Uncooperative horses - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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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.

THANK YOU, Jaydee!!!! Someone finally gets my frustration! We are both willing to work this stuff out, but we didn't expect to get a horse(s) that would test us. They are 10 and 15 year-olds, supposedly bombproof trail horses. I have been in touch with the seller. I'm not giving up...the ground manners of my horse are superb - he is a good horse, but certainly not a beginner's mount. My trainer has also commented on this-and she is actually proud of the way I can handle him-she thinks he would be intimidating to a "complete" beginner- which I'm not, I've ridden some, but my husband hasn't had any experience before this...which I realize is part of the problem with his horse taking advantage-but again, a beginner horse should "stop/stand/go where I say" without question. BTW where in CT are you? Maybe you can help us in person!!!
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post #12 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Cmck View Post
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..."
Since your post appears in the “New to Horses” section, I understand that you and your husband are both relatively inexperienced riders. In addition, it sounds like your horses may be less experienced than the seller indicated. This can be a difficult situation. It would have been better to have first taken lessons on experienced horses in order to gain both knowledge and experience yourselves. However, don’t despair. Riding can be a challenge, but most things are that help expand our knowledge. Rather than concentrating on the difficulties, look at this experience as an opportunity to learn.

First, it might be best to begin work with your horses in a restricted and familiar area. Always asking the horses to go somewhere they don’t know before you have even established a relationship with them makes trying to establish this relationship more difficult. The more consistency you offer the horse, the more it can focus on the one thing that is most important at the moment.

Your horses may indeed be testing you and your husband. Why should they bow to your will just because you want them to? And do they really understand what you want? Two major things are necessary. One is to help your horse understand that you are to be the leader in your relationship. The other is to establish a form of communication that both you and the horse understand. These are not done independently. They must be worked at simultaneously. But we can view them from different perspectives.

Leadership may be achieved in more than one way. One approach is to demand leadership through force. Another is to impress the horse that he can trust you and that you have the authority to direct his actions. Horses are usually good followers. As long as their basic needs are met, they are usually willing to go along with the directions of another horse or of a human if that individual projects authority. Authority can be projected by such things as body language, voice, persistence. Good posture, both on the ground and in the saddle, helps project confidence and authority. Most people don’t realize how much this one simple change can make in their relationship with their horse. A calm, steady voice projects more confidence than yelling or timid approaches. Horses learn best through consistent repetition. This doesn’t mean keep doing the same thing even if it doesn’t work, but establishing a routine can help a horse experiment and test responses until he is made to understand he has discovered what is expected of him.

While some people are good at faking knowledge, it is best to gain some real knowledge if you plan on being a leader. Read some books and watch some videos on training and riding horses. Being new to this, things might seem confusing at first. Different people use different terms for the same thing and others use the same term to mean different things. Pay more attention to meaning than to the terms employed. Realize that there may be more than one way to achieve the same goal. I suggest choosing the method that is kindest for the horse. Still, if one approach doesn’t work, you may try another.

Now, lets look at some specifics.

Circling a horse around the mounting block to bring him back into position if he walks off is only one method of addressing the problem. A method that works with one horse does not necessarily work with another. A method that works with a horse one time may not work with that same horse another time. It is good to know more than one method. It is also useful to understand why a horse may be walking off.

Another method you might try is to back the horse up to where he was. Also, try to prevent the horse from moving in the first place. Get the horse accustomed to you standing on the mounting block beside him by standing on it while grooming him. Start with the mounting block in front of his withers where he would not suspect you are trying to mount. As he gets used to this, position the block to other areas until you can stand on it anywhere without the horse becoming nervous. Progress from there.

Everything you do when mounting and while riding will influence how the horse feels about having you on its back. The more you treat the horse with respect – while still being the leader – the more willing he will be to submit to your desires.

Since your husband’s horse is reluctant to move and your’s reluctant to leave the other horse, it might help for each of you to do a little independent work so each of you can work on establishing leadership with your individual horse with less distractions.

Your husband should work with persistence. He should try to get the horse to go in the direction he indicates. If the horse stops and refuses to go forward, get him moving by directing him to the side. Once the horse is moving again, try to redirect him in the right direction once more. Keep this up through calm persistence until the horse stops resisting. If the horse gets nervous, rather than exacerbating the situation, I would simply sit quietly on the horse until it calms down. Then, I would quietly ask again. This may take a while, but the time will be well spent. Calm persistence often provides quicker results than attempts at getting faster compliance, and the resulting relationship will be better.

I hope these thoughts help you. If you have other questions, please ask.
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post #13 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cmck View Post
THANK YOU, Jaydee!!!! Someone finally gets my frustration! We are both willing to work this stuff out, but we didn't expect to get a horse(s) that would test us. They are 10 and 15 year-olds, supposedly bombproof trail horses. I have been in touch with the seller. I'm not giving up...the ground manners of my horse are superb - he is a good horse, but certainly not a beginner's mount. My trainer has also commented on this-and she is actually proud of the way I can handle him-she thinks he would be intimidating to a "complete" beginner- which I'm not, I've ridden some, but my husband hasn't had any experience before this...which I realize is part of the problem with his horse taking advantage-but again, a beginner horse should "stop/stand/go where I say" without question. BTW where in CT are you? Maybe you can help us in person!!!
I'm afraid I'm up to my neck with my own projects so can't take on anyone elses!!! It sounds as if you have a good understanding trainer anyway who seems totally aware of what the problems are
Out of curiosity I did look up your horse and in 2013 she was sold as being grannie proof - which is silly when you think there are some grannies around who are pretty amazing riders - but I get what they're trying to say and your horse doesn't fit that description. If someone wants a challenge then they don't buy a beginner friendly horse - but when all you want to do is get on and head off to the trails you don't want something that's testing you every which way it can
Obviously you can keep trying to sort them out - and eventually it might happen - or one of you could get hurt, your husband most likely.
Did they both come from the same place?
I really think you should contact the seller of your husbands horse and talk to them or consider finding someone who would take him in part exchange off you for something more suitable
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post #14 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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*First, it might be best to begin work with your horses in a restricted and familiar area. *

We do this quite often. Inside they are perfect. They feel safe there. My husband has excellent results w/ turning and moving, and my horse just plugs along without a care in the world.

Leadership may be achieved in more than one way. One approach is to demand leadership through force. Another is to impress the horse that he can trust you and that you have the authority to direct his actions. Horses are usually good followers. As long as their basic needs are met, they are usually willing to go along with the directions of another horse or of a human if that individual projects authority. Authority can be projected by such things as body language, voice, persistence. Good posture, both on the ground and in the saddle, helps project confidence and authority. Most people don’t realize how much this one simple change can make in their relationship with their horse. A calm, steady voice projects more confidence than yelling or timid approaches. Horses learn best through consistent repetition. This doesn’t mean keep doing the same thing even if it doesn’t work, but establishing a routine can help a horse experiment and test responses until he is made to understand he has discovered what is expected of him.

While some people are good at faking knowledge, it is best to gain some real knowledge if you plan on being a leader. Read some books and watch some videos on training and riding horses. Being new to this, things might seem confusing at first. Different people use different terms for the same thing and others use the same term to mean different things. Pay more attention to meaning than to the terms employed. Realize that there may be more than one way to achieve the same goal. I suggest choosing the method that is kindest for the horse. Still, if one approach doesn’t work, you may try another.

Now, lets look at some specifics.

Circling a horse around the mounting block to bring him back into position if he walks off is only one method of addressing the problem. A method that works with one horse does not necessarily work with another. A method that works with a horse one time may not work with that same horse another time. It is good to know more than one method. It is also useful to understand why a horse may be walking off.

Another method you might try is to back the horse up to where he was. Also, try to prevent the horse from moving in the first place. Get the horse accustomed to you standing on the mounting block beside him by standing on it while grooming him. Start with the mounting block in front of his withers where he would not suspect you are trying to mount. As he gets used to this, position the block to other areas until you can stand on it anywhere without the horse becoming nervous. Progress from there.

**I groom from the block. As I do so, I lean on him and put my weight over his back so he gets used to the idea. I get in and out of the stirrup (while he's still tied) one leg up- then down -then up and over - he will still take steps but obviously can't go far. **


We have invested much money & time in this and are going to see it through.


I hope these thoughts help you. If you have other questions, please ask.[/QUOTE]
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post #15 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
I'm afraid I'm up to my neck with my own projects so can't take on anyone elses!!! It sounds as if you have a good understanding trainer anyway who seems totally aware of what the problems are
Out of curiosity I did look up your horse and in 2013 she was sold as being grannie proof - which is silly when you think there are some grannies around who are pretty amazing riders - but I get what they're trying to say and your horse doesn't fit that description. If someone wants a challenge then they don't buy a beginner friendly horse - but when all you want to do is get on and head off to the trails you don't want something that's testing you every which way it can
Obviously you can keep trying to sort them out - and eventually it might happen - or one of you could get hurt, your husband most likely.
Did they both come from the same place?
I really think you should contact the seller of your husbands horse and talk to them or consider finding someone who would take him in part exchange off you for something more suitable
His was bought locally. Mine was sold in 2013 & returned for reasons given me that I now question.
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post #16 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
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.

You can also have a treat in your pocket which you offer to him AFTER you are on board and he is standing. You reach forward and offer with care.

I know some will say this is very bad advice. It has it's pit falls . You must not let him mug your body fir the treat, he must earn it, and you must be careful with feeding him to not get bitten by accident, nor lean over so far you fall off . But I've found horses get real good at mounting blocks if ther is a treat after you're up, and you don't have to do it every time once the have learned .
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post #17 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 10:17 PM
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Has your husband considered taking lessons somewhere on another horse? It might help him feel more confident in himself.
Have you spoken to the seller about his horse and the problems with it?
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post #18 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Cmck View Post
-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.
Overall, it should indeed get progressively easier and better between horse and rider, however, it will not get easier/better every day. When you ride, you must always be aware of what's going on with the horse, the surroundings and with you. There are always going to be days when it just didn't go the way you want. So don't feel defeated. You have received some great input already and you sound open to ideas, working with a trainer and calm. All great points.

Here's a case in point about it's never, ever a give away ride:
I have had this horse now for 8 years. She is 14. I trained her to switch from the cart track to being undersaddle. She is overall a calm, well-mannered, been-there-done-that horse. A couple of days ago, I took her out and this wonderful reliable mare started jumping around on me. She didn't like what I was asking her to do, so she pretended to rear. I say pretended because all she did was shift her weight back and become weightless in front. I doubt she left the ground, or if she did, it was maybe 4 inches. She has never been a rearer and I was very surprised. VERY! As it was, we ended up having a terrific ride with her in a lovely collected walk most of the way. She doesn't actually "know" how to do that, but she did it after I maintained control and demanded absolute correct responses from her after her little tantrum. However, if I had been a beginner rider the scene could have easily been made worse.

Every ride has the potential to be great, regular, frustrating, tiring or down right bad. Don't let the bad ones override your brain. Use those as training tools.

I hope you and your husband are successful in overcoming these troubles. BTW, have you considered switching horses?
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post #19 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 10:33 PM
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So, when the horse moves you move him more? That teaches him to move. Simply put the mounting block near a corner, face the horse into the corner. Keep the reins adjusted so he cannot move (OR have someone hold him initially so he relearns to stand still).

But the question is why a horse learns to move off in the first place. Is the rider sustaining a light connection while mounting? Are they sitting down softly when they do mount? Waiting to move off onces mounted.

IF he 'knew it' when you purchased him, review what YOU did that changed the horse.

Likely when the horse stops the rider drops the reins and kicks which gives the horse the power, and then both parties become frustrated. Imho there should be some lessons here about the use of the proper aids/connection. Horses do not 'test' riders, they just try to fit into the actions of the riders (whether the rider understands that they are doing xyz or not). They are simply confused. But when a horse is so confused that it is pawing/etc, it can become dangerous because next it will go up.
Even the best broken horse will get confused if the rider's aids trap them physically or mentally. Imho, a good teacher would help.
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post #20 of 55 Old 08-23-2014, 10:58 PM
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**I groom from the block. As I do so, I lean on him and put my weight over his back so he gets used to the idea. I get in and out of the stirrup (while he's still tied) one leg up- then down -then up and over - he will still take steps but obviously can't go far. **

Your grooming from the mounting block, putting weight on your horse, and getting in and out of the stirrup is fine. I'm sorry I was not more clear, however. Such things should be done with the horse untethered. You must give the horse freedom to accept these things. Paying attention to the horse's reactions when he has a choice of how to respond gives you the feedback required to adjust your methods.

Also, it looks as though you thought of working your horses in a restricted area. When doing so, again try to pay attention to any little things that might tell you more about your horses. Then, when you venture out, do it a little at a time.

Some people do well if thrown into deep water and told to sink or swim. Most do better if introduced to swimming a little at a time taken only a little beyond their comfort level at each step. Most horses respond better to similar methods.

When you introduce a horse to something new, it helps to give the horse one thing to think about at a time. Allow the horse to experiment, trying to find the proper response to your guidance -- cues, language. If the horse gets it wrong, stop and start over again. If the horse seems confused, try to find a different way of explaining what you want. When the horse shows the smallest sign of understanding what you are asking, reward him. Then, the next time you ask, expect just a little bit more. Horses thrive on rewards.

Understand, that rewards can take many forms. The simplest form is release of pressure. Rubbing -- I prefer this to patting which may be interpreted as striking -- is another. A quiet "Good boy" is yet another. After a good response to something that has been difficult for the horse to understand, stopping for the day can be an excellent reward. Trying to get an immediate repetition of the same act may reinforce it but, if it doesn't work, things can fall apart quickly. Learning to know your horse well can help guide your choice.

By the way, tinyliny's suggestion of giving the horse a treat after mounting if the horse stands still can prove very effective. Whether you do this or simply try rubbing it on the withers and saying, "Good boy," be careful that the horse doesn't interpret your movement as a signal to move off.

This brings up another point which may prove helpful. It is important not to punish a horse for trying but misunderstanding a cue. We can easily think we are telling a horse to do something while -- unrealized by us -- our body is telling the horse to do something else.

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