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Discussion Starter #1
So I have been itching to get out and ride now that the weather is nice. I have been lounging my appy gelding all winter a few times a week and he use to be fine with it, He'd walk and trot but wouldn't move into a canter. But with the snowy ground and tricky footing I hadn't bothered with it, just mainly did walk and trot. Well he use to also be fine to ride too, but still I didn't bother with a canter at first but then once in a great while I would ask him to canter and I got nothing.

Well now, as in the past week or so, I have noticed a change. During Lounging he doesn't even break past a amble walk! No matter how hard I encourage him, he does nothing. It use to be that with the lounge whip I just had to raise it and he moved faster, now not even a crack moves him. Then while riding now, he doesn't move and when I say he doesn't move I mean I mount up and he doesn't even take a step. I try turning him and all he does is swing his head to my toe and stay there, not moving a foot!

Then if by some miracle I manage to get him moving, which takes about 20 mins, he stops randomly and then doesn't move again. It's very frustrating! I use a hackamore on him because he would have a fit with the bit. He wouldn't open his mouth, he'd hold his head high in the air and then if I did trick him into taking the bit, he would ignore the bit. However, I'm not sure the hackamore is cutting it either and I might try the bit again. With the hackamore he lowers his head and puts his nose right into the bridle when tacking up so he seems to enjoy it more.

What do you guys think? I've tried brainstorming it, had his teeth checked and they are good. Also he plays in the pasture with the 2 minis with no problems. When I untack him and take the halter off he trots away happy as a clam. So no physical reasons for him not to move because he is fine in the pasture.
 

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Two things come to mind if all physical issues are ruled out:
1. Are you are lunging him with his saddle on? If so, you may have a saddle fit problem. Try lunging without the saddle to see how he reacts.
2. If he is responding the same way with or without a saddle, it's a respect issue. He doesn't view you as an alpha and doesn't respect your requests for him to move. You need to get more aggressive in the round pen to make him move. i would suggest watching some DVDs by Clinton Anderson or John Lyons or Monty Roberts or whomever on round pen work. Once your horse respects you, he will move for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I lounge him without the saddle on and he still lounges at an amble walk. Act aggressive how? I can see how that might be the problem though because I have babied him all winter working on mainly just trust issues and desensitizing.
 

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I lounge him without the saddle on and he still lounges at an amble walk. Act aggressive how? I can see how that might be the problem though because I have babied him all winter working on mainly just trust issues and desensitizing.
^ This is likely your culprit. Desensitizing is fantastic, but if you don't balance things out with sensitizing exercises, or applying pressure and asking the horse to move in response to it, you end up with a very dull horse. Fixable, but it takes a lot of "getting after" to get a reaction now that he's been dulled up. Remember to ask, suggest, and encourage in your aid progression, to help create softness and responsiveness, and up the level of your encouragement until he yields. Balance between sensitizing and desensitizing is key in creating a willing but calm horse.
 

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I lounge him without the saddle on and he still lounges at an amble walk. Act aggressive how? I can see how that might be the problem though because I have babied him all winter working on mainly just trust issues and desensitizing.
I try to use the 1-2-3 method when asking / training. Number 1 is ask as if the horse was trained. If there is no response or an incorrect response, 2 is asking a little more forcefully with stronger body language and possibly some aids. Number 3 is telling the horse you mean "now". This 1-2-3 needs to be about 5 seconds from #1 to #3. For example, if you are lunging your horse and you ask for the trot by clucking, that is 1. If after 2 or 3 seconds your horse does not begin trotting, you now show him the whip and maybe step towards his hind-quarters to generate some impulsion. Wait two or 3 seconds and if he still does not trot, crack the whip behind his rear and maybe take some agressive steps towards his rear (almost as if you are starting to chase him). Always make sure you are at a safe distance away, but you must increase the "pressure" you put on him the longer he goes without giving you the correct response. As you do this, he will learn to give you the correct response much more quickly to avoid the pressure. Once the horse begins trotting, stop the pressure but be ready to reapply if he breaks gait and returns to the walk.
 

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Why do people lunge? Why not just ride a horse?? Are you trying to build up your confidence to get on him or wear him down??
Step aboard and head out for a nice ride.
Going in circles and getting no where seems a waste to me. :)
 

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Why do people lunge? Why not just ride a horse?? Are you trying to build up your confidence to get on him or wear him down??
Step aboard and head out for a nice ride.
Going in circles and getting no where seems a waste to me. :)
I agree, it sounds like a combo of him getting bored and becoming too desensitized. Get on and ride him. If he won't go, do the 1-2-3 method suggested above. Sort of an ask, tell, demand attitude.
I'm a talker so I ask with a click, if no response I tell with my legs and seat, still no response I demand with a smack on the butt. Either carry a crop or quirt.
My husbands horse is on the lazy side. He carries a quirt and just has to give it twirl to get her moving faster. They're also great for swatting flies off of ears and breaking spider webs on the trail :lol:
 

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Like riosdad and vidaloco said, why not just hop on?

Either way, if lunging is what you are after, you need to get really big. Do what you have to, you'll probably look just plain stupid doing it, but hey, if it works it works. Stomp your feet, poke him with the lunge whip, hit the ground with the whip.... GET AFTER HIM! If you are lunging and you tell him to move, he MOVES. One thing that seems to work well with moving out a horse is to slap your leg the tempo you want the horse to move. Don't just stand there like a bum in the middle of the circle unmoving... walk with the horse, towards his butt, with authoritative purpose. Alpha horses do it in the field... they will just walk right through another horse to make them move, which is essentially what you need to do. Sometimes growling and getting low to the ground while moving quickly will jumpstart them a bit.

When he does move out, tell him he's a good boy and resume normal lunging stance. The second you see him start to slow down and amble about, get back into aggressive stance until he complies.


This is all after ruling out pain, though.
 

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Is he fat? I've seen this with horses foundering: it's so slight you don't realize it. Horse just seems lazy! By the time I called the vet, it was getting advanced. Same thing happened to the farrier, which is why she became a farrier -- to help with foundered horses.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well I tried to ride him today cuz its beautiful out and got nothing good. When I get on and ask him to walk he stands there with his ears back listening but not doing anything. When I do the 123 method I cluck, nothing, tap his sides and cluck, nothing, swing a lead rope and tap him on the butt with it while clucking and tapping with my heels and sometimes he moves, other times he stands there. I will start soft with the hitting with the lead rope and get a lil more demanding but still nothing and I honestly feel like I'm hitting a dead horse.

It's very frustrating! I wanna get on and ride but I can only get on, no riding or very very little. If I by chance get him going he goes where he wants and the second I go to turn him another way like go left and he wants right he stops dead and it has to start all over again. I'm losing patience. Any ideas on what is going through his mind?

On the ground he is a gentle giant, plays with the other horses but is respectful on ground when leading, more so than my last horse I had and my mini mare! I am confused and don't get it!!
 

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Well I tried to ride him today cuz its beautiful out and got nothing good. When I get on and ask him to walk he stands there with his ears back listening but not doing anything. When I do the 123 method I cluck, nothing, tap his sides and cluck, nothing, swing a lead rope and tap him on the butt with it while clucking and tapping with my heels and sometimes he moves, other times he stands there. I will start soft with the hitting with the lead rope and get a lil more demanding but still nothing and I honestly feel like I'm hitting a dead horse.

It's very frustrating! I wanna get on and ride but I can only get on, no riding or very very little. If I by chance get him going he goes where he wants and the second I go to turn him another way like go left and he wants right he stops dead and it has to start all over again. I'm losing patience. Any ideas on what is going through his mind?

On the ground he is a gentle giant, plays with the other horses but is respectful on ground when leading, more so than my last horse I had and my mini mare! I am confused and don't get it!!
Rule out any physical reason for him to be reluctant to move, poor fitting tack, low-grade lameness, even a headstall adjusted too tight can pull the bit up and give a constant "whoa" cue. Make sure that it is a behavior problem first and foremost.

When any physical issues have been ruled out, get bigger! Give him a reason to move his feet. Continue to ask with light pressure first and increase the pressure, but do not stop telling him to move until he does. If it takes a lot, so be it, he needs to respect that cue to go forward.

I would ride with a crop to back up your leg. When you mount, praise him for standing, and then cue to move off. Ask nicely first (lightening of seat, slight squeeze of leg, verbal cluck or "walk"), and add pressure until he responds. The most you want to do with your leg is to goose him with your heel. If he doesn't move off of the heel goose, tap him on the butt with the crop with your leg on. Don't kick; the release of leg to kick could be construed as a release of pressure (i.e. praise) by the horse, and kicking does nothing to increase stride length. Once he's moving and you want to turn, feel for him to start to peter out on you, and catch him seat, leg, crop, before he breaks gait. That takes timing and feel, and you need to be quick in your progression through the stages of pressure if he tries to surprise you. Start with leg anyway, don't go straight to the crop, so that he starts building a notion of "I better do it when the rider asks, or else". That being said, don't hold your leg on him constantly, or it becomes meaningless. Get the response and turn off the cue until you need it again; that will help build "responsibility" in the horse to do what he's doing until asked otherwise.

On the lunge, maybe surprise him with a plastic bag on the end of the whip, something to get his attention and move him off.

Of course, be sure that there's no physical reason for his stickyness. You don't want to be forcing him to work through pain, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well see I am using a hackamore on him because in the past he seemed to hate the bit and wouldn't move then, well when I changed from a snaffle to a hackamore he seemed happier, he would even lower his head into the bridle when I put it on whereas before he would throw his head up and clamp his mouth.
I have also just changed to a Aussie saddle but he was doing this even before the aussie saddle. I use to use a western saddle and he was fine but towards the end he started this too. So I don't think it was the saddle or the bridle. It seems to be progressively getting worse. I don't know if it's just me getting more and more frustrated.
Also I think maybe it could be me?? I was thrown off my last horse and ended up cracking 2 ribs and ruptured my kidney and hemorraged; putting me in the hospital for a week and a half and sometimes I do catch myself thinking about it when he is throwing his head around and he has bucked in the past, not enough to throw me but enough to know it was a buck. Maybe I am sending him mixed signals? I have no clue, thats the only other thing I can think of, but I don't get nervous at a walk or anything, it's just when he gets upset. So I don't think it should effect me just getting on and trying to get him to move, or moving while lounging either so it's just gotta be something else. I have no clue!
 

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First and foremost make sure he is not in pain. Assuming you are using a saddle, make sure the saddle is not pinching him and his reluctance to move out on your command is not causing him pain or discomfort. Do you do any sending exercises? Such as Clinton Andersons method for getting the feet to move? Any one of the many would work, I prefer the Anderson method, it has worked on all my horses who have needed the " get moving" lessons. I have a 6 year old QH mare who is like that, she will just stand there until I show her the short crop, then she gets the message. Now all I have to do on a trail ride is hold a short stick. I use the 123 method also. 1= verbal command to walk ( only one time) 2= pressure with heals ( only one time) 3= whip on butt ( only one time) If no response the smack with the whip gets more intence each time. Unlil I get a step ( only one). One step is all I ask at first. The connection with what I am asking must be made with the action she is doing. IE. I ask for the walk, she walks. It is very possible the horse simply does not know what you are asking him to do. Possibly you may need to do some sencatizing excesses as well, get him more sensitive to your Q's. I feel your pain and frustration, when you feel it, take a break. The best guess as to what is going throught him mind, is ' I don't know what you want me to do, so I am going to stand here." Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
No, I am sure he knows what I am asking, I ask the same way I use to ask before he stopped moving. This has been within a week change. It's now been two weeks but two weeks ago I was able to ask for a walk and get it. Ask for a trot in lounging and get it with little command, I would only raise the louge whip and he would get up faster and maintain the speed till I said 'whoa' then he would spin towards me and halt and I'd cluck and he would walk to me. Now I can't even get him to get moving from a halt to a walk both on the ground, except when leading, and in the saddle.
 

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No, I am sure he knows what I am asking, I ask the same way I use to ask before he stopped moving. This has been within a week change. It's now been two weeks but two weeks ago I was able to ask for a walk and get it. Ask for a trot in lounging and get it with little command, I would only raise the louge whip and he would get up faster and maintain the speed till I said 'whoa' then he would spin towards me and halt and I'd cluck and he would walk to me. Now I can't even get him to get moving from a halt to a walk both on the ground, except when leading, and in the saddle.
This tells me that something was changed around the time that his sluggishness started, whether tack, feed, schedule, something. Horses don't change their behavior that dramatically from light and responsive to dull enough to refuse to go forward for no reason. The change of saddles, bridles, etc that you mentioned before has all occurred within the last 2 weeks? :?

You could be sending him mixed signals, that's always a possibility, but if you had him as light as you described in what I quoted above I doubt that you have changed that much unless your fall happened in the last 2 weeks as well. Please correct me if I've misunderstood the timeline here.

Another thing that just occurred to me... my guy was randomly lame for a couple of days last summer, and the only time the "off-ness" was observable was through a turn (i.e. stumbling and wanting to stop on the lunge and through turns). Maybe take a good look at his gaits to really be certain that he isn't sore somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I know, I am trying to think of what has changed other than the weather getting warmer, ground getting muddier. I changed the saddle after he decided to be a bum; and the bridle is the same, I've used a hackamore for a few months now, Maybe it's up too high or too tight? I'll check that in the AM

But as far as the accident it happen a year ago but when he acts up and throws his head around and dances in circles when I ask him to go where I want him to go I get nervous, I do wanna start taking lessons, maybe that will help. I'm just gunna have to keep working at it I guess.
 

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I know, I am trying to think of what has changed other than the weather getting warmer, ground getting muddier.
How muddy is it? I've seen my sis' semi-accident prone QH gets half sucked under in nasty mud in the pasture, he's actually been sore and grumpy from sliding in mud and the like before. Throwing more possible causes out there...

Lessons are probably a good idea, if only to have another set of eyes on the ground. That sounds like a right nasty fall you had; I'd be nervous when the horse starts fussing, too, if I'd been in the hospital for a week.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
yeah, it was a bad accident, it wasn't with my current horse though. Glyder is my current horse with the issue and he is a complete doll so thats why I'm so dumbfounded.
The mud is pretty sucky in some areas, but I try to avoid them because my mom hated when I leave gouges in the ground, 'perfect ankle twisters' are what she calls the hoofprints haha Maybe I will also check his feet tomorrow because he could be getting scrapped, which just made me think of something, I had a farrier out about 2-3wks ago and he was old and I think he left the toes too long, in my opinion, he isn't my usual farriar and was filling in for him.. maybe it's his feet are bothering him? But he runs in the pasture with my mare and my mini stallion just fine, but maybe riding is causing him pain?
 

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Horse will not move

If you don't have the confidence to get this worked out under saddle there is nothing wrong with that.There are a few things that I would like to point out.When you have a wreck the baggage you carry to the saddle will transmit to the horse.Right now when your up there you are asking for forward but have that what if I get the whole ball of wax? There is a difference ,and it is also a good way to produce the result you don't want.Lets put this from the horses point of view.You are up there with your aids either thumping or using a crop whatever you think will get the horse to move ,of course the horse feels that,at the same time your body is saying don't go or at least not to fast.The signs would be holding your breath,a tight rein,looking down,all signals your not sure what you want.This shuts down the front end of the horse,your aids are drivivg the back forward,well this is the first stroke of a buck.If your horse is polite he wouln't do anything.One answer would be get a rider for now that would be secure in what they are asking.But what I would like to share is how to fix this on the ground.The answer is to get your horse to lead up really light.That would mean when you are walking him if you decide to go running off he will follow no pulling.Many horse fall short at this basic foundation leval of training.Let me set you up with one exercise.Start from a position you feel stong in and ask the horse to lead up ,don't pull if he doesn't instead head in a direction towards the rear feet thats what we are trying to get unstuck.So if you are in the front ask to come forward and if the line is becoming tight ,again don't pull make a very clear action toward the rear feet look at the ground behind the feet thats the space you want.If this plan doesn't make sense to you I will try to explain it another way.It really isn't hard but when I put it down on paper it sounds that way.This is the difference between a pressure and release method and a release method.One other point I would like to make involves your frame of mind while doing this ,just do it as matter of fact,leave out the emotion.If I need to get clear with a horse I do but I don't get angry,there is a big difference on how the horse will react to those two very different feels.If you can think of other ways to get the horse to lead up real free,experiment with that it will be more natural for you.The goal is not to be dragging the horse around.
 

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^^ That is some of the best advice I have seen on this forum. Very good advice!
 
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