horse anxious and forward in a group

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horse anxious and forward in a group

Post by Admin on Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:44 am

I have a 9 year old TWH gelding. I am probably an advanced beginner, as I have ridden a lot but am not particularly gifted, and am not comfortable w/ bucking, bolting, big spooks or other very naughty behavior. That being said, my horse doesn't do much of any of that, but he is a bit of a "go-er". He likes to get with it, and especially in a group, he will walk thru the bit, gets on a bit of adrenalin, and gets a little high headed. I ride him in a snaffle/wonderbit. One time I got frustrated and used a friends big walking horse bit and he obeyed. "yes ma'am, two bags full!", but I don't think the right asnwer is a bigger bit. I sent him with a gal that worked him in just a snaffle and taught him "head down" and circled him whenever the sped up w/out asking. It works good if we're by ourselves, he seems to know..oops, got a little fast. But it's hard when I'm w/ a few folks trailriding, etc, if I circle him we get farther behind, he wants to catch up, we circle, get farther behind, etc. I also judge field trials on him, and I can MAKE him do what I want, but he gets jacked up and it's not relaxing. What sort of things can I do as exercises at home, and should I hold of on those organized events until I get some things cleared up w/ him. I am planning on taking some lessons so that I have a better seat, so I'm not trying to work on me and him at the same time;)



Kita in Las Vegas
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Re: horse anxious and forward in a group

Post by Paul Williamson on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:05 pm

Paul- Hi Kita, Remember, that pressure inevitably leads to counter pressure, so if you pull back all the time, you are giving him something to pull on - and he WILL pull. And then all the pulling will send him even more hot on adrenaline. What you need to do is to learn to simply let go of the reins. Don't pull evenly on both reins again, teach him to stop and slow down on voice commands, and install a one-rein-stop for the "hot" situations. Once you have taught him a good one-rein-stop, you should be able to slow him down nicely by just turning his head slightly to the side. There's no need for a full circle, that will just stress him out even more.



And if you need to in the beginning, don't be afraid to keep his head tucked in by your feet until he's completely relaxed and lets go of the rein to chew nicely. Don't attempt to ride in a group again until you can control him perfectly using your new voice commands and your one-rein-stop. But once you've got it, you should be good to go. I know many people with hot horses like yours (funny, they're also gaited?) that have had great success with letting go of the reins instead of pulling harder or using harsher bits (both of which will just add to the stress).



Good luck Kita, you can do this!
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Re: horse anxious and forward in a group

Post by Jeff Sanders on Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:36 am

Hey Kita,
This is a great question for my first foray onto the site here.
Your instinct about a bigger bit NOT being the answer is right on track. Keep in mind that horses do not learn form pressure, they learn from the release of pressure. Using a bigger bit simply forces a horse into working. That can work temporarily but always causes more problems than it solves. It is always better to help your horse develop a willingness to work rather than forcing him to work.
From what you have posted, it sounds like you have already made some progress using circles. I would be inclined to build from that success. When used correctly, circles can be an effective tool to help teach a horse relaxation. As soon as your horse gets on the muscle take him into a small to medium circle and as soon as he begins to relax let him move out of the circle. If he gets on the muscle again just repeat the process. The size of the circle will depend on your horse; you will have to experiment with it some to see what size gets him to relax best.
You can also mix it up with some serpentines. The principal is the same; do serpentines until he relaxes then let him move out in a straight line.

I would encourage you to continue to ride outside with other people but do it as designated training time rather than as a trail ride. A lot of what you school in the arena can also be done outside. Find some people who are willing to work their horses outside. When you are doing your circle they can work their horses as well so that you don’t end up behind. I would recommend that you do this with no destination or timetable in mind… just go school outside. You will find that the more you school your horse outside the better they will get in the arena as well.

Time and patience are going to be the key no mater what training strategies you decide to use. It may take weeks or it may take months. Ultimately it will be up to your horse to decide how long it will take. This is one of the reasons why Vaquero style horsemanship is so effective; there are no timetables. Unfortunately no matter how good a rider/trainer we are, we will never teach a horse to care about our timetables.
Please keep us posted on how you are progressing,
Jeff
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Anxious Horse

Post by ShaunaD on Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:11 pm

This is my first time on here and I am so thankful I ran across Kita's question...I have the same issue with my Spotted Saddle horse. She is 9 years old and we just moved to AZ from KY. Everything here is so different visually for our horses and the two gaited ones we have seen to be having the hardest time adjusting. I went on my first trial ride with a 4H group "poker ride" fund raiser. My horse was pulling the whole time against her bit, I use the IMUS bit. I tried several times to circle with the same results Kita is getting, several times I used one rein stops with her only to have her become more agitated. At one point she started getting jiggy and throwing her head up, I started into pulling her head around and she tried to come up...something she has NEVER done with me. It was a battle just to keep her from rearing and in the process she lost her footing and fell on my right leg. I am a pretty green rider (3 years) and not a very confident one at that so this really unsettled me even more than I already was. I did get back on her but after about another 1/2 mile down the trail we stopped at a check point and I had someone take me via 4wheeler back to my son so they could take him to my horse and have him bring her in. He is much more confident and she responds to him well. This is a horse that has never given me reason to be afraid while on her back and for the most part has always been really good for me under the saddle. I realize the majority of the problem is me and the advise that Jeff and Paul gave Kita is something I will work on. My horse does has some big "bossy" issues with me so any advise you can give here will be greatly appreciated! We are doing some ground work on keeping her out of my "space" so I guess we just have to go back to square one. I am also going to try to get some lessons with my horse so a trainer can help me pinpoint my mistakes. Thank you for listening and any advise you can offer on things I can do at home with her will be greatly appreciated.
Shauna

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Re: horse anxious and forward in a group

Post by Chelsie Kallestad on Tue May 04, 2010 1:19 am

What everyone said is good advise.
I like that you said you have taught your horse how to relax with a cue, very important. Small circles are good for some horses and I like to use them as well, but with some more hot horses asking them to go in small circles will get them hotter and ready to go even more. So this is individual horses personality's that we need to know and be good at understanding what works best for our horses. Some of the horses that just get more upset with circles, Lateral Flexion works best. And it is not just getting the head to bend around and get soft in your hands but it is also getting that horse to understand that when you ask for Lateral Flexion it mean stop, rest and RELAX.
Also as was said you need to ride with friends that will help you be successful on the trail and will wait for you until you are ready no matter how long it takes.

I am sure with all this advise and things to try you and your horse will make lots of progress. Keep us updated!

Shauna,Hey I also live in AZ. I am very sorry that you had that problem and had lost some of your confidence. I would love to help you and your horse. I do lessons and clinics here in AZ. Where do you live?
You can email me at: chelsie@chelsienaturalhorsemanship.com any time and I will try to answer any questions you have or help you any way I can. I will also send you a free DVD of me and my horses if you send me your mailing address via email.

Thanks,
Chelsie
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Re: horse anxious and forward in a group

Post by Got_gait on Tue May 04, 2010 1:21 pm

Hey Chelsie. Thanks for your input. I used to have a hot horse and people always told me to circle him when he was forward. Not knowing any better as he was my first horse, I did it and it was a disaster. That behavior (among others) got really really bad and I had to sell that horse. He would get SO MAD that he would literally growl at me when I was circling him. I have learned a lot since then about different techniques for different horses. I just appreciate you being the sort of person that doesn't say- THIS WAY is the right way. Period.

Lee

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Re: horse anxious and forward in a group

Post by Chelsie Kallestad on Tue May 04, 2010 3:45 pm

Thank you Lee.
It is hard sometimes because one answer might not work for every horse so it is important to understand all aspects of training and horse behavior.
Sorry that you had to sell that horse.
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Re: horse anxious and forward in a group

Post by Got_gait on Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:28 am

Hey MTPTL. I took that horse through Natural Horsemanship like Clintons system. We got very good at it, but he was never a horse that I could circle or make him work to calm down. It only added energy to energy. From what my trainer said, some horses are just like that. It frustrated him and triggered a stubborn streak for him. I've seen him at his new home though and his new owner likes his energy. She uses it instead of trying to prevent it. They work really well together. It just wasn't meant to be for us. Too different. We never really bonded, even after 3 years. I was glad to see him go.

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know your ideal speed

Post by hopers on Sun May 22, 2011 8:43 pm

I think it's also important to ride with a group of people whose speed is conducive with the way your horse moves. I don't ride with people who ride crazy fast as my horse isn't able to correctly maintain his gait and gets a little hot. I know what speed my horse can go, remain relaxed and move correct in his gait. We don't poke along at a dog walk. When my horse is relaxed he can move faster than I realize because we are both on the same page (relaxed). I'm choosy about who I ride with. We owe it to our horses to not put them with a group of horses who are not too fast or possible out of control. Makes for a happy horse and therefore a great trail ride.

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