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Help!- HiPo charging home...in circles!

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  • Help!- HiPo charging home...in circles!

    Hello all,

    I have a new Highland Pony for 5 months. I went on a long trail ride today with an experienced rider on Dougal. She is helping bombproof him for me and giving me confidence to know how he goes on the trails. He was perfect until the last 10 minutes. My connie cross mare, I ride, got spooked but was manageable but it set MacDougal into a mindset to rush home. Rider did the one rein pulley to stop him but Dougal kept trotting home in circles! Another horse went by and while circling home- he even whinnied at him! We were laughing because it looked so funny but believe me I would have been in panic mode if it was me aboard .Rider dismounted and walked him home in hand. He was still prancy and finally settled last block home. It was lunch time and maybe he was rushing home to that? I want this guy to be a safe quiet pleasure pony on trails for myself or a guest pony.Most of the time he is very docile unflappable but when he makes his mind up to go somewhere else or head home , I'm baffled because he is a strong boy. These ponies are built like little drafts. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    I am curious what a Connie cross mare is????


    • #3
      Originally posted by Shadow14 View Post
      I am curious what a Connie cross mare is????
      I imagine she means a connamara cross. Not sure I'm spelling it right but you know what I mean.
      You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


      • #4
        Just a suggestion, but here's what I would do.

        Go on short walks just around the yard and WALK back to the barn. Gradually keep getting farther away until he doesn't stress out so much, and don't keep going on the same route.

        It was a good decision for the rider to get off and walk him, that is exactly what I would have done.

        One thing I never do is go faster towards home. It is fun to gallop home- but it won't be fun if he ever decides to do that on his own. (Ask me how I know... )
        Visit My Craft Blog!



        • #5
          Originally posted by Villager View Post
          Hello all,

          Rider did the one rein pulley to stop him but Dougal kept trotting home in circles! Another horse went by and while circling home- he even whinnied at him!
          What did the rider do after the one rein pulley stop? Do you mean a one rein stop? If so, he should have stopped, and if he were my horse I would have marched his butt backwards a good 100 yards! Then try walking toward the barn...if he broke gait, ORS again and back another 100 yards we go! If he was trotting back toward the barn in circles, I call that "hauling me back to the barn" and by getting off she just told him, "Great - you act up - you get to stop - I get off and we still go back to the barn." My horse used to haul me back to the barn when I TRIED to even leave the barn to go on a trail ride. He was barn sour and a bit of a bully and he would do these little "pirouettes" where he would turn around and try to circle me back to the barn. We had to train through it and I had to make the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy.

          In this case, as soon as he breaks gait or changes direction on the trail, I would ORS and work his feet - either sideways or backwards - or have him trot in circles around a tree at your request (not trot circles back to the barn) or yield his HQ about 10 times around until he got the point that we walk nicely when I ask or we do more work. I would train through it before it gets worse and he is bolting all the way home.


          • Original Poster

            Tpup- yes I do mean one rein stop. but he didn't stop, he just started going round and round but moving in the direction of the barn. We were walking home and my mare got startled which acted as a catalyst to get him all 'up'. Being very green , he does not back up well when ridden and he is too hard to stop when he has made his mind up he is going somewhere. . He was stressed and worried-not the most confident soul.He came from a secluded ranch and not use to our urban parks.
            I have done some NH with him and obviously need to do more to work on back up, yielding from the ground and then try and transfer it to the ride. My dressage teacher told me to get ground work from and NH instructor to work on his stopping and backing and I was wasting my money with dressage schooling until the ground work was done. does that sound right?

            He has very seldom gone on trails(5x) since I've owned him so 'rushing home' isn't a habit he has been allowed to do.


            • #7
              I agree with TPUP. There was no way I would have gotten off and walked him home nor let him away with circling constantly in the direction of home. I don't know how strong your other rider was so I shouldn't judge but I would have settled it right then and there by making him do as I wanted.
              Getting off and walking home is just reinforcing negative training
              Backing up should be something he learned right off the batt. I teach it about the second week. If you can't stop him and he just runs through the bit maybe the bit is not the right one.
              To say he needs more ground work is certainly something I don't agree with. Do it from the back. YOu need a stronger rider.
              Somehow I thought you were local??? The connie cross made me think that.


              • #8
                If his rider had well and truly put his nose to her knee and held it firm, I don't think he'd have gotten home not before he got dizzy and stopped. At which point he gets a rub and a chuckle, and asked to walk on some more. He got scared, that's all.

                Glad everyone made it there safe, but he wasn't folded in half enough to stop him, was he? If she was able to dismount, he slowed down somewhere in his spinning. But putting his nose FIRMLY to her knee? I don't think he was there.

                ground- I want him to know to follow his nose. If my energy says just stand and give me your nose, he must know that before I step up. If my energy says circle me and give me your nose, then he should do that.

                There are many ways to do this. A stronger, more capable rider might not want to fool with the ground work so much. Me, I have a bull necked baby here that must learn from the ground to follow his nose, before I'll ride him. He's very stout and thick, and it's easier to teach that sort safely from the ground.


                • #9
                  If you (or other rider) is going to try the ORS, at least the way I've learned it, you have to feel when he releases his resistance and reward that. Do check that he understands it on the ground or in an arena before you try it on a trail ride. You should reach up, pull the head around to your knee, he may circle for a moment or two, and then there is a moment when he releases his neck slightly and pauses his feet, and you drop the rein and pet him. By doing that over and over in the ring first, he learns that the ORS means to stop, because you reward the stopping. Then it becomes an automatic habit for him to respond to it that way.

                  It's not simply a way to overpower the horse and force him to stop - some horses can practically run with their heads bent around. You have to school him in what it means by practicing it and rewarding the correct response or it will not be terribly effective in an emergency situation.


                  • Original Poster

                    Tpup & Shadow 14-I am just a nervous re-rider and my rider friend is braver.& much younger but I thought the best and safest possible thing to do would be to dismount and walk quietly home. (My friend felt a little unsafe and not able to stop too). So we called it a day and hope to rehearse in the ring what we will apply if it happens again. I think we have to pick our battles and I'm not sure my friend would have been successful and I certainly wouldn't have.good to hear what more experienced riders would do though.

                    Shadow 14- out here, breeders & owners often refer to connemaras as 'connies'-a term of endearment I guess.

                    TFP- yes you're right the one rein stop was not properly carried out. Pony's head too high up, he didn't drop his nose to bring to her knee so he wouldn't stop. Will talk to my NH neighbor and work it out.


                    • #11
                      agreed the ORS was not performed properly... it is called a stop

                      once pony has reached a point where he is no longer in panic/flight mode... and logic is starting to come back... and usually panic in that situation doesn't last long at all. (yes I know a horse can be panicked much longer)

                      so once he stops and releases a little... then you take him back out anywhere, calmly. it doesn't to be far, it just enough to reestablish going home isn't always 'home' right away. =)

                      good luck with him!


                      • #12
                        A lot of people think that "take his nose to the knee" means just get a bend in the neck to where he's looking around. But what it really means is that his nose should be right on your knee or foot! At that point, there is not much that a horse can do. If he repeats the behavior, nose goes back to the knee. Until behavior stops.


                        • #13
                          Villager I can really feel for you. I have had horse that scare me too, keeps me awake nights thinking I have got to do something with them. If you feel the horse is stronger then you then you will always feel a measure of fear.

                          I also don't believe in the one rein stop. Cranking the head around to my knee in a panic situation is just asking to trip the horse. What if the horse is running and you pull the head around to your knee and the horse continues to run???? I also beleive in certain situations that his training is forgotten and he just runs.

                          I have had horses like this. Ones that run right through my side pulls, right through my snaffle as if I had nothing in his mouth but there reaches a point where he can not run through everything.

                          If I was you I would fight this battle alone and if you do and concour it, he will no longer frighten you. You spend alot of money on him and he is expected to give you pleasure, not fear.

                          And I know everyone will jump all over me for this but I don't care and I have been there.
                          Buy or borrow the biggest western bit you can find. One with long shanks, even a port if you must and a good curb chain and strong reins. Someone must have a big bit around, borrow it and save yourself alot of grief. Who cares if you hurt the horse when he runs for home or misbehaves. His life is about obeying.
                          Use the bit, ride with gentle hands but if he runs/misbehaves use it severely. If he runs for home lean back, put everything you have into the reins using your back and legs. Too bad if you hurt him. He will learn not to disobey.
                          I ride in a light snaffle and can do the same thing with it just because I am strong and have technic.

                          NO one should force themselves to ride a horse, it is all about pleasure and again ride with soft soft hands until the time comes to NOT be soft and then throw everything you have into it.

                          I had a horse 2 years ago, Shadow. He was smart, knew how to buck and knew how to play the game. I put hundreds of miles on him and he never quit running away, bucking or gave in. He would act mellow and mild and then maybe hours later he would explode when you least expected it.
                          Finally after a few bad accidents , took 3 fences out one day, another ran into a road sign and dumped both of use on a busy highway and he got 17 stitches I decided enough is enough. I wasn't sleeping right worrying about what to do. I wanted to be gentle, not rough him up at all but finally it was either send him away to a really rough trainer or put the big bit in his mouth and forget being soft and end it one way or the other
                          Click on the link and then on Shadow.
                          This is the final fight, it ended right here. The lung line was just to make sure I had a good hold before turning him loose. I wore NO SPURS, NOR CARRIED A WHIP. It was just him and I and a big bit. The fight ended right here, what you see was the end.
                          After a few great weeks the big bit came out and I rode him for the rest of his life is a mild training bit and he never fought me again.
                          Last edited by Shadow14; Feb. 2, 2009, 11:04 AM.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Shadow14 View Post
                            And I know everyone will jump all over me for this but I don't care and I have been there.
                            Buy or borrow the biggest western bit you can find. One with long shanks, even a port if you must and a good curb chain and strong reins. Someone must have a big bit around, borrow it and save yourself alot of grief. Who cares if you hurt the horse when he runs for home or misbehaves. His life is about obeying.
                            Use the bit, ride with gentle hands but if he runs/misbehaves use it severely. If he runs for home lean back, put everything you have into the reins using your back and legs. Too bad if you hurt him. He will learn not to disobey.
                            I ride in a light snaffle and can do the same thing with it just because I am strong and have technic.
                            oh boy.... meep meep... trainwreck!

                            my only qualm with this is that you can much more easily cause the horse to go backwards.... personally I'd rather have my horse fall down from spinning or run a shoulder into the ground then go backwards... or the fear of having the biggest nastest bit and it do nothing.

                            and a big ported big won't solve the situation... you can yank all you want on it but if they don't want to stop, they won't.

                            I understand what you are saying... but I don't think its really the answer- and yes you probably will get jumped on...

                            I had a mustang that would do the same thing, reliable reliable reliable boom nothing upstairs, almost killed my mom. so I know exactly what you are talking about. and thats all I got on that!


                            • #15
                              Changing his bit will not change his mind.

                              The ORS needs to be practiced in the ring first, at all 3 gaits. Yes, I CAN stop my horse with a ORS at a canter because I have practiced it over and over. And the point of the ORS is to do it BEFORE things get out of control. You "shut him/her down" with the first stride or two. That's why it needs to be practiced - in your muscle memory, and his. My horse has never tried to run at a ORS because he simply can't. It's not just pulling their head around. It's also disengaging their hindquarters. And the point after the ORS is to put that horse to work fast - hustle his feet - so he realizes that doing the WRONG thing means hard work, or walking backwards 200 yards, or side passing back and forth, or trotting in small circles until he is tired. His reward is walking to the barn nicely. ORS'ing over and over is pointless unless you are teaching your horse something with it.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Icecapade View Post
                                oh boy.... meep meep... trainwreck!

                                my only qualm with this is that you can much more easily cause the horse to go backwards.... so I know exactly what you are talking about. and thats all I got on that!

                                I've rode 2 real train wrecks in my life. Both horses belong to someone else and I was asked to help. The first time this happened a little horse would just take off running and run until a fence stopped her, she asked a strong male rider to give her a try and she took him on a scary run and he could do nothing. I was then asked to try. I went to work and added a big port to an already big western bit, strong reins and put it in Porcha's mouth, got on with my western saddle , took her into a big field and encouraged a flat out run. Once she settled into it I yelled HO and hit her with everything I had. I brought he almost sliding to a stop. I repointed he in a new direction, encouraged a flat out run and then yelled HO and hit her again, again an almost sliding stop. The 3rd time I yelled HO to a flat out run I didn't toucher her, just leaned back and she slammed on again. Lesson over, priased her and walked her home to Sandy. Told Sandy to go for an easy ride. Treat her right, soft hands and she will be ok.. She never ran away again.
                                Did that to another horse Beauty. By the 3 rd stop I didn't touch her. Yes she stood and trembled but never ever did that mare run away again. I actually went to a rental stable and saw Beauty there and asked how she was doing. There only compaint was she had too good of a stop.

                                I don't say you pull the horse over backwards. If he is charging for home and you hit him hard, really hard and when he stops immediatly give him slack and will not go over backwards but you want him to know that running will result in pain and being good is rewarded by not hurting him.

                                Remember horses are for fun, if you loose sleep being afraid it is not fun , so why have them??? They are money pits, heart aches. You need to feel in control. You Icecapade know about feeling in control

                                Shadow in the videio felt the bit for the first time in that video and when he was turned loose he didn't fight it, never tried running away again.
                                Soft hands, bit bit makes a good horse. Churchill would agree with this.

                                One of his favourite expressions was " Walk softly and carry a big stick"


                                • #17
                                  Somewhere there is a horse that changing the bit would make a difference. Somewhere there is a horse that putting a severe bit on would make it act worse. Somewhere there is a horse that would hurt you if you start hauling them around on a severe bit, maybe coming down or backwards on you.
                                  True story and not my finest hour. Bought a beautiful gelding out of the stock yard. The guy didn't want to sell him to me and when I insisted he told me not to blame him when the gelding killed me. He also handed me a walking horse bit, high port and the longest shanks I've ever seen. THAT was this horse's bit. This horse was a runaway and you couldn't turn him, you couldn't stop him..nothing until he was ready to stop. This was in my younger days and I really was pretty strong. I tried the mild bits and even tried the bit he'd come with and there was no doing anything with this horse. He scared me to death but I wasn't about to give up. He'd bow that neck and there it stayed and away he went. One day (not real proud of this) he'd scared a couple more years off my life and I'd had it. I actually felt like I hated that horse. I snapped a lunge line on him and told him to go right ahead and run.
                                  He did but after a while he wanted to stop. I wouldn't let him. He try to stop and I'd drive him on. Finally I told him to whoa and he stopped dead. Stood with his head hanging.
                                  After that I fox hunted and trail rode this horse in a soft rubber bar and all I had to do was to indicate that I wanted him to stop and he did. This worked for This horse but might not for another. I still feel bad that I so totally lost it but guess in the end it was a good thing cause this boy was running his way right into a dog food can.
                                  Anyhooo the point of this long sad story is that a lot of times the whoa is not in the mouth but in the head. MHO
                                  You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


                                  • #18
                                    lol PJ it happens. my stallion did that to me... we were probably 15 miles into a training ride and he wouldn't stop screaming at this mare with us. I was in tears and had already told my dad I was calling the vet as soon as I got home to have my normally placid stallion cut immediately. He was TERRIBLE, I thought I was going to lose my mind, I was young angry embrassed and in tears.... I loved him and had no idea why he was completely losing it, to the point of endangering himself on the mountain.

                                    and I had enough... I told my dad I'd see them when I got back... and I ran his punk ass up a hill... as hard as I could. and then down. and then made him do his massive 6 foot extended trot almost the whole 4 miles home.

                                    he was beat... and I said if you can scream you can run....

                                    now little known to me the neighbors mare had been coming over daily to tease him.

                                    Talk about an ass clown. We don't much have issue with it, but sometimes, thats what it takes... in that case it really wouldn't have fixed it... but also it didn't hurt him...

                                    not my finest moment either. if you ride long enough... it happens inevitably- its probably the best thing you could have done for that horse!


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thanks for all your suggestions..and anecdotes....

                                      and NOW- I am really going to work on the One Rein Stop in the ring at the riding club until I have mastered it for walk/trot/canter.I will also get my NH trainer to start helping with putting all the groundwork into practice now 'on board' the pony.I'm looking forward to that part of NH where I can use what I learned on the ground for riding!

                                      My pony is not wild or crazy-for the 98% of the time he is a very sweet natured, quiet 'dolt' and very mellow-Hence why I bought into the breed and this guy in particular.He has only been in this busy noisy environment for 5 months and taken to it quite well, I think considering the peace and quiet of the large ranch he came from.

                                      But for that 2% time when he gets nervous or startled and wants to run away from it, then I need that special stop. I'll forgo the trails on him until I feel in control. In the meantime, would you recommend I find a good experienced trail rider to take him weekly up trails so he gets broken in for me(as well as use to our urban trails)


                                      • #20
                                        PJ wrote: Anyhooo the point of this long sad story is that a lot of times the whoa is not in the mouth but in the head. MHO

                                        it's always in the head. A greenie who knows "whoa" can stop without reins or bit. A seasoned horse who does not know "whoa" will not always stop just because they have a bit and reins. Bit and reins are management and management alone will always fail sooner or later. Training holds because it becomes part of the conditioned response. A simple conditioned response will often be a thoughtless, knee jerk reaction that will happen even in trying circumstances if it is ingrained well enough, much like stopping at a red light and going on green. Sometimes installing that conditioned response takes time and once in awhile it takes some real riding but in this case, I believe time will be enough as the horse is not mindlessly bolting but instead simply anxious to get home. His thinking is still intact.

                                        Shadow 14 may be able to do what s/he does, the OP won't be able to. I would skip the chance of serious injury to horse and/or rider and go with installing a conditioned response first.