Fighting all the way

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by Lisa, Sep 16, 2002.

  1. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    My daughter has a 12 year old quarter horse cross that we bought not knowing her history other than she was chased by motorbikers! She was trialled with a marketharborough which we have done away with and is now ridden with a snaffel bit. Our problem is this, she is very forward going so much so that the contact to hold her back is intense, my daughter has to hold her tight the whole time, if contact is relaxed she speeds up. She holds her head high fighting the bit and a bush ride turns into a nightmare. The horse foams up and my daughter gets angry and worn out! We have given up bush rides and concentrate on lots of lunging, schooling - no fast gallops etc. She works well in the arena but is still pulling all the time. We have had her about a year and now my daughter does not want to attend shows/pony clubs anymore because she is just too exhausting! Any tips anyone?
  2. Em

    Em Well-known Member

    Try teaching her to move sideways of the leg and when she is doing this nicely use it against her. It is very hard for them to do sideways and backwards - they actually have to stop and think about it. When your daughter is riding and the horse is becoming very impulsive, make him go sideways until the horse is ready to walk at your pace!! Backwards I wouldn't try as yet as impulsive horses may be intended to rear if they can't go forward. Sideways you still get the forwards movement but it is really hard. Keep that up regularly and you should find the horse will realise that walking is much easier.

  3. widgelli

    widgelli Well-known Member

    To stop the horse from getting his head up and resisting the bit, try a mullenmouthed eggbutt snaffle. This is a bit with no joint in the middle , and eggbutt sides. To this add a drop nose band.
    Your horse is lifting his head in an effort to avoid the joint in the bit hitting him in the top of the mouth.
    If you add a drop nose band , he wont be able to open his mouth to avoid the bit.
    When you are out and about , ask your daughter to use half halts to slow him down. Keep working him with the half halts as well , and make him walk a lot till he understands that there are other gaits than stop and flat out.
    I would guess that he has been used for sporting a lot , and the previous owners only had two paces . Stop and flat chat.
    It will take a lot of time and patience to get him working , but the achievement of winning the war of wills is well worth it.

  4. Zahira

    Zahira Well-known Member

    Oh my godness LJ, it is like looking into a mirror. I have an anglo arab mare (now retired) who is a dead ringer for this horse. I was only 10 when i got her and i took me so much time to get it' together, but one good thing about this horse and rider combination, your daughter will learn so much from this horse and adventually become a very very confident rider.

    This is what i did. One day i just said no, no more fighting no more pulling - we are going to learn this together. I only ever rode her in a snaffle bit too.

    Half halts as jo said, and continually. These horses need to be stimulated with having to continually learning things and doing things. Not just when trail riding. when in the arena or your working area, lots and lots of transition work walk, trot, halt, and only every now and then a canter. Circle work, Serpentines, etc, etc. All very boring for the time you need to do them but well worth it. Reward the horse with a trail ride every now and then.

    It is going to take alot of time and hard work. As i said before these type of horses are just so smart it is like they crave and they need to be continually learning. But it is well worth it. I adventually competed in eventing, hacking, SJ, games,etc on this mare. She never lost that impulsion, but she was a fun and much safer ride as long as you kept up the work.

    I am willing to help you further if you need it or some more advice, as i said this horse sounds like a dead ringer for my mare. And let us know how you go, as i am curious as too how it works out.
  5. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    Thanks heaps everyone, you gave me some very useful advice. We will try the different bit and continue with the intense schooling. She is too beautiful to give up on!
  6. Goldpally

    Goldpally Active Member

    I have almost just overcome this problem with my older horse . He became more intense on the way home . He too used to speed up when the contact was relaxed but I persisted with
    " making " him walk . Sometimes this even involved turning around and going the other way - even if another horse was still going straight. We sometimes stopped in the middle of the track and did some circles until he was walking kindly without pulling . It took a while but he soon learnt that if he walked the rein contact would be relaxed which made the ride more pleasant for both of us. I can see that it would be hard for your daughter, do you ever ride the horse or know someone fairly strong , it is amazing what they think they can get away with until someone else shows them otherwise ? When I first started with mine, who pretty much only had the 2 speeds - fast and very fast he was very resistant to the idea of relaxing and at times behaved quite dangerously in order to get his own way. ( He even threw his head up so hard that the maringale clean snapped ). Does he behave the same in the arena or is it just about being on trail rides ? It takes time and patience but if they do have good traights and are loved then they are worth the effort. [​IMG]
  7. Ali

    Ali Well-known Member

    I used to have a Standardbred that pulled like a freight train out on bush rides when with other horses.Then I found that if I rode him infront of the other horses he was fine and carried on with a loose rein! It seemed that he hated being behind! Has she had her teeth and back checked lately?There could possibly be a phsyical reason why she's evading the bit by carrying her head so high.Did the previous owners tell you to ride her in the market harborough?Maybe there was a problem that they knew the market harborough would mask?I can understand your daughter not enjoying her riding with her!

  8. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    Our mare has had her teeth checked only 2 weeks ago and perhaps we will try a new bit. My daughter tries half halts and backing up all the time which result in the mare half rearing and tossing her head even higher. I have ridden her only a couple of times as i fear more for my safety (being older!) but one thing i did find interesting was that she responded well to voice command. I would love to take her on but of course she is my daugthers first horse and she is very protective and will not let anyone else ride her
  9. beccy

    beccy Well-known Member

    Just a thought, if she has been voiced trained, then mabey she works well on the long rein and lunging, where you have to rely on more voice commands. If you were to practice more lunging and you feel she is responsive to voice commands, get you daughter to ride on the lunge as an activity where she isnt alowed to use the reins and only her voice. If this works, your daughter will feel more relaxed as knowing when she says woow, the horse stops, and no more tired arms.

  10. widgelli

    widgelli Well-known Member

    LJ , another exercise that your horse need to learn it to relax and take the bit and stretch its head.
    This can be done in a yard for a while.
    Make her stand , then ask her to move forward on a light rein. If she moves of too fast , stop her, then ask her again to walk on. When she accepts this , slowly loosen the rein a little more , and push her lightly out with the leg. If she fizzes up again , go back to taws. Stopping her , and asking for a nice light relaxed walk again , and then slowly asking her to walk out a bit more.
    The light contact with the reins , and slowly lengthening them and asking her to walk out should teach her to relax and walk on a long rein. This is a basic exercise of relaxation , and eventually your horse will learn to relax.
    It may take a while for her to learn to do this , as she sounds as if she is really up tight at the moment.
    When she has learned this at a walk , then take her into a trot , trot for a while , then ask her to relax into the walk again.
    Do this through all the paces, and she will learn to relax after working on the bit.

  11. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    We used the Market Haborough for the first few months and was obviously used to try and keep her head down. We bought her from people that had only had her 2 weeks! They loved her movement but found her too hard to mount even. (lady got smacked in her head by mare throwing up her head while mounting) A lot of these bad things we have ironed out and the haborough was thrown out when she snapped it by pulling too hard! We will try the mullenmouth bit and see what happens. I think she has been abused as she is not trusting of too many men and definitely she has been used for lots of fast work. We had a gallop once, me on a quarter horse and my daughter on this mare and i reakon they would have kept going till they dropped dead! Completely bolted and took each other on, it was a real thing between them, trying to get in front.....i have never gone so fast in all my life on a horse. Had to let them run for at least a couple of kilometres before working on pulling them up. Never again will i race along with her! I also plan to do some parelli....she is great on the ground, lovely to tack up,wash, ferrier, float etc and lunging well she won't lunge on one side very well, something we are working on. Hey thanks for all the postings and advice everyone its terrific. LJ
  12. widgelli

    widgelli Well-known Member

    If she is reluctant to move forward on the lunge on one side, try using two lunging reins.
    Put a rein on each side of the cavesson , and pass the one on the off side around the back of the hind end. This will then serve to keep her straight and also put pressure on the tail area and help to drive her forward.
    I have trained many a young horse to lunge properly in this way.

  13. bianca

    bianca New Member

    i have a very strong pony which i've learnt to get on with the same problems as the quater horse x (writen by lj) i think its because before we got her he was only ridden in a double bridle so her mouth has gone hard also she loves to go fast.
  14. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    Well we tried the Mullenmouth bit on the weekend and it has helped a bit, she pulls and fights with the bit instead of my daughters arms! I guess we will just have to put on the market harbourer again as the head is still held high.
  15. Em

    Em Well-known Member

    Teach her shoulder in, sideways, leg yeilding, turn on the forehand but particularly shoulder in because when she is doing this it is alot harder for her head to be up. She has to lift her back to this properly and she can't do that with her head in the air. Initially it doesn't matter if there is alot of angle in your shoulder in, later on when she is going better you then refine it. When ever she goes to resist and put her head up ask for shoulder in. Make sure she moves away well from pressure on the ground before trying under saddle - makes it much easier.

  16. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    Thanks Em, but how do you teach all of that?

  17. Em

    Em Well-known Member

    Start by getting him to walk sideways on the ground by using pressure where your leg sits. Make sure he is moving from the shoulder also in a slightly forwards motion. Use soft pressure at first and increase pressure until he responds. When this is good on ground try from his back using your leg and asking him to move sideways. Start from the halt then the walk, then progress onto the trot. Once you can position your horses body wherever you want - life becomes fun and easy!!

  18. icebabie296

    icebabie296 New Member

    When ever I've had hot horses (which I have had a few of) I turn them in circles every time they break gait or speed up. I always turn in a different direction each time so as not to make them one sided. Eventually the horse learns not to speed up unless they are told to because they have to go in an endless circle until they stop. This can take a while though.
    As with the head tossing, my mare tosses her head, and has done for years, we got her checked by a horse chiropractor and they put her poll back into place which we didn't realise was out, and she stopped tosseing her head. When she starts again we know it's time for her to be checked. I also have to ride her in a head check if she starts to toss her head other wise she won't stop to good. Maybe you need to get you little mare looked at, though horse chiropractors are hard to find and they can get in trouble from doing it, but it works really well.
  19. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

    Thanks for the advice, we will try everything! The horse is great on the ground, very quiet and easy to tack up etc, its just like when you get on her a 'switch' comes on and its freighttrain mode. She will never walk slow no matter how many circles, walk backs my daughter does. I am beginning to think she goes fast out of fear - someone has certainly done something to her in the past and now nothing can get through to her. She is the one in the paddock that stands back and never approaches us (unless there is food) for a pat like the others do. If we do approach her she runs off until she realises she has to give up then she stops and turns her bum to us, (never kicks) and allows us to do whatever (take off rugs etc) I think it is a phsycological thing now and she has a mistrust of humans. LJ
  20. icebabie296

    icebabie296 New Member

    With her running away in the paddock, when you have time one day sit in her yard very still, sit there all day if you have to not looking at her. She will eventually approach out of curiostity and then give her a carrot or her favourite treat, you may have to do this a few times and she will learn that when she approaches something good happens. This works best if there are no other horses in her yard.
    I did this with a minituer mare and it worked well, she had been chased with cars, motorbikes and people, it took awhile with this mare and she still wasn't very good at being caught when she ran away, and the person who has her now won't do anything with her. But that's another story.

Share This Page