View Full Version : After egg timer goes off, having major troubles!!

Aug. 18, 2009, 10:24 AM
I can ride my horse for only so long, we usually get some trot work done, canter on both sides (sometimes) and then when I take a walk break (he's not fit and I'm not really either) it's all over, the egg timer goes off. He goes backwards, side ways, anything to avoid going back to work. I usually growl and what not and that works only so much. I have tried to get some trot afterward but don't want to get into something I can't handle. I make him at least walk around a few more times to get the point across that it's only over when I say so, but I need to get him back to work work, trotting and cantering. Today I got so frustrated I said fine you want to act like this you can just be lunged in the ring, so I went back to the barn and got everything to lung him and voila he went beautifully back to work like nothing was ever wrong. So do I keep riding him for as long as he goes forward then when the egg timer goes off, get off and lunge or send him off to a trainer for a month and let them work on the problem. They would probably push farther than I will. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. TIA. :confused:

Aug. 18, 2009, 10:43 AM
I think you are on the right track. The only thing I will do differently is that if he wants to avoid work, hop off as you did, and lunge him hard for very very short time. One lap each way is enough. If he goes promptly in that one lap, stop, give him a big smile, pet him, and put him away. You just want to get your point across, and reward him for doing the right thing. Of course if he goof, continue till he does the right thing. Repeat the next day.

Assuming there is no pain associated with his behavior, this horse sounds like some lazy bum. You don't want to work this kind of horses for too long, especially if he is out of shape. Give him short intensive work, then let him rest. It probably won't take long before you realize this problem is a thing of the past.

Aug. 18, 2009, 10:54 AM
We call it..."Your quarter just ran out!"

Perhaps mixing up the work might help? A lot of people w/t/c and are done Perhaps he thinks after canter, he should be done.

Unless you are afraid of his reaction, I'd just keep pushing until I get more work out of him, if I'm not done yet!

In fact, that would BE the work....get a bit more then be finished.

You pay the bills, he eats 23/7 or more....He needs to do as he's told for that hour or so.

If you are worried about his reaction to being pushed, hire a trainer to come over and get on, or at least watch what is happening. They willbe able to tell you what to do.


Aug. 18, 2009, 11:14 AM
You ride a pattern and he is just being predictable. You can't blame him for being predictable.

I know a horse who the owner claims he "likes" to go to the middle after he cantered. Really he likes? Or it's more like you trot for 10 minutes, then you canter both ways once, then you walk, then you chat with your friends in the middle... you do that twice, and the horse "gets" it.

Walk --> trot for 5 steps --> walk --> big walk --> small walk --> trot another half circle --> walk --> hh --> canter --> trot --> canter --> walk --> immediately trot --> walk --> big walk --> halt --> trot --> halt, get off.

You get the idea?

Common problems I see: carrying the rider is uncomfortable (rider posture or equipment or health), riding is not positive, riding is too predictable, rider offers no clear instruction, rider does not give and does not release (then the horse starts to associate release with time or place, or seek release with misbehaviour), rider keeps asking something (sometimes without knowing) without giving reward if done right, but does not always correct when done wrong.

Aug. 18, 2009, 11:30 AM
He may be trying to help - like others said, if you do the same thing all the time, the horse memorizes the routine.

When I do any work, I always do it differently. One day I might warm up walking a few laps on a long rein. Another day I might walk figure eights. Another day I might walk around the outside of the paddocks or take a short hack. Some days I start with trot work on a few big laps around the ring, other days I might go from walk work to walk halt back transitions, then pick up a trot and do trot walk transitions, then do some walk patterns like serpentines or walking over poles. Some days I'll do the trot work just in big circles. Other days I'll do some spirals, or serpentines, or poles. Sometimes I'll canter once around each way right after a lap or two of trot, then just do more trot work. Sometimes I'll work on canter circles with a pole, or trot-canter transitions. Or canter, trot, walk, trot, canter transitions. Or do some trot work in the arena, then canter outside the paddocks, then back in the arena for some walking leg yield and serpentine work.

There are tons of ways to mix up the routine so you never do it the same way. My mare is so sharp she memorizes anything I do more than twice, so if I feel her anticipating, I immediately change the plan and do something different.

I also always dismount in a different place. Sometimes at the far end of the ring on the track, sometimes back at the barn, sometimes in the middle. Sometimes I get off after we've warmed up, move some poles around, then get back on and do some more.

The more you change it up, the more the horse will learn to pay attention to you, not think they know what to do.

Aug. 18, 2009, 11:52 AM
Thanks for the advice, I do tend to fall into a routine and not mix things up, I just didn't think he would have picked it up yet (I have gotten to ride him a few times in the past month, I just got him then with the heat and the rain it has put a damper on things!) My trainer is coming but not for a week or so, so I will try to change things up and see how it goes. I don't think it's pain related, he just saw someone Friday and I have pads to fill in the gaps of my saddle (it doesn't fit him perfectly until I put on the mattes pad and wither pad). I think he has just gotten away with stuff for awhile and now that's he's being asked to work longer than he's use to he says no thank you. I will try again in the morning. :yes:

Aug. 18, 2009, 12:06 PM
My horse had this problem when I first got him. He had been a school horse for a few years, and though that when I walked him on a long rein after a bit of work, he was done, period. When I would pick up the reins, he would hollow his back, wring his tail, and generally act pissy that I was asking him to work again when clearly the ride was supposed to be OVER!

I agree with the suggestions to break up the work. Do a couple of laps of trot in one direction, then walk for half a circle. Pick up again and resume for a few minutes, then walk again. Mix it up. Instead of one 5-minute walk break, give him multiple 1-minute walk breaks and make it clear that taking a short break doesn't mean he gets to ignore your leg. He's developed a certain set of expectations, but once he learns that the work is different, he will get over it.

Aug. 18, 2009, 01:28 PM
Thanks for the advice, I do tend to fall into a routine and not mix things up, I just didn't think he would have picked it up yet ...

I had an instructor who used to shout "three times is a habit!!!!" whenever I made the same mistake twice. Horses can learn very quickly! (Just not when you want them too! :lol: )

Aug. 18, 2009, 05:38 PM
your horse has your number and is testing you. i say ride it out. get him leaping forward.
most likely cause for all this is that he's bored and your routine is boring to him. take a few lessons with someone new for a new style of how to use time in the arena

Aug. 19, 2009, 07:19 AM
petstorejunkie, you are right I think he is testing me, like I said I just got him about a month ago, and have only been able to ride him a handful of times. The first two were wonderful then he had time off from heat and the rain. We have tried to get back into it and that's when he started this. I am not completely comfortable pushing him on my own (I really don;t know what he's capable of), until me trainer gets here. So I'll just ride then lunge if I have to, to get my point across. Thanks again for all the advice.

Aug. 19, 2009, 07:36 AM
I have one....our trainers saying is the similar "the taxi meter ran out". At first work was one lap more than she was willing to give. We worked up to having to take the walk break and go back to work again. It took a while but she did get over it. The first year (up north here) we got better, took the winter off with bad weather (no indoor at my house) and spring was like starting all over again.....so this past winter we did trek up to the trainer's indoor once a week. It did help a lot keeping her head in the game over the winter even just getting ridden once a week.

Aug. 19, 2009, 07:53 AM
There's a great book called 101 Arena Exercises that has all kinds of patterns to ride, from easy to hard, which might be useful if you run out of ideas between sessions with your trainer!

Your problem is pretty easily fixed, at least! You'll get him through it in a few sessions with your new trainer, I'd bet.

Aug. 19, 2009, 11:34 AM
So I'll just ride then lunge if I have to, to get my point across. Thanks again for all the advice.
Just please be careful with this... he's still partially winning if you are dismounting. you may create a bigger nastier beastie of a problem if you have to use this trick more than once.

Aug. 19, 2009, 03:56 PM
Just please be careful with this... he's still partially winning if you are dismounting. you may create a bigger nastier beastie of a problem if you have to use this trick more than once.

I agree with PetsoreJunkie.
My mare came to me with a history of throwing fits to get out of doing any work. So the previous riders would just get off her and lunge her instead.
Sure she had to work, but in her mind she won since they got her back.
So this was a trick I could not use unless I got back on again after I lunged her to prove my point that she was to work under all circumstances.

I agree with mixing up the work routine as it does help most horses mentally.

But as I learned with my mare you just have to push them through the tantrums. Each horse is a bit different and what works for my mare may not work for your boy. But play around and see what works.

Also I know from my mare that even if you take a walk break it has to be a "working" break. No meandering around on a loose rein, but making her either stay nice and round, or asking to go long and low. Either way I ask for her to keep marching forward and in front of my leg. The minute she gets behind it I have lost my advantage and she feels free to do what she wants.

Luckily I think your boy will be easy to handle and get through this. My mare has has years of pain(heat/back issues/EPM) and timid riders so here's is pretty well an ingrained habit now.
I doubt that in a month of solid work he will even be thinking about it anymore.
Good luck!!:)

Aug. 19, 2009, 06:24 PM
I have the exact same problem (he's a QH, so the joke has always been "my quarter is up"). Provided it is not caused by pain (doesn't sound like it) All I can say is you need to ride him through it. All of it. All of the bucking, rearing, spooking, throwing head, avoiding contact, kicking at your leg, etc. Been through it all. He has your number.

He needs to get a work ethic.

Once you've ridden through what he throws at you and he behaves again, then the work goes on a little bit and then ends (don't end right away or he still thinks his temper tandrum was the reason the work ended).

If you do not feel you can handle it, find someone who can. The lunging idea is good too, but make sure you have everything right there so there is no break. And, if he has any brains, he'll figure out pretty quick the difference between work with you and work with lunging, and then there will be no avoiding "the fight". If he has a lot of brains, he may figure out the difference between you and whoever you get to ride him.

Good luck. You'll get through it.

Aug. 19, 2009, 07:05 PM
Stopping riding to longe your horse rewards him. Horses do not think that far ahead, or associate the events that happen later with you getting off. They don't sit there and ponder, 'Gee, 10 minutes after I acted like a spazz, I wound up being longed. Well sir, I won't do THAT again'. They think the exact opposite of that. When you get off out of frustration or fear, just remember, you are teaching the opposite of what you think you are teaching, and the opposite of what you WANT to teach.

You're teaching him that when he acts like that, he gets a reward. Don't get off when he acts that way. Don't back off for even a second. Even a half a second is a reward.

When your horse misbehaves, punish him. Call it a 'correction' if you like that better. But if you don't do something to correct a behavior, it is going to continue. If you're afraid, work on it with an instructor present who can guide you.

Quit the growling. Just stop that. NEVER use your voice to punish or correct a horse, only use your aids. Your voice should be used ONLY for praise and encouragement and a few very simple, basic commands. Otherwise don't speak. Don't chatter, don't converse, don't discuss. If the horse goes back, make him go forward. if he goes sideways, make him go straight. You know the aids. Keep them simple and uncomplicated. When he does not respond - escalate - IMMEDIATELY. Do not count to three, do not count to two, do not count to one. Immediately. Stay out of his mouth, make him go. As every riding instructor in the world has said at one time or another, 'You have a whip, use it'.

Use your leg, and if the horse does not respond you use your whip until he goes forward or stops going sideways. Be SURE he is not backing up or going sideways due to rider error. Horses are simple creatures. Don't make it so complicated. Just ride the horse. If he doesn't go forward, make sure he knows that isn't what you had in mind. You can't be wimpy and expect him not to take advantage. You have to be firm, clear and correct.

Aug. 21, 2009, 02:04 PM
After a good walk warm up, go right to canter. Then change to trot, then back to canter. Short walk On The Bit not a long rein. Back to canter then trot. He's just developed a bad habit and it can be changed.

Everyone above is right: You are the engineer driving the train not the other way around. You decide when the egg timer goes off. Be the herd leader he needs.