• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Retraining horse who lost his confidence

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Retraining horse who lost his confidence

    Several years ago, I enjoyed buying young OTTB's, retraining them, and selling to good homes. One gelding in particular was a favorite, as not only was he a willing, easy going guy to train over fences but he was a versatile young man: trails, camping, crossed water, jumped anything he saw without thinking twice, easy for the husband to handle, you name it!

    We sold him to a teen in training as a children's hunter and he was almost show ready at that time. Quiet as a mouse, changes, etc.

    Flash forward a year or two, something happened (possibly just green rider, trainer never got on herself) and horse stopped jumping. No injury per se but lost confidence. He was then sold as a w-t-c horse to a very inexperienced rider and he lost total faith in riders period, became crabby and barn sour.

    I just took him back, hadn't seen him in 4 years. He literally remembers everything he ever knew with me and is a pleasure to ride but the first 10 min I do feel that he's not confident, then he relaxes realizing who I am, and is a dream. He's back on trails, his flat is great, we're building muscle. Only had him back a few weeks. He looks good, has a happy expression, and is back to himself.

    However he has no confidence about jumps at all. I am starting back at square one, poles, and the world's smallest x's working on being straight, quiet, and neither stopping nor rushing. Don't mind putting in the time.

    My question is about retraining, as I usually train then sell...haven't had one come back that somebody messed with before. How realistic is it that he will rebuild confidence over fences? I am in no hurry but I don't know if a horse's confidence is wrecked at 4 or 5, does that stay with them? I can put in the time and effort and go at his pace, but just wondering what folks think. Do they come back? Does it depend on the horse? He has other fine qualities and doesn't have to jump but I don't want to assume he won't. Just trying to give him the greatest skillset possible so we can hopefully next time find a long term home for this great guy

  • #2
    I believe it will come back. But he may never be as willing to "take a joke" as he once was.

    If you can do some jumps in a field or cross country course, I think you may find it easier to get him back to enjoying jumping.


    • #3
      Time.... And a lot of it. I've been working with one for over a year and a half. Last weekend he finally jumped around a baby course totally relaxed.
      I would suggest working with him for awhile and then giving him a break to let the good memories sink in. Then start again. I have just started having other riders ride him, and the lack of confidence starts to come back initially, but the riders I have chosen for him are very soft, and that helps him regain his confidence.
      he is going to have to have multiple riders ride him like you do before his confidence will be cemented again. Good luck!
      The Greatest Sense of Freedom is on a Horse!


      • #4
        Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
        I believe it will come back. But he may never be as willing to "take a joke" as he once was.

        If you can do some jumps in a field or cross country course, I think you may find it easier to get him back to enjoying jumping.
        THIS. Bad hands and riding will ruin one a lot faster than you can recover one!!! I got a 17 hand TB gelding 18 months ago. He was at "that" point due to aweful riding, severe bits and spurs...he would come to a jump and stop...climb over it regardless of height. This was a horse capable of 5 foot jumps - he became so afraid of "bit" punishment that his canter departures were at a 45 degree projectile as he waited for the jab in his sides and mouth. I didn't jump him for 6 months...winter weather the biggest factor, but that time off did him some good as he seemed to forget about his past. (I kept waiting for that flashback moment...that never came again!!) I started walking then trotting over logs and ground poles with a VERY slack rein contact and he quickly came back to his former ability. Horses are soooo forgiving!! Good luck.
        Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


        • Original Poster

          Thanks everyone! From what I can figure out, a combination of not confident enough junior rider, trainer never getting on herself, too much, too high too fast, and then they just gave up on his jumping resulted in what we have today. Following that, about 2 years ago, they had someone riding him who has no confidence even on the flat and she ultimately just quit riding him but luckily she NEVER attempted the jumping .At least not to the best of my knowledge.

          In my 3 weeks schooling him he has improved. At first I was keeping the reins really slack which seemed to make sense but it made things worse. He rushed like crazy after the initial hesitation, got his head high and all inverted. So I have now adjusted to keeping him very straight, very slow, hands very low and giving a minimal auto release which seems to be keeping him mind thinking "slow" too. That little burst of speed he was putting on actually got his adrenaline up.

          I am keeping things really low...ground poles...piles of poles...12" cross rails pretty much...trying to make it as "boring" and hum drum as possible. Nice to hear that they do come back, however I agree with everyone who says to be very careful who rides him.

          I had been considering a lease to help with expenses in the interim but have decided against it. I think consistency is what he needs


          • #6
            First, let me thank you for taking this horse back and not letting him "go down the road". You are a good person for doing this for him!

            Does he lunge well?

            I took a horse that had been abused in the mouth, who would literally change leads every stride before a jump, to jumping hunter rounds quietly. It took a year of re-schooling to get his confidence back, but he turned out really nice.

            I spent time setting exercises for him to do on the lunge, so that he could build his confidence without my interference. I would start with a step rail, seven feet to a cross rail, nine feet to another step rail. I would have him trot that exercise. I would make the cross rail a vertical, then make it an oxer. When I moved him up to jumping the oxer, I would roll the step rail out to 8 feet. If I wanted him to canter in, then I would make both of the step rails at 9 feet.

            When he is confident with that exercise, then add a nine foot distance to another vertical (bounce jump).

            All of this should translate to your over fences work.

            I would use a neck strap or grab mane, just to make certain that I did not hit him in the mouth. If he realizes that he is not going to be punished in his mouth or back, then he will begin to trust again. Be patient. It may take awhile to build his trust.
            When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


            • #7
              Poor guy. It's so good of you, OP to take him back. I've seen some horses that regain their confidence and others that can't.
              Just try to ride him like the nice horse he was. Try to vary the lessons, ring work, hack out, hop little rails, walk on a loose rein around the property etc. Once he's a bit more confident, find a very good rider to get on him under your supervision so he can start to handle rider who are not exactly "you" but who are still riding him right.
              F O.B
              Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
              Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


              • #8
                I have found that they regain confidence, but can then fall apart quickly if not handled and ridden properly from then on.

                So as a resale project, I would be very cautious as to who you allowed to even try him.
                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                  I have found that they regain confidence, but can then fall apart quickly if not handled and ridden properly from then on.

                  So as a resale project, I would be very cautious as to who you allowed to even try him.
                  I agree with this.


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks He's a really nice horse, very good minded and generous, and deserves a wonderful life. He's one of the best minded horses I've ever had the pleasure of owning or training and I feel pretty much obligated to repair the outcome for him. Even my husband loves him and he's not that "horsey!"

                    I've taken him out on long trail rides twice, with my other horse. I had 2 different, very kind handed and experienced friends ride him. Interestingly he's been pretty willing to jump logs in the woods, must feel different than his arena experiences with the other owners.

                    I board in the city so make an effort to put my horses in the trailer and get out of town.

                    Funny someone mentioning mane/neck strap. I totally agree! A few times he approached a tiny jump (we're talking 18" here!) and stopped. Because the only option is forward, I allowed him to jump from a walk and boy did I grab the martingale and a big chunk of mane. Don't need to nail him for being "good!!!"

                    I also agree with being super careful about where he goes. Previously I sold him as a junior rider horse because he was so calm, safe and trustworthy. But I won't do that again, even though many people "can" ride him I'd really like him to go to a long term home. And I don't need to sell immediately so I can wait on that.

                    If he doesn't return to a love for jumping I would be willing to have him go as a wonderful flat and trail horse...just want the best outcome for him but sure going to give this a go for awhile first.

                    Thanks everyone for your kind, compassionate thoughts!


                    • #11
                      Have you tried free jumping him?
                      Somehow my inner ten year old seems to have stolen my chequebook!



                      • Original Poster

                        What's so cute, is my husband has been leading him over small jumps, jumping him in hand alongside him. And my horse is totally willing to do that He jumps them huge, knees up, but he's going over. And he's not hesitating whatsoever anymore. Freejumping wasn't the best because he had the option to stop/whirl so I tried it once and opted out. I have longed him over tiny tiny stuff and he's doing that fine. The under saddle is coming along but I am trying to take it VERY slow...


                        • #13
                          We've had a lot of horses like this, a lot of top show horses actually, who were given to us. They were in the hands of top trainers, but had one to many amatuers/juniors get on them and crash them. One horse we just flatted and then did crossrails, and is now doing the Adults again. His old trainer when he found out was in shock he was even jumping a crossrail, let alone going around a 3ft course.

                          What helps a lot is taking them out of the ring, doing trail rides, and jumping some natural jumps. We had one resale horse, that wouldn't go into a ring with jumps, and after leasing him out as a foxhunter, will go around a 2'6'' with a kid.

                          Just do stuff to make him happy and not sour anymore.

                          I've always heard is takes twice as long to undo something that was done, so its probably going to be a while.


                          • #14
                            Tummy help

                            He sounds like he has been through alot during his time away from you. I would do some ulcer treatment along with everything else you are doing for him I had one that was ruined by a junior rider, she basically just overall scared him and he would bolt and buck with her as well. He was very stressed with her on his back and became a dirty stopper. To get him back to a "normal" state and to help him out in everyway we did a round of ulcer guard to eliminate the possibly of him being uncomfortable and to make sure he was happy to do his job.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SoCalGal View Post
                              What's so cute, is my husband has been leading him over small jumps, jumping him in hand alongside him. And my horse is totally willing to do that He jumps them huge, knees up, but he's going over. And he's not hesitating whatsoever anymore. Freejumping wasn't the best because he had the option to stop/whirl so I tried it once and opted out. I have longed him over tiny tiny stuff and he's doing that fine. The under saddle is coming along but I am trying to take it VERY slow...
                              How is his eyesight?


                              • Original Poster

                                My gelding is doing so much better! He had a LONG trail ride last weekend, trailering out, 2nd one in the 3 weeks I've had him. He had 2 days off riding and then got back on last night. He was wonderful as always.

                                But when I did trot poles he was much more confident the first time over them. And then I did set up a little ground pole about 6 feet out from the jump and that really helped him slow, soften, focus. I did it several times landing right, landing left. Then did several other slightly higher x's and he jumped them all beautifully. Set up 2 poles leading to a tiny little vertical and he looked at first pole, then trotted over 2nd and straight over the jump. We repeated these in isolation several times then progressed to a simply 6 stride line. Perfection! Did that a few times then built a small course. Did that 2 times, gorgeous! Threw in a lead change or 2 then quit. These are all 2 feet, no biggie but he softened, lowered his neck, stopped thrusting his body over, and in the line kept his stride totally even and he was straight straight straight. I felt like it was breakthrough and he built some positive memories. It was wonderful We will repeat the same kinds of little things almost daily in hopes that he will start going oh yeah this again no biggie. Then another trail ride this weekend