Napping/balking - a critique on response? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 12 Old 05-03-2019, 10:38 AM
Join Date: May 2012
Location: CT USA an English transplant
Posts: 34,570
• Horses: 3
Katie sounds a lot like the Irish Draught mare my one time boss had, an Irish Cob that I had on loan for a few years and our Irish Draught mare Willow.
What they have in common - They all come from Ireland and were all hunted and in the case of 'my' three and probably your mare - were all used as hirelings during the hunting season.
That means they get ridden by all sorts of riders and a lot of the time they're ridden unsympathetically and inconsiderately. They also often don't get enough work (as hirelings) to have them really fit enough to do a days hunting.
You will find that horses like this will usually hunt all day without argument and if you took her off the yard via trailer or box to some place with trails that she wouldn't behave in the same negative way.
She's set herself mental time limit for what she thinks is fair that has nothing to do with her willingness to set out with enthusiasm.
We had a Connemara jumping pony that would set out of the yard really sharp and willing but the moment she knew she was facing the 'home' direction she's try to bolt back to the yard. We cured her by leading her off another pony for a few weeks and riding her considerately. Her previous young owner had cantered or galloped her pretty much everywhere.
I've never found that using a whip on horses like this makes them anything but more resentful, even if you can ride through it they will still repeat their actions.

I don't think there's any quick fix to solving it, its something that only time and patience will cure. They have to start to enjoy their work and to do that they need to figure it out for themselves, with your help - you can't force them to enjoy working and you can't force them to be a willing partner!

With both Dawn and Mac, I increased their mileage by a little each week and used lungeing and manège work to add in the extra time needed to keep them fit. Mac improved the quickest because he never used fake spooking to turn around, he was more of the sort to plant himself and do a rearing and bucking routine if you got after him - that's where the 'spinning on the spot' trick works.
Dawn took longer, I spent a lot of time riding her out of ditches and fields that she'd spooked and jumped into! In the end though, my patience paid off because she turned into one of the most willing, trustworthy horses I've ever ridden. My boss' 14 year old niece and my son of the same age both took her out in complete safety once she'd got her head in gear.

Just winging it is not a plan
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post #12 of 12 Old 05-07-2019, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: London, UK
Posts: 1,407
• Horses: 1
@horselovinguy I really look forward to having that seat haha. I'm gonna ride her later today and just focus on that, wish my butt luck. I haven't even been bothering to canter her - not that I can't, it's her easiest gait. But the downward transitions are so jarring. It's a 50-50 if I lose my stirrups and when I canter it's not as if I ride them long either -.- But with her behaviour on hacks recently a light seat really encourages her so all-round pain in the you know what. It is nice when I ride other horses though because so far I haven't found one I can't sit for hours on end since getting her. Riding her has made me a better rider for other horses -.-

As for the time - I did understand but worded my response rubbish. It's the same in the arena. I think though what is happening is staff are riding her for 20-30mins max and I want to ride her more and the more I realise it's literally that. In fact sometimes when I give her a loose rein to stretch she's like "WE'RE DONE! TOTALLY FINISHED!" you know how it goes... so I guess the only way to get her to realise with me it's different is to just keep myself consistent. Deep breath and a little at a time... thank you <3

@jaydee interesting input about the hireling thing. I might try get in touch and see exactly what her job was although when sold she'd apparently done 3 seasons but I never knew hiring was a thing! Katie is so eager to leave the yard on a hack out that the first few times I had to swallow my heart. Super sharp I just even need to squeeze a butt cheek and she's trotting. The moment we turn right onto the trail she'd canter off if she could but she is happy and I enjoy that too. She does resent the whip. She's not scared of it but if I have to use it she absolutely tail swishes at me, as in it hits me! and gives me the eye. Thing is in the past when I've had to kick her on in the arena (forgot whip) she once broncd on me. edit: and I did kick her too hard, when she was a bit off way back and refusing to canter left so probably some of that issue too. All because I offended her by kicking too hard. I'm pretty certain if I carry a whip it'll help but if I crack her one it'll just be a bolt/rear or something. I think I'm just gonna out patience her. Fortunately, she doesn't have much patience, would make a terrible donkey. When I play the patience game and urge her on, including occasional circles, the most I've had to "battle" out a nap has been maybe 5 minutes? Now I've written that it doesn't seem so bad... and each nap after is shorter. Ty for the input - just time... and consistency. Oof. I wish I had some of you closer :P
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Last edited by Kalraii; 05-07-2019 at 11:30 AM.
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