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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday my first horse arrived at my house. "Spike" is a 9 year old gelding who supposedly rides(for pony rides) and drives. And let me just say-- I don't believe that crap for a minute! I lead with a loose lead-line and very little pressure when just leading him in a straight line moving forward, and he is bumping into me, nudging me with his shoulder, stepping on my feet(OUCH!), and/or moving ahead of me/falling behind me. When I stop, he kind of circles in front of me and stands with his body sideways and usually his neck ends up right in front of me. So I just continue walking in my straight line, right through him. I tried to establish space by wiggling the lead-line, telling him back, and applying pressure to his chest to back him, but he still looks terrified as he backs up. He disengages his rear nicely when I spin him around, but then seems to overcompensate when I stop asking him to move. He is easy to catch, as he just stands still, but has not so great ground manners. I know that this is NOT going to happen overnight--but I am just making sure that there isn't something that I should be doing that I am not. How can I help him to trust and respect me as a leader?
 

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Look up ground work techniques by Clinton Anderson, Craig Cameron, and Chris Cox. Any groundwork you do with an average size horse, you can do with a mini. It sounds like he just doesn't respect you, so he's doing everything he can to test you. If you have to, when you lead him, carry a dressage whip and when he gets out of line, give him a tap on the offending body part.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice. I've been watching a lot of youtube videos on groundwork and even join-up, but I am afraid that Spike will actually laugh at me if I try anything like join-up(and I don't have a round pen).
 

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You get what you expect. If you go into working with him expecting him to misbehave or "laugh at you," that's what you'll get. If you go in expecting him to do as you ask and are confident, he'll be more likely comply.

I'm not a huge fan of the round pen join up. My best friend loves it, but I just am not a fan. I prefer Clinton Anderson's methods. I used a lot of him with my unruly old gelding (made your boy look like a saint by comparison) and with my current gelding (who was basically unhandled when I bought him two years ago...now he's the best-behaved horse at my barn and my BO just adores him).
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Personally, I would spend the first few days grooming and just doing really basic stuff. He just got there. He doesn't know you or what you want him to do from the sounds of it. Some horses settle in fast and others take a bit. Is he the only horse on the place? Any others close by.
You might do some checking to see if there are any "mini" clubs in your area. Having other owners in the area can be a big help as far as advice and support.
Good luck to you and Spike!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, I have been brushing him out, have begun desensitizing him to the lead-line, and he even let me pick up one of his front feet slightly. This made me notice something about his shod front feet-- I think his hooves have grown right around his shoes! I have e-mailed multiple farriers and am just waiting for a reply now. Will post a pic if I can get him to let me lift his foot again later when my husband is home to 'man the camera'.
 

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Does this little horse have foot problems...other than his current shoes?
Any founder issues?
I'd want to get those shoes off asap. I'd call a farrier and not wait for a return email.
 
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Does this little horse have foot problems...other than his current shoes?
Any founder issues?
I'd want to get those shoes off asap. I'd call a farrier and not wait for a return email.
definitely -- if something looks off to you, it probably is

once the farrier checks him out, i would start getting some respect from him in the form of lunging


my daughter was finished riding the other day and was trying to lead her horse to pasture and she was ignoring my daughter trying to eat some lawn grass -- so i stopped them, showed my daughter how to lunge her for a few minutes before leading her to the pasture again -- after the short lunging session her horse was much more attentive

also the tip about bringing a dressage whip is solid
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I made some calls to farriers in NH-- the 3 that actually answered are 'too far' from me and are supposed to be calling me back with referrals. I am not really sure what founder is, but whatever is caked in his hooves under that mud/dirt is in there good! Also, maybe that's why I could not get him to move above a walk.

LUNGING--- I tried this in the yard(filled with yummy grass), and could not get any space established between Spike and I. Would not move when i asked him, not even when I smacked a whip against the ground right behind him. I suppose that I could have worked him harder to try to get him moving but I really don't want to lose control(the fence is only 36") and I am afraid that if he wanted to get out-- he COULD! Hy husband was conveniently leaning on the fence watching us, distracting me, and Spike was distracted by barking dogs and cars going by(I live on a main road). Maybe I should get his feet checked before I push him to make him trot/canter, right?
 

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He should be checked out first. Horses often misbehave because they're in pain.

I think it'd be smart to read up on founder/laminitis, because minis can be prone to it and obesity.
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I made some calls to farriers in NH-- the 3 that actually answered are 'too far' from me and are supposed to be calling me back with referrals. I am not really sure what founder is, but whatever is caked in his hooves under that mud/dirt is in there good! Also, maybe that's why I could not get him to move above a walk.

LUNGING--- I tried this in the yard(filled with yummy grass), and could not get any space established between Spike and I. Would not move when i asked him, not even when I smacked a whip against the ground right behind him. I suppose that I could have worked him harder to try to get him moving but I really don't want to lose control(the fence is only 36") and I am afraid that if he wanted to get out-- he COULD! Hy husband was conveniently leaning on the fence watching us, distracting me, and Spike was distracted by barking dogs and cars going by(I live on a main road). Maybe I should get his feet checked before I push him to make him trot/canter, right?
--- edited for clarity ---

if you feel your horse is not well enough to follow through, you should not start --- i.e. feet first and then establish your leadership

-- end edit --


i would look up video's on how to clean his hooves -- then decide if you are comfortable with it or would rather be safe and watch the farrier do it --- BEWARE some kick when you try to pick up their feet

lunging is not about making him trot or canter, it is about moving him, at any speed, in the direction you want. this shows him that you are the leader and you make him move, when a horse tries to push you he is telling you that he is above you -- and that can lead to some very dangerous behavior

the threat of force is only as good as the promise to follow through. point, if he doesn't go, then kiss or smooch once and then twice, if he still doesn't go -- tag him with the end of the whip until he does move

by not doing that you are teaching him that you will cause a big fuss but you aren't leader enough to follow through -- kind of like telling a kid if he doesn't clean his room he will get a spanking and then never spanking the kid

#1 rule -- establish leadership first -- fun stuff comes next
 

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I'm wondering why he was shod in the first place....unless they have significant problems or are worked hard on hard ground, its VERY rare to see a shod mini. I personally never have, anyways.
 

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If you can't get a farrier I'd call the vet. Maybe should do that anyway. Little guy could be quite uncomfortable. The vet could also recommend a farrier in your area.
And I wouldn't do anything other than groom and spend time with him until you get this hoof thing taken care of.
Don't let him have free access to green grass. A dry pen and grass hay (and water and a mineral block) for now just in case there is an issue.
 

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This behavior might be because he had a young owner who let him rub on them etc. In a few days try and saddle him up (no riding this time) and putting a headstall and some driving lines on him, see if he knows his simple ques 'Left, right, back, walk and trot' before getting on (You might need a lounge wip)! How much of a beginner are you? If you are pretty new at all this please make sure you have a more experienced person there to help you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
UPDATE on Spike:

I've contacted a local barn/trainer who is willing to give me some handling and groundwork lessons at their barn, and then come out to me to help me work with Spike. She has also told me that their farrier will be there TOMORROW! UGHH :( Hopefully I can get him there and get those shoes pulled, feet trimmed, and hooves picked and he'll be a happy little horse!

This might be a long-shot but does anyone know of any transport services in New Hampshire that would be available tomorrow?? I have already contacted everyone that I could find on craigslist.
 

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I suggest you do a few things to get yourself in a better place:

1 phone the Barn owner and ask her if she or anyone at her barn could transport him to the farrier tomorrow - or go straight to 2

2 ask her for the farrier's number and call him direct. Introduce yourself and make an appointment at your home as soon as possible. Remember this - you must look after your farrier. Without his support you will be lost.

3 call your local equine vet and arrange for a full health check up, plus any vaccinations that are needed.

4 tell yourself to slow down :). Until you know that the little chap is healthy, you should be doing nothing more than caring for him. No training, no lunging.

5 take some photos and share them with us :D
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
BooWalker-- he was a polite little gentleman when I looked at him before I bought him, although he did pull the leadline then a bit as well.

I just went out to spend some time with him and he turned into that little gentleman that he was before I bought him. I sat on a bucket in his paddock and nudged my face with his nose for a while, then he actually laid down on the ground and put his head in my lap for about 15 mins! This is HUGE!

I did take some pics of him while I was out there, I just have to figure out how to include them in my post.
 

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UPDATE on Spike:

I've contacted a local barn/trainer who is willing to give me some handling and groundwork lessons at their barn, and then come out to me to help me work with Spike. She has also told me that their farrier will be there TOMORROW! UGHH :( Hopefully I can get him there and get those shoes pulled, feet trimmed, and hooves picked and he'll be a happy little horse!

This might be a long-shot but does anyone know of any transport services in New Hampshire that would be available tomorrow?? I have already contacted everyone that I could find on craigslist.
Check on Facebook - look at the group "Hitch Your Horse a Ride."
Also check Equinesite.com, and log onto the bulletin board. The New Hampshire board should have plenty of people willing to help!!


I am from MA and find that Horse Forum doesn't have a ton of people from New England.
 
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