Problem with getting a horse forward - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 29 Old 12-29-2017, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Horsef View Post
I knew about gate-sourness before I bought my mare so Iíve never dismounted at the gate since I got her (a year and a half). I do have a trainer but I live in a part of the world where itís considered normal for a horse to be gate-sour. I tried asking her about fixing it but she wasnít particularly worried about the issue so Iím trying to fix it on my own for good. Anyhow, Iím really confused by the fact that Iíll fix something and sheíll be perfect for a few weeks or a few months and then sheíll decide to revert to some or other behavior that I previously fixed. I understand that she should always be minding me but Iím not doing anything differently. So sometimes my riding is good enough and I manage to fix whatever she dreamed up to throw my way and sometimes it isnít and I definitely canít see a major difference. And it isnít a gradual degradation, one day she just decides itís time to rattle my cage and see what falls out.
And welcome to the world of horses. They will "revert" when they please.

You will lessen those episodes by always being consistent with her, but that won't stop her from trying every now and then.

For example, my horse Red knows better. But every so often if we (for example) are working on circles in the arena, he will "drift" his circle toward the direction of the gate. This is where my boot will connect with his side and I tell him to knock it off. He says "okay mom" and goes back to being a good boy and doing nice circles without drifting like I taught him. He never gets away with it - ever. Yet he still tries every so often.

Some horses will "try" to get away with things again more than others. Some never try again. And some you wonder if their head is encased in concrete.... They're all different. But don't be confused by the issue popping up randomly -- that's just horses for ya. Just deal with it when it arises.
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post #22 of 29 Old 12-29-2017, 03:15 PM
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This was good for me to read. I don't regret selling my gelding recently, but I do tend to look upon my riding experiences in my youth with rose colored glasses. I did have a gelding (I was 17, he was 6) and he was a fantastic horse. I didn't appreciate him then. I had been riding for about 7 years at that time (bareback until I got the gelding, then I bought a saddle) so I was fearless and a teenager in decent riding shape. He never gave me a problem doing what I asked him to do -- at whatever speed I wanted -- for as long as I wanted. I only had him two years, so who knows what would have happened, but as long as I had him he was always willing to move (or stop, or turn or.....). Of course I was always willing to swiftly and sharply correct him if he didn't listen to me.


Fast forward to recently. Now I'm much older, much out of shape, no confidence from an injury in 2013 (totally my fault) and much less inclined to "swiftly and sharply correct" any horse because I'm am intensely afraid of what they will do next. I don't want to be thrown off or injured again. I know I cannot ride out a strong buck or rear, so if the horse fights a request, I give in. Then of course the horse learns that I am a soft leader, and I am immediately pushed into a submissive role with the horse. I guess that's the biggest reason I have decided to stop riding -- can't get control of my lack of confidence.


Anyway, horsef, after reading your post, I realized that my first gelding was my once-in-a-lifetime horse -- obedient, willing, and fun to ride! -- and every horse since has paled in comparison. All of the other horses were so much work with not enough joy for me. I hope that doesn't end up happening to you.


I apologize if I went off topic a bit.

Last edited by PresleysMom; 12-29-2017 at 03:35 PM.
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post #23 of 29 Old 12-29-2017, 03:31 PM
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@Horsef The video below is what I mean by rollbacks. I push my horses harder and faster than this girl does, to make them really work and use themselves, but you get the drift. Start out cantering a circle next to the fence. At the apex of the circle you should be close enough to reach out and touch the fence. Do this until your circle is mostly okay. Get the horse moving forward nicely, make your circle as round as you can. Once the horse is circling nicely, wait until your horse approaches the fence at a 45 degree angle - this is important because, while you want your horse to use his body and roll back over his hocks, you still have to give his front end room to swing through or he'll have to kick his butt out first, which defeats the purpose of this exercise. So you can't be too far away from the fence, or the horse will just execute a screaming U-turn and won't have to work as hard, but you also don't want him to be too close to the fence, since he won't be able to make the turn.

When you're comfortable in the circle and want to start the rollback, wait until the horse is in the right spot, then pick up on your outside rein and use your inside leg to push his shoulder through the turn. It will probably look like crap since you both are new at this, that's fine. Canter around the circle a few time in the new direction - remember, always make sure your circle is as good as you can get it before rolling back. In the beginning you'll be doing more circling than rollbacks, that's fine. Eventually you should rollback every other circle, or sometimes every circle if the horse is being a real turd. If the horse anticipates the rollback, keep him cantering on the circle until he doesn't anticipate.

If you're not comfortable doing this exercise at the lope, you can do it at the trot, but it's not as effective. Keep the horse really TROTTING though, make him work hard, don't just let the horse lollygag around on the circle. Trot him fast, get him really using his body through those rollbacks. Don't focus on posting the correct lead or keeping him in frame or any of that stuff - that comes later. When you're doing rollbacks the objective is to make the horse WORK. If he's not sweating and out of breath when you're done you're not doing it hard enough. I have done rollbacks on the fence in an English saddle, so while it is a bit more challenging to balance I assure you it can be done - and after a few sessions of rollbacks you'll find your seat and balance have both improved tremendously! If you're having issues keeping your balance you can tie a rope around the horse's neck to hang on to, or grab some mane if your horse has hair to spare. Just don't hang on his mouth when you're going through the turn - you'll be sending him mixed signals and it will only frustrate him.


Hope all that helps. : )

-- Kai
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post #24 of 29 Old 12-29-2017, 03:33 PM
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@PresleysMom
I can relate. I have not had any specific injury that made me extra fearful, but I am out of shape and never too keen to ride through any serious bucks or rears.

That is why I have to approach things from a place where I hopefully don't get into that place where I push real hard (like a really smart, hard snap of the whip, or an over-and-under with the rein ends, etc) and the horse meets or exceeds that with his push back, (buck or rear), which I am not sure I can deal with. This depends on the horse. Most horses will not be that bad. but, if I'm not sure, I don't go there for fear of losing the battle.

You don't want to put yourself in a place where you cannot meet that pushback, because that only teaches the horse to rise to that level quickly every time he doesn't want to do what you ask , in order to get away with things because he knows you cant match him.

So, that's why training approaches that sort of 'bend' the hrose, rather than meet them head on are what I have to do. If they balk, I break lose the feet with bends and lateral stepping. If they go to fast, use circles to slow.
If they are goint toward the gate, get their mind on something else before it is really FIXED on the gate. That way, you don't 'beat' them out of that hardened fixation, but rather sort of 'bend' them into another activity, before they even really were thinking much about the gate.
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post #25 of 29 Old 12-29-2017, 03:38 PM
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that sure is a tolerant mare!
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post #26 of 29 Old 12-29-2017, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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@PresleysMom Iíve only started riding at 37, four years ago so it doesnít really come naturally at all. Iím not hesitant to discipline this particular horse because she isnít a dangerous horse even when being naughty. She doesnít really loose her mind, she always knows where she is and where her feet are -and where she wants them to be :) And Iíve never fallen off her and I used to fall off regularly when I was riding school horses (non-horsey country, not much choice).

Buttt...I am getting a bit sick of it. I am first and foremost an animal lover and riding my mare feels like Iím torturing her. She really doesnít enjoy being ridden. Her whole body drops when she sees the saddle and she hangs her head as if Iím rolling out the gallows. It is getting a bit much for me to push through.

She has a home for life with me so if I stop riding her, thatís it for me. And no, it isnít pain. In one of the comments above I described how she stopped bucking just because we had the vet out and she got scared of a man being in the school with her. Litteraly stopped over night. If it was pain, she wouldnít have stopped just like that.

Ah well...Iíll keep riding her for a while still, maybe she surprises me again tomorrow with how perfect she is when she feels like it. That also happens on the regular. She will be a total brat for a few weeks and just like that we start having perfect rides all of a sudden. Nothing much to do with my riding, I can assure you.

Thank you for your kind words.
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post #27 of 29 Old 12-29-2017, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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@Kaifyre That looks...like something that I will bungle up for sure. I need to think hard about using this. It seems like something that has potential to really spoil the horse if done incorrectly.
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post #28 of 29 Old 12-29-2017, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by beau159 View Post
And welcome to the world of horses. They will "revert" when they please.

You will lessen those episodes by always being consistent with her, but that won't stop her from trying every now and then.

For example, my horse Red knows better. But every so often if we (for example) are working on circles in the arena, he will "drift" his circle toward the direction of the gate. This is where my boot will connect with his side and I tell him to knock it off. He says "okay mom" and goes back to being a good boy and doing nice circles without drifting like I taught him. He never gets away with it - ever. Yet he still tries every so often.

Some horses will "try" to get away with things again more than others. Some never try again. And some you wonder if their head is encased in concrete.... They're all different. But don't be confused by the issue popping up randomly -- that's just horses for ya. Just deal with it when it arises.
Ughh! Please donít tell me that! I keep working very hard with her so that I end up with a pleasant horse. It is really demoralizing for me to think that I will be fighting with her like this forever. Ughhh!

Buying the right horse is so difficult. There was no way I could have known sheís a ďtesterĒ when I bought her. And I rode her five or six times before I bought her.

Maybe I should just hand the little madam to my trainer when she gets like this and come back when sheís feeling more cooperative.
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post #29 of 29 Old 12-29-2017, 10:27 PM
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@Horsef Rollbacks on the fence will not spoil your horse. Rollbacks are something that a horse picks up after one or two sessions, and if you did it right the first time, after that you don't have to revisit them again for a long while. For instance, on Dreams, we practiced rollbacks on the fence one day, to get him using his hocks a bit better. After that I didn't do them with him again until nearly 6 months later, when he decided he wanted to race back to the horse trailer on a trail ride. Okay Dreams, yes, let's rush back to the trailer (I let him make this mistake, because if you never let your horse make the mistake he will never learn .... the more people say "Don't go, don't go!" the more the horse wants to go) ... but when we get there, we'll do rollbacks around the trailer for 15 minutes or so, and then move away from the trailer to rest. One more repetition of that and there was no more rushing to the trailer - now when I point him toward home he walks back nice and slow, because I've taught him that rushing back means more work.

If you find yourself having to use this correction on a gate sour horse more than once or twice, it's because you're not being firm enough with your correction. Rollbacks aren't difficult, and they can be a very useful tool. I will do rollbacks around the trailer if a horse rushes back to it, rollbacks at the gate if he's gate sour ... I will use a slower and softer version of rollbacks around scary objects like water, rolling the horse back into the object every circle or three, but focusing more on collection and bend than speed for that one. Rollbacks are used a lot on reining and working cow horses to teach them to turn through themselves, to get their hind legs underneath themselves for a more efficient turn. On a cowhorse colt I'm training for a friend of mine, I use rollbacks to help teach him that when I say "whoa" I want him to plant that butt in the ground pronto. They have a number of uses.

-- Kai
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