2018, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulefeather View Post
Take a lunge line with you and start making her work near the mini field. I mean really, really WORK. She needs to start realizing that going back to the barn isn't where all the good stuff is, and her pitching a wobbler about it only makes things worse.

Conversely, start making going out a really nice thing for her. Get or make a nose bag and give her a small feed out on the trail, or some treats she really likes. Take one of those nubbly curry brushes and give her a good rubdown.

To break habits, you have to break routines. She's started to associate going on the trail with work, rather than having fun. She needs to flip these associations, but it takes time.

Just make sure that you have a plan in place before you go out, and don't get tempted to fight her when you're in the saddle. Work through her tantrums on the ground first.
thankyou, ill try and think of a way I can use this, not sure about lunging her since a) I've never lunged a horse (hi I'm a newbie), b) her owner probably wouldn't Let me and c) I'm sure it is my riding, I doubt she would behave like that if her owner was riding

but I think letting her know the field isn't just for running in would work, like I said in the last post maybe letting her eat around the big field could work
and I wonder if it would help if I will try and trot her in circles in the mini field... just on her back instead of a lunge line.
I'm not sure if making her trot along any of the paths she tries to run down would work as they are very very muddy this time of year and i would think shed probably think she's just running home...

stomp stomp, gimme food
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-03-2018, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saranda View Post
If you are limited in the methods you may apply in working with this horse, then I'd just walk with her in the fields, walk for as long (in separate rides, of course) the horse needs to settle down and understand that the fields do not equal obligatory galloping. If she starts speeding up going home, just turn around and walk another loop through the field, and so on, until she agrees to walk home calmly. If she gets ramped up even from that, hop off and walk her in hand, letting her graze on your own accord. And, as I mentioned before, resist temptation to sneak in even a little bit of faster work until she's really accepted that the rules have changed and fields are now for walking! It might take some time, but it will be much safer for both of you.

haha ill miss cantering but yes your right, and she's normally a very chill horse so I doubt it will take her very long any way. but the issue I'm having the most problems with is still just getting her to turn around! thats when she really begins to speed up and get agitated, but maybe if I turned her to go up the middle of the big field instead of along the edge to the mini field she would be more coopretive... sorry I'm thinking out loud here XD

thanks again for the advice!

stomp stomp, gimme food
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-03-2018, 02:57 PM
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As you told you're a newbie, you and the horse would both probably benefit from some quality lessons, if you're not getting those already. If we learn how to make a horse more supple and giving in both body and mind in the arena, it is transferred to what we can do out in the trails. ;)

As your horse has some strong, ingrained habits and thinks she knows the drill of what goes on in the fields, break those habits - try not to repeat the behaviors that you know will result in her wanting to speed up and freak out, instead, form new habits and new patterns of riding in the field. For example, you don't have to go all the way around the field if that makes her want to run - you may as well enter the field at the walk, make a smaller loop at the walk, praise heavily, hop down, graze in hand and go home. Even if such a ride is just 10 minutes, it will benefit her mind a lot. Again, good luck and let us know how it goes. :)
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I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
/James Wright/
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