Why wont she go forward!!!

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by LNT, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. LNT

    LNT Well-known Member

    hi all

    my 6yo arab mare refuses to go forward if she doesnt feel so inclined, i have never met a more stubborn horse lol!!

    she's not sore/in pain, saddle, teeth, back etc etc are all fine, she was broken in by Clint James this time last year and he said to me she is lazy and stubborn and suggested dummy spurs, well we didnt really have a problem with forward after she was broken in so hadnt needed the spurs, then she was injured in April so out for 3mths and i have only just brought her back, slowly, ridden once a week if she's lucky for half an hour max (oh and the vet gave the all clear to start under saddle again) so she recently decided whilst out for a walk that she was just going to stop and WOULD NOT move forward in the direction i wanted.....long story short got a set of dummy spurs, problem solved.......until that was we went to the beach yesterday and she was fine, went straight in the water no probs, i hopped on her back and she wouldnt move forward, not a step! she was fine for me to lead her up and down in the water but once i was on her, no way she was moving.........now i could always wear my spurs to the beach but how silly would that look???.......and a crop makes no difference either ';'

    I am thinking there must be a better way, all suggestions greatfully accepted......... PLEASE hahaha!!
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Well-known Member

    Sorry if it were me I would be getting stuck into it, if there is no pain or soundness issues and she is just being a stubborn cow, I would either send it back to Clint for a refresher or put the dummy spurs away and get stuck into it on the ground with the end of the crop where your legs would be. Give her abit of a tune up bending and stepping away from the pressure, get her moving off the pressure. Get on and use the slightest leg on and off if she dosent listen get off and go for gold with the end of the crop, left and right, keep doing it till she listens and reward. DO NOT wear spurs, kick or use to much leg or use the crop to get her going. She has to learn to accept the leg aids ;)
  3. LNT

    LNT Well-known Member

    thanks for you reply Merlin, she'll move away from pressure on the ground, no problem there, you can poke her with one finger and she'll move away, but under saddle its a different story.......I will try what you have suggested and see if it helps, thanks :)
  4. Marlee

    Marlee Well-known Member

    My little SB was like that and still can be when on the trail and is fearful, she just plants her feet and won't go. She was green though and didn't know about leg aids at all. I had to carry a long stick/crop and would start with leg but then back it up with a tap on her backside. I would increase the intensity of the tap until she moved. Always use leg first and then tap when needed. I just carry the stick now, very rarely have to use it. Empathy works a lot better with my girl rather than forcing her to do something though.
  5. 6 yrs old , broken in last year . So she was broken in at 5 , right ? Injury problem , lots of time off , so we've got a 6 yr old horse that hasn't really done much .
    I prefer to break mine in at 4yrs , they stand up to the work better and the more mature mind seems to be more absorbent . The last 2 however , were both started at age 8 (yeah I know , its a long story) and both were quite lazy . Initially I put it down to 8yrs worth of doing whatever they pleased (wich was obviously not much) but then read an article on the subject that came at this from a different angle .
    The author refuted the theory that 2yrs was too young , on the grounds that the joints needed to carry extra weight while they were still developing to strengthen them for future use . He did stress that 2yr olds should be ridden *very* lightly (he recommended no more than 20 mins) and then went on to say that horses broken in much later in life often developed joint soreness wich sometimes shows up as a reluctance to go forward ! Having said that , your mare has no excuse not to walk on the nice soft sand of the beach .
    I slap my thigh , the nice meaty smack sound usually gets them moving and then you can progress to the open hand on the rump if needs be , but make sure you "throw the reins at her" you can always gather them up again if she takes off and gently , gently , gently bring her back in hand .
    Clint James , is that John O'Leary's offsider ?
  6. Mad on Horses

    Mad on Horses Active Member

    Don't know if you have ever read any of the Tom Roberts books, he talks about something similiar, and works on the ethic that the horse is not to profit by doing the wrong thing, what he suggests is to turn the tables on the horse, sit and wait (take a book if necessary), don't get off just sit and wait them out, when they want to go forward you say no, now you will wait until I want to go, wait for a minute or so and then allow them to walk on, never needed to try it myself but it is a different approach.
  7. lorna_09

    lorna_09 New Member

    I have a stubborn horse too.
    Have you ever come across the 5 steps to increase pressure when asking to go. I think, I got those from a John Lyons DVD.
    First you pick up the reins, wait 3 seconds, if no movement lean forward, wait 3 seconds, if no movement kiss (make noise), wait 3 seconds, if no movement gently squeeze with your legs, wait 3 second and if you still got no movement, you have to come down hard. With my horse, I lift my legs up and let them come down with a bang, the reins are still long.

    Horse might shoot forward which is good. If you keep that up, your horse will eventually start walking when you pick up the reins. Same procedure applies for going faster once in walk. I suppose you can use your own set of clues, the importance is in the increase and the waiting for a reaction in between increases.

    Worked a treat with my horse. Good luck.
  8. Sharaway

    Sharaway Guest


    I had a horse do something similar to me once, we where working on the beach and he just decided that he had had enough of being ridden and stopped.

    No matter what I did he flat out refused to move.

    I even got off and tried to lead him.

    So I got back on again and just sat there with him, until he decided to move, that was about 20 mins later.

    Then I made him stand there for an hour.

    All up we where parked there on the beach for almost 2 hours.

    I kid you not.

    The shit never tried that stunt again.

    Personally though, I would be talking to Clint, she may well need a lesson or 2 with him. I doubt she would need more than 2 or 3 rides from him to set her right again.

    Also, for those that dont know, Clint is a horseman in his own right, he is now learning a trick or to from John OLeary, however was well established before meeting John as well was Fred Watkins also.

    We are very lucky to have both of these trainers here in WA.
  9. Bon & Ted

    Bon & Ted Guest

    I think the key really is the release / the praise.

    My baby horse is generally a lazy type, just been broken in, but forward really needs to be established and then hammered home LOL. She likes to stop in the shade *#)

    I never ever stop forward! ie. if she is trotting and breaks out into canter, I let her go for a little bit then gently ask her to trot without taking up any contact. She needs to learn that it is OK and a GOOD THING to go forward. I have now figured out when she is about to stop and that's when legs go on and contact is thrown at her, and she goes "woops forward we go!" LOL as soon as she has made the slightest attempt at more forward, aids off and lots of praise!

    I would def suggest taking her back to the breaker and getting some lessons from him, I'm doing that, after all they installed the buttons, we have to learn how to apply them correctly
  10. LNT

    LNT Well-known Member

    thanks very much for your replies everyone :) lots of really good ideas that i will be giving a go **)

    I wish Clint were closer and a lesson or 3 would be easier, but being 2.5hrs away makes it a bit difficult unless i was to leave her down there for a week.

    I've been given a good dressage instructors number so i might try a lesson or 3 with them and see if they can re-install the forward button, i just know with her that its mind over matter, she doesnt mind and i dont matter apparently *#)
  11. KC Quarter Horses

    KC Quarter Horses Gold Member

    I agree with lorna_09. works a treat with most horses I know also. The only thing I would add to it is once you have given them a good wallop if they havent moved then go back to stage one and start again.

    At any time that they move then give the quit. This way they know what happens next :) Always make sure you dont nag :). If you keep the sequence they quickly learn to move of a light touch :)
  12. Snippit32

    Snippit32 Well-known Member

    Just a question- does she pause when she's worried about something, or does she react? I have a horse that will stop when she's worried about something, to think about what's going on. I prefer that to the "run now, think later" attitude, and will always give her a second to check it out before I push her on. Of course that won't work for all horses though- some of them dream up horse killing monsters if you give them a chance *#)

    Another tool you can use is leg yeilding. I used to ride an old paint gelding that would do exactly what you've described, and the only thing that would get him to move would be to flex him and get him to leg yeild. It also works if you're having trouble leading a horse- if you get a real stubbon one that plants the feet in resistance, put the pressure on and lean to one side; it can knock them off balance and get them to move their feet.

    I guess persistence is key, whatever you choose- make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.

    Good Luck!!
  13. lex

    lex Well-known Member

    What happens when she gets older and spurs dont work anymore?';' fair enough if she was 14 or so but she is only 6, I'd be sending her back for some more education or as others have said do some ground work. I find this helps with my horse especially right before I get on if I do a bit of yeilding to pressure then jump on he is 100% more responsive because he knows what I want.
  14. Elanda

    Elanda Gold Member

    Having had 2 ponies that people said were "lazy" because they wouldn't go forward when asked...and now they both are absolutely fine...make sure they have been taught "forward". If the horse does not understand, maybe trying riding or ponying with another horse for a while still giving the aids to trot, canter etc at the right time...this is what it took to get mine to "click" to what it meant:)*
  15. samm

    samm Gold Member

    A lot of horses don't want to move forward when you get on them in the water.The shifting sand feels funny under their feet and there's a lot of dips etc that we can't see when we are on their back and they don't feel safe.
    The more she goes the better she'll be but I wouldn't force the issue too much to start with and I certainly wouldn't be using spurs down the beach.
    Give her a few goes first.
  16. Lauren

    Lauren Gold Member

    I'd give her another shot.. My girl was SO nervous down the beach last week.. was really hesitant to go in etc and the entire time we were in was really tense. I just made sure I stayed very shallow (I didn't want her to drop down a sand bar and have a negative experience). Re took her the other day and although she was still nervous walked in fairly quickly.. I went a little deeper but didn't push it to much.

    I think we ask horses to do a lot of really unnatural thing.. If I thought my mare was being naughty I would have growled and made her.. but because she was genuinely scared I went with the gentle encouragement option.. I'd rather take my time and get her in there confidently than scream and kick her when she is scared.

    After thought.. I didn't mean you were planning on screaming and kicking her just I've seen people do some rather disgraceful things to get there horse in the water.. Including flapping scary objects behind them, belting them with crops and even throwing stuff at them. Than horse get's told of when it gets that worked up that it choses to go up in a rear :(
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  17. Tallarook

    Tallarook Well-known Member

    As long as your horse is physically capable and there is no soreness there should be no reason for him/her not going forward other than the horse doesnt understand or the horse has learnt to jack up.

    I start/break (whatever people choose to call it) all my own horses/ponies, they are all halter broken, tie up, they learn to lunge, with saddle/bridle on, they they have some time ponying off another horse. This is where you lead them while riding another horse, i use a rope halter and have the led pony/horse tacked up but no reins in use as yet. They are kept with their muzzle next to my knee not allowing them to go in front of my lead horse, and not allowed to hang back. Sometimes they will try and hang back, this is where a helper with a nice long dressage whip comes in hand to give a prompt slap on the backside to remind the led horse to go forward.

    In between several lead ups, i long rein the horse starting with a leader to help at first then away we go at walk and trot. In the sessions we belly over our babies and before you know it we are on and more leading up at walk/trot and canter both ways. We dont worry about canter leads at first as long as we are forward and going.

    I then take the lead off the led pony and ride them beside our Lead pony for a few more sessions to gain confidence, we go out in the bush, through the river, up to pony club for a good run and away we go. I love our bush track, it is long and heavy sand if a youngster gets a bit toey i just sit quiet and let them wear themselves out - a good lesson for them.

    If your horse has had a good start (by the sounds of it he/she has) maybe your horse has learnt to jack up on you. I would suggest to get Clint to help you out, i cant comment what do to or what not to do without seeing the situation.

    Best of luck with it all, enjoy your horse and always remember never stop learning :)*
  18. Greenhorse

    Greenhorse New Member

    I have the same issue with my mare. Been started at 4 - had a bad experience with person you started her, and won't go forward. I have tried the we will make you do it- wack / spurs etc but this has resulted in a horse that wasn't going true and happily.
    I've changed to a treeless (dressage - startrekk from Germany) she likes that better. Also consider building up the back in walk first. Take it slow, wait for your horse to move, agree with above person even if it takes 2 hours. Using force the horse loses respect for you and can even shut down. When they blow due to fear it tends to be big. Check out parelli games this should also help.
  19. Greenhorse

    Greenhorse New Member

    I have the same issue with my mare also 6 now. Been started at 4 - had a bad experience with person you started her, and won't go forward. I have tried the we will make you do it- wack / spurs etc but this has resulted in a horse that wasn't going true and happily.
    I've changed to a treeless (dressage - startrekk from Germany) she likes that better. Also consider building up the back in walk first. Take it slow, wait for your horse to move, agree with above person even if it takes 2 hours. Using force the horse loses respect for you and can even shut down. When they blow due to fear it tends to be big. Check out parelli games this should also help. I would rather take it slow and have a horse that will dance with me than a horse that thinks I'd better do or else I'm going to feel pain.
  20. LNT

    LNT Well-known Member

    well for those that are interested i had a dressage lesson on saturday morning and she went really well, no problems with forward as such was a bit lazy but overall pretty good.......... took her to the beach on sunday and same thing as last week, walked straight into the water (she's not scared as we went every day last year during xmas holidays and we didnt have this problem she was quite happy to walk & trot in the water) i hopped on and again she wouldnt move, we got going after i forced the issue with a crop (yes i know dont shoot me) and did a couple of laps up and down no probs.

    i just want a horse that is happy to do what i ask, not battle me everytime for no other reason that she just doesnt want to because she's stubborn/lazy............it's exhausting :(

    thanks for everyones input, i will persevere and hope she comes good :))

Share This Page