Rodeo on my horse that I have owned for 4 months - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-29-2014, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Rodeo on my horse that I have owned for 4 months

I bought a 4yr old QH mare a little over 4 months ago. She's a nervous girl, as the previous owner tried to beat her into being a barrel racer. For the first month, I did a lot of ground work with her, groomed her and just bonded. First few rides were a little iffy. She bolted once, other times, she just planted her feet and didn't want to move. She has a few bad manners. We have worked on her giving me space and still working on her food aggression, using vita-calm in her food helps. About a week ago, she cow kicked me in the knee when I was cleaning her hooves. So, she was in her stall, just being fed, and having her stall cleaned. When my husband and I went out today, everything was pretty muddy from the recent rain, but I felt good enough to ride. Went through normal routine, feeding, grooming, tacking up, but skipped lunging, because the round pen was so muddy. I mounted her outside the pasture and my husband led her through the gate. I usually flex her both ways, before we ride. Each time I tried to flex her, she just started walking. So, I let her get out of the mud. Tried flexing her again and she pinned her ears and started bucking and rearing. 5 rounds of bronc riding before I hit the dirt. This is the first time she has ever even bucked with me on her. I got up and dusted myself off, walked her around a bit, calmed her down and led her out of the pasture. One of the women at the barn, that always has a nasty attitude said, "Not a good day to ride" as I was walking out of the pasture. The barn owner is great, and helps with anything I need. I'm not sure if the weather upset her, she didn't like the mud, or what. The farrier is coming to trim her tomorrow. I'm thinking, while my knee is still healing, we'll just do LOTS of groundwork!
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-29-2014, 11:16 PM
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Sorry this happened.

What I got out of this may not be your "answer" but.

Always set a horse up for success. You did not. I'm sure looking back you can see multiple "should have done this but did this" type things.

You sound in over your head. I would recommend working with someone experienced in these issues.

While it's good to be slow and gentle is seems very clear the mare thinks she's in charge of this relationship. Do not not discipline her. Her past is irrelevant, the present is what matters.

You have VERY big BASIC holes that need to be fixed before worrying about anything else.

Hopefully something there clicked! You haven't had her long but she needs to have very black and white rules.
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-29-2014, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Agreed

I definitely agree with you, on all parts. I have ridden all my life, other people's horses. She is the first I own. I have already asked the barn owner/trainer to work with both of us. I don't give up, with time, hopefully we'll be a great, safe duo.
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-29-2014, 11:32 PM
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Go slow, don't be afraid to back up and start from scratch (what I would recommend), be firm but fair, YOU are in charge. With some guidance from your trainer I can see this working :)

Do keep that in mind "always set the horse up for success" and esp when working with a horse like this. You do NOT need to meet your goal. Say you wanted to ride, saw she wasn't up for it, did x instead, made x a good learning experience and ended on a good note. That IS success.
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-29-2014, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mina View Post
I bought a 4yr old QH mare a little over 4 months ago. She's a nervous girl, as the previous owner tried to beat her into being a barrel racer. For the first month, I did a lot of ground work with her, groomed her and just bonded. First few rides were a little iffy. She bolted once, other times, she just planted her feet and didn't want to move. She has a few bad manners. We have worked on her giving me space and still working on her food aggression, using vita-calm in her food helps. About a week ago, she cow kicked me in the knee when I was cleaning her hooves. So, she was in her stall, just being fed, and having her stall cleaned. When my husband and I went out today, everything was pretty muddy from the recent rain, but I felt good enough to ride. Went through normal routine, feeding, grooming, tacking up, but skipped lunging, because the round pen was so muddy. I mounted her outside the pasture and my husband led her through the gate. I usually flex her both ways, before we ride. Each time I tried to flex her, she just started walking. So, I let her get out of the mud. Tried flexing her again and she pinned her ears and started bucking and rearing. 5 rounds of bronc riding before I hit the dirt. This is the first time she has ever even bucked with me on her. I got up and dusted myself off, walked her around a bit, calmed her down and led her out of the pasture. One of the women at the barn, that always has a nasty attitude said, "Not a good day to ride" as I was walking out of the pasture. The barn owner is great, and helps with anything I need. I'm not sure if the weather upset her, she didn't like the mud, or what. The farrier is coming to trim her tomorrow. I'm thinking, while my knee is still healing, we'll just do LOTS of groundwork!

how much training has she had prior to you getting her? and , may I ask, how much have you?

I think that she has not really learned how to do a one rein stop.
and, she has not really learned , when in doubt, go forward.

why do I say that? becuase of her "planting her feet", and the bucking and rearing. when a horse cannot be persuaded to go forward, even when upset, then they tend to look for another "way" to go, and that's up.

you want her to always go forward from your asking, even if she is scared. that might mean she goes forward into a circle, and even into a one rein stop/disengagement, but it's different from her feeling "stopped" and then thinking about doing something else. if they are stepping forward, in a circle, they are less likely to be able to buck. So, that's something that isn't , perhaps, really solid in her groundwork


and, imo, having a horse just flex their head to each side serves no purpose . in fact, if the horse does not have a good "go forward", this only serves to disconnect the rein from the feet. a good one rein stop must have the rein connected to the feet, as you are trying to stop the forward movement. this means you get the head to come around (if necessary) and the hind end to step over and to disengage. if the horse just pulls their head over to one shoulder, they can keep plowing forward, onto their front end, but aren't very balanced. being unbalanced is very threatening to a young horse.
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-29-2014, 11:54 PM
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We use lateral flexation both on the ground before mounting and then again after mounting. We also make sure the horse will yield its hind quarters again both on the ground and after mounting. Like Tinyliny said, the purpose of lateral flexation is its role in disengagement. One without the other really doesn't do much if you get into a pinch.

I also like that exercise because it gives me more insight into the horse I will be riding today. Some days that head and rear end just come around, some days it takes a little work. Usually the ride that follows mimics that to a T.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-30-2014, 03:03 AM
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Respectfully sounds like you need to stay on the ground with this one. She's not up to being ridden, and sounds like you really need experienced help to train her.

Each & every time you get on her when she's frightened & confused, just cements that attitude. & each & every time she gets to 'breaking point' and reacts about it, such as bucking you off, that 'answer' is further cemented as the 'right' one. So either ensure she's well enough prepared, then well enough ridden that it's all no stress experiences, or get really really good at bronc riding!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mina View Post
She's a nervous girl, ... First few rides were a little iffy. She bolted once, other times, she just planted her feet and didn't want to move.
That's what tells me she needs to gain more confidence. She sounds quite frightened of being ridden.
Quote:
still working on her food aggression, using vita-calm in her food helps. About a week ago, she cow kicked me in the knee when I was cleaning her hooves. So, she was in her stall, just being fed, and having her stall cleaned.
Not a good idea to do something irritating such as try to clean feet while she's eating & not well trained. Particularly when you already acknowledge she's 'food aggressive'. Sounds like an assertive young thing that is in dire need of some basic training, to learn 'good manners'.

Quote:
but skipped lunging, because the round pen was so muddy. I mounted her outside the pasture
Sounds like a good idea to skip lunging in that environment. Don't know why you lunge - different ideas/purposes - but if it's to see what sort of mood she was in before riding, that's a good idea, but there are other ways than running her around in circles you can still use. If it's because training is needed/lacking, or you're trying to 'wear her down' before riding, that's not great. Obviously there are things that can be taught/reinforced on the lunge, but running a few circles is no substitute for ride-ready training. Attempting to wear a horse out before riding is not effective(at least maybe in the short term only) for a number of reasons, one of which is they'll only get fitter & require more & more 'prework' to be tired enough to ride, at the expense of the 'side effects' generally caused by running horses in lots of circles.

Quote:
Each time I tried to flex her, she just started walking.
I gather you mean to bend her as in for a 'one rein stop', for emergency control? You need to *teach* her to do this, in gradual steps, not try to force her to do it. I also advise getting her good at yielding, including in this manner, before you even get on. Then get good at yielding at a standstill before you go anywhere on her.
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-30-2014, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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She was so much better tonight. We worked on yielding hind quarters, disengagement both ways, over and over, backing up on a lead rope and without, lifting all four feet, hooking on me, coming to me with a hand signal, lowering her head and just bonding more. Barn owner/trainer is going to start working with us the 3rd. Thanks for all the advice.
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-31-2014, 05:13 PM
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Hi Ms. Mina, here are a few of my thoughts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mina View Post
I bought a 4yr old QH mare a little over 4 months ago. She's a nervous girl, as the previous owner tried to beat her into being a barrel racer.
All my barrel races that I rehab suffer from bolting and balking. It can be very frustrating to new owners that get barrel races. Here's why: Barrel races are taught to take off from a standing start. That's their job. Then they are taught to come to a screeching halt. Again that's their job. So barrel races only have two gears. Fast forward and stop. About like a quart mile dragster. So they get confused and frustrated when you just want them to be parked or to walk. The remidie is two fold. I'll address that after the next quote.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mina View Post
Went through normal routine, feeding, grooming, tacking up,...
I hope you are letting her eat undisturbed and finishing before you workout. Horse hate to bug when eating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mina View Post
…but skipped lunging, because the round pen was so muddy. I mounted her outside the pasture and my husband led her through the gate. I usually flex her both ways, before we ride. Each time I tried to flex her, she just started walking. So, I let her get out of the mud. Tried flexing her again and she pinned her ears and started bucking and rearing. I'm thinking, while my knee is still healing, we'll just do LOTS of groundwork!
Okay, to address the bolting and balking. She needs to learn how to yield to bit. Personnel I use a Dully Halter. But that's another discussion. The best exercise is the one rain stop. So if you get on her and she steps off, pull her head around like you are doing a one rain stop. If she keeps going you just let her go round and round chasing her tail. She'll stop when she gets the idea, “well this ain't working”. So your intent is to get her some gears: Park, walk, trot and canter. Also Barrel races have a notorious left lead habit. Keep up with the flexing. Work on pole flexion as well. And yes, lots of ground work. Get her flexing on the ground. You can start pole flexion from the ground too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mina View Post
She was so much better tonight. We worked on yielding hind quarters, disengagement both ways, over and over, backing up on a lead rope and without, lifting all four feet, hooking on me, coming to me with a hand signal, lowering her head and just bonding more. Barn owner/trainer is going to start working with us the 3rd. Thanks for all the advice.
Glad to here that. Keep up the good work and keep us posted, Greg
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post #10 of 11 Old 01-02-2015, 12:25 AM
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A difference in opinions***

but I believe that eating or not, horses need to get over annoying human habits. I worked at a barn where we put grain in every stall, brought horses in and picked out all their feet, usually some were still eating. I would not allow aggressive behavior from any horse of mine(my baby tried and got a good smack to the nose for it). I also don't like to feed so they will stand for something they dislike. I assert myself by making them stand after I put their feed in their bucket and they have to stand their waiting until I turn my back and walk out. If I walk in and they pin their ears or act otherwise rudely they get a good pop on the shoulder.

Otherwise, lots of good advice above. Good luck!
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