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  1. #1
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    Angry I don't know this horse in the cross ties!!!

    I just moved to a new barn. I am really happy with the care. It is just my kind of place, small, privately managed. Pampered horses left and right. Only issue is that at night and during the winter, I have to use the indoor cross ties are in the aisle way. My horse that used to be so quiet and calm in the cross tie area (when it was a cross tie / wash stall area) and 5 years prior to that, when I was in a small type barn with x-ties in the aisleway- he was always quiet.

    All of a sudden at this new place, he is fishtailing and prancing back and forth and pawing (HUGE no no -in my book). He's surrounded by all sorts of new horses and I know he's still settling in as we are on just week 2.

    How much discipline do I apply now? Do I ignore it and wait?

    Do I go the nice route and reward the quiet moments?

    Do I go stern and tough? I am thinking about attaching a stud chain to give him a reminder. Do I use the whip when he prances back and forth? I don't want to unsettle him more, but this horse KNOWS better! Ground manners have been impeccable nearly his whole life!

    I am feeling bad for him. I don't know this horse.
    "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
    "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
    Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!



  2. #2
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    I think I would not get too overboard with correction(whip,stud chain), but rather verbal correction with a tap or smack to get him paying attention. I think with cold weather and moving to a new barn his brain just hasn't totally settled yet. Has he been doing any work since moving or just kind of hanging around?



  3. #3
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    Thanks for talking me off the ledge. Yes, he's been doing work- although not hard work right now but he's very fit. And he's getting regularly turned out.
    "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
    "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
    Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!



  4. #4
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    I'd correct him since he knows better than to act like an idiot- 2 weeks is plenty of time to settle in. What I usually do with one acting a fool in x-ties is growl "Cut the crap", followed by an open handed smack on the side or hitting the wall (because it makes them think OMG it could have been ME!) with a whip if neccessary for added emphasis. I have no objections to a chain shank, but I don't think it's appropriate for this situation.



  5. #5
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    Could it be that he has forgotten about cross ties?

    This is what happened with my OTTB gelding that I had. He was to the point of becoming dangerous to himself or others and I was told, "pick your battles."

    My situation was a bit different though. He had never been on cross ties and since he was an OTTB, was probably never on cross ties.

    I had no issues with just tying him to something, so, instead of cross ties, that is what I did.

    It is nice to be able to have a horse that can use the cross ties but if they at least tie well, I don't really see much of a use from them.

    If he is dangerous (like my OTTB) when he is tied with cross ties, I'd just pick my battles. Does he REALLY have to cross tie or would we be fighting an issue that really is not that important?

    I am not saying that anytime he acts up, that you should give in just because he maybe being dangerous- that in itself could become dangerous. But there is nothing wrong with picking battles.

    Are you sure there is not another horse near that he is afraid of that is causing him to act that way? Maybe a horse stalled in an area close to him at the crossties that he doesn't want to turn his back to?



  6. #6
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    I would work on ground tying and standing still in the cross tie area without actually tying. Once he's standing calmly, go back to cross trying. I would try to avoid disciplining the horse while he's cross tied because that would risk creating a pulling back problem.

    The root problem is not that he won't cross tie, it's that he won't stand.



  7. #7
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    I would work to CALM him rather than punish him. Ask him to lower his head and keep asking him to lower it when he raises it. I would use a "wand" or dressage whip to stoke his body and legs to the ground and talk to him calmly. I would reward him when he stands still for just a few moments. It is a new place and it takes time for horses to get used to things. If he is fish tailing around is it because he is nervous about what is behind him and wants a better look? Was he previously cross tied in an area with a wall behind him? Try facing him a different way.

    Punishment tends to make horses nervous and I would not use it here. Training is "venue specific" and just because he was good at another place is no reason for him to be good at this new place. He doesn't "know" better. For him this is an entirely new thing. Help him to understand what he is supposed to do.

    I second the poster who said to teach him to ground tie. It is valuable for any horse to do this. Linda Tellington-Jones' "Statue" exercise is helpful for this as are Carolyn Resnick's "Uberstreiken" exercises.

    I have some useful exercises here: www.theexcellenthorse.com

    Good luck with him!



  8. #8
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    Agree that 2 weeks is far long enough to negate any excuse of "but it's new!" LOL

    Fidgeting on the ties is never reason for punishment. That just makes them think something's wrong with being on the ties. It is reason for correction though.

    does he do this if you walk away? What are you doing when he does this? Any recognition on your part, in response to his antics, conscious or not, is rewarding him for that behavior. I totally agree with praising to high heaven the instant he stands still, even if, for now, he's still on alert. You cannot tell him "calm down!" but you can do other things that lead to calming down. If he knows the head-down cue, that's a great way to help with this, as lowering the head is a physiological cue to relax a bit. If he doesn't, well, he needs to learn

    Some of this (re) training may need to take place off the crossties, because part of this may need to allow him to move his feet while you work on some of the other parts.

    I sort of disagree with "just because he was good at another place is no reason for him to be good at this new place." In one sense, I do agree that some training IS venue-specific. But if the behavior degrades at a new place, it only means the training wasn't as good as you thought it was, and the distractions are outweighing the amount of training that IS there
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  9. #9
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    My two year old didn't have much CT experience when I got him. He kept wiggling. I kept saying softly "MIDDLE" and correcting his body and being very quiet. Once he was in the middle I would just pet him and tell him what a genius he was.

    He still gets a bit diagonal from time to time, but it's usually because he wants to see what I'm doing. I just correct him and say "MIDDLE" and don't make a big deal about it.

    Now he is usually very relaxed and pretty much falls asleep on the cross tie.

    Ignore the behavior you don't want, praise the behavior you want. When he does stand quietly make a big fuss over him.
    ==================
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  10. #10
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    You said he cross-tied before "when it was a cross tie / wash stall area". Did he always have a wall behind him? Some horses don't like not having that back wall if they're used to having it there. Even though it seems like to cross-tie in the aisle is the same thing to us, but it might not be to him?



  11. #11
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    do you have to use cross ties?

    I just tie to the trailer or to the stall.

    In fact I boarded at a place where they did not allow you to tack in cross ties or the outside of the stall. You had to tack up INSIDE your stall. If you can work it out where you only need to be on one side of your horse when you tack him up you could do that...
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  12. #12
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    I would absolutely correct the behavior. But without going overboard (hitting, yelling, making a scene.) Just leave a leadrope clipped on his halter and when he gets nutty just take the rope and position him back in the middle and give a firm WHOA. Every. Single. Time. Then if he's standing there quietly and patiently, sure give him a little treat and a pet. I haul my horses all over the place for all kinds of events and rides, and they don't get 2 weeks or 2 months to "settle in" at a show or at an endurance ride. They have to be quiet and stick their nose in the hay or stand there tied or whatever, and do it politely and quietly. It takes training. I can now take one of my horses off the trailer at a strange place, tie them up to the side and go on about my business of unloading the trailer, registering, setting up my camp, or whatever else I have to do. But it sure didn't start off that way. It took a lot of consistency and repetition.

    I would not just wussy out and tie him inside a stall so you don't have to deal with the cross tie misbehavior. I would train the horse. I think people make too many excuses for poor behavior instead of taking the time to train properly.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MistyPony View Post
    You said he cross-tied before "when it was a cross tie / wash stall area". Did he always have a wall behind him?
    ^ This.

    From his tiny equine pea brain perspective, being cross tied in a hallway with lots of stimulation in front, to the left, to the right and behind isn't even in the same universe as cross tyoing in a washrack (generally facing a hallway so even forward stimulation is limited).

    From your perspective it's "cross tying, who is this horse?" From his, it is a whole new scary world. Add to that it's a new place, it's winter, he's not in full work... yes, it could be a recipe for distraction and misbehavior.

    Like everyone said, don't punish him, that will probably just reinforce his opinion that it IS scary. Instead work on cross tying 101. For me that is starting with standing still in the aisle (just you and a lead and reinforcing "whoa" when he gets distracted and rewarding him when he stands still. Then add one side of cross tie with the lead on the other so you can still use your tool (the lead) to reinforce whoa (and reward standing still).

    You may even want to keep the lead on for a few weeks once you go to full cross ties, if only because I find that humans are about the worst for letting horses slip back into bad habits on cross ties. We know they can only go so far back and forth and sideways, so we get lazy and let them shift around... because you know a horse is so smart he can differentiate between a "little shifting around doesn't bug me" vs. "whipping around annoys the crap out of me". At least having that lead in your hand reminds you that you too have a job, and that job is reminding your horse to stand still while you are working around him.
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.



  14. #14
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    But guys, her original post said he was fine at a barn for 5 years where the crossties were in the aisleway (prior to the barn where the crossties were situated with a wall behind them.)

    Reference:
    My horse that used to be so quiet and calm in the cross tie area (when it was a cross tie / wash stall area) and 5 years prior to that, when I was in a small type barn with x-ties in the aisleway- he was always quiet.



  15. #15
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    Oh okay, missed that part.



  16. #16
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    Well, since I've dealt w/ a couple of hot wingnuts - here is what I would do.

    Before grooming in the crossties for a ride, I'd go lunge them for 5 or 10 minutes - just to let them blow off steam. Then I would go to the cross ties and expect them to stand still w/ the previously mentioned training techniques.

    Reason - he's moved to a new place. You did not address feed changes but he may be getting too many groceries now. My old mare would become a twitchy, spooky nightmare on high fat very sweet feed. (Oi Vey!). And it's winter. My footing has gone from frozen rutted mud (concrete) to deep snow to ice. The boys simply can not run and play as they normally do and my boys definitely have very happy feet once they get on good footing. Your horse may have more energy than he knows what to do w/ + less work + moving to a new barn + the change in cross tie structure (no back wall). It may be simply a bad recipe... and he's showing it on the cross ties.

    Yes, expect him to act accordingly but it may also be like expecting a 2 yr old child after eating cake, ice cream and kool aid to sit still in church for an hour sermon... just sayin'



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplnurpl View Post
    do you have to use cross ties?

    I just tie to the trailer or to the stall.

    In fact I boarded at a place where they did not allow you to tack in cross ties or the outside of the stall. You had to tack up INSIDE your stall. If you can work it out where you only need to be on one side of your horse when you tack him up you could do that...
    I don't allow cross tying in my barn as it is one of the most dangerous ways to tie.......we tie to the wall in the alley way using TheClip.

    Dalemma



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auventera Two View Post
    But guys, her original post said he was fine at a barn for 5 years where the crossties were in the aisleway (prior to the barn where the crossties were situated with a wall behind them.)

    Reference:
    My horse that used to be so quiet and calm in the cross tie area (when it was a cross tie / wash stall area) and 5 years prior to that, when I was in a small type barn with x-ties in the aisleway- he was always quiet.
    5 years before and in a small quiet barn? No chance that lesson/experience has faded into a distant memory? It's a horse. The only thing they remember that long ago is shit you don't want them to remember.
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.



  19. #19
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    My horse cross ties very well in our grooming area, but I guarantee you if I simply moved him out to the aisle he would have a moment (or more) even though he has lived there most of his life and had no other changes.

    What I would do is start by simply standing in the aisle with him and get him used to the idea that the aisle now doubles as the stand still area (again). Then move up to cross tying but still have a rope on him to train him to stay. Then from there, I'd let go of the rope but just throw it over his back for just in case.

    I'll bet it just hasn't occurred to your guy that he is supposed to remember the aisle is now the grooming area.
    The more perfect our happiness,
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    do our unsolved problems seem.
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  20. #20
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    I am with you SmartAlex. I think I just need to do some more investigative work. Talk to the barn owner to see what is going on, how he is doing for her, for her working student and barn help. He has nearly perfect ground manners, I've had this horse for 10 years, and and an unruly, bad mannered horse he is not- that is not how he and I roll!

    He's typically unflappable unless it involved a plastic bag or the vaccuum hose. This is a horse that I could walk through the gates of hell and his response would be yawn, what's next.

    But like any horse he can have his moments. I could chalk it up to him needing some adjustment time, and manners reinforced but I think something is bothering him and I just need to figure it out and set our game plan.
    "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
    "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
    Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!



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