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Horse Behavior and Training

"dull" horse

Hello! 100 lessons completed

Dakota is my daughter's first and only horse. We bought him when she was 11. She is now 16 and still works with Dakota. We bought him because he was responsive, yet kind of slow and pretty easy going. My daughter shows him in 4H horsemanship, trail, equitation. He is a bit dull in the sides and in the mouth. Although we have tried to use soft hands and release as a reward, he sometimes doesn't seem to want to respond. I actually prefer the use of a spur that touches once, to continual hard kicking of a plain boot. It seems to be more kind to the horse. So she is now wearing spurs and using them judiciously. Anyway, how do you soften a horse that has gotten dull, without getting violent? BTW, we have even tried clicker training for treats with him, which I know Monty doesn't recommend, and which did give us a mouthy horse--so we stopped. Any ideas are welcome.

onesmoothmister's Dad

I have been having the same problem with my six year old Quarter Horse. Sometimes he is slow to move off my foot. What seems to work is giving him more work when he is slow. That way when I ask for a walk departure he remembers that it is easier to walk off than move his feet either way. I also have noticed that Monty schools his horse Steel Buns with quick light pulls from the reins. See the lesson on moving forward. When his horse moved a leg when not supposed to Monty was quick to get him busy doing something and he used the reins. I have also found that the clearer the cue, the better response I get.
Good Luck.

Hello! 100 lessons completed

Thank you. It's good to know we are not the only ones! Yes, I also noticed how Monty schools Steel Buns in the go forward video. question is, how do you put your horse to work if he resists moving? I guess one could jump off and do ground work...

I will let you know how we progress!



Have had a similar problem with my chap (see thread on moving forward). We are working through it now with some help from an article from Nicole Golding call 'The Self Propelling Horse' - it is still be on their website under the info tab. It uses the principle of quietly asking for a forward movement and if the horse does not respond adding an additional stimulus e.g a wip-wop rope (which does not cause pain causing an into pressure reaction) to create the forward motion without adding more pressure from the legs. Anyway have a look at the article which explains it much better. Good luck.

Hello! 100 lessons completed

I will check it out! We have used a "giddy-up" rope, or a wip-wop rope, and it has helped with the forward motion. Thanks for reminding me.