Sport Horse Spotlight


Sale Spotlight

COTH_without Subscribe
  • Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of 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 may be better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts, though are not legally obligated to do so, regardless of content.

Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting. Moderators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts unless they have been alerted and have determined that a post, thread or user has violated the Forums� policies. Moderators do not regularly independently monitor the Forums for such violations.

Profanity, outright vulgarity, blatant personal insults or otherwise inappropriate statements will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

Users may provide their positive or negative experiences with or opinions of companies, products, individuals, etc.; however, accounts involving allegations of criminal behavior against named individuals or companies MUST be first-hand accounts and may NOT be made anonymously.

If a situation has been reported upon by a reputable news source or addressed by law enforcement or the legal system it is open for discussion, but if an individual wants to make their own claims of criminal behavior against a named party in the course of that discussion, they too must identify themselves by first and last name and the account must be first-person.

Criminal allegations that do not satisfy these requirements, when brought to our attention, may be removed pending satisfaction of these criteria, and we reserve the right to err on the side of caution when making these determinations.

Credible threats of suicide will be reported to the police along with identifying user information at our disposal, in addition to referring the user to suicide helpline resources such as 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK.

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 5/9/18)
See more
See less

UPDATE [post 24] Ideas to correct horse that pins ears/snaps/bites when saddled . . .

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • UPDATE [post 24] Ideas to correct horse that pins ears/snaps/bites when saddled . . .

    I have a trainer coming out tomorrow to help me address this, but thought I'd post hear because COTH has a vast array of opinions! Horse is 13-year-old gelding, QH, extensive training, however, until me, all six previous owners were young men who used horse for cutting/sorting/roping in real ranch and competition situations. Sold to me at a Ranch Horse Auction two years ago as he was approaching the upper level of age in that sport.

    The very first time I saw him, the boy (man, I suppose) who owned him, saddled him in front of me. The horse pinned his ears and bared his teeth. I asked the owner if that bothered him [that the horse fussed in the cross ties]. The owner said, "no." Continued to saddle and then rode him beautifully. I got on, and immediately felt a strong desire to OWN that horse. So I bought him at the auction the following week.

    Fast forward two years. I've been in (facebook) contact with all previous owners --no gaps --no abuse. Horse has been a delight --he's a brilliant ride, learned to jump, moved to first flight at the fox hunt, carries me safely and willingly through all my endeavors. Hauls like a dream. He hooks the trailer and cleans it out after we come back. (not really, just wanted to make sure you were still reading). I am thrilled with him! Except . . .

    When I saddle him, the second the saddle pad hits his back, he pins his ears, snaps his teeth, and gives me the evil eye. This "aggressive behavior" continues until the girth is tight. Then it immediately stops. He's a joy to bridle --reaches for the bit with open mouth and hangs his head for it to be placed over his ears . . .it's just the saddling.

    Over the two years I have tried EVERYTHING to correct this ---oh! If I saddle him in the pasture or at the trailer, he doesn't do it ---only in the cross ties in the barn --and he does it with both English and Western tack.

    I have tried: rubbing his nose (John Lyons), backing him a long, long way (Clinton Anderson), shouting at him and waiving my arms (he looks mildly startled, licks his lips and pins his ears at the same time), holding my elbow out (except that he's clever and never comes that close to me), ignoring him, taking baby-steps to saddle him --pad (do something else, saddle, do something else, first hole of girth, do something else --etc. No change. Still pins ears and licks lips and gives me the evil eye.

    This is a highly affectionate horse ---he runs to me in the pasture, hang around me when I'm working int he field--- just a sweet sweet guy --except when he's saddled.

    Ideas? As I said, trainer is coming out tomorrow ---she just finished two years at horse-training college --we'll see what she can do. Meanwhile --hoping to hear from anyone who has an idea!
    Last edited by Foxglove; Aug. 5, 2019, 09:24 AM.

  • #2
    One more try, head low, that means a hair above waist high and looking the other way a little to ask for treats.

    You can teach that easily with clicker training.

    Then as he is good at that every place, start that while ready to saddle, ignore the grumpiness and don't reward that, but if at times he is begging, not grumpy, reward that heavily.
    Teaching a different behavior can help overcome an unwanted one.

    You may find him more interested in asking nicely than acting grumpy.

    I would be wary of anyone else messing with such a nice horse too much and maybe causing other problems?

    Be sure to ask first what that trainer wants to do before handing the horse over, protect him from getting him in a situation you don't think is right for your intended results if it may have unintended consequences, like overly spooking him.

    Sounds like your horse had most times sensible people he could trust and that is priceless.
    Nerver want to teach a horse to be suspicious of what someone may do, or worse, scared to where they start not being sure about people.
    Honest mistakes handling horses happen enough, just try not to make some that could have been avoided if not very sure of what someone else intends to do with your horse.


    • #3
      Assuming that your horse wears properly fitting saddle, doesn't have ulcers or any other of the usual suspects -- do you have to saddle him while cross-tied? Maybe there's something about the way he stands while cross tied that doesn't agree with him -- head in awkward postion that translates (sensation wise) to his back or withers = tension?

      I'd try dropping one side of the cross ties to allow him to stand in a more natural, neutral position -- like when you saddle him at the trailer (single tie I imagine) and see if he is less reactive.


      • #4
        I'd guess it was a "learned behavior" from his cowboy days...getting cinched up tight for work...I'd try a single tie rope/ mentioned above...and let him eat out of a hay rack a few times while you saddle him.....a little distraction might be all he needs. IMO....punishment of any sort will only make him worse.
        Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


        • #5
          I was clicker training my mare for tricks in general.

          She has always been girthy, when I got her she didn't even like being touched under the armpits as her pecs were rock hard cords at that point. She is much more relaxed now but the girthy behavior persisted and yes, she would actually bite.

          What finally worked was clicker training her to do nothing. She got a click and a treat when she didn't move her head at all during girthing, or when she overdid it, and actually turned her head away from me. This is a basic skill in clicker training, so she caught on fast.

          After a while she sometimes started to give an excited little whinny, her "treats now?" giggle, when the girth got tightened.

          She still sometimes tries to bite the saddle as I am walking towards her with it, and gets pissy face when I let down the stirrups by the mounting block, but she is totally fine with the actual girth process. So I have to assume it was learned behavior and not discomfort at all.

          I've also used this to make her stand at the mounting block to get on and off.

          I would also go over his chest/neck,/girth area and see if there are tight muscles or places he doesn't like being touched. Maybe a good horse rmt would be useful.


          • #6
            I would just stop saddling him in the cross-ties. He obviously doesn't like it.


            • #7
              To follow on to danacat's suggestion, if "in crossties" also happens to be the only place he's saddled when standing on concrete, that can affect posture and comfort when saddling as well.

              When my horse has exhibited this kind of behavior, it's been a signal about saddle fit - but sometimes it's not obvious in what way. For example, he was doing this with my jump saddle but not my dressage saddle. I couldn't tell in what way either of them were failing to fit correctly at first. Eventually, he clearly outgrew the dressage saddle and I replaced it. Lo and behold, the objections to the jump saddle stopped. So now I think the dressage saddle had been putting pressure on his shoulders when in work, but not when standing still/during saddling. So it didn't bother him, but the forward flaps of the jump saddle did during saddling.


              • #8
                If he is perfect in every other way, I would just stop saddling him in the cross ties?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                  If he is perfect in every other way, I would just stop saddling him in the cross ties?
                  I didn't catch that he only did that in crossties.

                  The solution then is clearly, if not that important he stands there, saddle somewhere else where he is not getting to practice being grumpy, if you can find a better spot.


                  • #10
                    If you straight or ground tie him and tack him up and he doesn't react, then I would just continue that. If he does while standing in the crosstie area and ground tied, you can always send him into some work every time hes a grump and turns into a rattlesnake. Its worked very well for me in the past, same behaviour with a gelding of mine, and it very quickly goes away when he realizes what the other option is. He also hates his elbows being touched. The clicker training also sounds great though.


                    • #11
                      Not sure if I’ll explain this well and it sounds weird, but maybe he only menaces in the crossties because he knows that you know he can’t actually reach you to bite? As in, if you thought he was serious he’d be in real trouble but since the crossties prevent him from actually biting (unless they’re really loose or he’s really determined, I guess), you don’t, so he knows he can get away with the grumps. When he’s single-tied he could actually bite you more easily but he knows you wouldn’t tolerate that so he doesn’t try. I don’t know if horses think that way, just a thought!
                      Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm:


                      • #12
                        If all health and discomfort issues are ruled out, I'd do something like what Scribbler said about clicker training. My gelding is also trained to look away for a treat as I did some basic clicker training with him. He started acting a bit girthy one day, would pin his ears maybe, or turn and look back at me quickly. We couldn't find anything wrong. I then started riding him on a hole looser than usual, so maybe at the end of my tightening (I do it in steps) it was just too tight for him.

                        I first put the girth on one side, begin doing the other, take out a treat, he looks away, then munches said treat while I finish fastening. We can do this without a treat, but he has a slight look of dissatisfaction.

                        ​​​​​​His issue was not so severe, so it was quite simple. With your horse you may have to do something like, put the pad on, and wait for a moment when he is not fussing, reward, go to next step, repeat.


                        • #13
                          If everything fits and he's comfortable I would just call it his quirk and enjoy him with everything else. My young horse spooks at his bridle when I bridle him somewhere different.


                          • #14
                            My favorite horse of all time was a chestnut TB mare who hated being groomed and tacked up. The previous owner tried to get her to quit snapping and generally looking disagreeable, with no success. At one point, her husband, in a fit of frustration, tightened her girth suddenly and hard, which didn't help matters. To make a long story short, she became mine and for all of her 25 years, never got over it. I kept a sheet on her to eliminate the need for much grooming, and was ever so tactful about putting the pad and saddle on and girthing it. She never bit me and she never quit disliking it. She was never cross tied and she was never rude, ie, moving around when saddled. It didn't bother me, and I still miss her.
                            Mystic Owl Sporthorses


                            • #15
                              When I put the hackamore on in the stall, my mare will try to bite the chinstrap like it's a bit going in her mouth.

                              When I put the hackamore on elsewhere, she slips into it like a halter.

                              She never bites the chinstrap of any halter anywhere.

                              She basically drops her head into any bridle or halter, you hold it up and she puts it on, and reaches down and takes the bit of her own accord.. She is offended when you do it "pony club style" and move the bridle or halter towards her.

                              Anyhow, situation does count, and behavior learned can be learned in one place!


                              • #16
                                Sounds like my gelding, except he’s also pissy with blankets. I bought him as a yearling, the grumpy faces started after an ice storm that limited turnout for about two weeks when he was 5. He’s 10 now. He’s been treated for ulcers, lives out 24/7, massage, chiro, and a new custom saddle. He still does it...

                                I’ve chalked it up to a learned behaviour.


                                • #17
                                  I’d go with the learned behaviour theory but in the same circumstances I’d also check my own body language. A horse who used to kick out at his owner when she tried to saddle it had no problems when I did so, it was all down to the level of confidence with which we approached it. In the long run unless the horse is dangerously aggressive then I wouldn’t worry about it, either don’t use the cross ties or just ignore the behaviour.


                                  • #18
                                    I have zero tolerance for a horse that *actually* tries to bite me, but I don't care if they make ugly faces. I had a lovely welsh mare that did this. Pull out a carrot or treat with a crinkly wrapper, and the ears instantly went forward. She was lovely to ride, sound as a dollar, and absolutely kid safe--it was just her quirk.

                                    My semi-retired AO mare is the same way, and makes terrible faces at the first sign of a saddle pad or sheet/blanket. If someone less experienced with horses has to blanket her, I have them cross tie her. But she has never tried to escalate and actually bite--just pins ears and snaps her teeth (tied, loose, cross tied, whatever). I tried for a while to correct it, reward positive behavior, or identify something 'hurting'. But after ruling out everything we could think of, I just learned to ignore it.

                                    I've never tried clicker training, but honestly the behavior doesn't keep me up at night. I figure it's akin to a kid rolling their eyes or loudly sighing when being asked to empty the dishwasher or take out the trash. Heck I make ugly faces (rolling my eyes, blowing out my bangs) when dealing with difficult customers sometimes (on the phone). While I'd rather my horses have perfect manners, I'm also not going to make a big deal over individual self expression, once I've done my best to rule out physical discomfort or fear.
                                    A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's does that...



                                    • #19
                                      One of my horses also does this, it was a learned behavior from his earlier days. He was most likely started western. He also is better when in new environments.
                                      I give him a cookie when he gets his girth tightened. In all, he gets three cookies during girth tightening, one for each time I go tighter, which is three times for my saddle.
                                      This broke the behavior entirely and he now doesn’t mind being girthed up, but does look for his cookie... which I find to be a much better behavior than the nasty face.

                                      I actually now do this will all of my horses, even my young ones, but they only get one cookie. I find that it really helps to associate girthing up with positive ideas, and makes it so nasty face never begins.


                                      • #20
                                        So when you saddle him in his field or at the trailer, he stands nicely, no ear pinning or ugly faces? He doesn’t try to reach around and bite you when you saddle him in his field? Assuming his saddle fits and he has no other pain issues, and also assuming he ground or straight ties, just stop saddling in the cross ties. Pick your battles.