Friday, June 5, 2009

Bad Horsie, Won't GO GO GO!

I received an email today from someone that was having a problem with a horse that stopped randomly and refused to go forward.

This is really not a big problem that could at some point become a big problem should the horse continue to refuse the rider.

The last thing you want to do in this situation, is put on a set of spurs and go to town.

I tell every student one thing that they should always remember and Sir Isaac Newton said it best....." For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction".

This applies to everyday life including training horses. If your horse stops and refuses to go forward and you whack him in the ass, be may buck, bolt or just become a bit of an asshole for a few minutes. If you are uncomfortable with this, it may be a bit of a problem. There are other ways to get a horse to go forward without getting overly aggressive.

What I like to do with my young horses when I start them under saddle or I have a horse that stops and refuses to go forward is gently tug on the reins from side to side progressively tugging harder and harder until the horses front end moves and they take that first step. Then I will quit tugging and let the horse take the second step with me just clucking to them. I also, especially with the young horses, will encourage with adding some excitement in my voice as I praise them. Once they start taking the first few steps, I will then start bumping gently with my inside leg to get them to move around my leg. Before you know that horse will be nice and soft in the front and moving off of your leg and working off of the hind end. It does not take much!

If I have an older horse that stops on the rail, I will ride that horse on the rail as close to rail as possible, when I feel that horse is going to stop, I will turn him towards the rail and make them rock back on their hind end and go the other way. That way we are keeping the shoulders soft and supple.

If the horse refuses to turn towards the rail or stops in the center, I will turn them on the forehand until they are uncomfortable enough in the front end and are willing to go forward. Then I will go back to getting the horse to work off of the hind end.

I am sure by now, you have noticed I like my horses to be very soft in the front end. Well that is absolutely true. The softer in the front end they are, the easier and more willing they become, they do not have to just be soft in the mouth, but they have to be soft in their whole body as well.

Rotten Neighborhood Blog party at 5:45pm!

31 comments:

kestrel said...

Oh yeah, I will bring beer!
I love that old saying, "make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard." And get that look off your face. You know what I mean dammit!
Address the problem the horse is having, and one thing at a time. It's easy to get wrapped up in the higher training and to forget that the foundation of training must be shored up often.
Lots of refusals start with the rider raising the bar every time the horse advances, and forgetting that if you just keep raising the bar with no reward...any animal with any sense is gonnna quit ya!

JohnieRotten said...

kestrel said...
Oh yeah, I will bring beer!
I love that old saying, "make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard." And get that look off your face. You know what I mean dammit!
____________________

Awesome!

JohnieRotten said...

Bring your friends too!:)

kestrel said...

Done deal!

Cut-N-Jump said...

JR- you forgot to add to increase the excitement to increase the horses excitement and speed.

Slowing down your body, slows down the horses momentum...

See I do hear you, I just don't always listen or do what I am told.

Obviously...

Dena said...

Kestrel and JR here is one I would take some suggestions on.
3yr old Haflinger and Saddlebred cross.
Just like you read the papers Sire side up.
Smart as a whip. No real desire to hurt anyone.
Mentally and emotionally herdbound.
Will run the fence line like one of those perpetual motion studs we have all seen at some time.
We have been taking it slow, slow, slow. One step at a time. For months now.
She was with her mama til she was 2 and a half.
Mama is blind.
Any suggestions?
And she will temp bond with any equine even those she does not like, when separated from the herd.
Put her in the barn by herself and she will kick and chew the stall to bits.

Dena said...

CNJ you too you have your fair share of exposure to difficult and the training of.
Help!

JohnieRotten said...

Herd bound horses can be a real joy to deal with. You have to wean them over and over again.

Sometimes they grow out of it sometimes they do not.

Over the years I have heard a lot of remedies, and none of them really work. About the best thing I have foud to do is give her a real job.

Take her out and make her work and let her bond with you and not the other horses in the barn. All of our horses are kept in the barn and some are turned out at night. We rotate who they are next to continuously so that they do not become attached.

Most of the tiem we just turn them out by themselves and let then work out their own inner demons. The do eventually get over their bad selves!

fernvalley01 said...

Great advice! I find the some people insist on straight ahead with young stock ,and that can be difficult . I always saty Give them somewhere to go, if they are turning slightly it is easier to take that step.
Gonna miss your party so I will just leave you all a pail of Margaritas! Have a great one!

Cut-N-Jump said...

When the Arab stally Pal, decides he needs to stop before breaking a sweat, he stops.

Urging forward with your legs results in the head coming up and to the right. Any furthur urging- results in a cow kick with the right hind. Force the issue and he crow hops.

Whack him with a rein and he will hump up and hop, but goes forward.

He's a bit of a challenge, but he's had most of his 15 years off, and being used as an ornament.

He's thrown a few tantrums and I've ridden them out. nothing big, just protesting and making his feelings and thoughts on the matter known.

We'll get there some day.

Maybe.

Dena said...

You know JR that is what I told her when I pulled her and separated her today.
"Time for you to get dependent on me".
I am hopeful but based on the history.
And the fact, that she is a training horse.
Meaning I cannot control and maintain her structure and routine when she leaves.
We shall see.
Great advice by the way.
And thanks for being honest enough to say sometimes they just don't get over it.
Some trainers never admit the possibility of that.

Hey someone want to share this?

The professional thing about turning your number upside down in community shows?
Arabian Horse of America is it?
Under community shows. Under professionals.
It isn't just a courtesy. It is a RULE here.
Professional as in having received any money for training in the last 12 months.
It has always seemed an ethical thing to me to do.
In community and little fun shows.

As long as, it is a cyber party. I will bring the Warsteiner.

kestrel said...

Hmm thought I'd posted but the computer must have eaten it.
I had a mare come in that was herd bound so bad she'd throw herself and beat her head on the ground. Horribly abused mare, rescue situation. I stashed food and water out in a field, fairly close, and led her out to the goodies, then brought her home, tied her up, tightened the cinch and let her bake, then back out to the field for a cool drink and treats. Mixed it up with lunging her next to her buds, letting her stop when was not paying attention to other horses instead of me. Got a little farther away each time, after about a week she was plumb happy to leave the herd and loved trails. Carried a lunge line, and when she wouldn't pay attention I would work her slow but intense on the line,...focus, slow walk trot transitions, give me back your brain work.

kestrel said...

The mare was totally unsafe under saddle to begin with, but having to work slow on the lunge then getting back on and letting her relax made her start to like being ridden. The guy that owned her still has her, she's 33, and they have done everything from hunting to parades.

Andalusians of Grandeur said...

Good post today. My arab mare is very heavily on the forehand. She will do almost anything to avoid lightening up her shoulders. I can't really rock her back by turning into the rail, because she just swings her butt around. When I put her in reverse, she drags her feet and doesn't back up easily either.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Herdbound?

Ah, poor Tess is being made an example of again...

She hates being left behind. When turning the girls out- she goes out first as a matter of human safety.

When she first came to us we put her in the end stall. She seemed content for a day or so, then begun to pace which dug holes. So JR went to get her to move her. Opening the gate, she about bowled him over. Bad, bad move on her part.

After a quick come to jesus understanding she stood while he haltered her. The gate opened and she tried to plow him down again. Another more serious come to jesus meeting and she got the idea that gates were not to be bolted through when they are open. At All.

She then attached herself to his red mare, then to the pali mare and then to the TB mare... pretty much anyone who is nearby is suddenly her conjoined twin. Um, No. That gets old rather quickly.

And she is in her late teens/early 20's. Doesn't look like this will end any time soon.

And what is with mares who bellow instead of whinnying?

JohnieRotten said...

Andalusians of Grandeur said...
Good post today. My arab mare is very heavily on the forehand. She will do almost anything to avoid lightening up her shoulders. I can't really rock her back by turning into the rail, because she just swings her butt around. When I put her in reverse, she drags her feet and doesn't back up easily either
_____________________

With horses like your mare, what I like to do is get them to turn on the forehand with the inside leg and then as the rotate around I release the inside leg and apply outside leg to get hte shoulders to move away. They will for the most part rock back on their hind ends automatically.

JohnieRotten said...

Dena

Anytime we go to a small local community shows to school, we pay for the class but not the number. That way we can audit the class and not get judged. We do not have numbers that we turn upside down.

And we are not allowed to bring stallions to those shows.

Andalusians of Grandeur said...

Makes sense; will try. Thanks.

Andalusians of Grandeur said...

She's just not very flexible since I only plodded around on her and never really learned how to install good butttons. She has a lovely front end which will look stunning once I get her to drive off the rear. I know that she will be a blast to ride when she is more supple and her topline is stronger.

JohnieRotten said...

Andalusians of Grandeur said...
She's just not very flexible since I only plodded around on her and never really learned how to install good butttons. She has a lovely front end which will look stunning once I get her to drive off the rear. I know that she will be a blast to ride when she is more supple and her topline is stronger.
___________________


The one thing that is important to remeber here is that small corrections make big results.

Little tugs will along with good use of your legs will make huge changes almost immediately. Just make the mare an extension of you and use your body as well.

Help as much as you can with as little interference from your hands>

Dena said...

JR that courtesy rule thing wasn't meant for you and CNJ you know.

JohnieRotten said...

Dena said...
JR that courtesy rule thing wasn't meant for you and CNJ you know.
_____________

OH!

CharlesCityCat said...

Certainly not that I am any kind of a professional or trainer, but I have worked with a few horses for other people. I took a couple into a few classes that were strictly for the horse to get experience but were a class that I wouldn't show my own horse in. The judge was advised this was not to be judged for points or ribbons but I did ask for imput. When we came into the ring, it was specifically announced "not to be judged."

Dena said...

CCC I think you may have to carry this party.
I have to work tomorrow early. So, I took a bath and my Ambien in that order and I am minutes away from being tost.
You can email me the results tomorrow.
Have a blast children...

MommaSheesh said...

What the heck kind of party is over so soon? Did someone fart and clear out the room or what?

JohnieRotten said...

I am thinkin that is what happened Momma Sheesh

SFTS said...

I have a 3 y.o. Half-Arab Saddlebred I'm starting for a client. She wanted to get on him after about 2-3 rides. He's one of those that just...stalls. When he refused to move forward, I had to explain the whole idea of "any movement is good movement, even if it's just one little step".

So many of them just don't know what to do with the extra weight up there. But it really is generally a pretty easy fix. Great advice, JR!

SFTS said...

Dena wrote:
Hey someone want to share this?

The professional thing about turning your number upside down in community shows?

Arabian Horse of America is it?

Under community shows. Under professionals.

It isn't just a courtesy. It is a RULE here.

Professional as in having received any money for training in the last 12 months.

It has always seemed an ethical thing to me to do.

In community and little fun shows.

- - - - - - - -

Hey Dena, maybe you shouldn't drag issues to another blog where the intended target of your comments hadn't been reading? Especially with the bitchy, holier-than-thou tone? Just sayin'.

Btw, I answered you on FHOTD about that issue.

JohnieRotten wrote:
Anytime we go to a small local community shows to school, we pay for the class but not the number. That way we can audit the class and not get judged. We do not have numbers that we turn upside down.

And we are not allowed to bring stallions to those shows.

- - - - - - - -

She was confusing the issue of Arabian Community Shows with other Open shows, with Schooling / Training shows and with backyard fun shows methinks.

I posted about it over on FHOTD, where she made her comment that I could actually find and read it.

Yeah, that was intended for ME. ;)

But on the stallions thing, we have always been allowed to show stallions on every level of show available out here, even down to the local shows. Done it many times. The only stallion restrictions are no minors competing on stallions (though they are allowed to show stallions in all but a couple of divisions in rated Arabian shows) and no stallions on most of the organized community trail rides.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Dena & SFTS-

Some of the schooling shows around here do not allow stallions. Stated in bold right on the premiums- No Stallions. Pretty straightforward and no room for bargaining.

Other than that, when schooling, they ask you to just remove your number. No number = no placing.

We take our young horses to the schooling shows for hauling practice, to teach them to behave no matter where they are and to get them some ring time. We will 'show' depending on the show and the class.

Young horses- we will opt for the novice division as they are required 3 firsts to advance out. no reason to take away the maiden horse classes from the others.

We will show halter, but not showmanship. I will occasionally try an eq class, but not regularly compete there. Otherwise we stick to the open classes where we belong.

There are folks who show up at some of these thinking they are at Nationals, and to them, they are. They won't venture beyond the schooling shows.

Then there are others who show up for easy ribbons to rack up the points and claim the HP prizes. They accept money for training and lessons- if you can call it that- and show as 'Ammys' on the 'A' circuit.

SFTS said...

Cut-N-Jump wrote:
SFTS-

Some of the schooling shows around here do not allow stallions. Stated in bold right on the premiums- No Stallions. Pretty straightforward and no room for bargaining.

Other than that, when schooling, they ask you to just remove your number. No number = no placing.

We take our young horses to the schooling shows for hauling practice, to teach them to behave no matter where they are and to get them some ring time. We will 'show' depending on the show and the class.

Young horses- we will opt for the novice division as they are required 3 firsts to advance out. no reason to take away the maiden horse classes from the others.

We will show halter, but not showmanship. I will occasionally try an eq class, but not regularly compete there. Otherwise we stick to the open classes where we belong.

There are folks who show up at some of these thinking they are at Nationals, and to them, they are. They won't venture beyond the schooling shows.

Then there are others who show up for easy ribbons to rack up the points and claim the HP prizes. They accept money for training and lessons- if you can call it that- and show as 'Ammys' on the 'A' circuit.

- - - - - - - -

I haven't encountered any schooling shows here that don't allow stallions. It's probably a club-by-club sort of thing, I'd guess. They all have stallion halter classes. There's just that restriction on kids showing stallions. I'm okay with that.

Really, the only time we school (number upside down = your removal of number) is when we have a REALLY BAD horsie. One that needs to get in there and have a serious "conversation". But again, I'd rather work those deals out at home.

I take ALL my young horses, and my newbie clients/students to the small shows (many of them are just considered "open" shows and not training or schooling shows ~ we use them for the same purpose). Every last one. Like you say, so much depends on WHAT show it is and what the class list is like.

Our smaller shows don't have a maiden/novice split. Only at the rated shows do we encounter that. Sometimes they'll have a "green horse" class or division. Those are great. One circuit also used to have a Junior horse class for the babies. Not anymore.

We do Halter classes, Pleasure classes, Trail with some, Western Riding with some (if they have the class), Reining with some (if they have the class), Hunter Hack or the odd jumping classes (if they hold them).

Funny thing about the Showmanship and Equitation. When I advanced out of the Youth ranks, I was SO relieved not to have to show Eq and Showmanship anymore. Well, I always loved Showmanship. But I hit 18 and was FREE! Then, one year in a "fun show challenge" I was asked to do the Eq classes. So, I did. And I won them. All four. LOL! I don't know why, but I got a big kick out of that. That I could beat those little Eq girls with their perfect posture and $1k+ outfits! Now, every great once in a while a student (or my daughter) will goad me into going in an 18 & Over Showmanship or Equitation class. Knock on wood, but I generally do win them. Silly, I know. But at least it DOES help the students pay better attention to what I'm telling them, if I can go out there and still kick ass. ;)

That last one...grrr...yeah, I see that all the time. Had a client in fact who did that very thing. Not real kosher. She didn't stay my client for long.

athy said...

I have been decompressing a very smart ex-barrel Appaloosa for about 8 months now. The work slowed over the horrific winter. But he now knows that 'mounting doesn't mean taking off while looking around for the nearest barrel as soon as the riders right leg is somewhere in the proximity of the airspace above the saddle.' And that we can WALK through gates and WALK down the trail and that reins aren't just for jerking his head around and beating his ass with.
That being said.
He got a bit too attached to his companion horse over the winter and his new trick is to get partway up the trail and stop.
Since swatting and spurring is what got him into a mess in the first place that is a no go.
So I let him stand there in the sun, giving light little knee bumps - bumpety bumpety bumpety. He hates to stand still and I would not let him go backwards or sideways. I could SEE his wheels spinning. It took him all of three minutes to figure out that:
1 he couldn't out-stubbon me
2 he wasn't going to get beat
3 it would be much more fun to just walk on forward than stand there all day.

No fighting - kicking - hysterics. He moved on out and we had a nice ride.