My new guy is a little too clever and, as such, needs constant stimulation. He is also very playful and when he gets naughty, punishment leads to very aggressive behaviour. Admittedly, I am still working through that but I have finally learned that ignoring the bad behaviour and praising the good is actually safer and better for us both. Presently, I do not ride him, only working in hand. He is great on the lunge, very relaxed and responsive, but aside from that, a little ground driving and some basic stretching and softening exercises seem to round out our current repertoire.
Have you used any 'games' to keep your green beans engaged and challenged? I had considered trying clicker training with him as well, but I am not sure if I am coordinated enough :s
Ground poles, weave in and out of cones, work him outside the arena (even take him for a walk on a trail, if you have such a thing, though it would probably help to have someone riding a really solid trail horse along with you), set up trail-type obstacles (teach him to be patient and do the right turns while you work a gate, see if you can back him through parallel rails, even get a little platform to walk him over, if you can find something that will hold his weight.)
I am not riding so this would all need to be in hand. So far these are great suggestions, I could definitely take him for a walk in hand on a trail. We may die but it would be a nice change of scenery! Also thank you for the link!
Ah, the adage my trainer chants - a good horse is a tired horse.
My horse is the same - he's a good citizen, enjoys himself and is more at peace, and not looking to take apart things, not looking to harrass the other ponies, not looking down his long nose from on high at you, when and I say WHEN he gets worked every.single.day. He loves work. He needs work. Work is good. A good horse is a tired horse.
Trainer's website - photos of my horse Airborne under About and Francesca Edwards also in media page 1
ground poles on the lunge are fun -- I will place one at 12 o clock and one at 6 o clock on the circle, or one at 12 and one at 3, or other variations. Really makes them think about where their feet are going.
turn on haunches, turn on forehand are also good things to learn in hand.
ground tying (patience!) is a wonderful thing for a youngun to learn. very useful later on.
Hunters have what is fondly known as the Wheel of Death (or Pain). Fairly long round rails (or cavaletti) arranged in a circle at 12-3-6-9 - then vary how far out you/horse goes over them. i.e., the closer to the center, the tighter/shorter the stride; the farther out, the longer the stride.
I love the trail obstacles idea. Many of these are also keyed to adjusting stride.
Showmanship patterns are great for getting horsie to listen and respond - and Richard Shrake used to make his kids (and their horses) do them without a lead! (comes under the heading of 'don't try this in the open!')
Lots & lots of transitions - even if it's from walk to rein-back to trot a few strides at a time (without spurs :-) ). Turn around you; turn on hindquarters away from you (so you're walking around him).
Good luck. Rude ponies are not good. Even if there's an 'excuse'!
I spend a lot of time doing "ground games' with my guy because there's no indoor and often the outdoor footing is questionable. I play "walk at my speed, please," and he has to match his speed to mine, no matter how slow. We also do turn on the forehand one step at a time, which is hard for him--he'd rather rush and get it over. When we were at a barn with an indoor and no one else was there, we'd play "treasure hunt." I'd put carrot chunks on top of the mounting block, and other places and he'd have to find them.
Ground poles (on the lunge line or in hand) always help keep them on their toes. What about teaching him to stand on a pedestal or cross a bridge like they do with Western horses? Western trainer Richard Winters does some cool ground work on the lunge line and you can find him on YouTube or HRTV.
When my horse needs a little time off and we are tired of hand-walking in the indoor, we will play "What's new around the barn". Just a quiet walk to all corners of the barn at his pace and I let him sniff around and eat whatever is safe. He has made many friends this way. He's very curious and it makes him feel independent.
Sounds like your guy needs a safe turnaround buddy of the horsey variety to get his kicks out with. My guy has a few safe buddies I will turn him out with in the indoor arena and let them play. It helps keep the winter silliness at bay. My horse is a little accident prone on his own and I'm an overprotective mom, so it took awhile for me to take this step.
Awesome suggestions, thank you! He is w/t/c under saddle but it is very green (was broke in August with 2 days of riding per week). I currently do some turn on the forehand and flexion work in hand, but would love to learn more about in-hand lateral movements. He is a large draft and at almost 8 years old, he is fairly set in his ways and until I bought him some months back, he lived his entire life in one field, with limited handling. I get cross with him for his aggressive behaviour and posturing, but really, considering how drastically different his world is, he has a great mind and a good heart. Most of the training is going to be re-training myself, I suspect!
3-in-1 activity center features components that are designed to keep horses entertained and happy including a shatterproof mirror, sliding latch with clicking sound, and a rope with detachable toy “Earl” rider. Mounting hardware included. 28” x 20” x 8.5”.