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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok well I'm not totally new to horses but I am new to ownership. I bought my horse last year as a 4 year old. Everyone thought I was mad but hes given me so much joy and he is so sweet natured and calm. He is bombproof on hacks and just loves to please! Well this was up until a month ago! My horse has lived out all summer and has now changed into his winter routine , where he is stabled at night and brought into the field in the day. Since this has happened he has gone wild! He is a nightmare in the school, he just wants to gallop everywhere and out hacking he wants to jump and buck . he has lost his manners, he pushes me and drags me. Is this normal when they have been brought into a winter routine? What can I do to get him back to his normal calm self?!
 

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Ok well I'm not totally new to horses but I am new to ownership. I bought my horse last year as a 4 year old. Everyone thought I was mad but hes given me so much joy and he is so sweet natured and calm. He is bombproof on hacks and just loves to please! Well this was up until a month ago! My horse has lived out all summer and has now changed into his winter routine , where he is stabled at night and brought into the field in the day. Since this has happened he has gone wild! He is a nightmare in the school, he just wants to gallop everywhere and out hacking he wants to jump and buck . he has lost his manners, he pushes me and drags me. Is this normal when they have been brought into a winter routine? What can I do to get him back to his normal calm self?!
Cooler weather combined with less activity tends to bring out silly behavior. I suspect he'll get used to his new routine.
When he's stalled can he see other horses or are the walls solid?

He's young & if he has been good so far maybe it's his time to be a goofy teenager. It seems most horses go through a stage like that sometime in their training. Try to give him as much turnout as you can & work him good. You may need to strong arm him a bit if he is pushing & dragging you. He has to learn that when he is on your time he has to behave.

If he is getting any hard feed you may want to cut that down a bit too.
Boys will be boys.
 

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Is this normal when they have been brought into a winter routine? What can I do to get him back to his normal calm self?!
A horse pushing and shoving you around is never normal under correct training circumstances. I hear this all the time. Something changes and owners try to figure out what the problem was. Well, even if it is the fact that it's winter and his schedule has changed, it's still going to be winter. So all you can do is change your way of handling him because a solid trusting, respectful horse wouldn't have this much of an attitude change in the first place merely due to some colder weather. It's the handling that led up to the change that made him believe he could get away with the behavior in the first place.

So what do you do? Work with him. Show him you mean business and that you can move his feet when/how you want but that he sure as heck can't move yours around. Basic things such as perfecting leading, backing, side passes, pivots, anything that's going to get his attention for used on you (and no, this doesn't include fast lunge work to try to tire the slick outta him, it won't work that way)

Just change your attitude around him to tell him that this stuff won't fly. Once he sees you as someone he can respect, he will give it to you, but you must earn it.

Good luck!
 

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Agree with Ninamebo. A few months after I got my boys they went through a similar stage of "testing" me and my leadership. Make him understand that just because some things are different around him you're still in charge. When he acts up move his feet any direction you please until he calms down and brings his head back to earth where it belongs :) They can be trying at times but once that bond is built it's the best relationship ever! Good luck!
 

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I would say it has less to do with the winter temps and more to do with your horses age. At four years I would guess he has just had enough time to figure out what he is supposed to do and understands it and now he is in the "what can I get away with stage?" Four is still not very old and many horses still have their teenager brains. I am thinking he is now feeling confident enough to test you. That combined with the cooler weather and the other things you said are a perfect combo for a rowdy boy!
 

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3-4 years old are not a good time to judge a horse
At 5, exactly where yours is now, many horses go through soma sort of "adolescence" when they are more mature, aware of their physical strength, and they try and question their rider.

Mosre time outside might help, but if the problem is age, what you you need is consistent training (remember, every time you interact with your horse, you either train or untrain him).

Don't be afraid to ask for help from a professional if you see that things are getting out of hand.
 

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Perhaps the change in routine sparked his new behaviour, but if you're allowing it to continue then that's likely why it is getting worse.

It's important to remember that with young horses everything you do, and everything you don't do, is training them. There is no "down time" or anything, you always have to be on top of it and always sending the same message. You don't get off the horse and training is over, you're always training. Around four or so horses often start testing the boundaries, maybe your horse's stage is a little late. It's important that you keep on top of this before he learns these bad behaviours.

Do you ride him in the morning or afternoon? If you take him out after being locked up all night then he'll probably have a lot of energy, where as he should have expended some it if he's turned out all day. If weight isn't a problem then just feed him mostly hay and perhaps a vitamin/mineral mix, rather than an energy rich feed.
 

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Yes, they tend to be more full of themselves in the winter. For example, yesterday my normally superbly behaved horse, broke away from me while I will bridling him before our ride. He was running like an idiot with his saddle on, free as a bird. I cornered him and the brat turned his butt & kicked at me. He got his bridle thrown at him, he ran around a bit more and stopped & put his head down to receive his punishment. His punishment was an extra strenuous ride in fresh snow. Today he was back his old self. Spring is another time that horses tend to forget their manners and go off half cocked, just got to keep on them and remind them who is in charge, they settle down.
 

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I have no idea of your set up, but we always leave it up to the horse whether or not they come in. The doors are open so they can come and go as they please.
You can't change the weather, but you can cut down on the amount of change in routine.
 

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Cooler temperatures do bring out the friskiness in horses as it is more agreeable to them.
Agree 100%. Experienced this just yesterday when we were out hacking - it was a nice comfortably cool day, nice soft footing everywhere with some fresh snow, and boy were they energetic.
 

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I would suggest free lunging before you ride- it gives them time to let out those extra bucks and wears them out a bit so they're not as crazy when you ride
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi just thought I would give an update on this situation. I have got myself a really great instructor who is giving me and my horse 3 lessons a week. 2 ridden lessons and 1 handling lesson. In 3 weeks I can not believe the change in him, he has really settled down in his routine . he is nice and calm to hack and has become so much easier to school. On the ground he is his normal polite self and no pushing or shoving or dragging me to the field. It's all at my pace. I wish he could stop out 24/7 but our yard owner does not allow this , but I feel I have made massive progress with him and also I have learnt so much . Thank you for your reply's .
 

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Good to hear. I wish more people here would opt for seeking help or using a good coach when the advice is offered to them or it's clear that they NEED a professionals help or guidance. So many people post here with problems or difficultly learning but refuse to seek help because they're always convinced they can fix something themselves, or that they don't need help to begin with.
 

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That's great news on your update. I have a 4 yo Mustang that I just got in Oct. He was a solid, quiet boy...never know he's a Mustang. But the cool weather combined with some herd changes, he became quite spooky. In fact he bucked me off 3 weeks ago when someone reprimanded him while under saddle (they used too much pressure and should have allowed me to do the correction but they meant well). We have been doing lots of ground work and he has settled in. He's the leader and has more confidence but still occasionally gets worried on those more drastic weather changes such as sudden gusts of wind, quick temp drops with rain, etc. I have to keep him on a regular training schedule and I work him everytime I see him and he's doing well. I have a trainer I work with too (I was training with her with my last horse), and she helps me fill in the gaps when I need help. Kudos for enlisting the help of a trainer and wish you the best for continuued success!
 

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I'm glad you have a coach to help you out and the situation has improved. You have to be a leader for your horse and show him that it's not ok to drag you around. I've owned several young horses over the years and though you should be somewhat forgiving with a young horse when they get a little spoked or frisky it's not an excuse for them to act that way all the time. I expect my two two year olds to have just about the same manners as my two adult horses. Just because a horse is young doesn't mean you have to let them get away with bad manners. Sometimes they need a correction or a reminder here and there which is fine. I work with my young horses somewhat regularly usually when they need a reminder to relax I give them a bump on the lead and a voice cue. Sometimes you just need to remind them to focus back on you. Good luck keep working with him he'll get there.
 
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