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 More "WHOA" than "GO"...help!

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Join date : 2010-10-29
Location : Miramichi, NB

PostSubject: More "WHOA" than "GO"...help!   Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:51 am

Ok, I'm looking for a little bit of advice for some diffiiculties I'm having with my horse.
I can ride in the arena, no difficulties.
I can ride down the road alone, happy as a clam.
Out on the trail behind another horse, not a problem.
However, if I want to go out on the trail by myself or want/need to lead the trail ride, my horse shuts down. No go. At all.
Kicking/bumping doesn't help, using the crop doesn't help, turning around in small circles is sometimes unfeasable as the snow is very deep on either side of the trail right now, and also usually doesn't help.
I'm reluctant to add spurs as I know my leg position isn't as proper and reliable to NOT use them when I don't need to.
I'm new to this "no go" situation as my previous horse was the opposite, No Whoa!
I'd appreciate any suggestions that I could add to my bag of tricks to get rid of this problem, thanks in advance!
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Fiere

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PostSubject: Re: More "WHOA" than "GO"...help!   Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:27 am

My horse would do this when he didn't feel like working, it wasn't so much situational as yours is. I let my horse know in no uncertain terms he was moving and that's that, with yours, it seems you are not going to force a go out of her without drastic measures, so I wouldn't try. I'd trick her into going on alone. I would try building her up to the front of the trail riding pack. Maybe try riding next to the lead horse, then moving her in front of the lead horse, then back, then ahead. Show her it is ok to do. When she is comfortable putting along in front, get the other horse to stop, let her go on a head until she is alone, let the other person catch up (without stopping your horse, you don't need to teach her to wait lol). Sort of let her know that other horses are not far behind and will come and go as they please so there is no need for her to fret about it. Turn this into someone walking with you to the trail opening and her going in alone, that sort of thing.

I'd like to hear what others have to say as well, try a whack of things, see what works for the horse. Good luck!
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Chickenlittle

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PostSubject: Re: More "WHOA" than "GO"...help!   Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:28 pm

Hmmmm....I am no expert....always had horses who just went...not a trainer. Fiere's advice sounded great and it sounds like you have lots of fellow riders to help you.

If you are alone one day though....maybe you could get off, get her attention on you, and lead her down the trail, let her graze a bit or take some carrots, make it enjoyable and relaxing for her. Get back on and try again. I don't know if this would help or not BUT if you are alone and she won't go...at least you don't have to turn back to the barn and let her "win" that battle.

I guess my only concern would be, if you push her, will she react "badly" like rear?

I also would love to hear other suggestions on this issue.

Keep us posted on what you try and how it works! Good luck!

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PostSubject: Re: More "WHOA" than "GO"...help!   Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:27 pm

Thanks for the suggestions.

If I ride him on the trail and go to pass another horse, he'll walk forward reluctantly until the other horse is about his withers, then he puts on the brakes. At that point there isn't a whole lot of room on the trail to try and maneuver him forward (not to mention fairly unsafe). If the other horse takes a couple steps he will too, but rarely and only VERY reluctantly he will pass, but then still not go forward. At all. Nothing.
It doesn't seem to be so much as a 'herd bound problem' as it is a 'walking on the trail alone/first' problem. I have owned him for 4 years, and when I was home in OntarioI only rode him alone, but previously I only had the road to ride on. I have absolutely no problem taking him down the roadway by himself without any hesitation.

He's been down the trail enough times and has had enough cookies that I feel he finds the trail enjoyable, with other horses. We had quite a few issues in the beginning with balking and not going forward, but surprisingly we worked through those quite quickly with a few cookies and just letting him work through things. I can lead him on a lose rope very happily down the trail without incident. No high head, no reactions that I can see that he is nervous.


I have pushed him quite a bit and the most (so far) that he's done is spin around (most of the times to the left) to head home. He hasn't discovered his ability to rear or buck yet, and I'd really rather he didn't.

I'm just looking for other options to help motivate a horse to go forward than "kick him, kick him, kick him, use your crop, bump, bump, bump, bump"-which isn't really working.
Thanks, I'd love to hear anymore!
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Dun Tru

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PostSubject: Re: More "WHOA" than "GO"...help!   Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:31 am

To me it sounds like your horse isn't a confident leader - sure when he is out by himself he is the only horse there so he HAS to be the leader, but with a group of other horses he might not feel confident stepping up to the plate and being a leader. When you say he is reluctant I would say it is because he is unconfident being in that position. Where does he fall in his herd as far as the pecking order? Is he one of the horses a bit lower down on the totem pole? If it is a confidence thing then the worst thing you can do is keep pushing him to the lead. I would ride him where he is comfortable for awhile and let him make the decision to lead when he is ready - and then reward like crazy! If he is motivated by cookies then reward with cookies if he even just goes an inch past his "sticky" spot.

Also try to avoid kicking and bumping your horse - the majoirty of people are told to kick a horse to go, and from the horses point of view is a bit ridiculous when you think about it. Just think - if you were shy and nervous of dancing and someone kicked you in the ribs on the way to the dance floor. I bet your attitude wouldn't be very good towards dancing or your dance partner! You want to use four distinct phases of polite assertiveness with your horse, and he will quickly become a willing partner, happy to take your lead rather than balking at every turn.

Here are the Phases you can try as your horse gets more and more confident in being a leader.

Phase 1 – Start by smiling with all four cheeks (yes I mean all!) You are going to take a long focus, then stretch your hand out in front of you with the reins, and tighten your cheeks. Your horse isn't likely to move forward from this suggestion, so you will continue through the phases. But it is important to be ready to release as soon as he offers forward movement.

Phase 2 – Next you are going to squeeze with your legs, starting at the top, then all the way down to your heels, you will want to turn your toes outward, giving you a smooth contact with your horses side. This is not a strong squeeze. If you are straining or getting cramps, it's too strong! Remember, a horse can feel a fly land on him.

Phase 3 – Smooch while holding the squeeze, do not let go with your legs.

Phase 4 – Spank. Start by spanking yourself. Lightly slap your shoulders from side to side with the end of a rope/reins or your hand, this is only good to do if your horse is confident with you moving a fair bit from his back, don't attempt this if your horse hasn't been desensitized to excessive movement form his back.

Now like I said above - if your horse moves forward one inch you are going to take all pressure off your horse, relax and reward! You don't want to keep the pressure on after your horse has done what you want because that'll just end up confusing him and he'll loose focus of what the right thing was!

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HHSES



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PostSubject: Re: More "WHOA" than "GO"...help!   Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:31 am

Thanks for the suggestions Moody Blue.
I've done majority of my training with Natural Horsemanship methods so I know where you're coming from on the kicking thing. It's just where I'm boarding is quite traditional and the kicking is the suggestion that is most loudly out there. And it doesn't work! So people should stop suggesting it!!!

Due to the circumstances at the barn, he isn't turned out with anyone, just alone in the arena. But from my previous experiences of keeping him at home, he'll be the boss when allowed, but sumbits to a stronger herd leader if he has to.

I recently switched to riding with a bit, but I think I'll go back to riding with my rope hackamore so I can return to the method posted above.
Thanks.
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Dun Tru

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PostSubject: Re: More "WHOA" than "GO"...help!   Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:24 am

I would just go slow with him, being a horse that doesn't get much contact with other horses might be a reason too for him not wanting to go ahead, he feels comfortable and safe with the others around him. I'd work on riding just behind to leader for awhile and letting him gradually get the courage to go up on his own, don't wanna push him over the edge!

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PostSubject: Re: More "WHOA" than "GO"...help!   Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:55 pm

So I went on a ride last week with my rope hackamore and did the 4 phases. We only had one little "shutdown" near the beginning of the trail where it felt like I was spanking forever, but it was probably only about 20 seconds. After that, all I'd have to do is pick up my rope to swing it and he'd move forward. This was all great, but I also remembered why I stopped riding with my rope hackamore! If he wanted to turn, especially while I was swinging the rope, he would do whatever he'd like as I didn't have a whole lot of control over his head with the rope hackamore. So I think I'll just hook my 12 foot rope onto my saddle and ride with my bridle for the next while.

Thanks for the reminder!
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withaTwist

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PostSubject: Re: More "WHOA" than "GO"...help!   Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:04 am

i have a stbd gelding that did the same thing, which was inconvenient, as i was using him as a lead horse at a trail rides, lol. He wouldnt go forward for me, but responded to my boyfriends "more aggressive" methods. Since i dont, and dont want to, ride like that, i explored other options. My best solution/transition step was letting him follow a pony that was significantly shorter than him, he didnt really have to lead, but he could see over it, and was fascinated enough with ponies to follow it wherever it went, lol. After a little while of this, he'll now lead the other more reluctant brats. just a non-forcefull option :)
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