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HELP-Breaking the Boredom (kind of long)

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  • HELP-Breaking the Boredom (kind of long)

    Background info: I have a 5 year old WB that is absolutely driving me crazy. He is a gelding but is a little stallion-like. He likes to challenge authority, he requires a lot of finesse when being ridden, and he is generally fearless (the neighbors dog growled and charged at him- all the other horses in the pasture ran away but he turned head on and challenged the dog- dog was smart enough to back down after seeing him strike out with his front legs). He is also absolutely oozing with personality (very expressive both in good and bad ways) and gets bored way too easily. He also never spooks or balks at jumps (one of his redeeming qualities).

    So here is the problem.. I am trying to find ways to keep him from getting bored. When I am in the barn, he likes to paw at his stall door despite that he has an attached run that he can go out and play. When I turn him out (in his bigger pasture/paddock), he plays for about 20 min then stands and paws at the gate (and he has a buddy to play with). When I ride, if he becomes disinterested, he becomes VERY uncooperative (this is by far the biggest problem).

    He gets disciplined for his bad behavior and in general is making definite progress. I am confident that his problem is from boredom and feel if I can help alleviate the boredom his behavior will improve even faster. He has a lot of eagerness and enthusiasm but it needs to be channeled in the right direction.

    He gets almost 24/7 turnout during good weather (varying from medium paddock to large pasture). He gets free choice hay/water and is in good health. He always has a buddy near by or in his paddock (not that he cares too much- he would much prefer human company). I have tried changing up his routine, adding toys and those lick-it things in his stall (fun for 5 minutes then boring), going for trail rides, ground work, jumping new fillers/fences, all sorts of exercises undersaddle, etc. One thing that definitely does not work is too much time off (he gets very sour if I leave him alone for more than a few days). He does love jumping and I have found that if I jump something in the first 5 minutes of riding, he stays interested in his work (well on most days).

    So any ideas on how to help keep him interested or at least not so bored? I'm hoping that there is something that I have simply not tried yet. Don't get me wrong, he is making progress (he is leaps and bounds better behaved than when I got him) but I am hoping that there is something to make everyones life better. I knew when I bought this horse that he would be difficult (previous trainer couldn't get anywhere with him) but was drawn to him because of his talent and he really is a joy to ride when he is focused and cooperative. Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Aww, you have my exact horse! If your horse shares more traits then he has an outgoing personality and will become a one person horse who he will attatch to and do anything for. My horse doesn't like turnout unless it's on fresh grass (food is his only entertainment, but he's an easy keeper, sigh) Can't help you with specific ways to entertain, nothing has worked for very long... never more than a day!

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    • #3
      Except for the pawing at gates and such, I'd dig this kind of horse.

      All you need to do is give him a harder job-- not necessarily physically more work, but definitely mentally more taxing. When he's not listening, things suddenly get much more complicated until he's struggling to keep up with your requests. Do this until he *offers* to cruise around a bit. You are much smarter than he is, so you can make even his flatwork or trail rides full of things to think about. He'll learn to look for the easier ride.

      And when he paws for attention? Jesus! Get mad at him. He can take it, and there's no reason to be his b!tch. If you make it clear that your no one's b!tch on the ground, you may have an easier time on his back.

      It does sound like he's bored and way into you. If you give him more than "I'm always nice to you" he'll straighten up and become a good citizen. Because he does like you and will go out of his way, he'll become a *great* citizen. But it takes time, especially with young boy WBs.
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat

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      • #4
        I know this might not be the norm for most of us h/j folks, but if here were mine, I'd put him out in a herd of at least 5 for a few months (if an option).

        Although he is 5, he might just not be that mature mentally.

        I'm a big advocate of herd life for these types. Let the other horses do the work by stimulating him and teaching him some life lessons. You might find the brain will become a lot easier to work with.
        Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique

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        • #5
          The only thing I can say that works - it's called AGE... LOL.

          ALL the horses in my life seem to have this "smart" human like mind. Looking for ways to entertain themselves... but the only thing that has helped mine is time.....
          Live in the sunshine.
          Swim in the sea.
          Drink the wild air.

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