Uncooperative horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Uncooperative horses

My husband and I have been working with a trainer all summer with relative success over some of the issues we were having as new horse owners/riders. My horse has now reverted back to being incredibly difficult to mount off a block (he's 15.2h, I'm 5') so getting directly on him from the ground (although I have done so) is a challenge. He walks off, throws out his hind end, etc. This can go on for 5 minutes. I circle him around the block, try again-if he moves I circle him more...eventually he gets the idea, but more often than not, my husband has to dismount and hold him so I can mount. Note he had a problem with this when we first got him, but had gotten much better and would stand still...now the last 3 times he's doing it again.)
Problem 2: Husband's horse is kind of lazy and would prefer to stay in the paddock- once we get him to ride out, he often stops, and as my husband telling him to turn in a certain direction and walk on, often results in spinning in circles and much ground pawing. If he can keep him moving, my horse (who leads) will walk nicely - but once the other stops, mine gets agitated and nervous and instinctively wants to turn around and head back toward him. I am able to control this, but it is certainly not ideal to spend this time fighting with my horse to either stand still & wait or to walk on.
Both my husband and I know that we are being tested, and for the most part, they eventually fall into line & we have a decent ride. When my trainer rode husband's horse w/ me this week, only a few issues arose with my horse being reluctant to go where I asked through the woods, but did comply...the main problem is that when we ride together, my husband can't get him to keep going, and so my horse reacts badly. Any advice???? Last night went pretty well and we stayed out about an hour despite their momentary lapses, but this morning husband couldn't get horse to move out at all...spinning, pawing, and ebded up bringing him back in...I continued to ride in the paddock area for half an hour, thn dismounted and mounted several more times to work on that problem. Both horses were purchased as "beginner horses that anyone could ride, blah, blah, blah..."
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post #2 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 02:19 PM
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Anyone may be able to ride but you have to know how to cue them. Anyone can drive a car some better than others. Are you taking lessons? My guess is they are not comfortable and your balance isn't proper so they don't want you to get on and when you do they don't enjoy it so are reluctant.it also sounds like they haven't done anything dangerous which is a plus for a beginner.
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post #3 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 02:25 PM
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For the first problem .... how is your horse's ground work? If you are doing nothing but mindlessly circling him around the mounting block, it has become a game to him. You need to make him WORK.
Back up now.
Move the hindquarters away.
Go forward.
Stop.
Move the shoulders away.
Back up.
Go forward.
.......

And so forth. You need to make it so that it is hard work to listen to each "rapid-fire" cue. It needs to be an absolute reward for him to have the opportunity to stand at the mounting block.

It's all about body control. When you tell him to move his feet (or not move his feet), then he should oblige.

This same concept can carry over to your second problem. I would have both you and your husband work on ground work with your horses. If you can control their body on the ground, then it easily corresponds into controlling them while riding.

Is your trainer GOOD at doing ground work with horses? If not, I suggest you find someone who is.

For an additional resource along with a trainer, I would recommend looking up some of Clinton Anderson's methods. I like his methods because he explains exactly what he is doing and why he is doing it.

Some horses are very smart. If you don't have that respect, they won't listen to you.

So again, work on GROUND WORK, get your horses to respect you and see you are their leader, and you'll find that the riding improves too.

I see one sentence that concerns me. That at one point your husband couldn't get his horse out of the yard, so he gave up and went back to the barn. NEVER give up. It reinforces the bad behavior. Even if he can only get 10 steps of forward motion, that's okay. Just as long as HE gives the cue for the horse to turn around and go back to the barn. Not the horse.
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post #4 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 02:33 PM
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It is a learning process. You have to be patient and persistent. Horses are like toddlers, they push and do exactly what they get away with. My thought is they both know you are both inexperienced and know they can take advantage of it. By your husband bringing his horse in when he acts up, he is teaching him that he doesn't have to behave and that by misbehaving he gets to stop working.
You essentially have to out stubborn this. Only stopping when you feel unsafe. Try him getting off and walking the horse when he acts up, or taking him back to the barn and working the snot out of him from the ground. Teach him that being bad will result in more work for him and that going to the barn does not mean he gets a break.
With your mounting block issues, teach your horse that he wants to stand there. If he moves away work the snot out of him. Make him back up, yield his shoulders, yield his hips, keep his feet moving. Only let him stop at the block.
As for your horse acting up as a result of his, I advise you to only work the horses separately until you both have control of your individual horses. You compound the situation by having two pushy horses with two inexperienced riders.
Try walking along on the ground while your husband rides, that way you can help if he has trouble. He can do the same for you. <br />
It takes time, it isn't easy, and it isn't fast. But with consistency you will find your rides become much easier. Remember, there is no quick fix for a soured horse, especially with a novice rider.
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post #5 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 03:11 PM
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Put a knotted nylon halter under his bridle and attach your lead. Have a riding crop or 3' stick handy. The moment he moves, jump down and chase him backwards, pulling on the lead to indicate back and tap his chest. The faster the better. Make him go a good 30'. Stop, don't pet or talk to him but turn and walk back to the block and start again. He didn't learn anything this time but the second time, back him even farther and make him hustle. Then return to the block. He may need a third time before he figures it out but rarely a fourth. If you don't make him hustle the exercise is futile. Whatever you do, when you go to mount don't praise him or pet him. Just get on as tho you've both done this a thousand times. Don't allow him to walk off, He must wait until you are completely settled and ask him to move.



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post #6 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=beau159;6072658]For the first problem .... how is your horse's ground work? If you are doing nothing but mindlessly circling him around the mounting block, it has become a game to him. You need to make him WORK.
Back up now.
Move the hindquarters away.
Go forward.
Stop.
Move the shoulders away.
Back up.
Go forward.
.......

Nothing is being done mindlessly, I assure you. Ground work is consistent. Lunging before riding. We are thinking about putting in a round pen.
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post #7 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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I appreciate the comments that offer good advice-much of it has been tried-the frustrating thing is when we have a successful experience followed by a not so successful one- I expect it to get progressively easier, so when setbacks occur I feel a bit defeated. Neither my husband nor I are nervous riders-we are remaining calm and firm. I know that patience is key. As for my husband putting Hudson back in this morning, I was trying to convince him not to...we ordinarily don't let them "win" & we keep at it till they listen, but truth is, he just wasn't up to fighting with him just then. (Not good, I know.) We should not have to fight with them at all.
I do ride Prophet with a halter (w/ extra knots) under the bridle.
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post #8 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 04:51 PM
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This is a case of two horses probably beginner safe, taking advantage of two riders who have very little experience of riding or, more importantly, actually handling horses.

Horses are bright enough to know when they can start getting away with things because those in charge are not able to see the little signs of disobedience.

Both of you really need to get a trainer to help you learn, not only how to rode these two horses but also how to handle them on the ground.

You do not say how much riding or handling experience you both have?
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post #9 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 05:02 PM
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[quote=Cmck;6073066]
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Originally Posted by beau159 View Post
Nothing is being done mindlessly, I assure you. Ground work is consistent. Lunging before riding. We are thinking about putting in a round pen.
Ground work is not about "lunging". You don't need a round pen to do ground work.

Tell me this: When you (or your husband) are handling your horse on the ground, and you take a strong step toward your horse's hindquarters while "glaring" with your upper body .... what does your horse do?

Do they just stand there?

Did they not notice what you just did?

I'll tell you what my horses do: They move their hindquarters away from me. Because that's what my body language is telling them. And because that is how I have trained them.

They know that when I am around them, they are to pay attention to me and respect me. They have learned, through training, that this is the correct response. They know that when I apply pressure, they need to give me the desired response in order to get their reward (release of pressure).

Can you move your horse's body with only your body language? If not, then that is something you can work toward. Not necessarily before you go riding, but this is something that I would work on a for a few weeks with NO riding. Earn their respect from the ground first.

This is the same process you take with colt starting. You teach them to respect you on the ground FIRST before you mount up.

That's what I was talking about when I said some ground work would do you good. But TIMING is important with ground work and with riding. Which is where you should continue your lessons with your trainer. Or if your trainer does not do ground work (not all of them do), then find someone who does.
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post #10 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 05:20 PM
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I'm going to go to your comment that they were sold as 'beginners horses' - which to me means that they should be 'idiot proof' (please don't read that as me calling you an idiot) but a true beginners horse shouldn't test you it should be the horse that helps you to grow and progress as a rider
Why can your husband not hold your horse while you get on and make it stand? They soon get the message
Does you husband carry a whip when he rides? If the horse stops can he not give it a sharp tap behind his leg to wake it up and move it forward?
If you bought these horses from a dealer then have you considered telling them that your horse isn't suitable and sending him back - or sending them both back?
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