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Horse that "has your number"- have you ever turned it around?

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    Draft horses, in my experience of owning a Percheron for 22 years, need work --lots of work, ideally heavy, hard work. When Charlie, the Percheorn, was 3-4, he bolted with a carriage --in a few minutes, he did $1K of damage to harness, fence, gate, and carriage. Following the advice of the draft horse breeder I bought him from, I took Charlie to his farm where he was put on the harrow with a team for six weeks. He worked a solid 4 hours a day, was rotated off, then the next day worked four more hours --day after day. From then on, every spring, before we started working horses, Charlie was put in harness and added to a team where he could work. Eventually, I built myself a stone boat, and began each training secession with 30 min in the stone boat (or 30 min on my own harrow working up the dressage ring). Charlie was a joy to work with ---after he'd done his 30 min of hard work.

    But you say you don't drive You need to put find a way to put that horse to work. At the very least, every day, move his feet. Get yourself some ground work DVDs (I like Gaining Control and Respect on the Ground --but there are others) --the DVDs have 8 lessons --each takes about 1/2 hour to watch. Then go out find your horse and try them --keep doing each one until you and your horse master the lesson. John Lyons said, "The horse you lead is the horse you ride." If you have control and respect on the ground, you will have it in the saddle. I've used that series of DVDs on all my horses --all are excellent in-hand and well-behaved undersaddle.

    You specifically ask if any horse has ever "gotten you number." Yes --Charlie had mine---after he bolted, I was afraid to ride or drive him. However, he was so docile after he came back from the "hard labor" I felt confident again.


      Lots of great comments, I especially think you should think hard about how he's only a baby. Use your friend's round pen, and try running the lunge line either to the top of the nose ring on your lunging halter so you have better control of his face, or use a bridle and run the line through the bit ring, over the top of his head, and snap it to the bit ring on the other side. And wear gloves, boots with heels, and get ready to dig them in. Good luck!


        Original Poster

        Update-Things are going well . Been lunging him in my friend's round pen and he's been really good. Free lunging and doing ground work at my place and that's also good. Been riding him in the round pen too and on trail rides with friends and carrying a crop. That is working like a charm to get him to go and he's walking in front and even trotting away from the others for a bit (albeit with some weaving around and sucking back ). So I've built alot of confidence, getting more comfortable with him and going to keep these up for awhile.


          Awesome! Building one's own confidence is so important. Keep doing what is working! I just came in from working my 'project' boy too. Figuring out what works or doesn't work is an interesting game sometimes. And never be afraid to go back down a step, it is not a failure on a day when you or the horse is out of sorts to simply do what is a known, positive exercise rather than pushing forward. That builds partnership rather than fancy skills, and that is no bad thing.


            Haven't read all four pages of comments, but has anyone suggested a trainer yet? Methinks you need a professional. Probably someone who specializes in groundwork and colt starting.

            I'm not a professional. Sounds like you're not either. This is exactly why they exist. I really don't think internet tips and videos and books can ever substitute for a good pro.

            If it sounds like I'm being snarky, I apologize. But my "got my number" horse wound up hurting me before I sought help. I would hate for that to happen to you.


              Original Poster

              Another update: things are going great! I've been doing lots of ground work and free lunging and I feel like he is respecting me and paying attention to me and starting to bond with me. He's been doing great while riding- I always carry the crop and he's just going forward nice. He is definitely "lazy" compared to my Arabs and Tb but I will take that! He's going out in front on trail rides with very little hesitation. I started riding him again in my "arena" at home this week and he's been great. He's also much calmer in general to handle. I had other issues with him that I didn't got into in this thread, like loading and picking up his back feet but it's all coming together! We are making progress in all areas and I don't feel afraid of him anymore

              i have not yet lunged him with a line outside of the round pen because I dont want to push my luck and there is lots of other stuff we can do now , but I will get to toit eventually! I'm looking forward to riding him more in the years as he grows up. He really is a good looking devil


                Great Update!


                  I’ll second the Warwick Schiller recommendation. He’s very straightforward, no gimmicks, easy to implement and many of the videos deal with insecure disrespectful sport horses.
                  Equine Portrait Commissions and Sporting Art
                  Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
                  Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB


                    Congrats on making such good progress.