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VENTING- need stories with good endings from you!

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  • VENTING- need stories with good endings from you!

    So you may remember a couple months ago I wrote that my horse was balking a little in the arena. The advice I was given (and which I knew I had to do) was ride him through it. So I did, I knocked back some dutch courage, put a western sdaddle on him and took him to the round pen. Two days later problem solved

    It was great, the last couple of months he been forward, responsive and just plain wonderful. At last I had a great horse...or so I thought

    I wanted him to learn to jump this winter, and as I don't jump decided I should put a couple of competent riders on him so that he learnt to get used to other folks riding him before I took him up to the hunter/jumper barn. He balked with them, threw little tantrums but in the end worked fine.

    I got on him the next day and BOY was he a whole other horse. He pitched a fit, wouldn't move, struck out, kicked the whole nine yards. I stayed calm and tried to just ride him through it, constantly asking him to go forward but nothing, nada, zip. Thankfully a friend was walking by at that time and grabbed a lunge whip and cracked it behind him and got him moving. After that he was fine for that day.

    Next day, decide as he's going to be a butt about this I would return to the round pen with him. He throws another tantrum, won't move regardless of what I do (tried leg, spurs, vocal, but I admit no whip, as he sees it coming and just bucks but doens't go). Friend walks into the middle of the round pen (no whip) and I get 'go'. Take him out to the arena and again requires someone behind him with a lunge whip to get go but once going he;s fine.

    Saturday go back into the arena, get on by the mounting block and fence and again he won't move . With hind sight I know it was a stupid place to pick a fight but I didn't want to get off him and have him 'win'. So I start asking forward again, squeeze, kick, KICK, he bucks, strikes ,throws his head around, nothing new but no forward. The he rears flips himself over and comes down on top of me Thankfully I missed hitting the fence and mounting block but think I rolled close enough to the fence that he didn't hurt me- scared the bejesus outta me though. Got back on him and he was anxious but forward, rode him till he was settled called it a day.

    Sunday we went for our usual 2 hour conditioning hill ride (he's always pretty darn good and always forward on the trails). He was good.

    Monday rode him indoors as it was frozen outside and he immediately went forward. Now this is where I'm not sure if he scared himself saturday and learnt his lesson OR if he is just 'up' in the indoor arena as I've only ridden him in there twice in the last year.

    Today he had off

    Please keep your fingers crossed that tomorrow is good and he's over this.

    I'm just SO frustrated with him at the moment, I thought he was over all this tantrum stuff and was going so wonderfully. I now know that I should not have put other folks on him just yet, my mistake. I also know that untill he's over this I will mount in the middle of the arena away from walls as that fall was WAY to close for comfort (someone was watching over me for sure).

    I am going to work through this with him as I believe he is an incredibly talented horse and when we work well together its amazing.

    I want to hear your stories of your nightmare 'dream' horse that once the marble fell in the slot has turned into the wonderful horse you knew would be there one day- give me hope!!!

    (info- he's 4.5 year old Arab stallion (as I know someone will say geld him!)who has one month now to get back to where he was otherwise he'll be a 4.5 year old gelding- Also, in all fairness to him, this is his bad period, he has been so wonderful over all to handle, ride and be around. The trouble is I only post when I have an issue with him and not on a daily basis when I finish the ride and go 'WOW' with a grin on my face anhd can't believe how amazing he is)

    Thanks for letting me vent, now give me hope
    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.

  • #2
    wow, i am glad you weren't hurt! i don't have any personal stories to add, but just wanted to say that i admire your courage . i have heard that it is not uncommon for some young horses to go through a phase where they are a little unwilling and testy but then just work out of it... kind of like teenagers! best of luck!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Goodness, here are so many potential causes...

      He's a 4.5 year old. The Equine equivalent of a teenager. He's a young stallion. The weather is getting brisker.

      And I have to ask... He's still growing and maturing. Are you absolutely sure he's not sore anywhere?

      You know, I think you are asking quite a lot of a 4.5 year old Arab. They ARE slow to mature. Personally, if he were mine, I'd be inclined to back off a bit through the winter and let him grow up some more.

      Comment


      • #4
        When he won't go, can you turn him? Or at least turn his head around to your foot? If you can get his head around, you can get his feet moving. Do NOT just sit and kick this type of horse, as he will only shut down and balk more. Stallions and mares especially shut down when the leg is overused.

        What I would do is teach him on the ground to have a huge forward response to a voice command or the cluck. In a round pen or on the lunge, make your clucking noise and then go after him with a lunge whip. Be consistant and soon he will run forward when he hears this noise. Don't ride him, and just do this for a while until his response is completely ingrained.

        Then when you go back to riding, set yourself up for success by having someone on the ground with a lunge whip. But YOU make him go with your cluck NOT your leg, and if he doesn't instantly go forward, have your helper go after him with a whip.

        When this is going well, you use the clucking noise to get him to move forward off of your leg. If you always set yourself up for success by having someone on the ground with a lunge whip for the first few weeks of riding, you should be fine. The habit will be broken. Just do groundwork re-establishing his immediate response to the cluck on days you can't get someone to help you.

        I'll tell you a story about an extremely difficult horse I have had in a minute...
        http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          ATR- He's not sore, its the first thing I thought of and I checked him all over, he has regular chiropractic work to check for the beginnings of anything PLUS I think its too much of a coincidance that he was fine with me 3 days prior, someone else rides him and then he throws a tantrum. (only area I'm going to have checked this week is his teeth but he has always had regular dental work)

          As for asking too much, he's training level. All I ask for is walk trot and a little canter. This is not a stress issue for him, if for one second I thought it was I would back off. Its a temper tantrum. He's also a horse that needs to have a job, he gets incredibly cranky to handle if I just put him out for 2-3 days. He seems to be much happier (normally) in light work 5 days a week.

          When he won't go, can you turn him? Or at least turn his head around to your foot? If you can get his head around, you can get his feet moving. Do NOT just sit and kick this type of horse, as he will only shut down and balk more. Stallions and mares especially shut down when the leg is overused.
          tried this, he just stands there and will bite my feet. He doesn't disengage his hind end and move (or at least not often) and if he does, and I praise him for it, he stops again. I whole heartedly agree though that he shuts down with the leg- I was just at the end of what I could think of

          He's accurate on the ground, walks trots canters halts immediately, not the same under saddle

          I will not work him now without a grounds person so that he doesn't learn to pitch fits but goes forward and I am hoping a week or so of this will cure it !!
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            15 years ago I bought a TB off of the track as a 3 yo, and I was told that "he could be a bit bratty." Well, I found out when I started to train him that he had all kinds of tricks up his sleeve. He liked to rear up and stand there, and he could stay up there for an amazing length of time. He would sometimes put his head down to the ground and run backwards at a high rate of speed for several hundred feet.

            But his FAVORITE, and the one he did for many years, was to spin around (no matter what speed we were going) and face the opposite direction from where I wanted to go, and plant his feet and absolutely REFUSE to turn around. This would show up on almost a daily basis until he was about 6 or 7 yo, when I finally tried a new tactic to fix it.

            Instead of fighting with him (kicking, whipping, and trying to turn him around) which only made him really violent - rearing, leaping, running me through trees, ect., I tried reverse psychology. When he spun around and braced himself, ready for a good fight, I would sit there relaxed and not ask him to do anything. He was shocked, as he really expected a good fight. After a minute or two of standing there with me asking for nothing, when I asked him to turn around, he did. Sometimes it would take us 2 hours to go 100 feet across a field, but he started to lose interest in his game.

            After that, he would do it now and then but not every day like before. And as long as he couldn't get a rise out of me (I would make myself not get mad at him, and just ignore it, letting him face whichever way he wanted, and OMG was that hard ), each tantrum would be over pretty quickly, and he began doing it less and less.

            So if you are looking for a success story, this horse ended up being long listed for the Olympics in Eventing. After he started behaving himself, he was a horse everybody wanted. He went from being close to going for dog food when he was younger to bringing me offers of $100,000. He was a cross country machine, but was good at all three phases. He turned out to be the best horse I ever had, and ever will have I'm sure, in my lifetime. I'm soooo glad I stuck with him when he was trying to kill me every day as a young horse!

            Remember, the best and smartest horses are often the most difficult to train, but they are often worth the trouble.
            http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JackSprats Mom View Post
              He's accurate on the ground, walks trots canters halts immediately, not the same under saddle


              Ah, but this is NOT the same as having a sharp reaction to the clucking noise. You should train him to, and expect him to RUN immediately when he hears it, the gait does not matter. When that reaction is ingrained, it will work for you under saddle.
              http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

              Comment


              • #8
                I know this sounds obvious, but have you had his teeth checked lately? I have a 4 year old and while he wasn't complaining, it only took 6 months from one float to another for his mouth to become an absolute MESS. He had sharp points, teething, ulcers on his cheeks. He had been floated in the spring, and was this bad by fall, they were just done a couple weeks ago and he's healing up and doing fine. I asked the vet if that was freakish that they got so bad in 6 months time, and he said not at this age and that he wishes more people would get them done as often as I do.

                He also mentioned they can get growing pains at this age, so the days he seemed quiet and owly could be just that, but he said the work I do (light arena work and trail riding) are fine for that.
                I lost count of the times I’ve given up on you
                But you make such a beautiful wreck you do

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Chip- His teeth had crossed my mind and its something I'm going to have looked at in the next week just so I can cross of any and all pain issue.

                  Thing is, I would expect, if it were teeth, for him to be just as bratty out on the trails. Plus once I get him forward he is fine, not resistant through his jaw or poll. Its his initial tantrum I have to work through.

                  Remember, the best and smartest horses are often the most difficult to train, but they are often worth the trouble.
                  See now that is what I'm crossing my fingers hoping!

                  Plus I had wondered what would happen if I sat there and did nothing, may be worth a try who knows.

                  Ah, but this is NOT the same as having a sharp reaction to the clucking noise. You should train him to, and expect him to RUN immediately when he hears it, the gait does not matter. When that reaction is ingrained, it will work for you under saddle.
                  kk I will try this, LOL have t find a noise though that I won't duplicate by accident
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    check his sacrum- I bet he is very sore there.! Horses are NOT stupid- they act like this because they have discomfort- this could be as easy as a pinched nerve. (probably cyatic(sp?) nerve)...nonetheless I had this kind of a horse and it didn't stop until we fixed the phsycial problem....

                    Editted to add: and yes he lunged also perfectly- it has to do with the weight of the rider and a sacrum issue- where the cyatic nerve starts and runs down his hind legs...the pain is massive- the reaction is massive as well- manifests itself sometimes a bit like being coldbacked...
                    "the man mite be the head but the woman is the neck and the neck can turn the head any way she wants..." -smart greek woman

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Nutrition etc.

                      I have a horse that had the same problem. He would plant his feet instead of going forward and then if I asked for any forward he would rear almost flipping over backwards. If I asked for side ways he would just turn and look at my boot. It was not every ride and it seemed like when he passed the in gate it triggered it, I though is was completely behavioral because he has a reputation for being able to buck people off. I took him to the vet and she said he had leaky gut. He was on a glucosamine supplement and it was leaking out though is gut into his body and his spleen was VERY swollen along with any part of his body that had to do with detox. Shock to me, I had NO idea!
                      We took him off the supps repaired his gut and he is doing much better now.
                      He was also out in his sacrum from holding his back funny from all the pain in his body. He holds himself completely different now!
                      He did also end up 4th in the USDF First Level Freestyle Challenge in '07! So there was a good ending!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have a lot of Arab experience and I would never recommend picking a fight with one. They are great but they have way more fight and determination than we have. To win with them you either have to outsmart them.

                        From the way you describe it (not wanting to work him without a ground person) it sounds like you haven't been listening to him and have insisted on fighting him.

                        Start over : you must always remain calm and cool tempered with an Arab other wise they will out think you. Do NOT loose your temper or try to fix things in one ride that just isn't how this breed is wired. Out think and out last is the game.

                        Refusing to move forward without cause is something a smart Arab would do. Let go of any preconceived ideas and just get movement from him. Forget forward climb on and go side ways/backwards/or even get him to shift his weight. Take your wins where you can get them and just keep building on them.

                        Now about what one of the previous posters said about pulling his head around. You stated that he will "just try to bite your boot". You are not doing the technique correctly then. The point of turning them is to pull them off balance so they HAVE no choice but to move. I would give that another try.

                        I am a bit concerned that you have an Arabian so upset that it is trying to unload you. They are an incredibly tolerant breed you have to be ignoring their cues pretty seriously to get one to this point.

                        It may be wisest for you to find a experience Arabian trainer. One who LIKES the quirks and special challenges that come with the breed. It may cost money but knowing how their minds work will save you lost of stress and time over the long haul.

                        Good luck and be careful.

                        BTW If you contact your an Arab breeder in your state they should be able to help you find someone close to you.
                        [SIZE=3][/SIZE]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Something else to consider...

                          All seemed well in your story until he went to the jumper people. Do you know how they trained him? Did something happen in the jumping riding that somehow hurt his sacrum or back or ruined his confidence?

                          J.
                          Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Something else to consider...

                            All seemed well in your story until he went to the jumper people. Do you know how they trained him? Did something happen in the jumping riding that somehow hurt his sacrum or back or ruined his confidence?

                            J.
                            Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I wish I were close to you, and could see exactly what is happening. But, from 30 years of having Arabians, I can tell you that something is wrong. The horse is not just being a "brat." I know that you are frustrated at this point, and I am very glad that neither you nor the horse were injured when he flipped. You both were very, very lucky.

                              Tell us about your saddle and about the bit you are using. How is your bridle adjusted? What is your level of previous experience? How far along was this horse when you bought him? Maybe you have gone over all this before on this board, but let's try one more time, as I know that something is wrong, and his only way of telling you is by what has happened.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Heres my good ending story...
                                Had a lovely black appendix qh mare. was very flighty to start, but came along nicely in arena. Hacking was another story. she would spook and spin at the drop of a hat (or any other thing for that matter) I walked home cursing so many times! I finally said this is it! Either this mare stops this stupid behaviour or she's going down the road to the 'cowboys'.
                                So one sat when I had absolutely nothing else to do, I saddled her up and worked her in the arena. Then went for a hack. Everytime she spooked, back to the ring she went to work! Back and forth I went. We only stopped for some lunch... for me! not her! Finally after 4 hours of riding, she walked out on the trail like an angel and NEVER gave me any problem after that. In fact, she became the best hacking horses ever.
                                So sometimes being more stubborn than them will work

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  check his sacrum- I bet he is very sore there.! Horses are NOT stupid- they act like this because they have discomfort- this could be as easy as a pinched nerve. (probably cyatic(sp?) nerve)...nonetheless I had this kind of a horse and it didn't stop until we fixed the phsycial problem.
                                  and yes he lunged also perfectly- it has to do with the weight of the rider and a sacrum issue- where the cyatic nerve starts and runs down his hind legs...the pain is massive- the reaction is massive as well- manifests itself sometimes a bit like being coldbacked.

                                  I took him to the vet and she said he had leaky gut. He was on a glucosamine supplement and it was leaking out though is gut into his body and his spleen was VERY swollen along with any part of his body that had to do with detox.
                                  The above quotes are from two different posters. I am interested in how these problems were diagnosed, especially the leaky gut.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I specialize in "problem horses. I was GIVEN a top hunter since the pros had given up on him for balking. He had no health or pain issue. I tried riding through his problem in my Dressage seat...no. He did not want to go forward and his hissy fits were very athletically done.
                                    One day I grabbed a small book, cleared my day...tacked him and waited it out....read nearly the whole book, but I would not get off the saddle until we did ten minutes of work. We did. Next day it was a 15 minute "wait out".
                                    I took him for a hack (rarely done for this boy), rode the spooks, waited out the balks....in one week he was fine.
                                    Dillion now has a new mom and does not balk, buck or have hissy fits...under saddle....just do not tease him with a carrot.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      You probably don't want the bad ending story, but lets face facts, these things happen-mine flipped over and broke his neck and had to be put down. So please be careful with yourself!!!!
                                      RIP Mydan Mydandy+
                                      RIP Barichello

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Not an expert but

                                        I'm not an expert by any means but my 4.5 yo mare has done some of those things tho not to the same extent. She recently got much worse and then started snapping at me when I was grooming. I raised this girl and she has also enjoyed grooming. I finally concluded that some of it was hormones this fall as all three of my mares have been grumpy and sensitive. With the 4 yo, I have to really concentrate on watching for signs she's going to stop (she pops her shoulder out first). Kicking does nothing but she does respond to seat. If necessary, I've given her a whack or two with the dressage whip. She kicks back at it and then goes forward. I'm also a fan of the bore them to tears method mentioned by Farmeress.
                                        Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe

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