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The "Terrible Fours"

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    Thanks so much for all of the thoughtful shares! She has had teeth done, is in a nice show barn, is never really thrown on a line, and yes, has growing pains, I am sure. I do think she just figured out that she is a big girl and she may be a bit barn sour. I had just given her a day off and I think she was being fresh (in a warmblood kind of way....growing roots, etc). The training for the next few days is being done by my trainer, who knows her stuff. The horse is way too nice to let her go down the path of bad behavior. Think the rear scared the trainer more than it did me. I guess it looked pretty nasty. I wanted to get back on! lol ps I am 54 lol

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    • #22
      Originally posted by ezduzit View Post
      An hour of work seems excessive to me. Especially without knowing if something is physically wrong. my humble opinion, as always.
      Do you work for the Horse Union?
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat

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      • #23
        Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
        FineAlready hit the nail on the head... though I thought 4.5 was th absolutely bottom... I think bottom hits the moment they suddenly realize they're much bigger than you
        So true. My trainer's 4.5yr old gelding suddenly realized in the past couple of months just how BIG he is. He's at about 16.2-3, but is big. He was a total dream from age 2 until...now. In the past two months he has reared, bolted, spooked at nothing (literally), bucked like a bronco, spun, rear/spin/bolt, buck/spin/bolt, and thrown my trainer over his shoulder in a dirty spin because another horse dared to enter the arena.

        Everything fits (he does this under dressage and jump tack), teeth were just checked, and he is sound. He's getting worked for maybe an hour a day (except the day he arena-darted my trainer...that day he worked for almost two) and is turned out regularly. He's just going his fire-breathing-dragon phase. He has turned into a spooky b@st@rd, too. No changes in feed, either. Just him being an asshole.



        Originally posted by mvp View Post
        Do you work for the Horse Union?
        LMAO!! Totally agree. =)
        runnjump86 Instagram

        Horse Junkies United guest blogger

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        • #24
          Originally posted by oliverreed View Post
          Oh, been there. I had NO idea what I was getting into (at the time, a 50 year old re-rider with no horse/lessons/anything for 30 plus years) when I bought a 3.5 year old just gelded Paso Fino. Wheee!

          He started entering the age of reason at around 7.
          I hear 'ya on the just gelded Paso Phenotype - that's why I specifically got myself a 12 year old! If he's aged, it's aged like fine wine. (In Haiti, a 20 YO is still ancient)
          HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
          www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog

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          • #25
            Originally posted by mvp View Post
            Also, this is when the Working Horse Union sends them their first propaganda and membership forms.
            My horse joined the Union during her summer off at the beginning of her 3-year-old year. Thanks to arena closures and daylight savings, the first half of her 4-year-old year had give the way of the NHLPA, total lockout.

            For the OP, have you gotten out and done some trail riding with a nice, quiet buddy? Sometimes getting out and seeing new stuff gets my mate so distracted She forgets to be naughty.

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            • Original Poster

              #26
              Originally posted by Sacred_Petra View Post
              My horse joined the Union during her summer off at the beginning of her 3-year-old year. Thanks to arena closures and daylight savings, the first half of her 4-year-old year had give the way of the NHLPA, total lockout.

              For the OP, have you gotten out and done some trail riding with a nice, quiet buddy? Sometimes getting out and seeing new stuff gets my mate so distracted She forgets to be naughty.
              I actually trailer her to the beach once a week, as well as hack her around and do a little schooling at shows. It is work, but she is so wonderful for the next few days afterwords. I wanted to take her to the beach yesterday - after our bad day - so she could "forget to rear" Trainer said no way she does not deserve to go to beach and I am not to handle her for the next few days. So I have turned her over and am riding a pony! Oh, but today would be such a nice beach day!

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              • #27
                OP, I do think your trainer's approach is wrong here, FWIW. The horse messed up once. Once. I do think she deserved to work hard immediately following the screw up, and I also really think someone needed to get on her right afterward instead of just lunging her. But holding a grudge and withholding "fun" things because she doesn't "deserve" them is crazy talk. She is a horse, not a child. Keep calm, go forward. If she offers to rear again, take her nose to your knee and spin her like a top. Boot her forward out of the spin and carry on.

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                • #28
                  I can't express any real view because I do not know and have not seen the horse/rider. But, basically, I do believe in the honesty of horses and that they tell you what they are thinking in their own way. Perhaps something hurts,
                  perhaps he is pushed alittle and getting worried, confused. It is better to pevent situations than try to fix them. Simple, teeny steps work best so each encounter ends on a positive note. Being tough may not be the answer to a baby...confident, yes.
                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                  • Original Poster

                    #29
                    Trainer is trying to keep me safe. I have no fear which is not always a good thing.
                    I love the mare to bits and we will work it out. Trainer wants to help me out as much as possible before she heads to FL for the winter. So I will try to be patient and appreciative for the next couple of weeks, then I can do things "my" way. I do have a stubborn streak and maybe I am actually the one who needs a time out. I do have a habit of spoiling my youngsters a bit. They're my babies! haha

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      My normally sweet 17.1 hand TB mare has decided she's big and clever. She's become mouthy, wants to be pushy, and thinks that there might be ghosts lurking in the bushes. She is still pretty nice to ride most of the time, but I'll be happy if things revert back to her lovely pre-4 self in the next six months.

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                      • #31
                        IME, this is pretty much normal.


                        Yes, they suddenly know their size and can "try" to use that against you.

                        It's not about being "bitchy" in human terms. It's just about coming into themselves, both physically and mentally and can learn the art of evasion.

                        That's when you have to stop treating them like a baby...and start pushing some buttons. Be brave, but judicious, smart and most of all , tactful.

                        Challenge the brain with more complex ground work, cavaletti, etc. ..with LOTS of praise. If you can get the brain back on the ground, asking them to do more complex things (plan it out!) it inevitably translates to u/s. At least that has been my experience breeding,delivering them, training them and the making them good citizens. There are no shortcuts.

                        Sometimes at 4 or 5 you have to take a few steps back, at this physical and mental growth stage, to take a few steps forward. I didn't expect that, but clearly I can validate what all of you have posted.

                        Not sure if I'm articulating this well, but I saw the 4's required going backward to in hand ground work to go foward (and I'm not talking about lunging with "devices".
                        www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                        "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                        Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                          Timeline of my horse:

                          Age 3 - "Hi, fun lady! You always have the best ideas! You know what would be fun? Whatever *you* want to do. And then afterward, we can snuggle."

                          Age 4 - [Walking on hind legs to arena, with eyes that, I *swear* sometimes took on a deep red glow like an animal possessed] In a very deep voice, like a demon: "I am your master now. You shall do as I say. GET ON THE GROUND!" I did not like him much as a four year old, lol.

                          Age 5 - "Hello, person I sometimes tolerate. Why, yes, I *do* know lots of things, and, yes, I *will* be happy to jump around this little course for you with lead changes. ... YOU MISSED. YOU HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE PERSON! YOU made me CHIP there! I saw the LONG ONE! WHY ARE YOU SO INCOMPETENT!?!?!? Just for that, lets see how far I can get my nose between my knees while I buck!" "I KNOW about lead changes! Do NOT ask me! Leave me ALONE, stupid!" He learned his changes very quickly and was really offended if you asked him for one because he already knew, thankyouverymuch. I started to like him a lot again at this age, even though he was not very tolerant of mistakes, or anything he perceived as a mistake.

                          Age 6 - "I think you are finally getting this. Perhaps this will work out after all." Still tested me periodically at this age, but was mostly good. Started to tolerate mistakes a bit better, and was more willing to take direction without a fight.

                          Age 7 - "Let's get to work." He still has his moments, but he's a lot more like he was as a three year old now. He has developed into a quirky, opinionated, but generally good-minded horse that is a pleasure to ride most days (not all days, but most!).

                          I think the really smart ones go through a worse case of four year old syndrome than others. They are so full of opinion, and they hit age four and suddenly are willing to express those opinions.

                          My horse will be quirky and a little tricky, always. But he is nowhere near the hellbeast he was as a four year old. He was also injured as a four year old and was rehabbing an injury during that time...so that probably led to more problems than we would have otherwise had.

                          Anyway, hang in there. It's a wild ride with young horses sometimes, but try to stay positive and you will get through it!
                          I love my 7 year old! 5 and 6, not so much. I'm really looking forward to 8!

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Indeed...

                            But it's still our job to have the patience, skill and tactfulness to get them through the 4's and 5's.
                            www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                            "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                            Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              IMO you need to remember that a 4 year old is still immature and growing so tack fits change quickly as has already been said. Also his mind is immature - perhaps like a 10/12 year old kid??!!! So keeping him interested is paramount..... and it is far more productive to simply change direction when you get a negative response rather than provoke a 'fight' !!!! Having said that, I find it a good idea to do a couple of minutes 'in hand' or 'games' or 'questions' while tacking up to see where their mind is!!! A few minutes taken at the beginning can eliminate much pain and aggro!!! Have you seen the Dr Deb 'Ranger' article?

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by kcmel View Post
                                I love my 7 year old! 5 and 6, not so much. I'm really looking forward to 8!
                                5 and 6 are the frat boy years. Yeah, they CAN work, but they rather PARTY!
                                Amanda

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                                • #36
                                  Four coming to five is the worst... Next to five. Five year olds are so obnoxious. I sometimes tell people to take fewer lessons at three and four, instead, save their money up for five! Ugh.
                                  "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                  ---
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

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                                  • #37
                                    My eight year old is a dream horse - was pretty well born broke, and while he's gotten more opinionated over the years he's never, ever been really naughty. I picked up a three year old at the end of May and now I'm really, really scared for next spring when he's four and we go back to work. There's no way I could luck out with getting a saint twice, is there? Am I doomed?
                                    It's not about the color of the ribbon but the quality of the ride. Having said that, I'd like the blue one please!

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by drawstraws View Post
                                      My eight year old is a dream horse - was pretty well born broke, and while he's gotten more opinionated over the years he's never, ever been really naughty. I picked up a three year old at the end of May and now I'm really, really scared for next spring when he's four and we go back to work. There's no way I could luck out with getting a saint twice, is there? Am I doomed?
                                      Don't despair. Sometimes they aren't TOO bad, or down right sweet at 4. My last young horse (I had him from 3 until 7), was dreamy at 3 and 4. At 4, he was like the geeky kid in high school...always raising his hand, on the honor roll, that kind of thing. At 5, it was like he went off to college, figured out what it was like to PAR-TAY, and was kind of an ass. He was a pretty good citizen, even through that, though, just more obnoxious.

                                      A friend's young horse (who's not that young) was golden as the 5 year old we got him as, A COMPLETE AND TOTAL PUNK ASS BRAT this past year as a 6 year old, and suddenly, in the last couple of months, he has become this complete gentleman. He was so bad this year, she was ready to sell him, as he was a lot of horse for her. I had him for a couple of months over the summer, and he was a lot of horse for ME. He's done a complete 180 and she's back in love.

                                      Have a rising 5 year draft cross in the barn...I have a feeling this next year will be interesting
                                      Amanda

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
                                        Trainer is trying to keep me safe. I have no fear which is not always a good thing.
                                        I love the mare to bits Trainer wants to help me out as much as possible before she heads to FL for the winter. So I will try to be patient and appreciative for the next couple of weeks, then I can do things "my" way. I do have a stubborn streak and maybe I am actually the one who needs a time out. I do have a habit of spoiling my youngsters a bit. They're my babies! haha
                                        Bangs head on desk. The last thing that needs to be done is spoiling and "doing it your way". You admit YOU may need the time out.

                                        Perhaps your trainer sees you adding fuel to a smoldering fire. A 4 year old can be tough, mommy spoiling poopsie-waiting for the trainer to go out of town to do it your way-is a recipe for disaster.

                                        You said your trainer knows her stuff. Rearing, to me, is a not-to-be-effed-with-behavior. I don't think my first inclination would have been to let my client take her young horse who just reared to the beach the next day either. Not as punishment, as judicious reasoning. What if something happend out there?

                                        One very nice lady spoiled the crap out if her young horse she bred. He got bigger and more rotten, she started spoiling him behind the trainers back. The situation continued until said horse tried to put owner and owners daughter through the barn walls with both his back legs! " I never thought Poopsie would ever do that". Poopsie got his but sent off to get reprogrammed bc mother would not stop interfering,

                                        I truly hope this gets sorted out but a red flag has been waiving to me that there is more to this situation average "Im a naughty baby". There has to be a line. You can love them, there can be a time to spoil them. But they are 1000 + pounds and, like teenagers, need to have the rules set forth. This is when your trainer, who does not have the same emotional attachment and has the experience, needs to be listened to. Instead of planning on sneaking around behind your trainer's back, maybe have a good discussion about why she may think this situation is happening. Have your listening ears open. Does trainer feel that horse is acting out b/c she is spoiled? Is trainer afraid you are overfaced? Just some points to think about.

                                        Good luck.
                                        Last edited by Pennywell Bay; Dec. 16, 2012, 09:40 AM.
                                        Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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                                        • #40
                                          My horse got a little barn sour his first year of training, which was around four years of age. He'd gone from working once or twice a week (before I bought him) to full-time baby training which was 5x a week, but only 30-40 minutes per time. After two months of his first winter only being ridden in the indoor ring, he started getting sulky and would occasionally kick out at my leg. We spent some time doing 'fun' hacks indoors and eventually he snapped out of it.

                                          It's funny, I still remember his 5th birthday. He was acting like a tool, spooking and misbehaving while tied. I was pretty green then (yes, young horse and young rider) and my trainer walked over to him and then elbowed him HARD in the ribs to stop him from swinging into her. He calmed down, she looked at ME and said "No more baby behaviour!" Hahahaha. It's been 12 years and I always think of that every time I have to goose him in the ribs to get after him.

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