When Did You Realise Your Horse Wasn't A Problem Horse........

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by Go the Distance, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    I have always thought of Poppy (aka The Witch) as a problem horse until recently. I no longer think of her as a problem horse**). Ok she is quirky, she has funny mannerisms, she has 'issues' but she is no longer a problem.

    We have shaken down to a relationship of understanding and respect. A relationship of closeness that allows us to be in each others space and trust each other. I can wrap my arms gently about her head now and she will 'sink' into my chest. It feels awesome to feel her soft in my arms and have her 'huffing' gently on me with her breath.

    I am not saying she is now 'easy'. She isn't. I can't ride her out on my own without another rider or without leading her paddock mate off her. This is a safety strategy I put in place a few months ago. But by relinquishing that freedom of riding her out on her own I have improved my trust in her and I thoroughly enjoy riding her now and feel safe. My other mare I can flog around out in the bush on our own without a care in the world but not shying Poppy. I accept this now.

    So when did you realise that the horse you have is no longer a problem horse just a 'quirky' horse.....what made you come to this conclusion and what strategies did you use to overcome it? I am interested so that I can maybe try some of your strategies.
  2. retroremedy

    retroremedy Well-known Member

    Horses are just horses and they generally become a problem when their natural horse tendencies get in our way of trying to enjoy doing something with them.

    The following few things help me work with horses better, firstly, they are not one but 2 horses, a left side and a right side and you have to work with both sides in training and sometimes a horse can be completely different on both sides! For instance, one side might be more stiff, or more reactive..therefore you might have to spend more time working on this particular side to deal with the issue. Secondly, their natural response when faced with pressure is to run and they are incredibly fast reacting. Finally, they are very sophisticated communicators and readers of body language and very driven to seeking their place in the a herd and that herd includes us! Just the way you catch and lead a horse and move around a horse and react to a horse pushing its nose at you lets a horse work out whether you are above or below it in the pecking order and if it works out you are lower than it then that horse is not going to respect or trust you!

    Therefore because they are horses just being horses, people normally tend to have problems due to a horses fear response or due to disrespect...and if you are really unlucky both. All these problems can be overcome by training but all take time and effort on our part to deal with and some horses require more time than others.

    Horses can be spooky due to both disrespect or fear or both. Whatever the cause you always start with establishing respect as it is always the foundation needed to work with the horse. To do this you need to have confidence based on knowledge/experience and good timing and feel :) Some people have these things naturally but most of us have to learn these skills but they can be learnt :)
  3. old_mate

    old_mate Well-known Member

    GTD I knew that your witch, once you had both reached an understanding of each other would turn out to be a total gem. I'll say it again I am quite envious of you having this kind of mare. I am really really happy that you will now have the cooperation of your mare.
    When you posted a while back and said that your were not going to ride Poppy I did wonder if it was going to work out.
    I think that mares like yours are worth their weight in gold, even if they are more of a pain to deal with at first than a gelding.:)
  4. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    This is where I am at for the moment too. I've given away trying to force my horse to be something he can't be- a calm quiet plodding trail horse. With my skill level, I will always have to manage him around a trail.

    Now that I've accepted his fears, his explosions, that he can't be 'pushed through it' and reach any kind of positive outcome, that he must be given time to deal with things that other horses don't even notice... I'm enjoying him lots. I'm not being sarcastic either.

    It is all about enjoying riding. If I have to make allowances for us, I can't be worried that others think he has beaten me, he is the boss, my horse tells me what to do. So what, I'm enjoying him, he is happy and tries, we are learning and progressing. Before it was just a battle, with frustration and embarrassment (occasionally pain), and with negative results. So I consider that adapting to your horse is a sensible thing, it's helped me lots.
  5. NumidianHorse

    NumidianHorse Active Member

    What a good introspective thread!

    Neither of my horses are "problem" horses ... they are what they are, and just like me - they have elements in their personality that (just like mine - and with the right buttons) we could choose to turn up or down (buttons which our loved ones would like to turn off sometimes :lol: )

    ... While I'm looking for those buttons ... I try to recognise that my horses need me to be as much of the positive things that I can be before I ask anything of them. They're not moody or sarcastic (unlike me) - so I have to check my own energy before I ask / correct them for anything.

    I learned early on with my mare (special girl that she is ;)) that she's as confident as can be in some ways and a scaredy cat in others ... in both cases she looks to me for guidance. There is no "problem" ... always only a lack of the appropriate training or energy from me.

    My gelding (who is so totally different from her) has also demonstrated that he is not the "problem" ... any problem results from me not listening to who he is and expecting that I should / can use the same methods on him as my mare ... wrong! :rolleyes:

    I learned that each of them was not a "problem" horse (and I re-learn daily) ... when I started being willing to recognise my own imperfections, accept that that's ok (as long as I'm prepared to work on them) and then find a way to make progress that all of us can be happy with.

    We are all simply a work in progress ... :))
  6. jlnew

    jlnew Well-known Member

    im sure some would see my horse as a problem horse. there are things he simpy cannot cope with without looking like he is misbehaving.
    i love my boy as he is tho, even if im slightly dissapointed he wont suit some things - i just deal with it and dont put him in a situation i know he cant handle. he is my boy, regardless of his issues, he isnt a problem.
  7. Dusty_Ruby

    Dusty_Ruby Active Member

    For about 2 years I thought I had a problem horse. It was a bit of a nightmare, he made me nervous, I made him more nervous and so on. It took me that long and a couple of other horses to get over that. We know each other very well now.
  8. ShowjumpKid4Eva

    ShowjumpKid4Eva Well-known Member

    A few weeks ago... hahaha I learned a very important lesson about the order in which I work with my two horses. The young sensitive TB FIRST, and only AFTER I'm done with her, the older lazy Anglo. That way my energy isn't as high [Monty being lazy I have to be VERY high energy when working with him or it's hard to get him forward enough]. I can up my energy easy but dropping it is difficult.

    The young sensitive TB gets nervous when I'm high-energy so I need to make sure my energy is as low as possible when I work with her. Then she has her foibles but isn't explosive.

    Rode a bucker today - not a problem horse as such but not an easy horse to ride! Very nice mover though and tends towards natural self-carriage [free-lunged him with saddle/bridle on, he was nervous but as he relaxed he relaxed into lovely uphill working through the back and "on the bit", no side reins so nothing to work IN to] my god, he is seriously nice], built to event, the looks to hack... but he's got one hell of a buck on him so to get a canter under saddle I had to first ride out some serious bucking. The trick with him was to keep him forward and just stay on until he settled. Eventually if he's ridden like that consistently he will quit... he's real sweet, it's just he's a large green TB and his owner is a beginner so of course little misbehaviours have escalated. And she was sold a saddle that didn't fit him, which I think was probably the cause of the bucking in the first place... though he's not sore now.
  9. PPH

    PPH Guest

    :}Not aimed at anyone, just a general comment/observation but in some cases, I think that a horses biggest problem can be the person who owns it.:}
  10. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    Totally agree PPH....but sometimes you get landed with a horse like Poppy who is the product of six years of mishandling by other people and passed around to various incompetent people of which compounded her behavioural issues in fact some of them encouraged them to prove how 'bad' she was';'.
    Getting them sorted doesn't happen overnight.....it takes a while sometimes to fix. It is coming up to nearly two years with Poppy and I. I feel proud of what I have done with her and how much I have improved her. It has been a hell long haul but it makes success all the sweeter.

    I have just been lucky my next horse I purchased, while stayed unbroken until I got her, when she was nine had been handled expertly and had been in the one home for nine years. She is a complete dream:wub:. God is kind to a trier;).
  11. fuddles

    fuddles Well-known Member

    my problem horse wasnt a problem but more of my poor choices in who broke her in, and who l had lessons off which caused the problems.

    shorten the reins hang onto the monkey strap and force the issue of contact. l went along with instructors instructions, so l only have myself to blame for not leaving her sooner.
    Just from those maybe 10 lessons l have left a lasting imprint on my horses acceptance of contact.
  12. blitzen

    blitzen Gold Member

    gtd, i knew this horse since she was just a few months old & she certainly was not passed around from home to home, nor mishandled for 6 years by incompetent ppl.

    i have no idea what happened to her after she left her birth place, but whilst here, she had a very consistent & thorough early upbringing & was sent to a professional for education & miles under the saddle. again, no idea what happened to her after she left here, but i can totally vouch for the professionalism, care and commitment of her original, first owner. i don't think she was even sold until she was 5 years old anyway.

    p.s. from what i saw, she was never naughty or bad, nor was she ever encouraged to be. from memory, she was always headstrong & wilful, even as a baby. after having a mare myself for the last 18 months & also seeing a wilful, opinionated horse, perhaps that is just the way she is built?
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  13. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    My apologies Blitzen....I was led to believe that things were not so good for from another source. I apologise if I have offended anyone.

    She was not in good shape when I got her and this may have been when she left where you knew her....she was pretty messed up and I had a professional breaker work with her....it was not just me alone and he also found her difficult. She is not difficult now.

    I apologise if I have offended or misled anyone.
  14. blitzen

    blitzen Gold Member

    no problem, gtd. i have agisted with her original owner for 8 years now and absolutely love the place & how they operate. they treat my horses exceptionally well and i would not have stuck around if i had any doubts about the horsemanship or professionalism of the people my horse lives with.

    it pained me to read that you have been led down the garden path regarding her history. but i can DEFINITELY and CONFIDENTLY say that she was very very well cared for in the first 5 or so formative years of her life.

    it's good that she's found a human who can play her games now. i can only imagine what would have happened if you and she had not crossed paths.
  15. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    Thanks Blitzen:). She is the love of my life and I am so glad we found each other.
  16. old_mate

    old_mate Well-known Member

    Darn !!!

    I don't know, I do like being able to say I told you so, BUT by the same token this means Poppy will not be comming to stay with me (like I was secretly hoping ):lol:
    I had started talking to my husband about getting another horse after you said that you were going to stop riding Poppy.:D
    I almost had him convinced:))
    I will just have to keep a look out for my own Alpha mare. They seem to be hard to find.
  17. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    Old Mate you will be the first one I contact should she need a home!
  18. lotsofmiles

    lotsofmiles Active Member

    my first horse red was a bit of a problem/different/challanging horse.. and then after 10 years i learnt to love him for who he was and to stop trying to change him and just enjoy his great points and who he was and at 19 did i really need to change him as i loved him so much and when he was good he was really good and when he was bad he was really bad ....miss him lots and he taught me so much ..
  19. MissDQ

    MissDQ New Member

    The only real problem horse we've had was an older tb gelding when I was a kid. He just all of a sudden would stop when you were riding him, and if someone tried to lead him forward he'd rear and flip. Incredibly scary just to watch when you're 10 years old ! I remember him throwing my trainer on the stable roof at the first agistment we were at, and I went back there before we left to break in an Arab mare and the dents and marks are still there - almost 10 years later ! *#) he came ok after serious work, but we ended up getting rid of him via Camden sales. Our trainer actually won a bidding war on him then later realised which horse it was because he had a rip in his ear, and stuck him back into the line. No idea what happened after that.

    If I'd gotten him now, even 5 years ago, it would be totally different, and he may well have been very successful at something, who knows ';'

    Now I get happy when people realise they have a problem horse they can't fix by themselves ;) **)
  20. Pintaloosa

    Pintaloosa Well-known Member

    The issue my horse and I had was that we didn't trust each other enough! I also didn't have enough experience and he knew that and didn't like it, and he used to try very hard to walk all over me! Things have changed so much for both of us. We went for a very long ride yesterday on a new track, on our own, and although he had a few nervous moments, we worked through them and he done as he was asked. I would never have dared to do this with him a while ago. I dare say we still have a fair way to go, but for now I am so happy with our progress :) I have also gone from always riding in a stock saddle to riding in a dressage. That's trust lmao :p

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