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Re-educating the 'bully'-ruined horse?

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  • Re-educating the 'bully'-ruined horse?

    I have a 5 year old homebred Hann X. He's the last in a long line of colts that I have bred, broke, and ridden.

    As a two year old, he was chased through a fence, and severed the auxiliary tendon in his hock-and was down for close to two years recuperating from that.

    In the meantime, life happened, I got divorced, and so on, I was able to keep him through the generosity of a family member, and fast forward to last summer.

    I didn't have time to break him-normally, I start my own horses, working under the premise of if you want it done right...that's what happens when you live in TMONW-there are few qualified trainers around.

    Sent him off to a trainer that came highly recommended. I stayed in full contact-and was told Oh he's coming along wonderfully! I wasn't able to get up there to watch-his opening came at an unfortunate time for my work (mid harvest). I spoke to the trainer every three to four days (I'm the owner trainers hate, but THIS. IS. WHY!) Somewhere along the line, they got into a fight that caused the horse to pull back and charge into a panel gate, crushing a sinus. Needless to say, he came home immediately, and I found that he's been ruined. He bucks, rears, and generally bullies the rider. He isn't huge-but big enough-he's 16.3, but he's quite stout, and knows his strength.

    He's got NO forward, NO turn, nothing. Normally, with a horse that wants to rear, I'd boot him forward when he stops, as they can't go UP when they're going forward, but he doesn't have ANY idea that leg pressure = forward. At this point, leg pressure = UP. He flexes nicely w/ long reins; gives to pressure on the ribs laterally.

    He has a solid FORWARD in the round pen/on the lunge line via voice cue-he's respectful and responsive. Lovely transitions, and he's quite athletic. But, that knowledge doesn't transfer to u/s-he has no work ethic, and frankly, I'm at a loss.

    I've tried to restart him from the ground up, and he'll let you mount with no problem. Ask him to walk off, and UP. Anytime he gets unsure, or unwilling, it's up, and as often as not, he comes down and with the added momentum, goes straight into a bucking spree. Anything that isn't his idea, turns into a blowup. And he can really buck.

    When he blows up, I have, so far, been able to ride him through it, but its can't even find a good spot to quit-it continues to escalate and usually, I end up settling for two or three steps of forward on my terms without upward or something equally simple as a 'good time to quit'. It's not improved after a month of work, so I've quit riding him until I can find a better solution. I guess maybe I'm hoping for some been there-done that, advice or some suggestions of something else to try. I can handle a buck, but he's SO damn strong, it's just a matter of time before I have an off day, and can't stick him.

    He's been adjusted chiropractically, he's holding, and Kim is of the opinion that not the issue.

    Saddle fit is good. Fits him very well. He's on 24 hour turnout, and only grass hay.

    There HAS to be a way around this. I refuse to believe that a horse can be too tough to break. But, I'm unsure which direction to go. Do I keep on 'keeping on', and hope that we'll have a breakthrough? I've not had a horse that was this tough, ever, and I'm second guessing myself a little bit. I have HAD buckers before, and they've always 'grown out of it', but Max-I just don't know.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, advice? He's out of a good mare who has never, ever bucked under saddle, and I've never seen her rear, or even threaten, in the 16 years I've owner her, by a W line Hann son of Wendland.
    I am not allowed to look at breeding stock.
    Or babies. Or CANTER, et al.

    ESPECIALLY not CANTER, et al.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Eklecktika View Post
    I have a 5 year old homebred Hann X. He's the last in a long line of colts that I have bred, broke, and ridden.

    As a two year old, he was chased through a fence, and severed the auxiliary tendon in his hock-and was down for close to two years recuperating from that.

    In the meantime, life happened, I got divorced, and so on, I was able to keep him through the generosity of a family member, and fast forward to last summer.

    I didn't have time to break him-normally, I start my own horses, working under the premise of if you want it done right...that's what happens when you live in TMONW-there are few qualified trainers around.

    Sent him off to a trainer that came highly recommended. I stayed in full contact-and was told Oh he's coming along wonderfully! I wasn't able to get up there to watch-his opening came at an unfortunate time for my work (mid harvest). I spoke to the trainer every three to four days (I'm the owner trainers hate, but THIS. IS. WHY!) Somewhere along the line, they got into a fight that caused the horse to pull back and charge into a panel gate, crushing a sinus. Needless to say, he came home immediately, and I found that he's been ruined. He bucks, rears, and generally bullies the rider. He isn't huge-but big enough-he's 16.3, but he's quite stout, and knows his strength.

    He's got NO forward, NO turn, nothing. Normally, with a horse that wants to rear, I'd boot him forward when he stops, as they can't go UP when they're going forward, but he doesn't have ANY idea that leg pressure = forward. At this point, leg pressure = UP. He flexes nicely w/ long reins; gives to pressure on the ribs laterally.

    He has a solid FORWARD in the round pen/on the lunge line via voice cue-he's respectful and responsive. Lovely transitions, and he's quite athletic. But, that knowledge doesn't transfer to u/s-he has no work ethic, and frankly, I'm at a loss.

    I've tried to restart him from the ground up, and he'll let you mount with no problem. Ask him to walk off, and UP. Anytime he gets unsure, or unwilling, it's up, and as often as not, he comes down and with the added momentum, goes straight into a bucking spree. Anything that isn't his idea, turns into a blowup. And he can really buck.

    When he blows up, I have, so far, been able to ride him through it, but its can't even find a good spot to quit-it continues to escalate and usually, I end up settling for two or three steps of forward on my terms without upward or something equally simple as a 'good time to quit'. It's not improved after a month of work, so I've quit riding him until I can find a better solution. I guess maybe I'm hoping for some been there-done that, advice or some suggestions of something else to try. I can handle a buck, but he's SO damn strong, it's just a matter of time before I have an off day, and can't stick him.

    He's been adjusted chiropractically, he's holding, and Kim is of the opinion that not the issue.

    Saddle fit is good. Fits him very well. He's on 24 hour turnout, and only grass hay.

    There HAS to be a way around this. I refuse to believe that a horse can be too tough to break. But, I'm unsure which direction to go. Do I keep on 'keeping on', and hope that we'll have a breakthrough? I've not had a horse that was this tough, ever, and I'm second guessing myself a little bit. I have HAD buckers before, and they've always 'grown out of it', but Max-I just don't know.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, advice? He's out of a good mare who has never, ever bucked under saddle, and I've never seen her rear, or even threaten, in the 16 years I've owner her, by a W line Hann son of Wendland.
    done plenty like him, obviously check the norm thats hes not in pain anywhere
    ie teeth bridle saddle bit and no apparant injuries any soundness issues

    then go back to basics
    1st long rein him to death pardon the pun also re bit him
    also before you do an work with him give time out to settle back into home life so he can re asscoaite the trust issue as sometimes its dwon to how they was treated so iam thinking go back a few steps as in
    let him come to terms that hes safe again as often issues happen whereby the horse is on auto defensive peoeple often take it as agression but if hes been treated roughly and handled roughly then that the last thing that was planted in his mind so hes fearful of doing anything so you have re establish
    that as mental abuse as that what i think has happened here takes longer to deal wit than any pysical abuseand hes had both so try and look at it diffrent way
    you know the cuase of the problems so you sort it it takes time and patince but dont rush him and i will say this i have horses like this that have taken years to come round after a huge mistake such as his as all they remeber is pain
    be firm and not nampy pamby to his problems and give him his set boundaries back in other words re start him as you would ababy that doesnt know anything at all

    Comment


    • #3
      I wonder what he'd think of just being started over, no rush, no pressure, such as just being ponied for a while, then being ponied with a rider on board, getting out into the world- reassociating 'ridden' with fun...and forward. Not up. Is that at all a possibility?

      don't bypass GLS' statement here....i will say this i have horses like this that have taken years to come round after a huge mistake such as his as all they remeber is pain

      There's many a horse out there who is brilliant but a bad start means when pressured and told they WILL do XYZ or they don't know what XYZ even means- they will go up, and they wil go over. All you can do is throw them away and ride it out, you can't even think about getting tight in your own mind. These are the horses that get 'disappeared' out of barns big and small. They couldn't take the program, they got fried, fried, fried.

      baby baby tiny steps. Very best wishes with him. Is there anyone you trust to sit up there and not be bothered by the bucking?

      Gads, what a sad mess. I'm very sorry.

      Comment


      • #4
        Any possible way the crushed sinus is still bothering him in some way? Dental issues after having this injury? If that isn't a problem then I'd go back to simple basic stuff as if he were a new youngster with no real training/handling. Maybe a long period of not working at all but going for walks with him. Pony from another horse?

        I've got a mare here that the previous owner couldn't catch (and I wouldn't have stood still for her to catch me either if I were the horse) so her SO roped her and choked her down. Little trust issue here....she's very slowly coming around (blatant bribery with carrots has helped but I also don't allow anyone else to work with her at this point). Second mare that came with her was the same way but was sick on arrival (nearly died on me!) so got more confinement, handling, treatment and has pretty much come along nicely....will be starting ground work with tack by mid summer on her. On first mare, building more pens so she's more confined instead of being on 20 acre field...once caught she's not bad so this is the goal for spring with her.
        Colored Cowhorse Ranch
        www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
        Northern NV

        Comment


        • #5
          Oh boy. I assume that you feel responsible for him, and that he is nice enough you want to save him, so I won't tell you to get rid of him. Which would be safer.

          I second or third the idea of a rest period, then a restart that goes slowly. Lots of pats and back scratches and hand grazing type things.

          If he is good on the lunge line, add some weight to the saddle so he can become accustomed to carrying weight. Then, after he's adjusted to that, maybe have someone lunge you on him? You would just sit and be a total passenger, let the person who is lunging get him to move. No leg on him at all. You use a voice command just before the lunger (Is that a word?) does. Then, once he is okay with that, a tiny little bit of a suggestion of a hint of a leg. And once he is okay with that, a bit more.

          I wish you luck.

          Comment


          • #6
            I recall a few horses coming in to my trainers like this.
            They re-did all the ground work and when all that was going well, they re-did all the pre-mounting work. The owner of one kept telling them that he "knew" all this and that this part wasn't the problem, but my trainer just said he'd do this training at his own pace or not at all, and the owner pretty much shut up for the duration.
            Eventually, it got to where the rider was mounted and asked for forward and the horse started what yours seems to do. He had no forward. Everything but.
            At that point the trainer told the owner that the horse was giving them grief because he no longer knew the right answer to the question being asked.

            Whether he had GIVEN the right answer with the earlier trainer (Go forward) and been somehow punished for it or had just never made the connection between "I ask for you to go forward and things are pleasant..", the horse just didn't know the answer yet. He said some horses just don't KNOW there even IS another answer until you practically hit them over the head with it. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)
            He thought that ALL these other things he pulled out of his bag of tricks MIGHT be the answer, and if they weren't he just became more and more frustrated and shut down.
            If memory serves, as I wasn't there for every lesson, there was always someone on the ground with a longe whip to re-inforce the riders request IMMEDIATELY for forward, for the first little while. Keeping in mind the riders and trainers are professionals who know what they are doing with this and have the timing down to a science. The longe whip never becomes a punishment, but only re-inforces the riders aids (legs, weight, voice, whip), for forward. Eventually, replaced by just a grounds person nearby, eventually replaced by just the rider able to keep the horse forward because that is the easiest thing to do for the horse and becomes the "right" answer.

            I also recall my trainer cautioning the owner when she began to ride him under his supervision that she woud likely have a few very good "honeymoon" rides on him and then he would try the "You and what army" approach on her just to see if she really was with the programme, so she had to always be ready. That gave me the impression that while a good trainer can fix it, the average Ammy may have to be on their toes most of the time, with that horse.

            NJR

            PS..editted to add that any difficult horse comng in HAS to be seen by trainers vet at owners expense, even if owner has already done the same tests etc. They've uncovered somethings that were the root of the problem right off the bat that way.
            Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behaviour does.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Ugh. Thanks for the help.

              Unfortunately, I'm really the only one I trust-I don't know anyone that's a)willing or b)capable of climbing on him.

              Ponying him is a good idea...my biggest concern is having him blow up WHILE being ponied...lack of good control...but doable, I think. I don't dare ride him on a lunge-yet-maybe eventually.

              I've considered ponying him until he's pooped-maybe down into the canyon and back, and THEN getting on him-not entirely unlike making the runaway keep going? I hate to do that, it feels like cheating, but on the other hand, he's big and strong, and knows it, and I have to stack the deck in my favor.

              I can't get rid of him, short of euth or slaughter (which I won't do, he's too tall to ride a cattle truck) as he's a grade gelding with a bad scar and an unrideable attitude-who'd want him? Putting him down is an option but I want to be sure I've exhausted my capability before going that route.

              This is Max-two years ago. He's filled out since then. Maybe I'll kick him out and leave him over the winter and try again come spring. :-/ He really does have a nice neck, though in that pic, it looks about this -> <- long.

              Katarine-that's probably the best idea, if I can find someone to pony him-I'll have to be the one on him, in the event he goes bananas.

              GLS-he's awesome one the ground-long reins, longe, round pen, you name it. He's soft, responsive, etc. But once you're on his back, it's a bloody fistfight.

              CCH-he was this way before the crushed sinus, even. Trainer told me oh, things are great, he's coming along, once in a while he'd say oh, we had a tough day, blahblahblah; BUT Mrs. Trainer told me when I picked him up-He's crazy. He's bucked and reared and J can't do ANYTHING with him. She sent me some pics of him later...he was mostly bucking. In ONE he was standing still. Trainer was gone when I picked him up.

              [whine]It's so disappointing. I researched studs for upwards of 5 years to find what I thought was the best match for the mare...AQHA, TB, every variety of sporthorse, you name it. I wanted to replace her with my 'dreamhorse' and now he's a certifiable Alpo case and It. Just. Sucks.
              [\end whine.]

              Here's a question: He was carried 370 days (IOW mare ovulated 6/2/04, foaled 6/5/05) and was considered dysmature by the vet-he was tiny-maybe 40 pounds?, velvety coat, weak and impacted. I had to nurse him along for the first 5-7 days-milk and tube, etc. Could that have affected his mental state? I know nothing about dysmature horses, can't find any real info on dysmature foals and later use.

              I dunno.
              I am not allowed to look at breeding stock.
              Or babies. Or CANTER, et al.

              ESPECIALLY not CANTER, et al.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Nojacketrequired View Post
                Eventually, it got to where the rider was mounted and asked for forward and the horse started what yours seems to do. He had no forward. Everything but.
                At that point the trainer told the owner that the horse was giving them grief because he no longer knew the right answer to the question being asked.
                Sounds like Max. The 'You and What Army?" is EXACTLY it. Exactly.

                This
                there was always someone on the ground with a longe whip to re-inforce the riders request IMMEDIATELY for forward,
                is a gem. This may be the key-maybe combining the longe idea with this is the key.

                Would you PM me with your trainers name? It might be worth looking into sending him off if he's willing, or if he knows someone better - I have NO problem identifying when I'm out of my league-and this is knocking on the top rung my ability. I can ride problem horses-IF the basics are there, and I've had horses that would give you six months of honeymoon and then KAPOW!-so that part doesn't worry me, assuming he's going to have the talent.

                There's some good suggestions here...thank you.
                I am not allowed to look at breeding stock.
                Or babies. Or CANTER, et al.

                ESPECIALLY not CANTER, et al.

                Comment


                • #9
                  No suggestion, just encouragement. So sorry for what you're going through, seen it once and it wasn't pretty. Unfortunate too, because the colt in question was FANCY with a capital F.

                  Don't know you, don't know your horse, but remember that your safety is top priority. Fingers crossed for you, keep us posted.
                  Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                  The Grove at Five Points

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've seen this happen a few times, and it's pretty aberrant and really scary.

                    Sometimes the horse will go through the whole pre-mounting stage quite well, the longeing, sacking out, etc. And sometimes they'll even get to the adding weight scenario, when you lay over his back.

                    But it is the first step they take with the rider's weight that is the most important step of their lives. Sometimes, feeling that extra weight on their back and taking that first step forward throws them so far out of balance, mentally and physically, that they explode. It is the most dangerous moment starting young horses. If they explode and the rider comes off, they've learned a very dangerous lesson.

                    It sounds like he got his rider off when he was asked to move with a rider. He learned he does not have to move forward with the weight on his back.

                    So, yes, ruling out physical issues is key. Desensitizing him, starting him over, sacking him out, long lining, trying to find out the point where his button is pushed, all key. If you can translate his longeing skills to longeing with a rider, having someone there to back you up with a whip might help, or might escalate the procedure. It will take a year. I'm worried that it hasn't improved in a month.

                    There are, very rarely, horses of indomitable will who have chosen never to be ridden. They are called rogues. Keep in mind the trainer did not totally cause all of this. The horse made some bad choices on his own. Does that make sense? I once started a horse, did every step of the training from weanling to three myself, the way I'd done hundreds. There was no trauma, no major mistakes. The fourth time carrying a rider, he decided he had enough. He exploded. I was leading him, he ran me over, and ditched the rider. We started him over and he was good, up until the point someone thought about putting weight on him again. He will buck until he falls down. He does not want to be ridden.

                    Be very careful, evaluate every reaction, and look for signs of progress. If there is progress, go slowly forward from there.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The term of pregnancy is not a problem. If there was hypoxia, that may have affected him, but I seriously doubt it in this case.

                      He may be a sensitive, smart horse that was started in a bad way.

                      Here is what would make sense to me as far as re-starting him.

                      First establish trust, respect, and obedience on the ground in hand. Walk, stop, turn, walk over stuff, have stuff on him ( like a blanket on his rump that is long and drags on the ground behind him), you drag stuff - barrel, noisy chair, etc. You want him to know that scary stuff is controlled by you, his job is to listen to you and you will take care of the rest. The in-hand work is not sloppy, but NOT tense-military style. He makes a mistake - put him where he belongs, with as much force as you need and not a half-ounce more then that. If you need to use a chain over his nose to make things clear and doable, then do so, but use more of the pressure and slow tugging vs. the snapping prolonged "correction". If he is an obedient guy, take him with you if you can while doing chores - horses get bored even when turned out in groups with food and plenty of space. Hanging out with you and doing different things may be a good way to bond him to you, establish trust and obedience.

                      One horse of mine that had a bad start in life and was jittery got to go with me as I cleaned stalls - she had to stand outside the stall while I cleaned, get out of the way as I turned the wheelbarrow around, proceed to the next one, repeat. Somehow, that made her more confident and I think she figured out I was predictable, not extreme in my reactions, and there was a different but comforting routine to the exercise.

                      Then teach him to be quiet and confident in lunging and ponying. Lunging is not to exhaustion, but watch him for subtle signs of paying attention to you and listening, not tuning out - one thing you can watch for is the ears - are they on you or anywhere, but you? Head/body carriage - should be relaxed and natural, whatever he is built for. Voice commands and body cues - he needs to LISTEN to you, most horses are very sensitive and can pick up on body position meaning something easily, I can not explain what they are here. Introduce bit and bit pressure slowly - first just the bridle on, then LOOSE side reins, shortening them only slightly when the horse tells you he has accepted, relaxed, and figured out how to move in the previous level of "confinement".

                      Ponying- YOU on another horse, NO one on him at first. He should get used to the human being "above" him (literally, your head higher then his) and moving while you are up there. Keep using the voice commands you established on the lungline/in-hand work. It should give him confidence and teach him to move.

                      Of course all work it to be accomplished without then with tack until he says he get it and RELAXES, ie is confident in what he is doing.

                      Then you teach him to stand next to mounting block, get on and make it nice - if he is good with treats, give him some earned treats/pats whatever he likes. DO NOT use your legs to ask for forward. Use your voice and pull him slowly to the side until he is unbalanced and takes a step - if it is peaceful and he then stops on his own, praise him. Get off, repeat.
                      Some horses are very unsure/afraid to move with a person on them.

                      Hopefully you have someone that can help you - lunge you while you are up there and have reins or pony you. Ask for forward in a way he has been trained by YOU, if he has a very bad association with use of leg, perhaps you will have to teach him to go off whip cues. Quit before he is mentally or physically tired out. Use of leg - when you proceed to use of leg - do not escalate your cues rapidly. NO squeeze, thump, wallop with your legs. Instead, use mild vibration/tickle with your legs along with voice cue and hopefully back up on the ground.

                      I generally find that if a horse LIKES being around humans (well, me in this case) and has a good level of trust, respect and confidence, they are in less of a hurry to unload me when in doubt.

                      Oh, not sure if this can be of use to you, but I had ridden a very balky horse as a teenager and if urged forward in ANY way she would plant herself and not move - no matter what, whips, spurs, lunge whips, pulling on her head. I ended up sitting on her for 4hrs one day before completing a 1/2 loop of trail. Anytime she planted herself, I asked with my voice for her to go on, then I just sat there until she decided to go on - asked again as I felt her move off and on we went. I made it clear that going or not was her deal, but we were only going my direction. In a course of a few weeks she got the point and would move willingly on the trail, she learned to listen to voice and even a gentle squeeze with legs, however if her rider got too strong with the legs she would just stop and plant herself - did not matter if she was alone or in a group and everyone else left.

                      Perhaps if you get on your horse and just sit there, he would figure to move without bucking? I am guessing you have tried that and it did not work? He really sounds like he is scared and unwilling to have you up there, whether it is pain or behavior is hard to tell on the screen.

                      He does not sound evil or hopeless from your post.
                      As much as I understand your attachment to this horse, they are not all worth it. No horse is worth your life, IMO.

                      There, now that you read my novel, I hope whatever you decide goes well. Keep us posted.
                      Horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                      ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Started a youngster that did the buck/ rear combination. Very athletic maneuver! His middle name was 'NO." Just his temperament, I think because the dam was skittish and he dominated her from the start. Became quite a brat.

                        In any event, I won over his heart and mind (to a degree) with very well timed food rewards. Took forever to get him to look forward to his schooling sessions. On his days off, I would ignore him, so he got to craving the attention and being a good boy to get it.

                        The buck/rear combination could not be stopped by asking for forward. Energy in resulted in double energy right back at you (like judo.) What I had to do was learn to read him so that when he was going to go up, I cranked his head to one side slightly tipping him off balance and turning him in a tight circle. After I did that a few times, the rear was gone, except in a situation where there was genuine fear, and he went up so quickly he caught me off guard.

                        If you are dealing with genuine fear situations, the horse may not get over this. I have re-trained some racehorses with starting gate injuries and they seemed to have PTSD or flashbacks that were triggered in certain circumstances, and I could not desensitize them. (one mare it was "wheels" believe it or not, anything with wheels, like a bicycle, would send her into a panic attack.) I did not understand this reaction, until I read Temple Grandin and she describes this phenomenon well in her first book.

                        Good luck!
                        "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

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                        • #13
                          when I first got my younger gelding, he had been completely and thoroughly mishandled in every possible way by his previous owners. Though not as quite violent as you describe yours, he had a 100% buckoff rate in his former life, and was a feral beast on the ground. If asked to walk with a rider he would/could buck from a standstill, or just take off bucking if that suited him, throw himself into in to the closest fence or tree, and even once in a spectacular fit threw himself down to the ground thrashing, with me in the saddle.

                          He had zero, zero "try", absolutely no desire to do anything asked of him. None. When I first got him he just wanted to be left alone. And fed.

                          I tried a lot of things, including getting very firm which just made things worse. What worked in the end (sort of, and I'll explain why at the end) was first getting a really good rapport on the ground.... I hate to say the P word, and not his actual methods (I despise P Inc.!), but having "fun" like that, free longing over things, working in hand, taking long walks together in the woods, doing chores together like moving logs, etc, etc. I set up a situation where we were not so much schooling but working together towards small unique creative goals, where we had to be partners to accomplish the task. There was never any punishment, never any need to fear, no harsh words or harsh handling. I then slowly worked riding in.

                          My horse is quite clever, and learned with his previous owners the fine art of balking. After I had established with him how we were to work together, what he could expect of me, and I was consistent for him, he stopped reacting so violently (fearfully, self preservation), but he still didn't trust to bear a rider, so he would balk.

                          That was supremely frustrating for me, so again I got creative. He was very barn sour, so I would hand walk him a few paces away from the barn, mount, then ride him the few paces back in the direction he wanted to go anyhow, dismount and praise. Short n sweet. Little by little that turned into 50' down the driveway, or 100 yards down the trail. With in a few months we could take short (nailbiting though, he was a spook and a half!) trail rides together on familiar trails we'd walked before.

                          He was completely ring sour, and though kind enough not to take off bucking anymore, he would kick or threaten to buck if I used my legs at his sides to ask him to walk off. He would just stand and pout and refuse to move. Lunge like a dream, but plant his feet with a rider aboard.

                          Frustrated but summoning all of my patience, I decided to wait him out calmly and supportively, for him to decide when it was ok. I waited nearly 45 min the first time, literally read a magazine and drank coffee while I sat on his back before he was convinced I wasn't going to spank him or kick him. Once we got a few steps, we built from there, and a few weeks later I was jumping small courses with him.

                          Now, having said all of this, my horse never became trustworthy under saddle, the 3.5 years I've owned him now. Though finally good natured not to bronc all the time, it was always lurking. I had him vetted six way to tuesday, never found anything. Anecdotally, he had ulcers, and treating them went a long way to having a happier camper, but he never was consistently joyful about being ridden or asked to work. Finally, I had his back xrayed and we found fractures in his withers. He had flipped more than once with his previous owners, so I'm assuming he's been in pain for most of his life.

                          If your horse is happy and agreeable on the ground, willing and confident, I would seriously rule out pain because its entirely possible. My horse appears sound as a dollar, and I had to beg my vet to xray him, she thought I was insane claiming there was something wrong with him.

                          If he's not happy and agreeable and entirely willing and confident on the ground, I would get him so in whatever manner serves you both best before attempting ridden work. Perhaps clicker training might be a real option. And once he is going nicely and starts to show an interest and desire to please - just a hint of ethic - I would begin with just mounting, sitting, dismounting, and then progressing, likely leadline to start, and build from there.

                          Because of my horse's back problems, he's now retired from riding permanently and I'm working on driving him. Which (touch wood) he is taking too like a duck to water and is proving to have a tremendous amount of try and desire to work and please. Though I would not call him a generous horse, its far beyond my wildest dreams for 'him'.

                          The trick with my boy is always being supportive, never punishing, never angry.... firm if needed, but always soothing, no harsh words or raised voice, and no punishment for doing wrong, just "thats not what I asked for, take a fresh start and try again". And being consistent and predictable, its very important to my horse that he knows precisely where the boundary lines are.

                          just my 2¢, hope there is something in there that sparks an idea for you. good luck, its not easy.

                          and please, don't get hurt.
                          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I had this horse (well, his mare twin) about 3 or 4 years ago.

                            I bought her as an "advertised" unbroke/untouched four year old.

                            She was fine as long as you had loose contact, but at times she would just stop and rear.

                            Thinking it was simply a training issue (her past started leaking out through the grapevine...she wasn't untouched, she had apparently flipped while the previous owner was indeed trying to break her to saddle...gotta love people's honesty). Sent her to the man in the area that everyone sent their tough cases to.....he got her going and when I went down to ride her at his place, she was as good as gold.

                            I thought the problem was solved. After three months, I brought her back home. First night I rode her, all was going great, went into the corner and bam, she stood straight up with me..I popped her to go forward and she went up even higher. I got off....I am by no means a professional and this was beyond my level. My husband was frustrated because now I had just rewarded the bad behavior, but she was not going forward and that was that.

                            That's when I met Eqtrainer on the board, who came out and looked at her for me. She felt like there was so major physical issues going on..especially in her neck...which made sense, as long as you rode her with very little contact, she was fine....take up on the reins and she was ready to duke it out with you.

                            I ended up giving her away to a member on this board, who did get her going..but I think they treated her for many things including Lymes disease. You can PM me if you want to know who I gave her to...because that person could probably give you even more insite to what they did to restart this horse...

                            Last I heard she was off in the Jumper ring. She was also a W line horse crossed with a Quarter Horse...nicest damn horse I had ever had the pleasure of owning....she was built for dressage, but something just was not right.

                            I would want a full check up done on your boy, not just a chiro, just to rule things out physically. I would want a blood panel pulled, eyesight checked, xrays of the neck/spine and have the crushed sinus evaluated.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Eklecktika View Post
                              Ugh. Thanks for the help.

                              Unfortunately, I'm really the only one I trust-I don't know anyone that's a)willing or b)capable of climbing on him.

                              Ponying him is a good idea...my biggest concern is having him blow up WHILE being ponied...lack of good control...but doable, I think. I don't dare ride him on a lunge-yet-maybe eventually.

                              I've considered ponying him until he's pooped-maybe down into the canyon and back, and THEN getting on him-not entirely unlike making the runaway keep going? I hate to do that, it feels like cheating, but on the other hand, he's big and strong, and knows it, and I have to stack the deck in my favor.

                              I can't get rid of him, short of euth or slaughter (which I won't do, he's too tall to ride a cattle truck) as he's a grade gelding with a bad scar and an unrideable attitude-who'd want him? Putting him down is an option but I want to be sure I've exhausted my capability before going that route.

                              This is Max-two years ago. He's filled out since then. Maybe I'll kick him out and leave him over the winter and try again come spring. :-/ He really does have a nice neck, though in that pic, it looks about this -> <- long.

                              Katarine-that's probably the best idea, if I can find someone to pony him-I'll have to be the one on him, in the event he goes bananas.

                              GLS-he's awesome one the ground-long reins, longe, round pen, you name it. He's soft, responsive, etc. But once you're on his back, it's a bloody fistfight.

                              CCH-he was this way before the crushed sinus, even. Trainer told me oh, things are great, he's coming along, once in a while he'd say oh, we had a tough day, blahblahblah; BUT Mrs. Trainer told me when I picked him up-He's crazy. He's bucked and reared and J can't do ANYTHING with him. She sent me some pics of him later...he was mostly bucking. In ONE he was standing still. Trainer was gone when I picked him up.

                              [whine]It's so disappointing. I researched studs for upwards of 5 years to find what I thought was the best match for the mare...AQHA, TB, every variety of sporthorse, you name it. I wanted to replace her with my 'dreamhorse' and now he's a certifiable Alpo case and It. Just. Sucks.
                              [\end whine.]

                              Here's a question: He was carried 370 days (IOW mare ovulated 6/2/04, foaled 6/5/05) and was considered dysmature by the vet-he was tiny-maybe 40 pounds?, velvety coat, weak and impacted. I had to nurse him along for the first 5-7 days-milk and tube, etc. Could that have affected his mental state? I know nothing about dysmature horses, can't find any real info on dysmature foals and later use.

                              I dunno.
                              this is good, re read the above ok, and pin point what hes good at like long reining

                              why- its work and ita place to start him with something he knows well
                              and long rein him for yonks, and phrase him well, then start of with say 20mins building up to an hour

                              then put him to bed meaning either put him in his stable with hay as reward or put him out in the field with hay as a reward and let him sleep on it, next time out he will be better, also if your leading him outside or even long rein him outside it keeps mind focused and more relaxed so less likely to throw a fit

                              but gain bring him back to his bed , and let him sleep on it , its going to take time and ahuge amount of patience but he will come right the other thing is always go out with some one or when your trianing him dont do it all on your own, be safe and be in control

                              the thing that hasnt change is your rountine - meaning use that as a tool as horses love rountines

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...545.1500101509 This is what we're dealing with-and this pic is two years old. He's filled out since.

                                Since I KNOW I'm barnblind when it comes to him-Honest opinions, for whatever you can give me without seeing him move. Is he worth fighting for?

                                Or, should I call it a game and save my $$$ to buy a replacement? I have an OTTB that I'm schooling for resale as well to 'move up' my game.

                                He takes contact fine-from the ground, side reins, you name it, and we've done the full meal deal at the vets-lyme isn't really around here, sinus has been checked out, teeth, back.

                                What should I check bloodwise, besides Lyme?
                                I am not allowed to look at breeding stock.
                                Or babies. Or CANTER, et al.

                                ESPECIALLY not CANTER, et al.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Eklecktika View Post
                                  http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...545.1500101509 This is what we're dealing with-and this pic is two years old. He's filled out since.

                                  Since I KNOW I'm barnblind when it comes to him-Honest opinions, for whatever you can give me without seeing him move. Is he worth fighting for?

                                  Or, should I call it a game and save my $$$ to buy a replacement? I have an OTTB that I'm schooling for resale as well to 'move up' my game.

                                  He takes contact fine-from the ground, side reins, you name it, and we've done the full meal deal at the vets-lyme isn't really around here, sinus has been checked out, teeth, back.

                                  What should I check bloodwise, besides Lyme?
                                  any xray work? I would want to rule out things like kissing spine.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by dalpal View Post
                                    any xray work? I would want to rule out things like kissing spine.
                                    Nope...might have to grit my teeth and do it, though.

                                    Found this after searching COTH for KS;

                                    He palpates negative for back pain from withers to SI-moves evenly L/R, but it could still be an issue. I'll call Dr R and see what we can do as soon as the roads clear enough to be able to haul.

                                    Anyone know if W-line has a propensity towards KS? Google hasn't really revealed much.
                                    I am not allowed to look at breeding stock.
                                    Or babies. Or CANTER, et al.

                                    ESPECIALLY not CANTER, et al.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Eklecktika View Post
                                      Nope...might have to grit my teeth and do it, though.

                                      Found this after searching COTH for KS;

                                      He palpates negative for back pain from withers to SI-moves evenly L/R, but it could still be an issue. I'll call Dr R and see what we can do as soon as the roads clear enough to be able to haul.

                                      Anyone know if W-line has a propensity towards KS? Google hasn't really revealed much.
                                      I dunno....but the fact that he only resents contact when you are on his back does makes me at least suspicious of it or something in his back.

                                      We had a Dutch Stallion at a barn I was at.....he had mysteriously lameness issues with his back....I can't remember exactly what it was, but it was one of the big vets out of KY that finally fixed the horse.....it was some sort of deep seated tissue knotting that no one else could find. Once this vet worked on the horse for a few weeks...horse went sound.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        It could also be innate to his personality. I don't want to sound negative, but he could just be a sh!t. What sort of disposition did the sire and dam have?

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