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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today, I wanted to ride in the arena for a little while (we usually do trails). My boy was not in the mood apparently and threw a little tantrum about it. He wasn't responding very well and I did not feel like I had good control. He did some hops and a tiny rear. Being a novice, misbehavior does scare me. I made him take a few more steps and just sat for a few minutes, so that he would not think that behaving that way would cause me to dismount. Then I led him to the round pen and lunged him for a few minutes to make sure that he didn't think his work was done.

What do you do in this situation? He's mostly a good boy, but occasionally he acts up. Did I do the right thing or should I have made him go around the arena? Sometimes he does this just as we are leaving the barn, but will settle down when we get moving along the trail.
 

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If you are a beginner rider, I would lunge him before you take him out and see if that helps. He may settle down and get in the working mindset a lot better for you if you can't get him to work for you under saddle right off. I would absolutely not tolerate any sort of bad behavior such as this. Little hops and rears soon turn to body crunching hops and rears if not corrected right away.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you. I do not want to tolerate this behavior what so ever. I have heard on this forum and elsewhere about how bad behavior starts out small and then takes off from there.

I do notice a big difference when I lunge him. I don't have to do it for more than 3 or 4 minutes. I circle each way a couple of times, stop him, relax and repeat. After that, he follows me around with his head lowered and ears pointed towards me.

I'm always worried that I'm going to do something that somehow rewards the wrong behavior and I don't want little things to escalate.
 

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He may be playing because he is feeling frisky and knows you won't reprimand him for it, but i'd still curb the habit right when he does it, so he learns its a big fat no-no.

My western pleasure mare would buck and play in the roundpen like she was a bronc when lunging with a saddle, but if I got on her fresh, she knew better than to test me, lol. I'd try and get into the same habit with your boy, where he knows when to work vs. play. (Some people don't even let them play in the roundpen, but I don't think it hurts as long as they aren't kicking up in resistance. If you know your horse, you can tell the difference.)

It could really hurt you if you don't reprimand him now. If you can sit these small rears and humps he is doing, I would turn his nose sharply to your knee to get him to quit, then do very fast, tight circles with him a good 10 minutes. I'd do this every time he tries anything under saddle.

If you aren't comfortable with doing that and he still acts up after being lunged, take him to get ridden for a week from a more experienced rider, then take a couple lessons on him with them. Pretty soon, you'll be a pro!
 

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If the worst he'll do is hops/tiny rears, as soon as he plays up I would give a quick sharp smack with a schooling whip. Then get him moving forward. It took me months to get the guts to do it but it really does work :lol:
 

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Sometimes they are just 'feeling good' and act up and try to play, either way however good they are feeling they should not be stupid about it. When you're in the saddle they need to know that they need to behave.

If he acts up like that again, I would start by serpentining him down the wall, backing him up, doing tear drop turns etc...if he is still being stupid, it is okay to get off and lunge him if you work him harder on the line that when you are on him. Better to do that that put yourself in a situation you are not ready for.

If my mare is being stupid I work her harder. I am pretty comfortable up there so I wont get off, but if I wasn't I would get off put a long line on her and make her work hard, then when she calms down and slows down on the line I would ask her to stop and stand for awhile, then when she is standing and has reled I'd ask her to move forward slowly....if she does this and remains calm about it I'd ask her to stop again and I would go about remounting.

I have seen other horses have this done, in fact my boyfriend was taking lessons and an old hand decided she was feeling frisky and she tried to take off. Him being a novice rider was not comfortable giving her crap in the saddle, so the trainer got him off and put the mare on along line and made her canter around for a while...the horse tried to gallop or go uncontrolled and buck, she would push her harder. The mare realized that if she behaved she didn't have to work as hard and after that she was good. Differnet things work for different people put horses are by nature minimalists so when they're shown the best way to do the least amount of work they'll typically go that direction :p
 

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I think you got good advice from TU. If you can ride throught the temper tantrum, and it sounds like that is what's going on here, then do so. But if you cannot, then don't go to the place where you horse offers that battle, because you cannot win, and every time he offers that battle, and you dont' take him up on it and win, then it reinforces the reward for offering that battle. So, either meet him and beat him. or dont' let him create that scenario in the first place, Thus, preride lunging or working him in the arena just up to the point where he starts to fight back, then change and do something else.
That only postpones the need to have that little "come to Jesus" meeting with him, which if you have a trainer help you, will be more guaranteed to be successful and need only be done once, hopefully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Today, we headed out on the trail and he tried the same thing as we were leaving. He gave his little rear and wanted to go back. I growled at him to knock it off and was grabbing the extra rein to give him a swat, but just the growl did it. He went along and did not act up again.

I am scared to give him a whack, but I know I will do it if I have to. Every time I ride, I feel like I know him better and I gain some confidence. His tantrum is kind of like a joke because it is so mild, but like I said before, I know this kind of thing can escalate. I want to nip it in the bud and not have it become a problem.

I told the boarding owner what he was up to and she said to do exactly what you all said. A whack and push him forward. Lunging for just a few circles each way, does get him focused though and seems to help. He isn't a horse with excess energy, so it's not like I have to work him in the round pen first. I just need him to believe I am his leader on the ground and saddle.
 

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Waydago! Next time, all you'll have to do is show him that rein out of the corner of his eye, and he'll go for you. Just be aware that it's ok to "threaten" a little (i.e. showing him the whip, without actually striking him) IF he responds. If one demonstration does not get a real change, then wait NO more than a secone, a half second, and smack him to make sure he knows it's real. Threatening, and threatening and blustering and such , without proof of impact, will only make your horse up his dare.
Growls are good tools~!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
tinyliny- "Upping" his dare has already happened a little. I used to lunge with a swinging lead rope. One day he stopped and looked at me head on and had this look in his eye that said, "You are not going to do ANYTHING with that lead rope, so I'm not going to move anymore." So, I bought a whip and have every intention of giving a little tap if need be. He takes me quite serious now. I also feel braver just knowing if I had to protect myself for any reason that I am in a much better position with a whip versus a soft rope.
I totally get what you were saying and I know that I have to make good on this threat. Freaks me out a bit to smack him, but I will do it if he tries to do that naughty boy stuff again! :)
 

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Newby, I figured I'd share my experience and what I did with it as I thought of you when it happened. I rode my 3 year old mare last night, she was in the arena alone and really she hasn't been ridden alone in there since the summer as we often ride in groups for the fun of it. She was just being a little stupid. Sable is in general a solid minded horse so her spooks although she may have them don't last long and she comes down quick and with her if i hold my ground she gives in easily without much of a fight.

It was really windy last night and the spooky door that she hates so much was blowing a bit in the wind and to top things off the barn was creaking the 'creak of horse death' lol so it was a 'fresh' ride last night. But a good one.

Anyways we were riding past the door when it blew up at us a bit. She jumped and tried to scoot away as fast as she could while still staying in gait (I believe she thinks if she stays in a run walk (she's a twh) that I will not make her face the door because she is "doing it in form" lol) Anyways I stopped her as soon as possible and backed her all the way to the door. When I got to the door I made her stand there until she calmed at which point we would move out. IF she started out trying to run from the door I would back her up and make her stand there until she was calm...repeat

Each time we went past the door, if she would spook or shy at it I would either spin her (if we were close enough to the door that backing to it wouldn't do much) or back her back to it where we would stand until she was calm.

See what I did by making her stand at the door was I turned the door into a good place for her, a place of rest so rather than be afraid of it she was eager to go to it in case she got to stop there. I also dismounted in that spot. I know my horse and standing still is a great reward for her lol by the end of the night I could drag my hand on the door while we went past it and she didn't flinch, we even cantered past it with no issues.

I know you may be a bit nervous on your horse and his misbehaving can be nerve racking, but there is a huge benefit to gaining his respect and trust in you while you are in the saddle.
 

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oooooohhhhh, I HATE those little horsey tantrums. But, I LOVE this thread!!

I went with my two barn owners for a trail ride on Saturday. Because of a completely unrelated issue, Sam is now riding in a hackamore and this was our first trail ride in the hack (mostly we have been doing indoor controlled riding using it). Because this can be harsher than a bit, I am nervous about making any strong corrections. I am also worried about his reaction should I.

The grass down here is still green in areas and as we were walking across the field to the first trail head, he decided he was going to stop and munch. Which is a no-no under saddle.

So I gave him a head correction using the reins and nickered to keep moving and and and, he threw a fit!!! He stomped his front hoof. He bobbed his head. He put the brakes on.

Okay, in my world, it was a fit. By my barn owner's perception, Sam was fine. Huh. Didn't feel fine way up there.

I wish I had read this thread last week. I didn't think to make him work circles. I didn't think to make him work or pull his head over to my knee to disengage his bum.

All I could think about was calming his down and making him stop his erratic behavior.

Great ideas everyone. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I fought through a few tantrums today and I'm gaining confidence at it! On the way back from a horrible trail ride (not with my horse, but with one of the other riders), I was planning to ride back out with someone else. The rider that had the "bad ride" was ready to call it a day. I made my horse go to a different gate than the other horses were going to and he was so not happy about it. He crow hopped and gave his little tantrum and I pushed through it and got my way. Of course he was not a happy boy about returning to the trail versus getting to his hay and his friends. He threw a little bit more of a tantrum, but we worked through it and had a nice two hour ride.
I'm hoping that over time, he will realize that I'm the leader and will no longer fight me. I'm not unfair and I do reward good behavior. However, we do have to be in a place that my horse is a good listener and does not hop around like a 2 year old throwing a temper tantrum and being told "no"! :)
 

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I liked this post...my horse has had only a couple of tantrums in the past and I also thought they were cute..I handled him just fine by making him behave before going back to barn (tantrums were caused by not letting him hurry to catch up with horses ahead of us). I thought they were cute and called them teeny tiny temper tantrums.. well the last ride out with a friend from our barn that has a TWH he wanted to catch up and I wouldn;t let him. He did it twice that day and I didn't have a crop. Both times I handled it verbally alone and that was all it took, but will take a crop next time..and actually the second time was a tad higher and I think all 4 feet were off the ground at the same time. After I got after him he settled down and was a good boy the rest of the ride. I guess maybe I didn;t think it might esculate into something dangerous so now I realize what I could be up for. He is a lazy laid back boy for the most part.
 
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