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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a lazy appendix quarter horse gelding (2 yrs old) that prefers to sleep and eat grass all day, and never go more than 5 miles per hour when he's in his pasture, unless it's dinner time of course. Very lazy. Also, he's afraid of nothing. Flapping bags/banners in the wind, loud noises, clippers, bridges, pigs, he doesn't care. He's a very confident horse and always has this "I don't give a ****" expression on his face. The problem is, he doesn't respect me or the whip. When I'm lunging him with the lunge rope he tends to do these things..


  • gets too close to me sometimes, instead of keeping a good distance away from me. (smacking him with crop or swishing rope at him when getting too close does not work)
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  • Ignores me when asking him to speed up the pace (smacking the ground with whip has no effect. hitting him on the rump with the whip has little effect either, he doesn't care)

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  • When asking him to back up, he knows what I'm asking but moves sluggishly and kind of a half-*ssed attempt. (Sometimes ignores me completely. Increasing the pressure doesn't seem to work.)

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  • I always start off with asking him to move his hindquarters away from me (using as little pressure with the crop as possible and as much as necessary) He is typically very unresponsive and barely moves, even if I wack him with it.
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I've had a farrier tell me to use a chain on his nose when handling and lunging him. I've heard you shouldn't use a chain while lunging, so I've never attempted that. I did, however, use a chain on him for regular handling (for many months), and that helped in some ways - by making sure he backed up properly, and not walk into my space. I did eventually take it off, because I didn't like using it and the chain felt more like a band-aid to the problem. With, or without the chain, he still was not respectful to the whip.


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I'm thinking maybe the whip/crop I'm using may be part of the problem? I noticed that Clinton Anderson uses a long skinny one like this,


Where as I use this crop when asking him to move his hind end away...



And this is the lunge whip I use. It's heavy, with a thick rope and hard to swing or make noise with. (Btw this pic isn't me or my horse, just a random pic off google)


Any advice would be appreciate, thanks! :pinkunicorn:
 

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Get a real lunging whip and learn how to pop it. Walk around with it and try to snap off the heads of weeds and thistles with your 'snap'. Get really good at it. Then if he doesn't respond to a word cue, pop him. It's hard to ignore.

If I had to guess, the reason your horse doesn't respect you is that you don't make yourself worthy of respect. Have you ever smacked him with something that actually smarted? What if you ran menacingly at him with the complete intention to run right over the top of him if he didn't get out of the way? I'm not saying every horse needs to be treated this way, but your horse doesn't take you seriously because really, you aren't important enough.

I wouldn't use a riding crop like yours for anything on the ground. But it isn't about the instrument, it's about you, feeling big, important, determined, even fierce. Practice strutting around with your shoulders back, like you're the queen. You OWN your space and nobody comes into it without being invited, unless they want to risk your outrage. Be OUTRAGED when he gets in your space.

If you can pop him from a distance with your lunging whip, if you are outraged when he gets into your space, if you move around him feeling like you are the Queen, I think you'll see some changes.
 

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He does not need a chain, being lunged, even if that chain shank is applied correctly!
He is the very OPPOSITE of a horse where you might wish to run a chain shank under the chin- a horse that pulls away,races around, bucks, etc1]]

Use q lunge whip correctly, to both keep him out of your space, and to drive him up. You might need to touch him with that lunge whip on his hocks,if mere body language and voice cue is not enough
Why are you lunging him in the first pLace? It should not be done regularly with a young horse, serving no purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
He does not need a chain, being lunged, even if that chain shank is applied correctly!
He is the very OPPOSITE of a horse where you might wish to run a chain shank under the chin- a horse that pulls away,races around, bucks, etc1]]

Use q lunge whip correctly, to both keep him out of your space, and to drive him up. You might need to touch him with that lunge whip on his hocks,if mere body language and voice cue is not enough
Why are you lunging him in the first pLace? It should not be done regularly with a young horse, serving no purpose.
Like I said, touching him with the lunge whip has 0 effect on him, no matter if I apply it to his hocks or rump. Whacking him with the lunge whip doesn't do much either. Though, maybe I should invest in a new whip. I don't lung him regularly. Maybe once a month in the cold weather. In warm weather like every 2 weeks. However, my vet told me to lunge him once a week for 5 minutes because he's had a problem in his stifle where it sometimes locks up. The vet said light exercise helps. So far that stifle issue seems to have gone away.
 

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Someone on the forum recently put it just right, and I'm sorry I can't remember who to credit.
But they said that what people often do is forget that you must both desensitize and sensitize horses. You've done "desensitize," but neglected "sensitize." One without the other does not work.

Another thing you must consider is that this horse is two years old with a baby brain and a growing body. What appears to be laziness is usually a horse that is spending his energy on growing and learning. I've seen many sluggish two year olds that had plenty of energy when they were older. What is important is not to get the horse working hard, but to give him a positive idea about cooperating with humans.

Since your horse is desensitized, you need to teach him how to be sensitive to cues. If you ask him to move over and he doesn't, you need to make the cue very big, loud, raise your voice, arms, stomp, whatever you have to do to get him to react. If he is very desensitized, that may include stinging him with the end of the lunge whip or slinging a heavy rope at him the first couple of times until he gets it. But, you also have to reward the sensitive reaction by removing the stimulus and praising him when he responds. Otherwise he won't understand the point of what you are doing.

If a horse doesn't respond to a cue, it will just become white noise he learns to tune out. You need to make a cue and reward clear to the horse.
 

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Far as exercise, turn out or ponying him off another horse, would be way better then lunging him, far as the stifle problem.
Then, when you do lunge, make it a learning experience . That means, if you do need to use the 'ask, ask louder, then demand, you must do so, at first, while always going back to that light ask first
If ahorse fails to listen to alight cue, THAT HE UNDERSTANDS, pain issues ruled out, then you have to ask incrementally 'louder' until the horse gives you the desired response.
Next rule, is to then again give the horse a chance to respond to the lightest ask first.
This general rule is what creates light horses, horses that respond to alight touch of a leg, as they have been given a reason to be light, to respond to that lightest cue, knowing if they do so, you in turn will never go to the demand or loud ask first
 

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Have you been doing Clinton Anderson stuff to desensitize him? a lot of banging on his lead rope, and snapping flags, and swinging big sticks with soft, rope lines? (the Jolly stick or whatever it's called).
To some horses, all this does is make them resentful and shut down. It's way too much 'pushing' on a horse.

I suggest you work on getting the horse to do more 'drawing'. That means, get him comeing toward you, but more importantly get him going foward , not backward or sideways. Forget all this driving his hindquarters for a bit. Just get him to move up with energy when you lead him.
like @Smilie said, ponying this horse would be an excellent exersize for him. it would get him to be more respectful of the pressure on the leadline and on his halter, and if you get him respectful of that, you can get him going forward, sideways, backwards without all this pushing on him.

you are working on him as if he were a wall of bricks, with no mind of his own. And he's responding similarly. Since you can't get him to mentally engage in moving backward, or sideways, or forward on the lungine (where it's very hard to make a hrose move forward who doesn't respect either the bridle or the whip, netiher being lead, nor being driven), Work only on the leadline, and only on going forward for a bit.

get him to move along spritely when you pick up your pace, and work on getting him to change directions with energy , too. Look at this video by Warwich Schiller on improving a young horse's leading manner. you get him to be more light footed going foward on the lead line and it will help tremendously with backing, moving sidways, Get his mind on the line, and you won't have to "MAKE" him move, you'll get him to make himself move. there is a difference.


 

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I'm going to suggest getting some professional help. This behaviour isn't a problem until it is.

I had a horse just like third when i was too inexperienced for it. The lazy, confident, always annoyed type. They area easy to work with because they are usually smart. Start of training is easy enough, since they are interested enough to play along and you feel good because they pick up on lessons easily. The work isn't difficult so they don't have a reason to protest.

The horse is never tested or pushed and the inexperienced owner doesn't recognize this and advances the training. Until one day the horse doesn't feel like playing along and when the owner tries to insist, that's when all the holes show up and someone is left hurt or scared.

Horse I mentioned sent me to the ER twice in 6 months. If i had experienced help at the time it would have been much dividend different. There was an old cowboy that was acquaintances with the BO and one day he gave us a round penning lesson. At the end, that horse was so submissive and latched on to me. It was great, but we never got that again because we never got that instruction again. My then coach have me otherwise contradictory advice and pushed us faster than we were ready for.

So my advice is to get ahead is this before he gets bad.
 

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I agree that all that NH stuff,done over and over again, esp incorrectly, is going to de sensitize your horse way beyond that you want him to be, esp if done incorrectly.
By that I mean, picking at a horse versus asking loud enough, in increments , until you do get the desired response. That might take a very loud ask or demand even, a time or two, on a dull horse, but you will get that response.
I am quite sure this horse has never had the ask, ask louder then demand, used on him correctly
There is not always also a set steps you take, so that you establish a boring routine. I see no reason to constantly ask a horse to yield his hind quarters, just as routine
Horses become un responsive through two main reasons, well, three if you add in that they have never first been taught the cue, thus don't understand the request

> 1/the horse has just been picked, picked picked on, versus ask, the ramp up from there as needed, to GET the horse to comply. Equally important, you always then go back the next time, giving the horse a chance to respond to the lightest cue

2/ horse has never been given a chance to respond to a light ask, with the handler having started way up that scale

If you have been watching some of those CA videos, there is an important point he makes.
THE LIGHTEST cue you first use on a horse, is the cue he will eventually learn to respond to. In other words, if you first use a flick of that lunge whip on the horse, to ask him to move, then he is never going to respond eventually to anything lighter, like a mere voice or body language or a simple lift of the lunge line and whip
If he was my horse, pain excluded, and he understood the request, he would move, by using the 'firm as needed., versus standing there with a;grin and bare it attitude.
 

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You're approaching this as a problem with your horse. It's not the horse, it's you. Get some professional help, please. Your issues are easy to fix, but without the knowledge to address it, you're either going to get hurt, or ruin this young horse. That isn't an insult, and there's no harm in being a novice, but please find some good help so you both can enjoy working together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
[
Have you been doing Clinton Anderson stuff to desensitize him? a lot of banging on his lead rope, and snapping flags, and swinging big sticks with soft, rope lines? (the Jolly stick or whatever it's called).
To some horses, all this does is make them resentful and shut down. It's way too much 'pushing' on a horse.

I suggest you work on getting the horse to do more 'drawing'. That means, get him comeing toward you, but more importantly get him going foward , not backward or sideways. Forget all this driving his hindquarters for a bit. Just get him to move up with energy when you lead him.
like @Smilie said, ponying this horse would be an excellent exersize for him. it would get him to be more respectful of the pressure on the leadline and on his halter, and if you get him respectful of that, you can get him going forward, sideways, backwards without all this pushing on him.

you are working on him as if he were a wall of bricks, with no mind of his own. And he's responding similarly. Since you can't get him to mentally engage in moving backward, or sideways, or forward on the lungine (where it's very hard to make a hrose move forward who doesn't respect either the bridle or the whip, netiher being lead, nor being driven), Work only on the leadline, and only on going forward for a bit.

get him to move along spritely when you pick up your pace, and work on getting him to change directions with energy , too. Look at this video by Warwich Schiller on improving a young horse's leading manner. you get him to be more light footed going foward on the lead line and it will help tremendously with backing, moving sidways, Get his mind on the line, and you won't have to "MAKE" him move, you'll get him to make himself move. there is a difference.
You have a really good point. Thanks for the advice and the video! And yes, everything I've done with him so far is from clinton anderson's training DVD's. All the things that you've mentioned are things I've done with him - banging on his lead rope, snapping flags, and swinging big sticks with soft, rope lines (I think they're actually called carrot sticks, which is what I use to lunge him since I don't have an actual lunge whip) Though I've ridden a lot of greenies, he's the first actual baby I've ever raised and I've just been following his dvd's for guidance. I've used Clinton's method on my family's green thoroughbreds and it seems to help a lot. It's made them less spookier and much more respectful and sensitive to cues. But yeah maybe it's not the right method for him. I haven't watched the video you sent me yet but I will tonight.
 

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So, you have been teaching him not to move, methods used to help an over reactive horse, and then are surprised that he does not want to move, when you cue him with the lunge whip, or whatever you use?
On a young horse, you first get that movement and forward, and then before actually riding /saddling him, do some of that desensitizing, although I don't do overly much of it
That is the danger of many of these type of DVD training programs, as they can very easily be miss applied
 

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Anytime a thread starts out with "help", especially in all caps and a exclamation point, it most often turns out to be someone with little-to-no experience.

OP PLEASE acknowledge the posters who are advising you to get professional training help before you ruin a good horse.

The horse is only two - he is barely old enough to be at fault but he will be if you don't get some quality real life guidance.
 
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Yes. If you don't have an experienced mentor on the ground there with you . . . get one. Or let your horse be for another year and put him into training with someone.
 

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Desensitization when over done can cause a horse to be less responsive.

I'm going to assume that you have done an excellent job building trust. He trusts you, wants to be near you, and certainly does not want to be chased in circles. But teaching voice commands on the lunge is a very important lesson, especially getting a solid whoa.

Number 1: what is your body language doing? Are you timid or aggressive. My mom is a very timid person- there is nothing wrong with that, but the horses immediately pick up on this. She gets along best with a horse that won't take advantage. When you ask him to move you need to be aggressive or assertive with your body language. If you are not aggressive enough, he isn't going to move.

My friend rescued a premarin foal - that baby, as a yearling took over as lead mare. She walked into the herd like she expected the others to move out of her way and had so much confidence, the others didn't even challenge her. This is something I don't quite understand as far as herd dynamics. My boss mare (out of my mares) let my new Paso gelding be boss which was entirely shocking. I certainly didn't expect that! My second mare in command was totally unimpressed with him though and they hate each other. They both make faces but no one backs off. It's certainly not a direct hierarchy. Sorry, I digress.

One thing about Clinton Anderson is that he is over aggressive in his techniques- I don't need my horses to spin when asked to change direction and I don't need my horse to back up at a million miles an hour. A young horse does not need that kind of stress on his joints. That is showmanship and while it looks impressive, I have no use for it- I don't rein or rope. If they can calmly walk or trot a change in direction, that is perfect.

Some horses are extremely insensitive and don't care if you smack them with the whip, while if you did that to an Arabian you would have a total meltdown. If he is that insensitive, do not be surprised if he is lazy under saddle. I had one horse who would lean on the above ground swimming pool with his chest- he could care less if you smacked him with a broom stick to chase him off.

If he is especially thick skinned, you may need to act like you want to kill him, to get him to move his feet. He may also kick at you, if you have to spank him with that whip.

You have to adjust your techniques to suit the horse's sensitivity level. Do not back off until he moves his feet. If you give up, you will teach him not to move off of pressure. Now that might be great for a police horse doing crowd control, not so great for a regular riding horse.
 

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Havent read all replies but agree you need to employ a trainer to help YOU as well as the horse learn correctly. If your horse is not responding to you, ignores you, then you are teaching him to ignore you. Simple as that. And sorry but if you dont understand how youve been teaching him these 'wrong' answers then you need more help than an internet forum can offer.

If you want the horse to go forward, asking him to yield his hq away is not a helpful way to start. Do you also reward him for what he DOES do for you? Do you understand the importance of rewarding him/punishing him *at the time of* the behaviour you want it to effect?
 
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