stubborn horse?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I bought a 6 yr. old quarter horse gelding about 5 weeks ago. For the first month he was alot of fun and a good horse. Now for some reason, the last 2 times we got on him he has been very bull headed and refuses to go where we want him to. We've checked his bit(tom thumb) and it doesn't appear to be the problem. He has no sores around his mouth. I don't know how to check his tongue to see if the bit is pinching him or not but that is the kind of bit he was used to. Got any suggestions? We literally have to lead him in the direction we want him to go and then once the rider has control again he takes off where he wants. What do you horse owners do with one like this?
-- Pat (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 03, 2000
Pat, Is someone who is kind of inexperienced (not meaning to put anyone doen) riding he horse? Horses know. When I was about 13, we had a black mare and we thought she was the most bull headed thing in town. One summer, my grandad from Mountainburg, Arkansas who had been a real cowboy in his younger days came and spent the summer. He got on the old mare and somehow, she suddenly transformed into the finest, best trained animal you could imagine. My grandad used to make long cattle drives to Fort Smith. After seeing him ride, I was ashamed to even get on a horse when anyone was looking. Ah sweet memories. Eagle
-- eagle (email@example.com), June 04, 2000.
Pat, ---ya are finally talking my lanuage!!!!!!! I knew someday someone would ask something on this forum I truelly knew the answer to! ha!I was raised on a horse in the middle of the flint hills of Ks. I use to Rodeo with my Dad & brother! I rode barrels for years-- just got home from a rodeo tonight! I made my money in the summers cowboying for people! (which means I rode pastures & checked cattle all summer) Also helped as we rounded them up, in the fall & took them off grass! Honey, there isn't a thing wrong with that horse--- sounds like a smart one to me--he has learned exactaly what it can get by with & who! It is the boss instead of you!!!! My sister could never do a thing with any of our horses! They would all go to the barn with her! I would step out side & give verbal commands to the same horse & it did what I said!!! It knew exactaly what it could get by with & who! Take some rideing lessons from someone--or ride with some one who has experience! As that horse will do exactaly what it wants to do until you learn to become in command!!! Horses sense exactally what you are feeling!!! When I rode barrels That mare of mine knew we were there to run barrels & we worked together as one!!!!!! When we worked cattle she knew what I wanted done & we were one as we did our job! Let someone else get on her & she ran off with them!! I don't remember learning to ride as Dad put in on a horse & tied me in the saddle with a cloth diper! I feel more at home on a horse then I do most any place on this earth! I have a sister who had all the same chances as I did & she is NOT A HORSE woman! All our horses could do anything they wanted with her! She would always say there was something wrong with the horse!! A horse is only as good as it's trainer!!!! My Dad & brothers broke hundreds of horses for other people. We saw many a fine horse ruined because the people weren't trained!!! Find someone in your area that isn't a drug store cowboy & ask to ride with them! You & your horse will both benefit! When you get your horse trained don't let people ride it that don't know beans from apple butter--or you will have to break those bad habits all over again! Happy trails to you! Sonda in Ks.
-- Sonda (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 04, 2000.
ok, that makes sense!! He was a cow hand horse, roping and heading. Problem is up here in Wisconsin you don't see cowboys. I think I'm gonna have to do some work locating the owner. We did have a gal who taught my daughter how to ride once we got him. She came here and rode our horse and said it looked like he knew verbal commands. I do own a couple hereford cows. One day we had to move them to another fence and I decided to take the horse along. He sure seemed to love it! (just like a kid in a candy store) Poor thing! Now I feel sorry for him. HA!! Keep the answers coming, I sure do appreciate it!!
-- Pat (email@example.com), June 04, 2000.
Have you had a vet float his teeth lately? His Saddle could be ill fitting and causing him some pain? Both of these can cause that kind of behavior, pain can make animals do things they would not normally do. He may also need to go back to square one. Use a round pen,, and re start him just like you would a young colt. Use a double snaffle for lunging in a round pen. When he will do what you want ALL the time at lunging. Move on to ground driving in the Round pen.When he is doing that with out question. Ride him in the round pen at a Walk, and if he does what you want, do a trot. Make sure you have control at all times, before you think about moving him to an Arena. Once you move into an arena,, at any time he requesses,, move him back to the round pen, and start from the beginning. This is the safest way to retrain or motifi behavior,, for both the rider and the horse. Take your time and go slow.
-- Bergere (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 04, 2000.
This may be a stupid question. I've been searching the internet trying to find a book that will describe the verbal and leg commands of a cow hand horse. Is there such a thing? It sure would help if we knew some of them. He was used on a ranch, heading, roping, etc.. THANKS ALOT!!!!!!!
-- Pat (email@example.com), June 04, 2000.
Every one here gave you good advice,all the bases were covered from physical problems to mind set,every trainer trains slightly different, some use verbale cues, walk, trot, canter and some train by sounds,All use the same leg aids horse should move away from pressure on there side[just behind cinch]so you can move there bodyone way or the other.you dont need a cowboy to help any good horse trainer can help, all though western trainer would be best [english uses double reins and tighter rein pressure]dressage is a lot like western even though it looks like cross country.Some times using a different bit helps[I use a french snaffel,bossel, or a mild curb depending on what I am doing]but you must know how to use them properly.Lessons are great, a good teacher can realy help you, Maybe you can trade something [eggs, produce] for some lessons?
-- kathy h (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 04, 2000.
How long since he's been shod? I ride an app that had never given me problems. One day I got on and he threw a fit. Looked him over and couldn't find anything wrong. Checked his feet, no rocks, shoes still firmly attached. I decided he was just being obstinate and rode him anyway. Neither of us had fun that day. Farrier was out the next day for other horses, had him take a look at the app just to make sure. Turns out his hoof had overgrown the shoe in back and it was hitting in the frog when he walked. It was not enough for me to see it, but the farrier did. He was able to fix the problem, but app had a stone bruise and it was several days before I could ride him again.
If you are sure it's nothing physical, a light switch applied at the right time will cure many bad manners.
-- Mona (email@example.com), June 05, 2000.
Horses are incredibly intelligent animals. We had a gelding that was about the age of yours and I was the only one that could ride his because he B.S.'d my husband and daughter. He now belongs to my sister as she trail rides a lot and he gets a lot of exercise. Because geldings don't have the hormones of mares or stallions, they do tend to be a little more creative when it comes to bad behavior.
Here are two of the big trainers in today's horse world. John Lyons - http://www.johnlyons.com/ and Pat Parelli - http://www.parelli.com/ .
John Lyons has books and tapes that can be purchased and a really neat monthly newsletter. Pat Parelli addresses both horse and rider as a unit and while I haven't thoroughly looked at his material, I like what I have seen. These two guys are by no means the only good trainers that have material available, but two that I am familiar with. Check your local saddle shop as many have tapes available for check out (much cheaper than buying).
However to tell a horse story, I have an Arabian mare that I ride. My daughter barrel races and during the season we haul my horse along with hers so I have something to do and so I can spend time with my horse. Last fall after the season was over I went to ride my horse in the field and she was balky and wouldn't behave for nothing - something she has never done. After I put her back in the mare lot, I finally figured out that I had not ridden her at home for several months since we had been on the road almost constantly and according to her when she was at home she wasn't supposed to be ridden. Duh! ! Boy did I feel dumb. Needless to say I am trying to ride her more at home and she is behaving better at home.
-- beckie (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 05, 2000.
I find it's easier if the horse has a friend. They are herd animals and get kinda freaky if alone. My mare has a pet goat.
-- Dee (email@example.com), June 05, 2000.
his grazing area is next to a steer, so they do ok
-- Pat (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 05, 2000.
Pat, to many I am still referred to as Walt's youngest brat! In memory of my Dad who was a true gentleman (from the old school) & a darn good cowboy---here are a few things he taught me,that I took for granted! Never get on a horse to ride that you don't have on boots or shoes with a heel that won't slide through a stirup! (That is how people get hung up in strips, when the rodeo starts!) Always adjust the stirups for YOUR leg length! Don't ride in a saddle that the stirups don't fit! Talk to each horse you approach! (so they know you are there--by your voice, they know if you are afraid of them or not). Never approach any horse from the rear without saying something to that horse! Never assume a horse will not kick! Even if you ride the same horse everyday of your life --never assume there could not be an accident--so ride ahead, the same as you drive ahead! If you find your self in brush, or on a side of a hill covered with flint rock where the horse can't get a footing let the horse-have it's head enough to find it's way out of the brush--or it's path down the hill of rock! Never assume anyone else knows beans from apple butter about a horse--let alone YOUR HORSE! What are you looking for when buying a horse???? A working horse--for cattle? Barrel raceing? Breeding? Showing? Cutting horse? Tradeing? (you get the picture as there could be a thousand different reasons). Then buy a horse that is broke to work cattle if that is it's main use----ya don't want a cattle horse for plod along leisure rideing!(you train your horse to you for your use & then don't let others ride it--let them get their own horse!) I could go on for days--but it gives you a small picture! I spent over 20 years riding next to a man who forgot more than most will ever know --& I took it for granted! Walt's kid in Ks.
-- Sonda (email@example.com), June 06, 2000.
sonda,your father sure new horses, sounds like kids to, real horsemen [people] are few and far between[ its a lost art] .
-- kathy h (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 06, 2000.
Sonda, I agree with Kathy that it sounds like you and your dad learned what is a somewhat lost art today.
I also agree that you buy a horse that is trained for what you want to do. You don't put a green rider on a green horse as that is a recipe for trouble. It also makes your life easier.
That is not to say that a horse can't have additional training to do other things later. The horse my daughter runs barrels on has had more career changes than I have. The horse is 14 yrs old and we have found that she knows what a race track is and the minute you put her on one, she wants to go. If you put an English saddle on her, her whole attitude changes - she picks up her feet differently and bends her neck differently - behaves like a dressage horse. We have been having fun trying to see what she already knows. She is an excellent barrel horse and LOVES to do it. We also use her to run the cattle in and she can be roped off of. My daughter's older horse was taught a number of tricks and it has been a challenge when we accidentally cue her for one of those tricks (like her rearing up on cue).
-- beckie (email@example.com), June 07, 2000.
Not all horses are trained to move away from pressure on their sides - - I knew a fellow who trained his cutting/roping horses to move into leg pressure.
-- Kathleen Sanderson (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 07, 2000.
I stand corrected, could not figure out why he would do that then realized it must be to pull the rope tight? Interesting.
-- kathy h (email@example.com), June 07, 2000.
well, the guy came over tonight and took a look at the horse for me to see what his problem is he checked him over real good, watched his walk, etc. then saddled him up everything went fine until he tried to get him to turn either way
the horse kept chomping on the bit and was fighting with it the whole time do you think that could be the problem? I'm gonna see if I can get a wider bit and try that hopefully it was that simple I'll let ya know how it goes!
THANKS TO ALL WHO HELPED !!!!!!
-- Pat (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 07, 2000.
what happened when he tried to turn him? How is the horses balance? there are two horse diseases which can affect horses ride ability, one is lyme disease[ just read horses get it to] and one is spread by possum droppings and called epm. EPM affects balance as it progresses. you might want to get a vet check on him as problems with turning could be a soundness problem [ could be a frog problem]My husband almost bought a gelding a while back who had foot problems and you noticed it as soon as he turned[not off when going straight] he had a stretched tendon and his frog was cut to close.
-- kathy h (email@example.com), June 08, 2000.
Consider having your horse checked out by a horse chiropractor. We have had several of our horses to a chiropractor and the results are amazing. The gelding that I mentioned in an earlier post is one of those. We found that his top vertibrae was out and a few other things were out as well and that was making it so he couldn't feel his back half. You should have seen him for the next few days after he was adjusted. He was comical to watch. The chiro told us the feeling would be like when your foot goes to sleep and then you start shaking it and it is all prickly.
Also there is a method called "giving to the bit" that we use and I think it is in the John Lyons stuff. This is pulling the horse's head towards your foot while in the saddle and standing still. The horse should willingly give to the bit and flex it's head to your foot (one of ours likes to nibble if it is bored with this exercise so be careful).
-- beckie (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 08, 2000.
Thought of one more thing. Have you or previous owner had his teeth floated? There may be hooks on his teeth that are bothering him and if he still has his wolf teeth that can be a problem. Have the vet check him out.
-- beckie (email@example.com), June 09, 2000.
I still say get him a friend. The steer in the next pasture doesn't count. They're not together and a horse has a tendency to bully a steer. It's like having an only child home alone all the time. They get bored and miss companionship. (My horse tried to bond with a rabbit at first until I got her a goat)
-- Dee (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 10, 2000.
It does sound to me too like your horse has figuredout that he can go on vacation whenever he likes. He is a smart horse. Also the suggestions about John Lyons and Pat Parelli are REALLY worthwhile. I particularly like Pat's Join-up method -- I was VERY impressed to see little 4-H girls riding drill-team type work on their dink horses in the Madison Coliseum with no saddles and no bits, all work they'd done themselves. His tapes are worth the money, attending his seminars even better.
There is SO much that could be causing your problems that it's hard to know where to start, especially if you are an inexperienced horse owner. I've had 'em for 26 years and they still surprise me. I bought a beautiful little 7/8 Arab buckskin are who just went looney in a stall, trying to climb out the top, and throwing her head around and bucking (why did I buy her? She was pretty, and I thought I could do something with her). She stopped trying to scale the heights when she got friends among my horses (right -- steers and horses are NOT buddies. Goats tend to work better, but some horses kill goats. And if you get him anotherhorse, there is a possibility that the problem will get worse as he won't want to leave his *only friend in the world*. It happens.) The head tossing and bucking have lessened as we got her teeth properly floated (if you're in Northern Wisconsin, we have a very good vet who covers west to Park Falls, south to Stevens Point, and even into the UP), but we lucked out on that one. We thought we'd have a lot longer retraining period. You can measure the horse's mouth for bit fit by putting a wooden dowel through thehorse's mouth at the point of the bars, and leave enough sticking out past the tender corners of the mouth on each side. Mark it on the stick, then measure. Don't buy a bit that says 'horse bit'. It's probably crap. One size does not fit all. Check the measurements against the bit specifications. You really should have your horse's teeth checked every year minimum (I have 2 that need them done every 6 months) and you need a GOOD vet or equine dentist to do it. Gone are the days of just slapping a rasp on there and floating away.
A Tom Thumb is a fairly mild bit, but the answer is not a more severe bit. I have seen horses with their mouths totally ruined by severe bits so that you would literally have to be cutting through bone before they'd notice you were pulling on the bit. Horses like that need tohave pressure redirected, such as with a bosal (I don't favor mechanical hackmores). Again, Pat Parelli works this way and won't even let students HAVE a bit on the horseuntil they can handle it with a bosal type headstall. Then it's just used as an 'emergency brake'. I prefer my horses trained for neck-reining (even the jumper will neckrein) which leaves the mouth alone and relies on the feeling of the rein alongside the neck to indicate direction, and all the commands come from your leg pressure and body balance.
Where are you in Wisconsin? Maybe I can recommend a trainer (if you tell me what discipline you are riding) to help you out with some lessons to overcome your problems. There ARE times when a horse just IS being a snot and needs some remedial training from someone who knows more than yourself. I'm not shy of asking trainers for help when I need it.
-- Julie Froelich (email@example.com), August 26, 2000.
Horses know your mood when you walk out to their area just by your body language and they always seem to test new owners for the first couple of months to see what they can get away with.
It doesn't matter what bit you use (I prefer a hackamore, altho my steer wears a bit - no nose!); it's the hands that hold the bit. Looking for mechanical fixes isn't the answer. Harsher and harsher bits only produce a hard mouth.
When the mount is smarter than the rider (no offense meant), the rider has to gain more knowledge. Perhaps this is too much horse for the rider, and getting an older gelding to learn from would be the wise way to go. My 2"!
-- ~Rogo (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 28, 2000.
I agree about the bits. We changed my daughter's barrel horse from a Tom Thumb to a side-pull and the change in her response was wonderful. She gets bitted now only when daughter is riding in the English saddle. This horse is 14 and she has been trained for a number of things that we are discovering. We did figure out that she relates the English saddle and bit together and behaves appropriately. We use the side-pull for barrel racing and gathering cattle and she has to have a tie down on for those activities. (Her stops are very strong with her head way up and she has banged heads with daughter a few too many times.)
It is amazing to she the change in her disposition when you change her tack. Horses are something else.
-- beckie (email@example.com), August 28, 2000.
I don't agree with some of the earlier responses which implied that the horse would turn around with a more experienced rider. I'll admit I'm only 13 years old but I have had proper instruction since I was little and feel confident enough to answer this. Last spring I got my first horse, a cute Arabian gelding whom I call Mark. My plan was to do eventing (dressage, stadium, and Cross country) with him even though when I first bought him he flatly refused to jump without first taking a good long look at it. Since he had just started jumping at that time I thought that I'd give him a chance to get over this problem. Now a year later, he still stops at a pole on the ground and has serious problems going over a fence. It's not that he can't do it; I've seen him jump a 4 and a 1/2 foot fence! Some people may say that he hasn't had proper training but that's not the case. When I first got him I sent him to an Olympic Three Day Event trainer for 2 months to start him off jumping patiently and slowly. When he came home he had conflicting moods; one day he'd jump easily the next day stop and turn around and take off. I continued taking him to different clinics and had lessons routinely hoping to encourage him to outgrow these ways. I know his past and he had never had an accident jumping that would make him like this. I have had him vet checked and that was not the problem. He just doesn't want to do it! He's fine going down trails, being in flat shows, and doing dressage moves but jumping is something he just can't cope with! The only thing that's made me keep him is his wonderful personality on the ground. I have started advertising my horse for sale as a pleasure/ dressage horse (and am looking for a willing jumper) because he has caused me so much frustration and shaken my confidence. It's come to the point where I don't even want to go and ride him anymore! Some horses have stubborn streaks that make them an unsuitable partner for their rider. If you feel like ridings just not as fun anymore and can find nothing to fix your horses problem I say you should sell him and find a more willing horse. I know many people will not agree with me but that is my opinion due to my experiences. Sorry this is so long! *Kelly*
-- *Kelly* of *Canada* (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 26, 2001.