Problem on the trail - I Could use a Pep Talk :) - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 48 Old 06-03-2015, 06:49 AM
Join Date: May 2015
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This has been an interesting read for me. I am also a 50+ new horse owner and definitely trying to avoid the temper tantrums with my 3 year old quarter horse. So far he has been good under saddle, but does occasionally get into a snit in the round pen...he absolutely refused to listen to anyone and anything about a week ago and our trainer ended up with Rebel running close to 200 laps in the round pen. Thankfully it was a cooler day than we have been having, but by the time Rebel got over his temper tantrum, he was pretty well tired out and didn't have any fight left in him. Haven't had any real problems with him since then!
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post #32 of 48 Old 06-03-2015, 09:01 AM
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I know you have a plethora or responses already but why not one more? ;)

First of all, I commend you! You seem like a strong yet soft rider...that is fantastic!

My bet is that it was not the clinch pinching but her frustration. (Because it started right after you told her that she can't do what she wants.)

In that situation I would use the good ol' "Make the right thing easy & make the wrong thing hard."

So every time you turn to the cattle and she doesn't listen to your soft cue (always ask softly first), then you can bump bump bump with your leg and nudge nudge nudge with your rein. As soon as she turns away relax. Show her that the cattle are uncomfortable and your way is much better. After she has had a moment to soak it in you can ask her to walk off. If she starts to drift around the bumping and nudging start.

Talk to her. . I talk to my mare constantly. When I am using the above technique and she turns the wrong way I might say "nope, wrong choice, that way is not fun". And when she switches direction: "there we go, isn't this easier.". I think when I am speaking what is happening and my intentions it sends her cues though my body language. Maybe it is just in my head, but I think it helps. It also keeps you focused and calm.

Rearing. Now hopefully these little pop up rears don't become a habit. But what your friends said about tapping her between the ears is a good idea. I have heard of people using an empty plastic water bottle and every time the horse goes up, you give them a tap. It essentially makes them believe there is something above them and they don't want to hit it so they stop going up.

The Rain.. During this crazy rain you are getting, maybe do some groundwork. It could be a great way of affirming the trust you two have any keeping g your horse mentally "in the game".

Best of luck to you and your cattle loving friend,
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Hold On To What You Love. When It Tries To Buck You Off Hold On Even Tighter!
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post #33 of 48 Old 06-06-2015, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Midwest
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Update and a Question

- I've ridden her twice in the past 2 days. It's not been nearly as bad as that last time (no 'pop ups', though I think I did feel one coming and head it off). She did balk several times and I got much more aggressive than before... I "won" every round, but I'm certain not as definitively as Cherie described, and we didn't totally resolve anything.

- So, more details below, but the basic question: Is it possible to find a horse that as long as I'm confident, won't challenge my authority? I know they are out there because my friend's mare (and my ride for the last several years until she went lame from arthritis) was one of those push-button horses. The first time I rode her, she was baffled by my mixed cues... but she patiently taught me her language and we became a good team. I was looking for another one like her. I wasn't looking for a bargain, and was willing to pay for 'experience'.

I'm honestly not willing to take on this battle. I've either got to figure out a way for someone to train her out of this balking behavior (then I can concentrate on maintaining it with assertiveness), or I need to find a more suitable horse for me.

- My mare's good qualities make her appealing to a stronger rider, and I have someone with 'first right of refusal' on her. That may make it too easy for me to give up... But it does give me a way to re-group if needed.

Her good qualities, and what I still LOVE about her:
will go through/down/over anything... very little spooks her and her spooks are short and pretty controlled... Calm respectful demeanor on the ground and easy for me to handle... stands for tacking and mounting... easy to catch in the pasture... learns really fast - when I bought her she direct reined only, but now (when she's not arguing!) she understands and responds to subtle neck/leg cues... and she tops it all off with a wonderful set of trail gaits that she stays in - everything from a slow walk, to fast walk, to a beautiful smooth foxtrot on a loose rein, to a rocking horse canter.

I understand the need to be a leader... I'm not a total pushover while riding believe it or not, and I've come a very long way in the past year. I will never, though, be a strongly dominant rider like so many who have grown up with horses and honed your skills since youth (and whose skills I greatly admire).

The funny thing is - I'm not really as frustrated as you might assume. This is one big exhilarating mid-life adventure and I'm fascinated by everything. It's supposed to be fun, so I've given myself permission to change course at any point.

So, opinions? Is there a better fit out there? I can continue to work with a trainer, but honestly I'm ready to get back out on the trail with my friend.

Last edited by Folly; 06-06-2015 at 11:31 AM.
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post #34 of 48 Old 06-06-2015, 11:54 AM
Green Broke
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I think you may have made your decision. : )
It may take some looking but I'm sure the right horse for you is out there. Just keep one thing in mind...almost any horse will challenge you at some point. But there is no shame in wanting a horse that you can enjoy. It sounds like you have a buyer and I believe you are making the right decision for you.
Wishing you the very best in your search. Keep us posted!
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If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #35 of 48 Old 06-06-2015, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Midwest
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I re-read my post and it does sound like my mind's made up :) but honestly not quite yet. I'd love to keep her, and am quite fond of my girl.

If her good out weigh the bad (my trainer says she's a 2 on the temperament scale in general), and I can have someone else tune her up (we're convinced she came knowing the evasive techniques... and it's not just me who 'trained' her)... I'll keep her.

But if it's a battle that will crop up constantly... not up to it.

Thanks for well wishes!
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post #36 of 48 Old 06-06-2015, 01:31 PM
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yes, there are horses that don't care to challenge a person's authority, or at least not to the level of threatening a rear. my friend rides a gelding who will just do anything you ask of him. I suppose if a rider were totally without any form of leadership, he might "take over", but there are horses that are generally content to be guided without an argument.
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post #37 of 48 Old 06-06-2015, 02:07 PM
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Yes, those horses are out there-horses that have been ridden consistently by a good rider, so correct responses have become ingrained

These horses also usually cost 'money', but in the end, for a rider that just wants a horse to enjoy, that begining price is a bargin,versus the time spent paying a trainer , etc to 'fix a horse.
Riding should be fun
There was an article once, in Horse and rider, that I thought, gave great advise on this decision you are battling

It was titled, 'knowing when to divorce your horse'
Like a marriage, that si not quite working out, there no longer is the idea of 'until death us do part'
A better partner for both you and your horse is out there, and the 'right' horse for you is out there also
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post #38 of 48 Old 06-06-2015, 03:28 PM
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Where are you in Oklahoma? We are in South Central OK about 25 miles Southwest of Ada and 15 miles east of I-35. We help a lot of people with trail horses and also help them determine if their current horse is a good 'fit'.

Yes, there are a lot of horses that go for years without challenging people. Most of that depends on two things:

The first is a horse's inherent disposition. Some horse have a much more trainable disposition than others. They have less inherent resistance and 'cheat' in them.

The second (and equally if not more important thing) is if a horse was previously ridden by someone that knew what they were doing and did not allow the horse to do ANYTHING wrong. This is why 'REAL ranch horses' are so valuable. Cowboys do not put up with any crap. They do not get off and do 'ground-work'; They do not baby or beg a horse to go where they want or do what they want them to do. They only accept a quick compliance to anything they ask. Soooo, their horses never question their rider and never hesitate doing what is asked. As a matter of fact, 'ranch broke' horses have gotten so much in demand that a lot of traders will lie and tell people that a horse came off of a ranch and was previously a ranch horse.

To give this a little more meaning, let me explain it this way:

A good trainer can train any horse (even a badly spoiled one) to do anything that trainer can do and that horse can do. They can add a vast amount of knowledge to about any horse's head. BUT -- the best trainer in the World cannot take anything out of any horse's head. It is like a computer hard drive. All the information about what they had gotten by with before is still in there somewhere.

This is why a person 'fixing' a spoiled horse has to do a lot more than just 'ride them though' the problem. If that is all a rider does, they have to ride them through that problem and a dozen more about every ride. To make them give up the spoiled behavior completely, they have to get a severe 'over-haul'. A lot of time, a good trainer can thrash out a spoiled horse and they absolutely give up the bad behaviors. We have turned rearing (straight up) and flipping horses into solid performance and trail horses. It is like making sausage or bologna. You did not want to see the process. It was not pretty.

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post #39 of 48 Old 06-06-2015, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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Good to know such horses are out there. I understand and appreciate the value.

She wasn't the most expensive horse I looked at (nor the cheapest)... in fact I was ready to buy one 3x her price based on description and recommendation... and that horse crow-hopped down the trail, with me then with her handler (with whom I traded horses for the return trip with no it was nothing I was doing).

I thought we'd check'd off all the right boxes... 14 yrs old, experienced trail horse, was great when we tried her out on the trails pre purchase** , bought for experience not looks (though she's shed out to be quite pretty) etc...

I was willing to pay much more than the 'going rate' around here.... for the right companion. Not that 'money's no object', but I said all along that I expected to pay for experience to compensate for my own lack of it, since I'm starting so late.

** (I've since realized her issues only appear when she's in the lead in open pasture... and on the trial rides we were always between horses).

Cherie - just saw your post after posting this.... will read it now, and answer in a new one.

Last edited by Folly; 06-06-2015 at 03:47 PM. Reason: Cherie - just saw your post after posting this.... will read it now, and answer in a new one.
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post #40 of 48 Old 06-06-2015, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
Where are you in Oklahoma? .....

The second (and equally if not more important thing) is if a horse was previously ridden by someone that knew what they were doing and did not allow the horse to do ANYTHING wrong. .....

A good trainer can train any horse (even a badly spoiled one) to do anything that trainer can do and that horse can do. ......
Hi Cherie - Your whole post makes so much sense. I'm in the Tulsa area by the way.

Yes, I think the spoiled thing is what I'm dealing with. She was ridden a lot on trail rides in the Arbuckles (my bet is that she was never asked to lead)... so that's where her sure-footedness and solid nature was acquired.... But, I also know she has been used at a Youth ranch during the summers - so I now am realizing that she probably was allowed to get away with things. She's gentle and NEVER overtly nasty (no pinned ears, biting, kicking, no pushing on the ground, NOTHING), so I'm sure it was tolerated.

The trainer I've worked with is as you describe. I've seen him get on green horses and "will" them to do his bidding. Amazing. He's a big guy though, and I'm a petite woman (probably about the size of those kids she pushed around) and he's said she will inherently respond differently to me, so I don't think he's the one to polish her up. From what you've said, maybe no one can - and she simply needs a dominant rider to bring out all her good qualities. Darn. I do like her.

feel free to PM me if you want to tell me more about your ranch - and how to decide if it's worth tuning her up vs getting a different horse.... and if you have the perfect horse that I should drive down and try! Thanks
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