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scarey bridge

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  • scarey bridge

    QH gelding (reining & cow horse) about 12 years old, I dont think much training has been done for outside stuff. There is a metal bridge over the creek. Its closed where tires run on it but open grill everywhere else, my old horse gave it a snort and a long look and went over it without a hitch, he was pretty crazy about most things but not this. This horse doesnt like the drive to the bridge, stops when his feet are on the edge of the driveway, and wont move. Hes not stubborn that I can tell, probably scared, he seems to submit but wont put a foot on it. I need ideas on how to get him over it so we can trail ride on that side to. Any ideas? Ive got most of winter to work on this TIA
    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

  • #2
    We had to cross an open grate bridge with my first horse to get to the park to trail ride. The first number of times I had to get off and lead him across while we followed the other horse.

    Can you take a lead from another good solid horse in front and maybe one next to you or behind? Or get off and lead him while you follow another horse?

    Go with the thought that you have all the time in the world, there is no rush, don't let any frustration show. I find that in situations like this or like loading a tough loader you just have to know it will take however long it takes and have lots of patience.
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

    Comment


    • #3
      Can you get your horse to walk across a board lying flat on the ground? Try that. It will give you an opportunity to develop a language and a pattern around the activity. Hopefully, that language and pattern will transfer over to the real bridge.
      I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        CindyG he walked over a folded tarp, not a bored since I havent used one, is that ok?
        Sonny Im pretty much on my own here, most horses are retiried or dont ride much, I dont know if any will go over this bridge. I asked someone today if her arabs will go, no they wont and she does long rides and is out all the time. The other person thats out alot cant get his horse across it, a TWH. Usally people just go thru the pasture, Id rather he go forward for me. I can take a while if its not cold or much traffic he doesnt want to go to the edge but I can get him there, maybe just keep asking allmost everyday and see what happens?
        “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JohnDeere View Post
          CindyG he walked over a folded tarp, not a bored since I havent used one, is that ok?
          Sonny Im pretty much on my own here, most horses are retiried or dont ride much, I dont know if any will go over this bridge. I asked someone today if her arabs will go, no they wont and she does long rides and is out all the time. The other person thats out alot cant get his horse across it, a TWH. Usally people just go thru the pasture, Id rather he go forward for me. I can take a while if its not cold or much traffic he doesnt want to go to the edge but I can get him there, maybe just keep asking allmost everyday and see what happens?
          Can you do the one foot at a time routine? I have also backed a horse over a bridge for the first time. A grated bridge to quite a challenge.
          Facta non verba

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with the one foot at a time advice.

            Also break the lesson up into mini lessons.

            Today approach bridge without a snort. Then leave.

            When he will do that, proceed to put one foot on.

            When he will do that for several times or days without too much stress, then move to 2 feet.

            Keep going, but don't commit to crossing until he is very low on the stress scale.

            I agree also with trying all these things on foot first. I've had ones that didn't believe it was safe until they saw someone else do it.

            I think if you do these things and he builds his trust in you that nothing bad will happen and that you will only ask him to do things he is capable of doing he will be better about trying new things in the future.

            Comment


            • #7
              A shadow roll? He might be too wise to the situation at this point though.

              Grated bridges are really a test of equine guts. The few we had around here ended up being clsed up because they presented problems for the Amish traffic.
              ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

              Comment


              • #8
                This may not be a popular response, but here's my deal. If I'm out trail riding, I can't afford to take 3 mos to desensitize to a situation. I need my horse to take a good look and then give it an honest go. So, if I were in your shoes, I'd make sure we had a good handle on leading. And then if I got to a spot that was super scary and I didn't feel like I could do it in the saddle, I'd get off and lead across. Crop if necessary. Calmly of course. Nonchalantly if you can pull it off. But I would make it happen.

                Another option is to BACK across. I've started several horses through water by backing through when they wanted to refuse to go forward.

                Or if you know you've got a sticky spot, getting someone else to go with who has a been there done that horse that can go first can be nice.

                Generally though, it's something I want to work through in that moment because you don't always get a ton of time to work through when you do a lot of trail riding. You pretty much need them to do it. A little spookiness is fine (to me) on the first few passes, but not going isn't an option.
                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
                  So, if I were in your shoes, I'd make sure we had a good handle on leading. And then if I got to a spot that was super scary and I didn't feel like I could do it in the saddle, I'd get off and lead across. Crop if necessary. Calmly of course. Nonchalantly if you can pull it off. But I would make it happen.
                  Agree with this.

                  I had a similar issue with a mare I used to lease who would. not. go. down a certain trail into the woods at the boarding farm.

                  A combination of leading from the ground, and later, making her work like crazy in the field next to the trail whenever she refused, plus a lot of riding in all conditions to have her learn to trust me fixed te problem.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    To be clear, I'm not talking about beating the horse and making it a horrid experience. It's just that if you want to trail ride in new territory in the future, you're likely to run into new and different scary stuff. So you can't always take that kind of time. There has to be a general understanding that forward means...FORWARD. I'm the very proud owner of a (now) bomb proof 23 YO trail mare, but we had our share of challenges when she was young. She was always solid minded, but she had her young jumpy stuff back in the day. I just always acted like it was no big deal and we DID it. That has actually saved my butt more than once now. Even when other horses were freaking out, she pretty much understood that we were doing this....NOW. If you need to take more time because you guys need to build up the relationship and training a bit more then by all means, do. But I wouldn't make too big a deal out of it. We've stood by freight trains going by, fire works, guns going off, scary children, even scarier bikes, tricky bridges and water, etc. We just do it. Never know what we're going to run into.
                    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      This one is the odd duck, Ive tried backing him across, hes a QH. THey are very heavy if they dont want to move. My old horse wasnt a QH, he tried to please & was always go Ths one just wont go even if you use spurs hes stubborn. Hes also new so we arent yet a pair, maybe by spring he will learn to trust me?
                      We did better yesterday than we did, he will walk up to it now without trying to turn or stop, so getting better.
                      “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Honestly, the typical "QH" should be so laid back that they're all "what? okay."

                        I grew up with QH's or QH crosses. I don't really think it's a breed thing. He has your ticket a bit.

                        He needs to learn forward...in hand if nothing else. He needs to do his job.
                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Odd duck--tho the endloader coming at him just got his ears up, the deer in the woods will freak him out. Hes done the Nope Im Not Going a few times on the ground, loading in the trailer. Ive not taken a buggywhip to see if that would work, he hates them & I wont have one on a trail ride.
                          “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Agree with "needs to learn forward". But. This sounds like a nerve-wracking situation and I would think about what you feel safe doing with this horse.

                            Some of us are a bit more timid, sorry folks, but it is true. I was in a situation similar to the OP's; there's a dam out in the state forest next to the barn, and if I couldn't get the mare across the dam, two-thirds of the forest would be unavailable. With other horses, I could get her across with a little persuasion (a kick, a growl, a tap with the crop... usually one or two of these, and on one memorable occasion when she was being especially stubborn, a "Git!" loud enough that it startled the horse in front of us.)

                            But I wanted to do it alone. I went out there multiple times, and each time made the mare go a little further. I carried peppermints and used them, as well as a lot of praise. It took about 5 times, and yes, the experts can sneer at me, but that's how long it took both the mare and me to feel safe about it. She still will jig a bit approaching it, or slow down, but she knows she *has* to cross it. When it's dry on top, I sometimes trot her across it. About a quarter of the time, I still give her a peppermint on the other side. I always tell her she's a good girl.

                            Accomplishing that has made me more brave, and these days I know that when she says NO! about something, if I keep her nose pointed where I want her to go, even if we approach and retreat like a yo-yo, she'll Get Over Herself and cooperate.

                            But it's a process, especially with a new horse.
                            You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                            1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              May be carrots for reward? Hes odd-hates apples & mints, he will take them to be polite but wont eat them. I wont ride him across yet, I dont trust him enough not to try to get me of, hes done it before when I tried to make him do something. The road is hard & I like my bones straight. If I saw a horse go across it I would see if hed follow. Maybe the BM knows of one that will go.
                              “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I would treat it similar to a trailer loading issue.
                                "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  JD, I would try to have a riding buddy with a steady eddy go with if possible. Especially if you're concerned that he'll escalate to the point he tries to toss you. I can totally understand not wanting to get intimate with the ground. Been there done that and have the titanium to prove it. I'm not sure I'd even mess with a horse that was wanting to dump me in protest these days. It's not worth it to me. I've started a few green beans and never had one whose go-to was bucking or rearing/spinning--can't say that I'd go there now either. I don't mind being patient with stop and stare or sideways spook, but I used up all my patience with bucking/rearing and working through eccentricity about oh...5 years ago. LOL

                                  It's really nice to have a horse who approaches things with more of a "hmm, alright, well...let's give it a shot!" attitude. Will hug my mare today. Good luck!
                                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Metal bridges in themself are scary; add open grate metal bridge and it's a whole 'nother animal. Scary because of the sound, the fact that they can look through the openings, the less than sure footing under foot. I was trail riding with a group and came to a metal bridge, most riders rode across no problem, I got off and led my pony, and another novice rider attempted to ride across. His horse freaked halfway and fell down hard. Horse was in bad shape and we had to bring a trailer in to get her out. This horse is a quarter horse and as a result of the injury, is now a pasture pet.

                                    Just recently I was out on a trail ride with a group of friends and came to a bridge that was wood but the scenario was a little scary. First rider tried to beat her horse across, no go; second rider tried to beat her horse ago, nada; same with the third. I came up and let Zephyr take a good look and put her nose down and check out the situation and with gentle forward pressure, she walked across and everyone followed.

                                    If you let a horse assess the situation and calmly ask for forward, you'll have better luck than whaling on them or saying the horse has your number. Bah! Metal bridges are scary and one with a grated deck, even more so.
                                    Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      We have gone from
                                      dont wanna go on the road to the bridge
                                      to
                                      2 front feet on it

                                      in 3 tries, he will sniff at the bridge & gardrail so I think we r on the way. I will try carrots/a whip next time, see if it helps or hurt. keeping calm seems to help him so whip may just freak him out.

                                      THanks for help.
                                      “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'd leave the whip at home. Ask, don't tell. Let him think. BE PATIENT.
                                        As George Morris says: “Temper is never right because temper is always too strong.”

                                        You're a new pair and he doesn't trust you yet. It has to be earned. You'll get there in time, but don't be in a hurry to do so
                                        <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

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