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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2006
    Location
    Virginia
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    78

    Default Problem w/ starting wb.

    I have a beautiful Selle Francais g., 5 yrs. old, never ridden, handles beautifuly on the ground, lunges w/ an englsh or heavy western saddle, long lines, ties, poneys,exc. w/ farrier, etc, etc, The problem I'm having is that as soon as you put your weight in the stirrup ( not mounting), he goes nuts---rears, runs off bucking. Apparently'he's not comfortable w/ having a person above him on his back or seing people above him. Any ideas on how to get him comfortable + accepting of a rider?? Thanks, Judy



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    Deep South
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    14,667

    Default

    Don't put your foot in the stirrup. Get somebody to help you that knows what they are doing. Start with somebody standing on a mounting block beside him and work your way SLOWLY to putting weight on his back. If you carry on with this as you are going, you WILL get hurt and possibly create a problem horse.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2002
    Posts
    1,383

    Default

    Had the SAME problem with my horse in starting him. I sent him to an event trainer who actually gave up on him and was going to send him back to me. She ended up asking her farrier if he knew anyone who could help with him, and he volunteered. Apparently he'd broken tons of young horses before he became a farrier. What it took was a good cowboy who could get on fast and ride out the bucks/rears for my horse to realize we weren't trying to kill him. He got on really fast and disengaged the bucks & rears by pulling his head around to the side. He had to do this several times, then got on and off and on and off until my horse finally quit the bucking. He kept him for a week, and I got back a calm, much different horse. But, he did try the tricks with me 2 more times after I got him back. What it took was for me to use the one-rein stop method of getting on him. Once I'm on him, we're fine. It was very unnerving, but he's much better now and I'm actually enjoying him this year. I agree that you need to send him away to somebody who can deal with this before you get seriously hurt.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 6, 2004
    Location
    central New York State
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    2,847

    Default

    I agree with Equibrit. I start a lot of youngsters-off all breeds/types. The horse is always bareback when we start. When we get to the point in training where I will be on a youngster we first practice just the standing at the mounting block where they have to stand still. We do this on both sides of the horse.

    Then I reach over the horse and touch. rub and pat the other side, rub, touch pat the his hip etc.

    Then I jump up and down lightly on the mounting block-I do this honestly b/c I am shorter and often have to jump up to get on a horse bareback. Repeat the process until you get a calm, relaxed horse. The first time I lay over a horse, I tip his nose in slightly towards me. I just lay over them, if they move fine, if the stand there, great. Repeat a number of times.

    Then with the help of someone I lay over then and they lead the horse around-I am laying over them like a sack of potatoes, head on one side, legs dangling on the other. I have a lead in my hand and both leads are attached to their halter. Repeat. Again when then are relaxed and calm, we repeat again and then I bring my leg over the horse and go astride and we walk off.

    Also, it may sound funny but when ever my horses are laying down in the pasture, I go out to them and sit on them. I start when they are babies, obviously with little weight on them. By the time they are ready to be sat on, they have had me "on" them.

    I am more than happy to help if you want to PM me.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
    Location
    Northeast
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    10,361

    Thumbs up

    Go with Equibrit and csh. The other method works, but can leave you open to liability, or an injured horse.

    BTW, this reaction is not unusual.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2005
    Location
    Wellborn, Florida
    Posts
    697

    Default Good method

    I agree with the gentle and gradual way of starting horses. It is much better to prevent any problems from happening, rather than trying to fix the problem once it has surfaced.

    Unfortunately lots of times the "cowboy' way of fixing things does not work, rather creates an even bigger problem. It is not very difficult to imagine what does jumping into a heavy, rigid-treed saddle does to the horse's backmuscles and psyche, then pulling, jerking on the young horse's mouth while the "bucks are ridden out". What it actually does is create more problems that are detrimental to the true equestrian goald of improving the horse's athletic ability. Furthermore the "cowboy' way of fixing things does not consider the possibility of the horse having physical problems. It is imperative that all causes of physical origin are eliminated before a problem can be fixed. It is not easy because the pain may not come from a source what an average veterinarian can even recognise or correct (saddle fitting, obscure dental problems, alignment or nerve-problems). If a cowboy hops on a horse in pain and "breaks" the horse, even if the horse mentally gives up, what you get back is a broken horse and the problem will eventually resurface on a much higher level.
    On the other hand, i admit, there are times when the horse is just plain beligerent, the undesireable behavior is established, and the horse needs a very firm "talking-to".
    The trick is to know what to do in what situation. That is why the OP needs a very knowledgable and skilled professional.
    There are much less drastic and more sympathetic ways of fixing undesireable behavior in horses - but not too many "trainers" know those ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by classicsporthorses View Post
    I agree with Equibrit. I start a lot of youngsters-off all breeds/types. The horse is always bareback when we start. When we get to the point in training where I will be on a youngster we first practice just the standing at the mounting block where they have to stand still. We do this on both sides of the horse.

    Then I reach over the horse and touch. rub and pat the other side, rub, touch pat the his hip etc.

    Then I jump up and down lightly on the mounting block-I do this honestly b/c I am shorter and often have to jump up to get on a horse bareback. Repeat the process until you get a calm, relaxed horse. The first time I lay over a horse, I tip his nose in slightly towards me. I just lay over them, if they move fine, if the stand there, great. Repeat a number of times.

    Then with the help of someone I lay over then and they lead the horse around-I am laying over them like a sack of potatoes, head on one side, legs dangling on the other. I have a lead in my hand and both leads are attached to their halter. Repeat. Again when then are relaxed and calm, we repeat again and then I bring my leg over the horse and go astride and we walk off.

    Also, it may sound funny but when ever my horses are laying down in the pasture, I go out to them and sit on them. I start when they are babies, obviously with little weight on them. By the time they are ready to be sat on, they have had me "on" them.

    I am more than happy to help if you want to PM me.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2001
    Location
    Port Orange, FL
    Posts
    1,904

    Default

    Can you pony him ?
    Ponying them is a good way to get them used to having somebody up high and to hear a voice coming from up there.
    I also rub my legs on their side when I pony them and touch them a lot. Then, I do what the other people say. Start at the mounting block and make my way up.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2002
    Posts
    4,941

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mademoiselle View Post
    Can you pony him ?
    Ponying them is a good way to get them used to having somebody up high and to hear a voice coming from up there.
    .
    Yes, I was actually going to ask the OP if this horse had been regularly ponied before???



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2007
    Location
    Beyond the pale.
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    2,957

    Default

    Szipi you have some funny ideas about cowboys. You ever worked with one?

    Every unbroke horse is threatened by a human on their back- its instinctive- that is where the lion sits to break their necks and eat them. Thats why you spend time desensitizing them to this very thing by working them around you as you stand on a tall mounting block, standing on stepstools to groom them, sitting on the rail as you work with them. Its the "cowboy way". It has always worked for me in starting youngsters. Of course, I learned it from real cowboys, not the ones in the movies.

    The cowboy way:

    Have a bunch of your buddies all sitting on the top rail of the round pen whenever you work youngsters for a start. Have them all laughing and talking and applauding and smoking and such so the young horse gets used to lots of action and noise. Spend several sessions gentling the horse, getting him used to tack, working to voice commands, etc. When the time is right, have one of your buddies hold the horse and climb gently on from the top rail of the round pen, or swing a leg over from the extra tall mounting block. The horse should be well used to the weight of the saddle and also to seeing people above his back while working. Generally they do not react much. Have your buddy lead him around a few steps, pat the horse, get off and repeat in a little while.

    Of course, I am usually alone, so when I first get on, it is generally from the mounting block, and I just sit there. If the horse makes no fuss, I eventually get off. If the horse takes a few steps to get used to the weight, I pat him. its all good. I have never had a horse buck or rear on the first mounting with this method. Generally, there has been NO protest from the horses I started myself- no bucks, no rears, no pitching fits- for the months of early training. And thats the way I like it.
    "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2007
    Posts
    839

    Default

    I've been in this situation a few times. I find it's much more common in older horses who haven't been started than in younger ones.

    I second the idea of ponying. Once he sees you up there over him, and realizes nothing bad is happening, it helps. You can bring him up close and scratch him or give him treats and then lean over him so he sees you up there too.

    If you have the facilities, one horse I started in the water. We have a nice pond at my barn, once the horse got comfortable going in about chest deep I would float up to his back and gradually hop on. The water slows their legs, and if you get chucked off it's not so bad :-)

    I know natural horsemanship is frowned on here, but the business with the bags on the long stick do get a horse used to seeing something scary up above him.

    I've also used a pseudo-rider (in one case, a large stuffed raccoon) and tied it to the saddle and lunged with it bouncing all over the place.

    This is also controversial, and I realize that a horse could get hurt, but sometimes it's just necessary to have a good halter and rope and tie them short to a stout pole or tree. This is of course after other options have been explored. When a horse is being unreasonable, we sometimes have to employ force to let them know we ARE NOT trying to kill them. Once he knows he is tied, you can try putting different objects in the saddle like the stuffed animals, I've used a mounting block before, etc.

    If you think it's an issue of weight vs seeing someone above him, there's that new weighted surcingle system, or you could use a cheap saddle bag and add rocks, salt blocks or water bottles to it.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2003
    Location
    Joliette, QC, Canada
    Posts
    4,286

    Default

    I have experienced this on a badly started filly...Same same thing.

    First, make sure your horse trust you on both side. A lot of people handle their horse just on one side unfortunately.

    Second bring you a lot of carrot sticks and with the mounting block, have someone work on flexion on both side and gave him a carrot. The purpose of this is he will see you and the carrot will help him relax, the flexion will prevent him from bolting.
    When you will be capable to lean on the saddle, have him flex yourself on the oether side ...I know this one will demand you to stretch but he should be able to flex to get the carrot.

    I rehab a very nive hano filly with the carrot sticks method ! and the flexion !

    Good luck !
    Élène

    Fighting ovarian cancer ! 2013 huge turnaround as I am winning the battle !..
    http://esergerie.wordpress.com



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2003
    Location
    Cocoa, Fla
    Posts
    4,107

    Default

    Had a gelding that hated mounting but handled everything up to that point - laying across his back, etc. Turns out it was the sitting up (abopve him) part.

    Start with ponying him from another (taller) horse. When you do so (in a pasture in case he gets loose) reach over and pat him, when he accepts that press your leg against his side while patting (feeding) him. Idea is to desensitize him. Then pony with bridle, and when comfortable add saddle, repeating everything done earlier.

    When he's bullet proof on this put weight on his back.

    One thing I also did with babies was stading in barn I hovered over him on side of the stall while someone held him in stall. Repeated everything done while ponying. Slowly arranged myself so I could SLOWly put right leg over his back - cookies and talking softly, and calmly is important. Repeated MANY time til he was comfortable. Then lowered my body until I was ALMOST sitting on him in stall - all my weight was on the stall side. Repeat MANY times until he's comfortable.

    Any time he scoots forward away from you allow it then bring him back and repeat until he stays put. Idea is his scooting forward at this point in "flight" syndrome - better than Fight - so allow it until he resists the urge to run. LOTS of praise and cookies/carrots/goodies at first for every little positive action then ease off until he provides the reaction YOU want (i.e. nothing for scooting forward but as long as he stands cookie, then nothing for standing until he accepts your right leg going over his side, then nothing until leg can rest along his side...gradually. Be VERY careful - if he's got fighting into his brain he could try to kick you so you MUST go VERY slowly. Also suggest a stall at least 12 x 12 so he has a place to get away from you but not too far.

    After all that and you can sit on him then you'll want to repeat with weight in stirrup before "getting on"...gradually weaning him into standing quietly at mounting block and accepting rider mounting (normally). LOTS of praise and cookies for this - you have to get him to where he trusts YOU (and handler) so he doesn't feel like he needs to fight and eventually like he doesn't need to run (flight) either.

    Plan on 6 months and if you take your time you may be aboe to shorten it considerably. Good luck.
    Sandy in Fla.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2002
    Posts
    1,383

    Default

    Guys, we DID gentle him and did ALL the pre-desensitizing. Stood over him, waved hands all around, touched him EVERYWHERE while standing next to him. He was FINE with all of it until weight was put on, whether it was just a foot in the stirrup, or laying over him gently. Some horses just DON'T react the way you'd hoped despite doing everything right. And NO, it was not saddle pain. His saddle fit him just fine and we tried several different saddles just to rule that out. He was on a lunging program for 4 months before we even tried mounting.

    Any my "cowboy" was NOT Mr. YA-HOO let's bronc! He started many young horses gently and calmly, and he even said they just don't all walk off nicely like you would hope. He very calmly rode it out, while asking him to stop the bronc routine by turning his head to the side until my horse understood that's NOT what we wanted him to do!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 29, 2007
    Location
    Northern CA
    Posts
    1,616

    Default

    First, I don't think this is a WB problem, I think it is a "some young horses" problem. I had a Morgan several years ago who was the same way. It took a few years before he was confident having someone get on his back, although he had an excuse - I'd gotten him from someone who did use a couple of vaqueros to start him - and it was a yahoo event. On the other hand, I've had youngsters who were easy and confident from day 1.

    If it was me, I'd send him off to someone with experience dealing with cold backed young horses - and that is exactly what I did with the Morgan. And in most cases, that is going to be a "cowboy" - although I think that is a very generic description used to describe anyone who starts horses in a western saddle. The two cowboys and one cowgirl I've used over the years have all been very gentle and quiet - no leaping on and yahooing. Quietly and confidently desensitizing the horse, then getting on. Usually in a round pen or small area.

    Sometimes we forget - nature has ingrained fight or flight into the horse's brain, long before man put a saddle on the horse. Natural enemies include wolves and cougars, and something on the horse's back usually means death
    www.MysticOakRanch.com Friesian/Warmblood Crosses, the Ultimate Sporthorse
    Director, WTF Registry



  15. #15
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    Oct. 10, 2007
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    down south
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    Default

    Never tired this and don't know how it works but I've heard a lot of "cowboys" will put a sack of potatoes tied to the saddle on their back to get them use to the weight up there. Then they gradually up it to 2 when they are comfortable with one and so on.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  16. #16
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    Sep. 29, 2007
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    Northern CA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rabicon View Post
    Never tired this and don't know how it works but I've heard a lot of "cowboys" will put a sack of potatoes tied to the saddle on their back to get them use to the weight up there. Then they gradually up it to 2 when they are comfortable with one and so on.
    I bet Parelli will sell us a potato man
    www.MysticOakRanch.com Friesian/Warmblood Crosses, the Ultimate Sporthorse
    Director, WTF Registry



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2004
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FriesianX View Post
    I bet Parelli will sell us a potato man
    ::snort:: My laptop keys were already sticky and now I'm in real trouble!



  18. #18
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    Oct. 10, 2007
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    down south
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    Default

    potato man, thats great
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  19. #19
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    Feb. 6, 2003
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    Deep South
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Judi A View Post
    I have a beautiful Selle Francais g., 5 yrs. old, never ridden, handles beautifuly on the ground, lunges w/ an englsh or heavy western saddle, long lines, ties, poneys,exc. w/ farrier, etc, etc,

    Some of you people need remedial training !



  20. #20
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    Mar. 16, 2003
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    Wet and Windy Washington
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    Default

    Have you tried desensitizing him to weight? For example I use a western saddle and just hang on the horn and gently start to jump up and down which gets them used to the weight and movement. As they get used to it I increase it until my foot is in the stirrup and I jump up and down. Eventually I lift my body weight up fully then down.

    Sounds like you may want to send him out to someone though if he has some serious issues with this.
    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.



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