Horse that pulls back/spooky

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Kate12, May 25, 2018.

  1. Kate12

    Kate12 Full Member

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    hello, I have a question and some input would be appreciated.
    We have a green horse that doesn't get ridden or worked with much, but with some of the others getting up there in age, we have been getting her out more and would like to focus our attention on her. She does alright the times she has been ridden on the trail, but her main issue has been pulling back/running backwards. She doesn't have a good foundation in her training. She was broke to ride with no ground work, no other basics like leading etc. so we are really trying to take our time with her and go back to the start and go slow with her.

    She will lead nicely, stand while tied but when she gets spooked, she does what I like to call the 'backward teleport'', and has broken halters while tied. I would like to try a tie ring and work with her on this ASAP but my question is, will this help with her backwards spooks in all other departments, too? (Leading and on the trail) That is the only thing I have noticed about her is her spooks launch you backward, and it has gotten better, but again, she doesn't have the best foundation to start with and I really would like to take my time with her. We are considering just going back to the start and ground driving her/ponying her along for a while to try to help her gain some confidence. I have set up a desensitizing course and that has helped her, too. She's been vet checked, chiro checked, teeth floated so she's all checked out in the health dept.

    Thank you in advance!
     
  2. Alyssa Hughes

    Alyssa Hughes Senior Member+

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    I would restart her from the ground up. Do lots of round pen work and desensitization work before you start riding. What is her diet? Clinton Anderson always says "If people fed their horses less (food that makes them hot) and worked them more I'd be out of a job." I'd guess she needs time and work.
     
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  3. StraightandTrue

    StraightandTrue Senior Member

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    Pulling back is a tricky one. I like to tie my horses up quite long so they can look around and move about a bit. They seem to panic more when they can’t express their flight instinct by moving their feet and turning to face the threat. I also put some hay or yummy feed out when they’re tied so it’s a positive experience. This works for horses who hate the wash bay too. If they know they get a delicious feed there, it stops being a scary place.

    When the horse is calm, you need to teach it to move forward off a light tap with the whip on its rump or belly (wherever is least offensive). Then, you can get these rock climbing ‘figure eight’ rings that will allow the rope to slide through but add a little friction so it won’t slide through fast. Tie the horse up to the figure eight using a long training lead somewhere with soft footing and do your desensitisation work. If it pulls back or even thinks about stepping back, tap lightly with the whip to get it to take a step forward. The pressure on the halter will release instantly. Reward with praise and even a few carrots for positive reinforcement when the horse steps forward off the pressure.

    Be sure to have a rope knife handy just in case something goes wrong, and again, soft footing is a must for this type of training. Horses can do serious damage if they fall over on concrete or gravel. Grass or sand is preferable. I would also suggest bandaging the legs to protect them in case of a wig out. Go slowly, start small, reward every little try, gradually increase the level of difficulty, and you’ll get there.
     
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  4. Kate12

    Kate12 Full Member

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    She's on a pellet feed. Not sure what brand, this was just switched, but she's always been on that-1 cup twice a day. She's very rideable, it's just the issues I stated above, but we have been working with her a lot on the ground. Just basics, leading/yielding to pressure/moving her hind and front etc...she's very respectful in that manner. She used to be very anxious and wouldn't lead with you, and that's not an issue. Just when she gets a spook in. it's like this horse has PTSD and will be calm and relaxed but the switch goes off and back she goes. So I was hoping working with tying will somewhat ease the reaction to spook in other areas. The use of tarps and bags and walking/backing her into tight spaces has really helped a lot, she's just not quite there with trust-which is why I'm not too keen on riding her in this condition, even though she can be.
     
  5. Kate12

    Kate12 Full Member

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    Thank you. i will definitely make sure the footing is appropriate for this. Glad you mentioned that.
    I got pulled around pretty good the other night. We got her out just to walk her out a bit with our gelding, and there is one particular spot she spooks at, which is a building with stalls where they park their farm equipment. This is the area she's always had her accidents at and it never dawned on me that it was the "tight space" she was afraid of. She had a bad experience with loading from a previous owner, and has never had to load since. I'll assume she's associating these 'small spaces' with that to some extent. I started slowly and lead her in and backed her out-going further each time. When we got to the back, she had too much time to think before I could pet her and back her out, and the switch went off and she dragged me out of there. I just kept doing it over and over until we could walk in all the way and nicely back out. But, her style is back up when she's spooked, so I thought working on the tying would help with this, too. I sure hope
    It does, as it's not really pleasant to be going along forward and suddenly you are running backwards. Poor girl I hope this helps her. Thanks for the reply!
     
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  6. Alyssa Hughes

    Alyssa Hughes Senior Member+

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    I do a lot of joining up in the round pen which helps with trust issues. I have a hitching post that has cement on one side and grass on the other. So when my horse seems spooky I'll tie him up on the grass side. I've found that when they freakout I just back away and tell'em whoa. Of course my horse doesn't do this often it's more if he gets spooked.
     
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  7. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    The right thing to do, by the horse, is send her/him off for sixty days to someone who breaks horses professionally for a living.

    The horse has no patience or trust because it was gypped on it's training. It needs to be totally restarted by a pro because they are experienced enough to stop and distract any resistant behavior during training so the horse learns step by step and all the holes in it's training are filled.

    Just fixing pulling back is not how it works. The horse pulls back to get away. The horse won't continue that once it feels no NEED to get away. once it feels confident in knowing what is expected of it.

    It is like you have a kindergartener and you are asking him to do calculus; put yourself in that situation; you'd be looking for a way to RUN from that too~!! The horse is overwhelmed and has no tools (training) to handle being worked with.

    On trails, he does what instinct tells him, follow the horse in front of him. Almosz all horses behave in that situation, when green. He isn't acting broke then, and not broke at other times, he's not broke.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
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  8. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    You you can’t tie a horse that has not been properly halter trained and taught to yield to preasure...all you are doing is reinforcing that if the horse is scared and fights they can escape.

    The horse need last to learn how to lead properly, be taught to lunge and be taught the word whoa on the lunge line. Some round pen work with some good desensitizing should occur as well. Then I would start with a line through a tie ring with a person holding the end while standing a good 19 feet away while giving and taking pressure as needed while another person grooms the horse until the horse learns to stand quietly than graduate to a solid tie with a safety release.
     
  9. Kate12

    Kate12 Full Member

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    Maybe I'm coming off with my question in a confusing way? Which part have I said she's not halter broken or yeilds to pressure?
     
  10. Kristal H

    Kristal H Senior Member

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    I think you and I just have a different definition of halter broke.
     

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