Questions on horse behavior and fixes to it. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-23-2011, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Question Questions on horse behavior and fixes to it.

Hello, my name is nicole im 15 going to be 16 and just this last christmas I got a paint mare. She is 6 years old and still has a lot of learning to do and also has a lot of bad behavior i would like to fix. This is my first horse and I am going to try to start taking riding lessons. Twister (the horse) has been used as an english horse(which i want to do, and maybe eventually start jumping) and was a show horse but was boarded. Then when the people after her (really good friends of the family) bought her she was rode western only and was rode only very so often. Now for christmas I got her and she still has a lot of learning to do. Some of the problems she has is she loves to rub her head on you. She doesnt ride by herself and does not move or leave the barn unless the other horses who you are riding with leave. She always wants to eat. She will lunge very good, i always like to lunge her before we ride, but then when you put the saddle and bridle on her and get on her she will not move if she is by herself. Also when you want her to move forward or turn, she will back up(the reins are loose to, so they are not pulling on her mouth to tell her to back up). I think that is it for now. I am open to learning, i want to learn and now what im doing wrong. I will do work on ground with her if it will make her a better horse. Thanks
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-23-2011, 10:17 AM
Green Broke
 
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Hey, you have very common issues with your horse. Do you happen to know any horse people in your area that are better educated in knowing what to do for these things?
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-23-2011, 11:50 AM
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Welcome to the forum!!

Yes, this is a common problem. Barn sour horses can be a real pain. When I get one in for training, I have to decide why she is sour. Is it lack of confidence? Is it just sour attitude of a horse who doesn't want any kind of work? Is it from a saddle that doesn't fit well causing the horse to not want to move forward because it hurts when she does?

Knock these causes off one at a time. First, address whether or not your saddle is causing discomfort. This can be a HUGE reason for horses to change attitude when ridden.

Then, if the tack fits, make sure the horse doesn't have any soundness issues in their back/haunch/legs etc.

If the horse is sound and the tack fits, decide if the horse is simply stubborn or scared. These problems are handled totally differently and using the wrong correction can cause BIGGER problems to develop.

Scared? I will use huge patience here. Don't expect to go very far for a while. I will ride around the barnyard and everything the horse shows concern with, I will address by walking the horse to it and make it touch the item with its nose. I will approach one step at a time, waiting for the horse to be comfortable with the step they just took. I will praise for EVERY forward step and nag forward for every step back. Note I said nag. This is just leg taps, not smacking. Let the horse take one step and pause. As soon as they get close enough, let them stretch their neck forward to touch, the ultimate acceptance that this thing is not dangerous.

Beating a horse that is scared will produce a panicky horse who will mentally shut down every time they start to get scared.

To start the horse away from the barn, the same thing. When they balk, let them settle, then gently nag them forward and praise forward progress. Nag backward progress, don't punish it. Soon, the horse will desire the praise and will seek to go forward to get it. "Soon" is relative to the problem. It may be that "soon" may be weeks. Take your time with a fearful horse, or else....


Stubborn? I will ask a bit harder. I will use a dressage whip and be more demanding asking for forward progress. However, I will still nag (harder) for the forward progress and still praise any forward steps I get.

I train through positive reinforcement, not through punishment. My specialty has always been dealing with rank and sour horses and I have had wonderful success using this method. Horse turnarounds have been very quick in almost all of my cases, with this method. Try it.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-23-2011, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Nope

Nope. I board her with the same people we bought her off of and thats a hour away from where I live. :( I want to find a place around where i board her so me and her can go to lessons together and learn together. So then i know the problems she has we are fixing and the problems i have with her we are fixing.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-23-2011, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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tack, sound, scared, LAZY

Thanks! Her tack fits perfect, she is completly sound, and she not scared. If you have her on a lead rope she will go anywhere. It's just when you saddle her up, she just wants to eat the grass and doesnt want to leave the barn. She will not ride anywhere by herself she has to have other horses with her. So I believe she is just very lazy. Is there any training besides pulling there head up all the time that will make them stop trying to eat the grass while you are riding. Cause where i board my horse, he neighbor has a paint that never once tries to eat the grass while you are on her. So is that something you can teach or something they have to learn from being little.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-23-2011, 02:04 PM
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So, if the horse is being stubborn, get a little tougher. Ask her to go forward and ask for a couple of steps. Smack her, if you have to to get those few steps...then stop. Then ask forward again. When she does, praise her for stepping forward. If you wait even in your praise and give it after you stop, you will be praising her for stopping=bad. Just be persistent. As the horse takes step, after step, after step...they will be working away from the barn. Just be persistent and DO NOT LOSE YOUR TEMPER. The horse will, eventually, go forward with less and less urging, as long as you stick with the encouragement instead of resorting to violence out of temper.

As for the grazing....some horses are amazingly strong and difficult to stop. When I have to yank a horse's head up, I give it a mighty squeeze with my leg as a punishment. Sometimes one smack will also follow. However, you have to be confident in your ability to handle anything that comes as a result of that correction.

You can rig up (or buy) an anti-grazing device to keep the horse from going down to graze (or "rooting the reins down out of your hands). Here is an example of one;

Anti-Grazing Device < Lungeing and Training Equiptment < Horse Tack|Dover Saddlery.

Just make sure you order the right size...pony/horse.

Last edited by Allison Finch; 07-23-2011 at 02:06 PM.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-23-2011, 02:11 PM
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I have a downside to smacking the horse to get it to move forward. Its a good possibility it will fight you. Some back up more, and when they get even worse frustrated they may go up on you. Your best bet to get the horse away from the barn is to make it work there and when you take the horse away let him rest. Make it hard to want to be where he wants to be. Make it easy for him to want to be away and get to rest for his reward. Does this make sense?
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-23-2011, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advise. I also made another thread for this but i will also ask it here, when lunging her, i pull on the rope to make her stop, but when she stops she walks to me. I am open to all ideas to correct this. Thanks for all the help. :)
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-23-2011, 03:12 PM
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Hi Nicole, Welcome!

I really do not think this is rocket science and does not require a PhD in ????

It is very simple. Your horse is in charge and she is doing exactly what SHE wants to do. This is mostly because you have not earned enough of her respect and/or do not have enough knowledge for her to want to do what YOU what her to do.

Horses are 'creatures of habit'. What this means is that a habit is set very quickly in many instances. For some unwanted behaviors that means '1' time of being allowed to do something they want to do but should not be allowed to do. Every time the horse repeats the unwanted behavior, (like the horse that stall out or spins around) they get more determined to get back to their herd or barn. I have watched literally dozens of decently trained horses all the way up to very well trained performance horses (some with lengthy show records) that were sold to or being used by a less knowledgeable rider and have marveled how quickly some of them learned to fight for the right to do the wrong thing. I have watched many of these well trained horses go from impeccable manners and push-button performance to gate sour, arena sour, barn sour or herd sour in a matter of a few rides. They were not in pain. They did not need psychoanalysis. They just quickly picked up on the fact that they were being ridden by a less knowledgeable and less confident rider and could do or could go where they would rather be.

Horses are a herd animal by nature and they like the safety and structure of being in their familiar surroundings at home and/or with their herd-mates. A good horseman with good 'leadership' qualities that a horse respects, can have a horse be just as comfortable with them as they are their herd or home. This should be what every rider strives for. Then, their horses have no fears. Just like a foal blindly and with 100% trust follows its mother into swift water, down through the canyons and cliffs, over huge obstacles, the horse with a confident, qualified leader goes everywhere that person points their head and asks them to go.

99.9 % of barn sour and herd bound horses are that way because they made ONE attempt to turn around and go back to the barn or to their herd or their 'home' and it was not immediately corrected. Almost any horse with a not-so-confident rider will attempt to turn around when they are being ridden away from their friends or their home. If that rider does not correct them immediately and in the proper manner, the bad habit is set. The more times they are allowed to turn around or 'stall out' the harder they will fight for the right to do so.

I am curious if she was 'shown' in performance classes or was just shown at halter. She may know what she is supposed to do and is telling you to kiss her hiney because you do not know how to make her do it.

Or, she may have been fitted and shown in hand and has very limited under saddle training. If this is the case, you are in waaaay over your head and she needs to be trained from scratch -- under saddle.

You need to either take lessons WITH YOUR HORSE (if she is trained under saddle) or you need to send her to a trainer and take lessons on one of the trainer's lesson or 'finished' horses so you can learn when and what and how to get a horse to do what you want it to. You cannot teach a horse what you do not know. You cannot correct a horse until you develop the feel and timing required to make it make sense to the horse. One of you has to know what they are doing. You either need to learn how to communicate properly with a horse by riding a trained, willing horse while receiving instruction OR you need to know how teach a horse proper responses and behavior and how to correct unwanted behavior -- which requires experience in doing it correctly yourself.

BUT, a green rider on a green horse only produces a frustrated and frequently injured rider with no confidence at all and produces a frustrated and completely spoiled horse that has no confidence either. It is a wreck in the making. The horse will always be 1 or maybe 20 steps ahead of the inexperienced rider. It is a 'NO WIN' situation for both of you.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-23-2011, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure how she was shown but she has been riden as a trail horse for the past year. She has been ridden under saddle before, i am not sure how long she has actually been under saddle. I rode her once before my parents bought her for me and she rode wonderfully. Not a problem. I'm not sure if not riding her all winter has made her barn sour, or if she is still at her learning stage that she still needs training. I want to take horse lessons, so I know how to ride, cause I will tell you I haven't owned a horse in almost 10 years, i had one for about 2 years when i was younger, and he was a quarter horse who was 20 years old and was a great for young kids and a few years later passed away. So i have never had any real learning skills about riding i would love to though. I would also really like to go to lessons with my horse so i know what im doing wrong and i know what she is doing wrong. But thanks for the advise
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