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Whips/spurs and alternatives

2392 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  ApuetsoT
I recently began a lease with a 14 year old quarter gelding and he refuses to move when i first get on him. His owner tells me that if I do ground work I have to use spurs and a whip, or else he wont get up. The first day I went to meet them she rode him around a little bit and I noticed right away that if he wouldn't go fast enough, she'd smack him on his hind quarters as hard as she could until getting him to a gallop. I'm not accustomed to riding horses like this; I've never taken the whip and gone after my horse. Likewise, I've never used spurs is such a strong way as this horse has been ridden with---a slight tap, yes, but this guy "needs" jabs, apparently :neutral:.

here's the kicker:

If lead him and get him to a trot just on the ground, he'll be more willing to move. And if I get n him bareback and then put on the saddle after circling the arena in each direction, I can get through the entire ride without him "needing" a whip or spur. In fact, getting on his bareback, he moves forward easily. Every time I've tried to put the saddle on, and then get on him immediately after and expect him to go on into a warm up... he stands. The owners response to this was simply to use spurs and a whip.

This horse will be moving from the residence house and into the barn that their trainer works out of. I can start working with her once a week. For now, my job is basically just to exercise this guy... on my own, as she hasn't required as part of the lease for a trainer to be present. I'm a decent rider for exercising, but I don't know what this is telling me about the horse. Because his owner has been "mentoring" as an instructor, and I've taken a lesson from her (to evaluate if she trusted me to ride him, basically)...and her instruction was to use the whip and spur. My brain is telling me that this is how I aught to be riding this horse for the best results... but that's the thing... I don't get the best results, I get a horse who's doing something because I'm hurting him. And besides that, even when I've tried to ride him like this, my whipping is never hard enough. This is weird to me.

To clarify, this lease is going to work into full ownership as the owner is getting ready to move out of state and sell her house. I'll be keeping him at the trainers barn where I can pick up with regular lessons. Ultimately, the worry here isn't that I'll be training him to behave differently (I have no qualms what-so-ever about never riding him with a strong whip or spur again). But for now... I haven't been riding him for long and already he responds so much better to this way of warm up (on foot, or bareback). Though I have a few friends who tease me about this, saying that they've never seen someone trot their horse bareback before starting a ride (???), my gut instinct wants to stick with it. At the same time, I wonder if this is technically "giving in" to his protests, and lots of riders would say that the horse should never refuse to do anything, ever :icon_rolleyes: or that we should never go out of our way (such as I am) to get the horse into the ride head space; he aught to do what we say even if he doesn't want to...

Any thoughts?

I feel like I'm "playing" trainer...
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I think this is basically the same thing as the blown up barrel and team roping horses who want to charge off as soon as someone gets on them.

The horse doesn't choose, they are doing what they understand to be what is expected of them.

You gave the horse a different deal and had different expectations and got a different result.

I say follow your instincts on this, they seem to be on the right path.
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