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post #11 of 12 Old 03-15-2015, 10:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Olds Alberta Canada
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On a horse that has been spoiled, you need to use what ever it takes, so that he becomes un successful in those vises.
Right now he see s humans as walking vending machines, that he can drag around, invade space and refuse to stand when asked to etc.
The not bending issues can be lack of training, or even a physical cause, so you will need to see if there is a pain issues, and if not, then go right back to basics and get some suppleness in his entire body, teaching him how to correctly move off of pressure, whether that be a lead shank , a leg or a rein
Since he has learned that he can drag you to a bale of hay, and you are not going to be able to out muscle him, you have to use something that gives you an advantage.
I would use a stud shank, run under the chin and clipped to the opposite side of that halter,, as in showing a horse in hand.
Teach absolute obedience to 'whoa' on the ground, before expecting him to stand at the mounting block.
Then, expect him to also stand at that block an dnot move until asked to.
Never ride off the minute you mount, as that is what causes many horses to then try and leave the minute they feel a foot in the stirrup. Make him stand there, give his face . Don't always ride straight ahead-back astep or so, to clear the mounting block then do a 1/4 turn on the haunches and ride off. Change it up-the important point is to make him wait on you.
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post #12 of 12 Old 03-15-2015, 11:16 PM
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Hi! Haven't read any responses yet so bound to repeat a few things at least...

Originally Posted by ohtheseathesand View Post
When he's in the cross-ties he tries to eat those, or the lead rope or my sleeve as I'm leading him.

TBH I wouldn't worry personally about the mouthing the lead when he's tied generally, so long as he stopped when I asked him. Especially if it's already a habit, it will take consistent & effective punishment every single time he tries it, so if you leave him unattended, he will at best learn not to do it when you're around. Mouthing the lead while you're leading him, or nibbling you, or 'mugging' you should never be allowed though. With an untrained horse, it's usually effective just to make sure it's not reinforced, and
'correct' it lightly if needed, I'm not big on punishment in training as a rule. But with a horse who has already learned that it DOES work to be mouthy/pushy, it may take some stronger punishment & more than a couple of lessons to convince him the rules have changed. If for eg he went to nibble my arm while leading, his nose would swiftly & strongly meet my elbow **as he went to do it, not after it happened**. He'd quickly learn that this behaviour wasn't fun for him with me!

If there is hay anywhere in the vicinity, he'll do his best to drag whoever is leading him over to it, and it's nearly impossible to stop him. Once he's been given a treat he'll harass the person who gave it to him, sticking his nose in their pockets
You need to make it unpleasant enough for him, if he thinks of dragging you anywhere, that he thinks twice about doing it again. And you need to make sure it never works for him - it isn't worth his while to endure a bit of discomfort, because he gets the hay/treat. He's learned to 'mug for treats' because it's obviously worked for him in the past. Like you've learned to put money in a slot & press a few buttons to work a vending machine. If however, you did your thing & nothing came out, you might persevere a number of times(depending on past experiences), but you'll eventually give up. If the machine also gave you an unpleasant zap every time you pressed a button, I'm betting you'd probably give up even quicker!

IME treats are a fantastic training tool for many horses/situations. Especially with manners. But you need to be aware & consistent with exactly what you're reinforcing. Horses learn from *instant* consequences to their behaviour. For eg if your horse lowers his head on cue, and then raises it & sticks his nose in your face because he's expecting a reward, giving him a treat then will reinforce the raised head & 'rude' behaviour. If you're too late to reinforce the behaviour you want, or you get other behaviour you don't like along with it, do not reward it!

2) He refuses to stand while I'm tightening his girth before getting on. Even if I walk him up to a wall, he still tries to walk away. I keep pulling him back into place
This could be a physical thing - over tightening, bad saddle fit, ulcers, etc - so I'd consider that too, but given the rest of the picture, same sort of thing - it's something he doesn't want to do & walking away works. Prevent him from walking away by tying, or make it unpleasant to do this - instead of just pulling, which it sounds like he's learned to do well, I'd 'bump' his lead as he starts moving. Remembering not to reinforce his moving away by releasing the girth when he does, until he stands still, and making the experience as easy for him as possible to do 'right'.

3) This one is probably the worst. Whenever someone tries to mount him, even from a mounting block, he bolts.
That sounds like, whether from fear, pain, or he's learned from reacting in past experience, that he's not up to being ridden yet! At least not by you yet, if you don't know why he's doing it/how to handle it. Have you seen an experienced, good horseperson handle/ride him? Does he do the same for them?

4) This is slightly unrelated, since it's not a bad habit, but I've been having lots of trouble getting him to bend. He's not very flexible,
Have you had him checked out by a chiropractic vet or such, to ensure he CAN bend & do as you want without pain? Are you sure your saddle fits him, that it's not causing him any pain or restriction with that?
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