If YOU were a pro trainer what would you do ??

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by Brew, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. Brew

    Brew Well-known Member

    In this thread I am introducing the imaginary horse with problems. The idea is to try to gain input and ideas without involving any personalities. By collecting a range of ideas without any right or wrong involved perhaps all of us can gain a little/
    THE HORSE OTTB geld 4yrs old - bucks and shies badly Also spins and dumps rider. This horse is quite aggresive at feed time and kicks and bites. Will not be tied up and is difficult to lead. Very difficult to float and hates other horses. Horse went from track to young begginer rider - no other history is available.
    The above could well ring bells with not a few people on here.
    Where would YOU start -The horse has just exited the float at 1000km's an hour !!!!!!!! You are seeing him for the first time and he is magnificent !!!
  2. pso

    pso Gold Member

    Well- Its the first time I'm seeing him?
    Guessing the float was driven by the beginner owners non-horsey parents?
    All of the behaviour is just hearsay till I see it

    I'd put him in a yard and let him settle down
    Then see what imagined or real issues he has..

  3. Snippit32

    Snippit32 Well-known Member


    Given that what is described is a true representation- it's nearly impossible to solve most of these problems without trying to figure out the triggers first, so you can decide which angle to go on. Lets say nothing is a physical issue, but training related. All of the behaviour so far screams disrespect, but if it's a fear type response, everything needs to take on a slower pace.

    Firstly I'd have to get his respect on the ground. I would use a method similar to join up, to get him to start to respect me. I would put hobbles on him first to remove the flight response, then halter break him properly, and teach him to tie up. This should put the basics on him so that I can put him on and off the float.

    I can't change his feelings towards other horses, other than to make sure he knows that he doesn't even look at other horses without my say so when I'm with him.

    I would totally remouth him (using John O'Leary's methods), and put the hobbles on whilst attempting to hop on and off the sides before hopping on and having a go at riding him. With the ORS and some good timing and seat, all of the ridden issues can be dealt with.

    Items I would use-
    Round yard
    Tie up post with swivelling tie up point, in the middle of said roundyard
    Neck strap and rope halter with a 3mtr NH leadrope
    FM bit
    Roller and yachting rope
    Stock saddle

    I think I covered everything- any questions?
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  4. Brew

    Brew Well-known Member

    A few questions scince you ask
    The horse is new in so how would you start to find what his issues really are ??
    I would do as PSO suggested and yard him to alow him to settle. I agree with all your suggestions but am trying to break it down into bits -Almost as if we were instructing a novice over the net.
  5. Snippit32

    Snippit32 Well-known Member

    I would watch him for a bit, maybe leave him till the next day depending. If he was still stirring up trouble in his yard an hour after getting there, I'd be inclined to sort him out before he hurts himself/others- especially if it's a lack of respect thing. If it was a fear thing, I would put(if I had one) an older calm horse/pony next to him, and hope he settles. To ask a scared horse to work at that point could be counter productive.

    Once he's in the roundyard I'd ask him to move.Change direction a couple of times and see the reaction. Ears back? Showing me his bum? trying to charge me? Bucking and kicking out? That would tell me he has no respect for me.
    Facing me? Bobbing his head down, then poking it back up and trying to grow real quick? Backing away at every chance he gets? Trying to escape via the gate? That would tell me he's a bit spooked, or at the very least doesn't have a respect issue.

    From there I would be able to make the decision about how firm I need to be with this guy, and how much pressure to put on him in the first session. I still ask the same questions, just ask with a bit more grunt if he's lacking respect.

    How'd I do?
  6. Brew

    Brew Well-known Member

    Great and thanks but is not a test - just trying to put ideas out there for all of us. Perhaps by offering our opinions and I mean from everybody both novice and experienced we can gain a little -There might be ideas out there that even the most experienced people have missed. I am always vastly curious about what goes on out there and I am sure that quite a few stockies are too. The less experienced members must wonder more but that does not make their input less valuable - I have met a lot of people who have had horses for ever and still have no idea and I have seen some very novice ones who do a great job.
  7. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    I would also let him down - settle him in, and reasess in a few days time.

    Spend time with him. This horse has little or no brain left at it has been fried through stress.
    He doesnt have ANY confidence in himself, in his place in life, and no confidence in how to respond or deal with normal occurances. He is the leader - and he terrified of being in front.

    I would start of with setting him up for sucsess in everything I did with him.

    Acheive the small things, teach him to refocus, and let him learn to enjoy and relax in the moment. This would start with his day to day handling.

    Nothing more than feed in, feed out. Muck out ect.

    I would then assess his behaviour with other horses - this is very important. How he responsd to other horses usually gives you a great clue on how he is going to respond to most things in life.

    Why does he 'hate' other horses? is it because he is scared of them? and doesnt understand how to just, go with the flow, trust, and be a part of the herd?

    I would treat him like a foal, a big dangerous one - and assume a frame of though when asking things of him as though he is a weanling.

    You would need to start from absolute scratch with this horse, as he has absolutely no confidence in ANYTHING he has ever learnt, all he knows is fear, fight and flight.
    I would have no confidence in what I see in him - apart from his fear, and insecurities.

    But...I may be completely wrong in a few days time **)
  8. Janet Winter

    Janet Winter Guest

    After a day to settle.

    The horse would be turned out with our mob and left to learn to be a horse for a while, allow its mind to change.
  9. I'd run away as fast as I could and not look back !
  10. jlnew

    jlnew Well-known Member

    id be inclined to leave him alone for a week or so, maybe a few months even, and to start slowly by doing stuff around his paddock such as fix fences ect, then maybe start leaving a bucket of feed, slowly spending more time hanging around teh feed bucket until he is happy to accept the fact that i bring the feed, and i will be next to the bucket while he eats.

    i'd also consider under feeding him slightly so that he is looking for me to bring his feed. nothing like a little hunger to encourage them to start wanting to be around you.

    this horse needs time and patience. LOTS of it.
  11. Snippit32

    Snippit32 Well-known Member

    If you were a pro though, you'd only have the horse for a limited amount of time, so you'd have to work relatively quickly in order to turn out a decent riding horse from the mess that you've been handed.

    6 weeks would be the max I would expect to pay for, and in that time there's quite a few issues to get through.

    maybe a by-product of this thread will be a new found respect and love for our breakers and trainers out there?!

    And apparently this horse doesn't lead, so might want to re-think throwing him out with the mob without at least proper halter training- you'd never get him back!

    JlNew- just remember that this horse is agressive- if anything you'd want him waay out of your space at feeding time.
  12. smash

    smash Well-known Member

    i would first give him a day to take in his surroundings.
    then i would go about softening his muscles, this would normally take about of being massaged 3 to 4 times a day for a whole week.
    in the first week, farrier, teeth, worming and ground manors are all done.
    then i would introduce my two rein lunging, and "hopefully" drop massaging down to once or twice a day for the second week.
    the third week would be lunging and depending on how he was "all over" (mind and body) i would either lunge for a fourth week or start him under saddle.
    normally on the sixth or seventh week, i would be starting to compete him at shows.
  13. Merlin

    Merlin Well-known Member

    With a horse like that 2 words Brett Bowtell:))
  14. OK , so if I'm a professional trainer (by some quantum leap of the imagination) then this horse is not mine and I'm being paid to do something with it for 3 to 6 wks , possibly by the lunatics who would put a beginner rider on a horse that had come straight from the track ! Yeah , I'm still running .
    I'm slowing down , he's come of the track , so he's been ridden a lot , taken to barrier trials , on and off trucks , shod regularly etc.
    Agressive at feeding time . I presume this means he barges in before your out of the way , so he's not frightened of you when there's tucker up for grabs .
    I'm going to presume he's hard to bridle , so I'll just tie a soft hemp rope around his neck in a NON SLIP KNOT and handle his head and ears from the back of my trusty breaking in horse (the new recruit will be on my right hand side , at right angles with his head over "rhapsody's" wither). When he's relaxed and thinking that I'm not such a bad fellow after all , I'll put the bridle on .
    I'll try to get the saddle on without hobbles , only because in this day and age , he may not have had them before and I don't want to skin his knees .
    I think I'll take that bridle off and put soft LEATHER headstall on (I still had the rope around his neck , but now I'll take it off) , I'm going to lead him around the yard from off the other horse and when he's got the idea we are going to head for points unknown and I don't want him to hurt his mouth if he gets a fright and bounds forward . when I'm heading for home , I'll look for a place with a resonable fence on the left hand side and I'll swap sides and lead him from the other side .
    I might do this for a couple of days , at least until I'm sure that there are no injury issues ,but sooner or later I'm going to have to get on and see what happens .
  15. TB4Me

    TB4Me Well-known Member

    My strategy would be to find the person responsible for that decision and smack them very hard.
  16. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    I love this - I reckon this is the best response so far **) :))
  17. CJR

    CJR Well-known Member

    Love this haha

    My approach would be put him in a yard alone and let him have a think - just observe him the first day. Offer hay and water only. I wouldn't take on a horse like this with a time limit in mind.
    I'd then start by assessing his whole body and mind. I'd have a professional ET/Bowen/Massuese out to see him and check for soreness or health issues. I'd remove his shoes.
    I'd get his teeth checked and spend a fair bit of time handling him, getting to know what he likes/dislikes. After a few days I would pop him in the paddock with a really bossy alpha mare and see what happens. See where he sits on the pecking order.

    From there I would have enough information to start working him, from the ground up and assuming nothing.

    That's what I would do :)
  18. The first thing I do, is pop him in his yard with some hay and leave him to settle in for the remainder of the day and overnight. Carry on other chores as per normal.

    Day 2, horse gets a thorough going over, vet present if necessary. He gets checked for soreness, pinched nerves, back, poll, hips, shoulders etc all checked for problems and pain, hooves get scrutinised to see what sort of trimming/shoeing jobs have been done. Teeth get a bloody good checking over, sedate him and on with the gag, on with the torch to see whats going on in there. If there are ANY problems present, then we address them first. Send horse home or keep him on agistment, until he's pain free and in perfect shape.

    I address diet. Ensure that his diet is balanced considering his workload, and check he's getting everything he needs and not getting stuff he doesn't need. Diet to be altered if necessary.

    He has a groundwork session, I start with simple requests, free lunging him and asking for go and whoah, walk and trot to suss him out. If I feel appropriate I will do some join up with him, or Turn-Your-Face game, and probably some of the other groundwork games. My aim here is purely to get the horses attention fully on ME and not what anyone else/any other horse is up to out of the workspace. Once I achieve this, I finish today's session.

    Then he goes out in the herd with the bossiest horse I have who will put him firmly in his place without running him through a fence. Sounds like this horse needs to learn some respect!

    That night, horse is brought in and so begins his new 'routine' whilst at my place. He comes in at night as do all the others, he is also fed when he's in his yard. I take my friend Mr Whip and starting immediately, I teach him that he stands nicely in the furthest corner of the yard without creeping a step forward and ears nice whilst I tip in and mix feed. He learns he is only able to come and have it once I've left the yard. I am more than happy to spend 2 hours in that yard or however long it takes for the horse to learn this lesson. Rinse and repeat for every meal he eats on my place.

    He gets leading lessons several times a day. One when he goes out in the morning, one when he comes in at night. Several at various and random times of day - always with the aim of 'pay attention, keep out of my space and follow my lead'.

    Day 3 we continue with diet alterations if necessary, any treatments he requires as necessary and his 'dinner manners' lessons. I do more groundwork to ensure he a) pays attention to ME b) picks up feet, handles well, leads, stops, goes, backs up, I want to be able to move his HQ, his foreQ and his feet pretty much anywhere I want. I want his attention, his respect and I will work for his trust. Always end on a good note.

    Day 4 +
    I will then remouth the horse, ensure he knows his ORS down pat before I dream of getting on him.

    When the leading issue is sorted I will then work on floating with my speciality taylored-to-TB's float training technique which works on the principle of yo-yoing to and from, up ramp and down SO much the horse gets totally bored, their energy levels drop right down so they're not 'flight or fighting' and its no drama any more. I teach them to walk forward, walk backward, stop for any random number of seconds and random places in and out and halfway down the float until its old hat and they're totally over the floating thing. Later on I can toy with self-loading but not before the horse is totally comfortable and chilled about being around the float and totally confident with me. Only then can a horse be truly brave enough to go first into the scary mobile cave-bear den!

    At some point and over a period of time, a little at a time I will also work on the tying up thing with the neck strap, proper kit and proper and safe tie-up pole. I personally don't know how to do this yet and don't HAVE the proper kit and send 'em off to Fred Watkins for this sort of thing but the metaphorical Q here is "WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE A PRO TRAINER?" so in this metaphorical answer I am a pro and know how its done teehee!

    So now the One Rein Stop is completely drilled in and achieved, the horse knows full well that ORS means STOP and SHUT DOWN NOW.

    I start by getting on him in the round yard, and do a session in there at walk and trot. Any hint of him bucking or carrying on like a twit he gets the ORS and then we go on like nothing's happened. LOADS of praise for the few seconds he isn't being a total idiot.

    By now I'll know what makes him tick... what motivates him (food, fear, pain, praise, company, assurance) and where his behaviours stem from whether its total lack of confidence in his handlers/riders, total fear, pain related (which by now we've fixed), total confusion or whether like Pindan he's just an arrogant prat who gets into fights with riders he has no respect for purely for entertainment value!

    The rest of his sessions will be in the paddocks, one or two in the arena and as much on the trail as is safe and practical. By now he's in full work and boy am I working his little butt off and teaching him new stuff and keeping him so busy he doesn't have time to misbehave.

    I would then be speaking to the beginner child's ignorant parents about selling this horse to a suitable rider and not being such tight-asses they won't buy the poor damn kid a pony she can actually enjoy and learn from.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2010
  19. Kiwigirl

    Kiwigirl Well-known Member

    I wouldn't ;) I would feed it to my dog ;)

    Way too many good horses in this world to be wasting my time on a nutter that could hurt someone. I think he would be happier in my dogs belly ;)

    I would also give the person who gave this horse to a beginner a beating too
  20. Janet Winter

    Janet Winter Guest

    You just made me well never mind:)
    Often these type of horses are so over humans its better to let other horses sort them out give them a place and respect you also learn a lot about the horses true nature, guess I shouldn't get involved as we have worked with them and often we were there last chance.

    I wouldn't beat up the person who gave them the horse I would belt the ones who are stupid enough to take it for a beginner.

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