My OTTB gets mad. At first I thought it was that he was having a "baby" moment. But it's consistent. If I bring him in from the field (on a weekend) and all of his buddies are out (and the sun is usually shining through the windows in the indoor) he gets MAD. He will not focus. He pulls. He braces, He tries to get fast and run. The ONLY thing that I can figure is that he is mad that his buddies are out and he is in. No amount of riding or longeing seems to make it better. I've tried things to focus him; circles, serpentines, transitions, random poles so he has to pay attention. Nothing seems to work. This sort of sporadic ADD on his part. Granted, there are times when he is fresh and 'up.' And granted, NJ's weather this winter has been CRUMMY and COLD! This behavior is different that just being fresh. He gets P/O'd! Thankfully, he's not nasty, doesn't buck, rear, etc. I think on these days, I will wait until he has buddies in the barn so that we get something productive done.
Anyone else have an OTTB who does this, or something similar?
Mine reverts to being downright POed sometimes when I am asking him for something and he gets confused. Instead of thinking about it, he just gets mad and pouts. It's actually pretty funny if you're watching him do it to someone else. Not so much when you're riding it. He'll go toward leg, back when you say go forward, pretty much the opposite of what you ask. Then he gets over it and we move on. Very opinionated, but it's really rare he does it!
I wish mine was RARE. It's about once a week. I've only had him since October and he HAS been coming along nicely so this set back is discouraging,to say the least! 2 weeks ago, he was cantering quietly, bending, serpentines, staying balanced in the corners, halt halting....now this! It feels almost worse than when I got him in October... i hope it's just a phase. The weather has been really cold and unpleasant.
Oh yeah mine def. get mad... to the point where he grinds his teeth and wrinkles up his nose... lol.. he's so stinkin cute though... however my poor boy was pretty darn fried when I got him and he really only gets MAD when I push my ride just that tiny bit to far... so really it's usually my fault but TB's are sooooooooo stinking smart and sensitive that him being MAD because his friends are out and he isn't sounds perfectly logical to me! They are the best though I freakin love TB;s!
Mine may get mad, but he's so passive aggressive it's hard to tell. Example: Finally got to ride last Sunday for the first time in a couple of weeks (weather, illness, job that supports Mr. Pissy Pants). There were six of us in the ring. It started as I prepared to mount - Mr. PP actually had the nerve to move away!!! And then realized what he had done and figured the best place to go was backwards - about half way across the ring. Sigh. I get off the block and go retrieve Mr. OMG Am I Going to Die Now????? Nope. Lead him back to the block and, knowing he escaped death by a mere whisker - he stands like a stone.
I get on and we start to walk around. Apparently, my horse misplaced his brain somewhere - his attention is all on something other than me. Who's that coming up behind/beside me? Should I follow her? Who's over there? Oh, look at the pony rolling in the pasture - how cute! Huh - you want me to what? Well, I'll show you - and commences to lean on the reins and chew on his bit - which is his passive aggressive mode. Teeth are fine, tack fits - he's just being Mr. Pissy Pants. It's so much fun trying to ride your horse while he's leaning on the reins - not. So, I ask for the trot and apply leg - whee - we race now, right? Uh, no. I gave it up as a bad day and arranged for my trainer to do a "tune up" ride on him - which we agreed he would need when I bought him in April.
Horse - like kids, I always love him, but like him - some days not so much!
You may want to have your horse checked out by a chiropractor. You'd be amazed at how many training problems it can resolve. They especially like to get their backs out of whack during blanket season with all the extra weight they carry around.
My other suggestion besides what you're already doing is to try as hard as you can to get your horse out of the arena more often. My OTTB reliably threw tantrums 20 minutes into the ride (similar to what you describe) whenever I rode him in the ring, but was wonderful (and so much more focused!!) when I schooled dressage on the grass. He also enjoyed a long walk around the farm once a week. I'm pretty sure his tantrums were his way of saying he just didn't like the ring. As soon as I decided to stay out of the ring as much as possible, using it mostly for jump schooling and at most one dressage school a week, his dressage improved by leaps and bounds. I know this is tough in the winter but if your horse is barefoot, it's fine to ride on the snow and where we are even if the ring is frozen, the grass footing is usually really nice to ride on (we have tall enough grass on one section of the farm that it's pretty soft even if the ground is frozen).
While I don't think horses are capable of the emotion of anger, I do consider my TB mare very 'opinionated' She used to have the eqivalent of a teenage temper tantrum, complete with stamping feet, rolling eyes and tossing head. Right before she was about to blow up, she give a little squeal, grunt then just explode. When I heard that I knew to grab mane or bail. Some years later she is still opinionated and will let me know when she is displeased with the job at hand, but it's more of a debate with us now.
Maybe take a break from the riding and work on some fun ground work? or if riding add some ground poles just to walk and trot over. TB's do get bored easily so give him a challenge
“You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” - Wayne Gretsky
I have successfully dealt with this with a young mare by clicker training. She was very food oriented so after I dumped her out in my back field by herself, I taught her to touch a target. I hung "targets" on the fence and eventually got her so I could send her from one to the other. Then, with the help of a friend who held a target--I targeted (while I was on her) her all the way from the pasture to the ring. Set up more targets interspersed with walk, trot, ground poles regular riding stuff and she got better and better. This method worked for this extreme horse. Took her mind off the other horses.
For other horses that are just distracted TTouch and stroking with the "wand" and tapping their hooves etc will interrupt their habitual behavior. Lowering the head and adding TTouches teaches them a new habitual behavior--relaxation.
I work with a lot of OTTBs most a very herd bound. Some are angry. Some have PTSD with the anger.
Maggini- OMg so true get them out of the ring... I know this will sound crazy ... I rode and trained with and for a pretty successful show barn when I had my last OTTB.. between trying to ride between getting to the ring and being at the horseshow and rushing form horseshow to home to ride it was nuts! SO he was really getting shafted and rushed and I was always riding in the ring. I was hoping to make him a jumper but just wasn't having time... I threw a western saddle on him one day and took him to a jackpot "team penning".. OMG this horse who NEVER walked anywhere... (there was always a slight jig) was the most attentive alert and calm horse ever! He was amazing he WALKED everywhere, listened to every aide I gave him, did everything I asked. We even had our first completely balanced, in control, happy canter EVER! After, this night I kept training him as a jumper but would take him a few times a month to these jackpots and made sure i had time to devote specifically to him... If I didn't have enough time to spend properly with him I just wouldn't ride him... I figured no ride was better than a pissy ride... I grew up riding TB's and oh wow did they ever teach me patience and that you will never get anywhere with ANY horse by "making" them do something... I remember being a 13year old girl... with the "I know what I'm doing attitude" and trying to have that attitude with a certain TB... that horse would throw my ass so quick! it was hillarious as soon as I got pissy with him... IT WAS OVER for me! I learned sooooooo much from TB's...
Oh yeah and I am sure I am am speaking for all of you when I say.... There is no other animal on this planet that can Buck, rear, crowhop, gallop, twist, shout, squeal, and cow kick all in one fell swoop... if they want your butt off... that's what they'll get... but god I love them... because they are also... the most athletic, graceful, sensitive, loving, try their hardest horses around.... I've always said that once a TB bonds with you.. they are like Lassie they'll do anything for ya. ... ok sorry off my soap box now
Well, I don't' know if I would call what my guy did one day as "getting mad", but he certainly let me know he was "displeased" with his situation.....
On the day in question, I arrive just before it is my guy's turn to be turned out with his paddock mates.....Awesome, I don't have to deal with a muddy horse BEFORE I ride....
So at this point in my riding life I do not ask the moon from him and usually just enjoy a nice balanced hack....He is lazy in nature, but we had been making great strides in moving nicely off my leg in the previous weeks....On this day, he let his displeasure be known that HE had to stay in and OMG WORK, while his buds were out standing around in the mud...."LEG, LEG?....What's That????"....On the one day I didn't bring a crop to the table, boy I could have really used it.... My stubborn nature would not let him get my goat, and I diligently kept at him to get ANYTHING forward out of him...His stubborn nature, said "I don't think I will move forward today"....
Of course I won, but it was clear he was letting me know I had crossed some sort of line in his book that "Hey lady, I will cart you around and do what you ask on most days, but DO NOT make me work when I haven't had even 5 minutes out with my buds beforehand......
Boy I am glad to read all of these responses. Maybe MAD was a bad way to put it - definitely temper tantrum.
My guy DOES wear shoes, so I can't really do him outside. I don't think he has ever liked the indoor (got him in October and he is always taking me to the door, or the windows so he can look outside. ) So I agree that part of it is that. It was recommended to me, by my dressage friend in MD, to take him to some natural horsemanship/cowboy kind of stuff (tarps, group work, etc.) and I am definitely going to look into that if I can afford it. I would really like for him to get exposed to all of that and I think he would benefit from a change.
Maggini - i was waiting on the chiro until I had him in consistent work and muscled. I think now is the time. Have been working him consistently since October... My old horse, who I sold in 2007, GREATLY benefited from the chiro.
It's been so long since I have ridden a TB that I have forgotten all of these little things about them! Thanks for the support...I REALLY appreciate it!
Oh yeah THANKFULLY my guy only throws the kind of tantrum where he is distracted, pulls, speeds up, etc. He has NEVER EVER bucked, reared, squealed, etc. while I was on him. Always a perfect gentleman in THAT regard!
Just don't try to ride during feeding time. Might as well get off and throw in the towel...He LOVES his food and is VERY VOCAL about it! lol
Haha, my guy gets mad when I ask him to do something different from what we've been doing...it's like he KNOWS the other way is right and you will never convince him otherwise! Like when I tried to teach him to counter canter...ahah that was fun. I could just hear him thinking "I'm ... on ... the ... wrong .... lead ... IDIOT!"
ha ha ha! that's funny. Now that my guy finally (after 4 months) has learned to pick up the left lead, he gets mad when he accidentally picks up the right lead! I always have to tell myself NOT to pick a fight with this horse. I will NOT win. EVER. I need to learn how to make him think that going slow was HIS idea!
yes, you definitely need to stop thinking of it in terms of mad.
He's not mad. He's probably pretty scared at being pulled away from the comfort and safety of his herd. It's called being herd bound
It means he doesn't trust you, doesn't respect you, doesn't see you as a safe place.
So, stop forcing him into things, and go back to some really basic work he knows very well, and teach him that you are a good place to be.
You might need to start some of this much closer to his buddies so he can bridge the gap.
Wow Jb. I NEVER really thought of it like this. It does make sense. Any suggestions on HOW to do this, though? I've never had a horse with trust issues, and am not really sure how to make ME the safe place.