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More Challenges For 2011

Posted by WhiteHorseAcres, 08 February 2011 · 309 views

So I decided about a month ago that I would be selling Sonny this spring. I put together a flyer and send to my instructor and a couple other local people to send out. No bites but I'm not surprised. The market is full of horses like him.

After the last issue I had with him when I took him out to work in the arena; I just can't seem to get past that. It was a cooler fall day and he wanted to go back inside and eat. I probably should have just passed and did it another day, but I don't want to let him get out of stuff either. He was full of himself and didn't want to do anything I asked. He was lunging in a trot circle when he stopped faced me and reared. I didn't back away, got him down and he took of running and bucking. He got away from me and I took a minute to calm myself and let him settle before we tried again. Things didn't get any better and I was pretty shaken by how close he was to knocking me down when he reared. He's reared before on the ground and done his jumping & running gig before and I was actually getting to the point where I could laugh and not be scared. That last time was different. So after talking with my instructor and thinking about it quite a bit I decided that what Sonny needs as far as training and skill level is something I can't offer him. I'm thinking about contacting the local 4-H group to see if they might have an older experienced kid that might be interested in him. Then I thought about sending him for training for a couple months and finding someone that would do a free lease and come ride him a couple times a week. Then he could get used more and not be bored and have extra energy. I know I would still be fearful of working with him but maybe with more help from my instructor and him getting a tune up and exercised things might be different.

It's not like he's going anywhere anytime soon so I guess I have plenty of time to come up with a plan. I'm just bummed because it seems like just when I come up with something that might work I always find something that will make it not work.

He really needs a different type of person. I'm generally laid back and don't like challenges. He needs someone to watch his every step and correct him instantly when he goes over the line. I think we're to the point that I'm going to have to get really huge and nasty with him to get his respect back and let him know I'm ruling this show. That's hard for me to do. I believe that certain dangerous behaviors should be disciplined or they will get worse. I know I can send him out for training and they can get his respect but I'm still going to have to have a special moment with him where he realizes that for me.

You don't need to be nasty with horses to gain their "respect." Try giving him treats for being good. Get him to associate you with getting treats (for good behavior --- he has to earn them). Get him to want to have you around as a friend. Then, if he's particularly bad (like rearing to threaten you), just walk off and leave him. If he learns that bad behavior results in isolation from his buddy and source of treats, he'll quit the bad behavior.

You're right about him needing to be corrected whenever he misbehaves, though. I spoil my horses terribly, but they need to know the rules before they're allowed to break the rules (and they can't break them unless they have permission). The correction doesn't have to be "nasty" --- just quick and definitive. It's better, however, to avoid misbehavior entirely by being able to see it coming and distracting him from doing whatever he was planning.

It may be that you're also right about not being a match. If you don't like a challenge, you're scared of him, and you can't prevent his bad behavior, it would probably be best to sell him to someone who's more suited to him. Unfortunately, it's really hard to sell one nowadays, so as you say, it may be awhile before you can find him a new home. In the meantime, sending him to a trainer, then having your instructor around when you're working with him, would probably be a big help. It's pretty well impossible to work through these things on your own without someone knowledgeable there to help you.
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vwkoch- thank you for the suggestions.

I very much agree with rules and consequences. I agree that with training you do need rewards. Treats or food does work for some horses. Mostly I prefer scratches or petting or my voice letting them know they did a good job. It got to the point with Sonny that even asking for little things like picking up the speed a little became something he didn't feel he needed to do. He was disrespectful and he has my number. He knows he can intimidate me enough that I will back off letting him do what he wants. Is that right or correct, no. He should not be allowed to act in such a manner where he could injure me or anyone else. Have I resolved the issue, no. I've just simply stopped pushing him too far and he's eased up a little on his behavior. He's a great horse but will probably never be one of my favorites through no fault of his own. His disrespect is my fault.

So far I guess we've called a truce (maybe he heard about the sale ad and decided life was pretty darn easy where he's at! :winking: )

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