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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there!

I have a coming 3 year old that is ALL Whoa and absolutely NO GO! On the ground in the round pen or on the lunge line I can barely get him into a trot. A little history on this little boy...He was a case where he was neglected ( Not enough feed, never had his feet done, basically discarded into a tiny pen behind a barn). I brought him home, had the vet and farrier out and got some groceries in him. He has no issues in the pasture with W/T/C and will run around bucking and playing with his pasture mates in the next pasture.

After he had a while to be a horse, put on some weight, and healed from his castration, I began working with him in the round pen and on the lunge line in the arena. I cannot get this horse to move forward. He will walk on sometimes, but will not trot or canter. One thing to note, he is not responsive to any training aids (lunge whip, long ropes, kissing, clucking, begging :wink:) I have tried everything I can think of. He is not afraid of anything...plastic bags, balloons, etc. He is the seventh young horse I have started and he is definitely challenging my abilities.

I did climb on his back to see how he would take it. He was quiet but would not move out of a walk. So does anyone have any suggestions? He seems to just be a lazy boy. Thanks!
 

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With the lunge whip, how are you using it? He may not respond to just flicking it toward him. This may be because he is lazy or is testing your leadership. If you haven't, I'd recommend actually spanking his rump with the lash. That should do it, but if it doesn't the first time you may have to do it again. You need to have high energy in your body and walk with a purpose towards his rear end (but don't get too close!). You have to MAKE him move, just like another horse would. The boss horse would really get on him if he didn't move, so don't be afraid to take action. If you try things and nothing happens you are actually teaching him to ignore you.

I'm guessing because he came from a rough background that you don't want to be too rough with him. That's completely understandable, but at the same time you need him to respect you and to listen to you. Take other horses as your example of how you can treat him. You want to be as gentle as possible, but as firm as necessary. Always start small and gentle and gradually build up until you get the response you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your response mlkarel2010. I have actually tried spanking him on his rump, tapping his heals...he doesn't seem to care...I have found that if I jump and stomp my feet at him he will move off for a few steps. I have no issues correcting him with a whip or a rope but he doesn't seem to care. So instead of using what doesn't work, I am trying anything else. Now when I have to stomp my feet at him to get him moving, I am sure I look like an idiot but so far that is how I get a response (however small and short lived).

He did come from a rough background, but he is coming out of his shell and showing us his silly personality! We love him tons already and it's been only a few short months. :)
 

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He sounds like he might be just turning his mind off.

First you have to get his attention. You say stomping works. Maybe you could get a bell; or clap your hands, the way teachers sometimes do!

Then I would start with teaching him to yield to touch. Start by touching a spot on his thigh (some start with the lower belly). Soft touch, increasing amounts of pressure. Use a stick or long whip so you're not in kicking range. Just keep the pressure on.

I usually also use verbal aids, like "Over" or cluck. Anyway, the slightest motion must be acknowledged and rewarded. A scratch where he likes it, or a treat (some people do not like this). The point is to teach him how to learn. And I believe horses do like to learn! Keep at it, and do give us an update.
 

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Just a question but will he trot with you on lead - ie if you are running together?

I have a horse that is a bit like your boy although not as bad. He also didn't want to move in the round pen, I started running with him in the arena just to get his feet moving and we would go over trot poles to keep it interesting. I made sure to give him a voice command when we went from the walk to trot and then a whoa from trot to walk.

I went from that to the round pen using the same voice commands and it wasn't 100% smooth but it worked and he now w/t/c/ in the round pen or lunge no problem.

I don't know if this is terrible advice but it worked for me without any adverse consequences.
 
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All the training suggestions here are great, but have you also thought about his diet? What are you feeding him? Sometimes sluggish, lazy or lethargic behaviour can simply mean he isn't getting enough energy or nutrition from his food - sounds like maybe he needs some more oats! Good job taking him on and working with him though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi All,

Thank you all for your suggestions! Some of these I have not tried! He will trot with me leading him but I have not spent a lot of time doing that or tied it to voice commands. I will definitely try this. Also the bell suggestion was a great one. I do feel that he has turned his mind off. The poor baby was so sad and depressed when we got him. He had developed a cribbing habit as well before I got him. He now has toys that he plays with more and more every day. :) He also has 3 dwarf goats and our mare as his companions in the barn.

As far as his diet, we have him on Alfalfa hay morning and night, and Bermuda grass for lunch. Additionally he gets a pound of Equine Senior and a pound of Alfalfa pellets twice a day and 1 ounce of Red Cell daily. The Vet put him on this diet because he was so malnourished. He has gained weight in leaps and bounds and has a ton more energy because of it. When we first brought him home (as a stallion) he didn't even care to run around his pasture or concern himself with our mare that was in season. His teeth were checked and his wolf teeth were pulled. We wormed him and gave him all his shots. He checks out healthy.

I will definitely try all the suggestions! Thanks again! :)
 

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Have you considered clicker training? There's a great thread here about it. I know some are against it, but it seems like it might be something to try. He might have the kind of bright mind that needs that extra challenge. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi All,

I wanted to update you all on Dexter and our progress. I turned him out with our mare for a couple days and let him be a horse for a bit. She bossed him around and he learned a bit of respect from her. Willow is definitely our Alpha Mare. So tonight I decided to work him on the lunge line. OMG!!!!! Completely different horse! Not only did I get him to trot on the lunge line, by the time we were done, he was going from a walk to a trot back to a walk on voice commands! I am SOOOOO excited!!!! I didn't even try for a canter because we were doing so much better at just getting the trot.

So, my plan is to turn him out during the day with Willow and work him in the evenings (after it cools down). By the way, I tried the bell and I think that got his attention when we first began our lunging. So I am going to keep doing that at the beginning of each session.

Thanks again for all the suggestions! Hopefully I will have a horse that will move out on voice commands before we know it. :)
 

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Another thing you can try for noise is a pop can with pebbles in it, tape the top shut. It makes a very startling noise to a horse!

I am so glad you are making progress, OP! Turning him out with a bossy mare was a great strategy. Willow will teach him many important things that will make him a better listener for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@Foxtail Ranch...I will try the pop can. That was a great suggestion! He didn't know what to think of the bell at first...so if he gets used to the bell I will use the pop can!

And Willow is definitely a bossy mare. He has a few new bumps and bruises but I think he is getting the idea of respect!

Thanks!
 
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