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Horse Behavior and Training

Won't go out !

Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed

I am fed up.So is my horse I think.I have trained him from a four year old,largely untouched,sceptical stud to a nice well behaved gelding.He even stands still,untied,for me to rasp his feet.He is doing work in the small arena I have, willingly enough, but his go button ceases to work a hundred yards from home.I am now trying leaving the gates open so we go out,walk a bit up the track then I turn him BEFORE he gives up on me and gets sticky feet,then we walk back in, to show him his pal is still there,then walk away again and out of the land again.. about five or six times always stopping and standing before heading back in,and in a different spot hopfully a bit further each time .I am hoping this will work as I have no one to ride with and plus I don't want him to be dependent on being accompanied.
He was a bucker early on,(yeah Appaloosa..)so it is difficult to put enough Giddy Up on him PLUS have reins in one hand and have him free enough up front to actually move forward,when his head could go down and him buck,although I can have a bit more rein on one side so his head is kinked slightly ..I try circling then heading out but no go ..
Anyone got any other ideas or want to come over and give him a try ?? Monty says find out what the horse is suited for ....Someone who doesn't want to go anywhere?!Shucks! and here's me, the Would be Lone Rangeress..! He is a horse who needs to loosen up and get happy! and to move out and really get going but I just can't convince him! Oh for a mile of beach and a tail wind !I feel he has not yet come out,that his personality is still on hold,he used to sort of gulp if to say "Oh dearie me ..worry worry worry..."
maybe I Join up with him again? although he seems totally joined up..or Drive with long lines up the track?? I'm frazzled!Happy horsing!

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I think at this point you need help and need someone else to go out with you. You might try sending that person with their horse out first and wait for you pass the point where he starts to give you trouble. Do this a couple of times, making the other horse wait out further each time, your horse will think he is joining up with his friend and won't hesitate to go out and look for the other rider. Hope you can find someone to commit just a couple of times. Good luck.

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Hi , I have had a similar problem . And like you I go as far as I feel right and then we go home before my mare decides its time ! Some days I know its not the day to do anything as she's already "up" and it would just be suicidal to go out ( yes , she's that bad ... and thats walking in hand ! ) Do you have transport ? The key with mine was to get her to a recommended associate who had her for 1 week and she sorted the problem . When I got her home we started the following morning going out and MOST days she's fine .
I think the break from home , a Monty Recommended Associate and them explaning what to do will sort the I say it worked for me. I sort other peoples horses out but I couldnt do my own ... depressing or what , and after trying for 1 1/2yrs to sort her thats when I asked for help... it was the best thing I did. Good Luck ... there is a solution out there ... and at least you're asking the right person ( Monty) and not resorting to " stronger bit/whip/rider" .

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I honestly think that he does need the companionship of another horse for the first few times out. It is just too much to ask a horse to both go out alone for the first time, and also go out to new surroundings at that same time. Try riding with a buddy (believe me I feel your pain in finding one) for a few times and then gradually wean him off when he is confident in the surroundings.

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Don't know if we are close enough to help we live in Lexington Ky. See shutting the trailer door, that is my horse and I was able to fix the problem over the past weekend, so my daughter and I can travel some distance with our horses. For what it is worth I have gentled and worked with approximately 30 green and or troubled horses including my own over the past 5 years using Monty’s principals and every horse teaches me something new. I think the use of another companion horses is a good starting point. My daughter and I take trail rides out and I usually take the green ones out with the other trail horses and then after several trails have them take the lead before I ever try taking them out on their own. It is really a trust issue Not only in you but the horse in its self and its surroundings, that is built overtime. If you are close enough for a weekend trip and can bring your horse to KY or if we can bring ours to yours then I would be glad to see if we could help. Also you mention taking him back to see his pal before he gets stuck. So my question is can you pony his pal along to see if just having another horse along helps. It may be all he needs in reassurance at first.

Hello! 100 lessons completed

I know exactly how you feel! When I brought bob back into work he was a nightmare, I could just about get to the other side of the road then he'd spin, back up and go straight back to the gate and buck.
Bob has always been a bit nervy without company, much slower, harder work etc... but this was made worse as he was ill and in quarentine for about 8 months so he used to panic thinking he'd be stuck without friends again!

I started with a few hacks out with another horse just to show him its ok you come back safe and sound, then I started going out with someone walking. We managed to get quite far like that (up to about 10 miles)(though he drives me nuts because he will follow the walker and if they are behind he gives a whole new meaning to the word slow!).
We are now about 9 months on since I started bringing him back into work and we are able to go out on our own for a few miles, he is still much slower then if he has company but much improved. He also used to take off if he saw another horse ahead which he doesn't do at all now unless its one he knows well in which case he does get a bit upset.

I found the key really was when he said " no I can't" I really had to say "YES you can," and work very hard on staying calm and confident and relaxed but not putting up with any backing up etc... Not getting angry or frustrated with him either. (although I know how easy it is to get frustrated!)In your situation if he really won't move at all I would be tempted to pull him to a stop while hes still going nicely, get off and walk him the rest of the way and try and do circular rides as I find if I turn back the same way it makes things much much worse and encourages bucking. Whereas if I make rides circular he knows in order to get back home he has to keep going forward. :)

With bob a giddy up wouldn't work either (hes a fjord with skin like well...wood? lol). I've simply had to work at getting him to realise that even if he doesn't have company he comes back safe and sound and he's safe with me.

On another note a friend of mine had a cob who would get to a certain point and then want to turn home, so she'd say oh he doesn't want to do anymore and turn round. This ended up with him deciding how far they went and when he was going to finish work so he'd spin and bolt at a full pelt gallop down the road with her. Then of course she got nervous, so he got no confidence from her and ended up with her refusing to get on him even in his field. He was very, very strong, she had him in a pelham and curb and still he just ran all over the place. We did join up etc.. but damage was already done so in the end we got him going ok, we could ride him to the school 1/2 a mile away, ride him in there and go home again and then she decided it was best to sell because however nicely we ever got him going she would always be nervous of him and then make him nervy. Luckily (for a big gypsy cob!) he was an amazing jumper (3ft plus easily) and loved to jump so he found a new home quickly with someone experienced. :)
Obviously my friend was really nervous which made things much worse.
Is there someone who would walk or cycle out with you? Or even if your horse doesn't mind dogs, do you have a doggy who'd accompany you, my dog can't be let off except across places away from roads and bob appreciates her company definitely.

Really hope things get better for you soon, I totally understand how annoying it is!

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Ohhhh Thankyou thankyou all for your excellent support here!I shall sift through all the above in detail and select some good tips .I think it wd be wonderful to have you trailer down from Kentucky to Southern Spain !!Thanks Comanche!and yes it had occurred to me to pony his friend along too,however,his friend is complex,as he learned many years ago before I found him ,to break free from handler when he chooses ..sooo it makes it a bit tricky ...and Chaz and Beeeej,excellent responses,have four dogs with him and two cats normally also,but they don't make him want to go either.On a good note he doesn't freak me at all,even if he gets a stiff neck and screams out.Yeah it is depressing when you can't fix your own!And Kim ,yes ,he has been ponied all over the place,alongside my oldie boy so he is not going into the dark unknown so I don't think that's the big issue.Can find company for a few rides ,I think,no RA's here sadly,I am up a spanish mountain,but will check out your other options and hey thanks for support and opening my head further with your replies!

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I have always wanted to visit Southern Spain but it may be a bit far to trailer our horses. hahaha. A dually halter might be the answer to ponying his friend. I own all three dually sizes(red, black and blue) and use them when I ponying new horses on trail to get them used to the woods and new enviroment. After a couple of pull on the dually they walk along like perfect students. I train all the horses using the dually as we do not use bits on our horses and I can't say enough good thing about it.

jack and Comanche

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Hello Rachel
i had a cob who would not go out on his own when i got him and three things did the trick - very much in line with what other people have suggested:
1. walking out in hand with him, using a dually would be great for this. even this was a struggle at first but we kept going a bit further every time and he learned to trust me
2. when riding, when he stopped and refused to budge, i rode him in very tight circles (he was willing to go into this as he thought we were turning for home and then i kept making him go round) he found this uncomfortable and after a couple of turns, i would stop at the point on the circle we were heading where i wanted to go and he found it more comfortable to go forwards than keep going round. as Monty recommends, i responded with this approach instantly, as soon as he stopped so we didn't get into a battle first.
3. once we were making some progress, only riding circular routes so that going forwards was also going home and not doing any return rides until he was really happy with going out on his own.
Good luck - you will succeed and you will feel great!


wow, i,m not on my own. I have been feeling very disheartened as my obliging thouroughbred has aproblem going out. the same so fantastic we work great together i feel very confident on the ground and it always amazes how he understands my language and instruction. My horse is a well trained grade thourougbred. I on the other hand fallen into this world some 18 ago. Loving every minute.

however my challenge is getting past certain stops during my hacking. the local neighbouring ride school is insistant i need to be firmer and push him on. Although i accept there experince could work for some. Me it just seems to provoke him. He has a very gentle nature and when i push him to go forward through dtermination, a firm voice and prper seating he's not happy. Hes hesitant to buck me off however gives a little attitude. Enough for me not to want to push it further. he will stand for ages turn round, face the direction he dosent want to go. and walks backwards. I have taken to getting off him and walkig or jogging past the ares and remounting. However I do need to get some distance away.

My conclusion to date from my experience and relationship with him. He dosent want to be on his own. And i don't have other to go out with. Mmmm challenging loving the whole horsey thing though especially since i introduced myself to monti and kelly dx

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Thanks Rosemary,Dawn and Jack,I had a brainwave the other night...his feet!Although he goes barefoot his feet were not sooo hard, and to be honest,I could have been doing more to harden them off,even tho they are good shape there was a touch of thrush in there at the frog on two feet and I think that the sharp stones on the tracks hurt him a bit making his hesitation to go out worse.I dont't think it's the whole story, but it is a part of it ,so I had a lorry load of smooth river stones delivered and they now have to clamber through them many times a day on route between stable,feed paddocks and water.I am being much more vigorous in my hoof cleaning habits and applying a four part water to one part bleach once a week to eliminate bad bacteria.I do use the Dually on both,on and off,and it is an excellent and versatile tool.This weekend I intend to ride out with both of them together! Yeehaw!On we go,many thanks for your replies and Happy horsing!Rachelxx

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So glad to hear that you factored in the hoof possibility Rachel. I am concerned about your concoction of water and bleach though. It works well BUT it is a chemical that even you should not allow your skin to touch. It is hazardous to health and should be avoided at all cost. I suggest a combination of 50/50 water and Apple Cider Vinegar instead, spraying it over the hooves every time you hoof pick which should be atleast once a day. Of course, if you hoof pick every day, you automatically decrease the chances of Thrush to begin with. Also, not a bad idea to examine the frog for bruising and soreness as well. Now, I have my wonderful mare, who btw is sometimes hard headed and certainly does much better when respected and is treated kindly. She sometimes hesitates to go in the arena or on certain parts of the trail and starts walking backward and at times going backward rather quickly which is a bit intimidating. I decided to turn her around and let her walk backward toward the arena or the area of the trail that she refuses to go and boy it works like magic. Please do try to talk nicely and assure the horse that all is well, do give all the other cues and encouragements to get your horse do what you ask him to do BEFORE you try this but if it comes down to it, that is something that I have done that has worked great. She knows that we are meaning 'business' and as soon as she starts cooperating, I rub her neck and give the verbal praise. Hope this helps

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Thanks Horseover ,yes I am very careful with this mix .

Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed

Just to say I have erradicated the thrush having been in contact with Hooftech who coached me on frog trimming and I found some hidden pockets of it under quite hard frog ,so one way and another things are improving a lot.The only trouble is that I am spending so much time studying and doing feet ,that there's been no time left for excersising.The rest from his work has made him sweeter however and he is now super responsive and raring to go.Sometimes an enforced rest period works wonders that we didn't plan for.Happy horsing for 2011 everyone!