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Hot, nervous horse afraid of leg

4075 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Kaifyre
My rescue Paso Fino has a few issues under saddle. His groundwork has improved immensely. His saddle work, not so much.

He stands relaxed for mounting, but the moment you get in the seat he is ready to take off. He whoas for about 2 seconds. Usually I just let him go, as he is difficult to hold and I would rather that energy go somewhere. He will trot very rapidly in circles. He literally does not stop moving the entire ride.

I've been experimenting with riding on a loose rein instead of constantly trying to rate him. This usually results in an extended trot. He has not broken into the canter, although I do rate him if it feels like he might.

He will whoa if I pull pretty hard back. I've been using a one rein stop with slightly better results. He circles to a stop, but again does not want to hold it. The minute you release he wants to move forward. Which means I have to keep repeating the one rein stop.

Forget about adding leg. You can't even touch his sides. My attempts at even adding a turning aid, result in him spinning around in a circle. Now he is fine with dangling stirrups on the lunge and hand pressure on his side's. But with a rider up, no way!

I finally got a good whoa at the end of our ride tonight which I used as a good ending point. Of course, by that time he was covered in sweat and getting tired.

He does listen to voice somewhat, and he rates sometimes. He turns really well based on rein alone. But he has a long way to go.

I'm tempted to have someone bring out a bucket of grain and hand feed him while I sit up there. Something to build trust, as right now he is ready to jump out of his skin. He feels like a keg of dynamite.

I will say he really doesn't do anything bad. His attitude is pretty good. He does get annoyed with the one rein stop, but ears go up as soon as we move forward again.

He does not gait. He does a trot without the suspension.
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He is ridden in a snaffle. I did start him in a side pull but switched to the sniffle, as clearly he's been ridden with a bit before. He was started before I got him, but significantly mishandled.

It's not pain related- he was probably beaten to try and force him to gait. Hence the nervousness and distrust in people.

His groundwork is really good. He knows walk, trot, canter, whoa on the lunge and on long lines. That's what we started with. We've done several lessons on desensitization, both to the whip and to the rope. I throw the rope around him now and he stands calmly. Like I said, he's made a ton of progress as far as groundwork. He was literally a shaking mess when I started him. We are following the Clinton Anderson groundwork series on YouTube.

His trot is not bouncy, as he has no suspension. So I can't exactly slow my post to slow him down. Can't even post to his extended trot.

I think letting him go is probably going to make the problem worse. Come to think of it, when on the lunge, he would take off and you could not get him to calm down unless you forced him to stop. (He no longer does this). I think he works himself up and doesn't know how to calm back down.

It's not a total panic, but lots of nervous energy. I did some clicker training to reinforce the whoa on the lunge. He may need a refresher on that.

He is much calmer in the round pen, then the arena. If I ride in the round pen, he listens better.

He doesn't like being near the barn which is next to the arena. I try to leave him tied at the barn after every session, as he is still suspicious of the barn.
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