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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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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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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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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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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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