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englishcow

Bad bad day :(

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Well today was a very bad day.. [Frown] To sum it all up everyone wants me to sell Tonka (my trainer, my parents, my friends). Lately he has taken to running off and misbehaving. My trainer says that he will never get over it with me no matter how much work I do with him. He tries it with my trainer but not nearly as bad. She says that even though she can fix this bad habit when I ride him he will still run off just because he thinks he can. Well, he only does this in a large arena, my arena is fairly small (48X72ft) ok very small and he never acts up in my arena. The moment we go into a big arena he will start working but once he doesn't want to work anymore he will just run off. I believe I can break him of this by riding him daily at my neighbor's arena which is very large (about 100X75 ft.) Every time that i have ridden over there he also takes off. I know this problem of his is related to the size of the arena probably because he has the space to run. He is not afraid or spooking he just doesn't want to work. My plan was to saddle him in western just in case he really decides to do something stupid and then ride him at my neighbor's every day. When he runs off, i'll keep him running for a long time so next time hopefully he will not want to take off. Every other time that he has run off I have always tried to stop him, never keep him running. While my trainer wants me to sell him, I really want to give Tonka a chance, he is an amazing horse otherwise [bang Head] I love him to death and I only want to sell him if I am out of options. Please post any opinions of yours. Sorry if some of this doesn't make sense, I'm kind of out of it right now. Please post any questions or responses you might have. Thanks for reading all of this.

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Your plan sounds good to me. Use the western saddle to give yourself security and go over to the neighbors and work it out. He can run off all he wants, then he has to do the work anyways. I really can't imagine why he wouldn't get over it.

Give him a lot to think about it within the work and make the sessions short. Try to be done before he thinks about running off and then make them longer and longer. Just do not get off after he runs off til he has given you at least ten minute of real work.

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Your trainer's reasoning doesn't make much sense to me. You say that she says he'll "always" do it with you becuase he knows he can get away with it--but once you show him that he CAN'T get away with it, he'll learn not to even try anymore. But your plan sounds good to me too, and I think you're definitely on the right track! If he's a good horse and you're good together (aside from his running off), then there isn't any reason to sell him, because habits can be broken, however hard it's gonna be.

Good luck!!!! Let us know how it turns out! [smiley Wavey]

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I just wanted to add that if keeping him running doesn't work, try yanking him to a halt, and practically over backwards every time he even starts to take off with you. Once he's stopped, ask him again to do what you want. You could end up being on him for hours at a time, but it doesn't matter as long as your point gets across... one of those should work, as an eventer I've had my share of runaways, too [Razz] and once the habits broken, it normally stays that way.

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Thank you Remmie and Blackmajic for replying. [Jump] You have really encouraged me to follow through with my plan. I think my trainer just doesn't want to deal with these kind of issues but she would rather work on dressage movements. But I don't mind having to work this out because I absolutely love Tonka and I believe that he is worth the wait and the work, even if I don't show for years and years. Thank you so much for reading and replying! [Not Worthy]

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I know how you feel Tonka Flash- my old pony used to do that EVERY jumping session- every time I took him out into the jumping field. He would be so hard to control. So, I stopped doing my dressage work in the smaller ring and I did everything in the jumping field. I set up a 20x40m arena with jump rails in the corner and schooled in their, so he was "outside" and yet still "confined" I then did lots and lots of slow work with lots of bending and rode with draw reins in the jump field. I did lots of bending exercises around the jumping course and did alot of cantering around the course before I started jumping. SLOWLY he started paying more attention to me and listening to what I wanted and where I wanted him to go instead of just running his heart out all over the field. It takes time, and my trainer hated my pony as well and thought he was stupid and useless, but he got better. After about 8 months of being all crazy like this (those 8 months I spent schooling him at my house, without my coach) I took him to a local show and he did amazing, my coach even told me she was shocked at how good he was. SO point of story; running away can be cured, do lots of bending and slow work in a big space before you do much cantering. BUT, it tkaes a lot of time and dedication and in some case, lots of muscles and wind to be able to ride them as long as they want to go. Good Luck!!

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I see from your sig that Tonka is only 4 years old. It sounds like the root of this problem might be a training issue -- that has resulted in a much larger issue. This horse IS NOT READY for the "dressage movements" the trainer is so eager to work on. This horse needs to go back to the very basics. Giving to the bit and stopping. If that means taking him back to ground driving (first in a small arena, then in a larger arena), then it is worth the time to do it. If it means keeping him at a walk and working on circles, figure 8's, serpentines, and other very basic movements then it is worth the time. Once he will consistantly stop from a walk, move up to a trot and then to a canter. When he tries to take off, you have 2 options. Either let him run and keep him running until he WANTS to stop - if you chose this option, be careful. I've only used this method on older horses that have been speed horses turned pleasure mounts and some will exhaust themselves by running - and some will get so hyped up they will try to run through or jump an arena fence instead of turning. Your other option is to teach him a one-rein stop (most horses will stop if their head is pulled around to your knee). When you get him stopped, put him into reverse for a good dozen steps, then make him stand still for a minute (literally count to 60), then walk him off.

Something else to consider - he may be taking off because he is sour on arena work or being pushed too hard, too fast for harder movements he's not mentally ready for. Keeping sessions short, practicing on the trail or in a field instead of just the arena may be good for him.

If he does it with you and tries it with your trainer, you'd just be selling him to be someone else's problem. You already know and love the horse. Good luck and be careful.

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I believe in working problems out, rather than running from them. I dont' think selling him is the answer. It sounds to me like he is a young horse and has learned that he can "run off." The first thing I would do, is teach him to stop. Saddle him up western and go to your neighbors arena. Start out walking and then ask him to stop by saying "woah" and sitting down and back in the saddle, while you gently apply pressure to the reins, then back him up a couple of steps. I would not advise "yanking" him. Do this both directions. Then do it at a trot, then do it at a slow lope. Then try a faster canter. But do not add speed until he is stoping at the slower gaits. I would just work on it at a walk at first. Then add the trot and lope and so on. Soon he will associate your body language with stopping. When he feels you sit down and lean back, he will know that means stop. Once he does this real well western, you can go back to trying it in your dressage saddle. That is one of the first things I did with all my horses that I bought off the track. The sure as heck did not know what stop was. They learned it real quick and I have never worried that they wouldn't stop. Even when i was running barrels on them and would be literally flying out of an open arena alley. I knew my horses would always stop, because I trained them to do so and reinforce it all the time. Best of luck and keep us posted.

[ 07-24-2005, 05:58 PM: Message edited by: Boocoo ]

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quote:

I just wanted to add that if keeping him running doesn't work, try yanking him to a halt, and practically over backwards every time he even starts to take off with you.

Sorry, I'm not trying to be rude or mean blakmajik, but I don't really agree with you. If you try to "yank him to a halt" you'll ruin his mouth and make him even more hard mouthed. I agree with Boocoo, and if he starts going faster, don't panic, just circle him and get him to relax again. Hope this helps! [smiley Wavey]

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Hi, My dad has a horse with almost the same problem he would not stop for him. So my dad fixed the problem with 2-3 trips with the horse.

He would take boogie to the beach and just let him run until he stoped on his own all he did was sit in the saddle and control him (if needed)

It seems to me that he loves to run same as boogie try him in a racing event (like barrels)

If I were you I would take him to the beach or some were were he could run and only stop if he wanted to.

Like my dad says let a horse be a horse

I would also try him in barrel racing but thats just me.

Hope you fix the problem

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I would not sell him! most people thats the first thing that comes out of their mouth. but i think if you work with them they'll get over it. I think you have a good idea about letting him run b/c my horse used to back away from barrels and stuff when we tried to go for our turn and i would just MAKE her back up and then i wasn't letting her do anything on her own. best of luck!

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I think that's a hard question to answer since I bet most of us have never seen you ride. Part of being an instructor sometimes means that you have to make unpopular decisions. If your trainer feels that you will not be able to get over this with him stay calm and ask her why. She should be a better judge of riding ability than you. To overcome things like this usually takes a very strong, confident, consistent, and secure rider who knows when to pat and praise and when something is going south and how to correct it. I'd like to think the best of your trainer and assume that she sees this as a dangerous situation that you are not able to consistently correct and she may be afraid that something will happen to you, possibly involving her in a law suit.

If you think that your trainer has other reasons for wanting you to sell him it may be time to consider another trainer.

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don't sell him! i believe that any problem can be fixed, and i'm sure you can fix this one! a horse is a friend as well as a partner in crime, and you don't want to lose your bestest buddy do you??? when he runs off, just point him at the fence or wall nearest to you, and he'll stop. good luck with tonka! [smiley Wavey]

edited to add: sorry if this post sounds weird......i just spent the entire day at a horse show, working and helping out my friends....and i'm dead tired, so i've just been rambling a bit today. lol

[ 07-24-2005, 07:50 PM: Message edited by: mattiesmymare ]

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Thanks SO much everyone for answering! [Wink] You all have been very helpful. As far as my trainer goes, she says that I am a very confident consistent rider and she would rather me be showing than running around on a horse. She says that having a horse should be pleasurable and with Tonka it is not. But I told her that I love Tonka and that I believe we can get past this. I like my trainer very much and she is very kind and knowledgeable (sp?) [Wink] and she only wants the best for me. She doesn't like seeing me tense and frustrated at my lesson while riding Tonka and I suppose that I feel somewhat obligated to match the perfection and training of the other owners' horses at the barn who don't run off. But it isn't Tonka's fault, he just needs time and patience. For now, I will continue taking lessons and riding my trainer's dressage horses while I work with Tonka with my neighbor who has saddle broken many young horses. He rides vaquero/dressage so he is not a typical "cowboy". I have faith in this solution and I know that it will take months and months of training and dedication but I am looking forward to it. I actually believe that one of you mentioned he might be becoming arena sour. That is definitely possible..I have been riding him daily, sometimes twice a day. I definitely will cut down on our workouts so that they can be enjoyable for him and me. Thank you all for responding! [Not Worthy]

[ 07-24-2005, 08:15 PM: Message edited by: Tonka Flash ]

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Seems to me your trainer doesn't understand baby horses, or maybe she just doesn't have the patience for them. Babies are going to develop bad habits cause they're.....babies......they are immature and you can't just give up on them, because that hurts a horse's future. Imagine if you were to sell him with this habit still ingrained in his mind. He could seriously hurt someone or himself and thats not a chance I think you want to take.

[Not Worthy] Good for you for sticking by your horse and going against the wishes of your trainer and parents and friends. It's not easy to stick by what you believe sometimes, huh? I think this is a great oppertunity for you to learn patience and horsemanhip skills while deeping the bond you have with Tonka.

I think your plan to keep your horse running is brillant and I was going to suggest that. If he wants to run, fine!! He's gonna run!! I used to have a TB that ran away from me whenever I came into the turnout to put him back in his stall. Very intelligent and arrogant horse. One time I was fed up with him, and when he ran I grabbed my lunge whip and made him keep running. Finally he was tired and sweating and wanted to stop...but no I made him keep running. He wasn't stopped on HIS terms, he was stoppping on MY terms, cause I'm the boss.

Happily, he never did it again after that, but man did I run him long!! It was a ridiculous show of disobdience and I wan't going to put up with.

I do agree with getting him outta the ring. That is so important to a horse's mental health, and since your horse is soooo young, time spent in the "great outdoors" will help him enormously.

Good luck!!

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Personally, I disagree with most of what you're trainer has been telling you. How she "wants you to be working on dressage movements instead of riding a runaway" or "showing instead of running around". You need to work through these issues like everyone else has said. I don't believe you should sell a horse that you like because he has some issues. To me, it sounds like your trainer just wants you to "look" like a better rider. Sure, riding and showing a made horse will make you seem better, but in the end, you still won't know how to work through issues on your own. I have many friends who started out with green horses who gave them a heck of a time, and most are now settled down into regular work and are successfully competing. One of my friends was just telling me how she took her Appendix mare from knowing only how to trot (and rear and buck among other things) 3 years ago when she got her, to competing at Training level eventing today! Because she worked through her horse's training problems, she now has one heck of a horse and is a way better rider than if she'd been handed an already trained, experienced horse. Anyways, I don't really have any different suggestions, but just thought this might give you something to think about. Good luck and don't give up on Tonka. You'll be glad you didn't in several years, trust me.

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Thanks Dressagechamp and R.T. for replying and for your advice! I have already just yesterday started working on Tonka with ground work and he did great! Tonight I am going to ride him in my neighbor's round pen working on moving the haunches over, long and low work for stretching down at the walk and trot and getting him going nice and slow and calm. Then in a few days we will move to the big arena where I will ask him to still go long and low and work on calmness [Yay] but if he still chooses to run off, which he probably will [Roll Eyes] then I will keep him running and running. I can already tell a big difference in Tonka's personality just from working on his work ethic from the ground with ground work. Today I got a journal to document what we do every day and our goals. I am so excited because not only do I get to keep Tonka [Huggy] but I get to learn how to work through these issues and how to ride correctly a green horse. But I also get to learn about dressage and ride more experienced horses at my dressage lessons. I am so excited! Thanks everyone for replying!

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Hey! I just got back from riding at my neighbor's on Tonka! He did great, we only rode in the round pen at a walk/trot doing figure eights and circles getting him to bend laterally and listen to seat and leg cues. He went up to the canter once during his worst lead while he was in a trot. I quietly sat and calmly asked him down and he came right back down to the trot. My only issue is that my neighbor would like me to drop the bridle a few holes so that it requires Tonka to hold the bit with his tongue, he says that you shouldn't be able to see any wrinkles caused by the bit. Is this western training? or can it be used for dressage? Thanks everyone!

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quote:

Originally posted by Tonka Flash:

Today I got a journal to document what we do every day and our goals.

I think this is one of the most important things you can do for your riding. I have always kept a journal. It helped me immensly when I got Razzie as a young greenie. I was able to chart our progress and training, and when issues resurfaced, I could look back at how I previously handled things for ideas. It's fun to look back from time to time to see just how far we have come, and it really makes me think at the end of a session when I have to write out what we did and make plans for how to deal with anything that came up during that session. I find that when I get to my next ride, I am far more prepared and my rides are more productive.

I think you are making the right decision with Tonka. It sounds like you have a good horse that is being a typical baby with baby issues. You have a good plan. Give it a chance to work. Good luck!!

~Shelly~

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I am not sure what everyone else put but i will just go ahead and state what my opinion is and im sorry if it was already said.

1st off, i definitely would not sell him. thats not going to solve anything. he can get over it with the right amount of work and discipline. i personally hate to stop what i start, so i would follow through with him if he were mine.

Then it is hard for me to suggest something as i have found that every horse responds differently to everything.

My horse Chief for example. If he takes off with me and wont stop, i let him keep going and then when i feel him want to stop i make him run for about 10 more laps around the ring until I want to stop , not him. it isnt his decision to make.

That works for chief, and next time he thinks about doing it he thinks twice.

My other horse Major, if i were to let him keep running and running, hes the type to were he would love it til he fell and died so obviously it wouldnt work for him. What i would do for him, is actually get off, strap on some side reins and lunge him at a vigorous trot, ( b/c trotting is a lot harder than cantering) and i would push him into the bit and REALLY make him work. If he has the energy to take off, i put it to good use and squeeze a good deal of training into him with it.

After doing either of these workouts (try them both and see which one works better for you) get back on (or if u stayed on and ran him, stay on) and then pick up where u were right where he took off, and work him properly, like u were intending to in the first place. Most horses wont try it again but if they do, repeat the process. Dont feel bad to get back on him and work him after running him or lunging him. He had the evergy to take off, he has the energy to work now.

Sorry if this sounds really harsh, but these would be my solutions with my horses. You can also try to customize it to ur horse and whateever u find to work for you [big Grin] . Good luck and keep us updated.

Hope i helped!

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smithereens-thanks so much for replying! Yeah, I realized that having a journal really does help so that you can make goals and really realize what it is that you're working on and why, each time you get on to ride. It has been very helpful and you're definitely right! I can't wait to be able to look at it several years down the road and be able to say wow! We've come a long way! [Jump] Thanks for replying!

Rhythm-Thank you for responding! Out of your two training techniques I must say that Tonka does enjoy running but not that much! lol. So I'll just keep him running whenever he runs off, I'm pretty sure that'll cure him! But if he starts enjoying our little runs too much [Roll Eyes] then we'll have to try the longeing with side reins, I'm pretty sure he won't enjoy that! [Wink] Thanks for replying!

Oh! And does anyone know about the bridle? My neighbor wants me to drop it a few holes so that the bit doesn't cause any wrinkles and he has to hold the bit with his tongue. Is this correct for dressage or is this western? Is it ok for schooling? [Confused]

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quote:

Originally posted by Tonka Flash:

Oh! And does anyone know about the bridle? My neighbor wants me to drop it a few holes so that the bit doesn't cause any wrinkles and he has to hold the bit with his tongue. Is this correct for dressage or is this western? Is it ok for schooling?
[Confused]

I've never seen it in dressage. There are a lot of theories on correct bit placement though. Everyone has there own ideas on where a bit is best placed. My only concern with getting the bit too low, especially with a horse that is running off, is that he might be able to grab the bit with his teeth. Then you could get yourself in some trouble. Until you solve his running off issue, I would want to hold off on lowering that bit too much, but that's just my opinion, and I am certainly not a professional by any stretch of the imagination. I'm really not sure how low you can go before you start getting into danger of Tonka being able to grab it with his teeth, but I don't think you have an awful lot of room to play with there.

~Shelly~

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Thanks Shelly for your advice! It helps me a lot! I don't really want to lower it because he is becoming quieter and quieter with the bit, he no longer chomps it and chomps it lol. And I was worried that if I did lower it he might be able to take hold of it. Thanks for your reply!

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Theres nothing that says you cant lower it a smidge and see how he does with the bit. I think its better for a horse to learn to carry the bit than to have it pulled up in his mouth by the bridle even in english.

I would personally lower it a smidgen just to where you see no wrinkle but its still in contact.

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