So Tired of It

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by MzCarol, Oct 8, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. MzCarol

    MzCarol Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Messages:
    3,191
    Likes Received:
    3,740
    I've had Chevy since 2011 and he is now 12. He is a very smart and snarky pony. He's never malicious or mean but he's definitely a game player. My hopes of him growing out of this carp he pulls have finally died.

    Saturday I took Chevy and Fritz took Boomer to an event with the local mounted police whereby we got to experience some of the obstacles they work with in training their horses - so cool. The majority of the obstacles we have done before.

    We unload and tack up. We head over to the arena which is outside and which has an open area at each corner for entrance/exit. We listen as directions are given: we will have time to practice the obstacles for a bit and then everyone will come out and folks will go in 1 by 1 or in pairs to "compete".

    We go in to practice and Chevy is absolutely stellar, even with obstacles he has never seen before. Seriously, he was a very calm and attentive little man doing everything that was asked of him nicely. I was very proud. To add to that, there is one obstacle where plastic barrels are attached to a wooden frame with wheels and the horses are to push it with their chest. Well, Chevy is a pony and the apparatus was too tall for him. What did he do? Before I even moved my foot to swing his hind end around he did it by himself so instead of going at it head on he was sidepassing to move the apparatus - everyone was ooooohhhhh'ing and aaaaahhhh'ing. I was very proud of my little man.

    So we go through all the obstacles and then we are asked to all come out of the arena and line up. His patience started to wane. Thankfully Fritz and I decided to go together since this was only Boomer's second time with obstacles so Chevy was there for comfort. Chevy was again wonderful, but I could feel him getting more tense as we went.

    By the time we got to the end I had to call for people to block the corner exit of the arena because he wanted nothing more than to get out of there - completely with tantrum-throwing mini rears and bunny hop bucks. My good time started to slowly go downhill. I'm so tired of this b.s.

    After the obstacles came time for something we've never done before - smoke bombs and flares. They had us walking between the flares in groups and then gradually moved the flares closer together. Chevy was perfectly fine the first few laps around and then the tantrum carp started again.

    He is smart, and he gets bored easily - that's why we vary what we do with him (jumping, obstacles, trail riding - anything we can think of). Because this happens with enough frequency it is enough to deduce that, in his mind, if he has done whatever I have asked of him clean and well then he sees absolutely no reason why he should have to do it again - and that's when the tantrums start. I'm so tired of giving up on any type of riding plan because I have to keep going back to deal with this carp. We'll have a nice ride for about 15 minutes and then he'll just start being a total bastage. He started pulling this garbage in the jumping arena, too, last year. He would do the first round really great but then he would be sooooooo difficult about going back into the arena for another round. We had to have people block the exits there, too.

    The usual health and tack concerns have been addressed.

    Please don't beat on me, I'm tired enough, but if you have any constructively helpful suggestions I'm open to them.
     
    Alsosusieq2 likes this.
  2. slc

    slc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    24,327
    Likes Received:
    14,824
    I have constructive suggestions.

    Chevy is misbehaving. Punish him. Keep punishing him until he stops the unwanted behavior and does the correct behavior. Every time.

    Also, another suggestion: don't take him to any clinics, group rides, activities or competitions until this issue is completely eliminated. All such activities will run a very, very high chance of reinforcing the behavior.

    The basic disobedience is to the leg signal. Rearing and bucking are both disobedience to the leg. The horse slows down to both buck or rear. When a horse is disobedient to the leg, the leg is 'enforced' by using the whip. The correction for both is to make the horse go forward. Resolutely, very, forward.

    This behavior is a result of years of gradually becoming less and less obedient to the leg. First the horse starts slowing down by the gate, then he starts standing up a little instead of passing the gate, then he starts bucking when he gets past the gate. And the behavior increases from there and starts happening everywhere and whenever the horse is bored or doesn't want to turn away from the other horses or barn, or whatever.

    This is long-standing behavior and so is a habit. This means that the correction will not be for the timid. It will be unpleasant, it will be severe, and it will be unpleasant for the horse.

    But it is necessary. The rears will get higher up and he will wind up in a can of dog food if this is not fixed. You are very close to sending him down the road right now. 'So tired of it' is what that means.

    Generally, behaviors like this continue because the punishment given actually encourages the behavior. Dismounting and leading the horse to a round pen or longeing area, even dismounting and making him run around you, as I saw one gal do, all reinforce the behavior. So does stopping riding for the day, hour or even the moment. Even a hesitation in punishing, reinforces the behavior.

    Initially, the horse needs to be taught to be more obedient to the 'forward' signal. That MAY be done on the longeline if the longe line is used properly. What this means as that the horse is put on the longe, you cluck, or say get up or whatever you do, and if he does not FLY FORWARD within ONE HALF A SECOND, you smack him with that longe whip on the hind quarter, and you keep on smacking him until he goes forward, fast. Then that 'mindset' is translated to under saddle work, in no uncertain terms, and to the exact same degree. He feels the TOUCH of that leg, and he has to go - NOW. And then every single time you tell him to go, he has to go. Immediately. No squeeze, cluck, squeeze again, 'Please Pumpkin,' tap tap tap. Leg - BANG - NOW. OR IT IS WAR.

    When Chevy does a 'mini rear', pull his head around with one rein, keep his head on your knee, and kick and whip him repeatedly, making him turn in a very tight circle, just the length of his body. Make it unpleasant, a very tight circle. Hold on to the saddle skirt so he can't pull that hand forward, and slack the other rein enough to let the other rein bring his head to your knee. Then straighten his neck with the other rein and make him gallop forward WITHOUT ANY PAUSE. He doesn't want to? Too bad. He has to. If he bucks, he gets smacked with the whip until he goes forward.

    If you do this promptly enough, you will only have to do it once. And that is better than him winding up in a can of dog food.

    That is what a punishment is. In this case, the punishment is unpleasant because this habit is so established and dangerous, and it stops an unwanted behavior.

    You mentioned 'canceling riding plans,' telling people to block the exit so he couldn't escape.

    I don't think those approaches will work. They haven't worked. The proof is that the behavior continues.

    I'm sorry to have to tell you that, and I'm sorry you're in this situation. And I am sorry there is no other way to break this habit but to be firm, consistent, and to punish the animal every time he tries it.
     
  3. Arem

    Arem Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Messages:
    19,902
    Likes Received:
    48,426
    Sound like Little Mr Smarty Pants is used to getting his own way. I’m sure it’s hard and exhausting to keep up with him— and he knows it.

    One thing that stands out to me is this:
    He’s calling the shots. Little Mr Smarty Pants is pretty sure he knows better than you and it’s better to do things his way. The tough thing for you is, he *is* smart so he ends up doing the right thing and you end up following along.

    I think you need to make him start waiting for you. Even if he is making the correct choice, he needs to wait for you. Since he is smart and easily bored, you’ll want to keep those lessons super short and end on a good note. And hopefully over time you’ll be able to lengthen then time because he’ll follow your lead.

    I’m not saying this to beat on you! I just want to help. :) My horse is too smart for her own good, too, and I let her get away with too much sometimes. And occasionally it bites me in the butt.

    Also, you could look at getting a trainer to help sort him out initially. Recently, I had trouble with my mare loosing her ever loving mind during her first heat at the new barn. The trainer helped me sort her back out the first time because nothing I did was working. Now we’re back to same and manageable and I learned how to improve my timing and keep Miss Smarty Pants focused and following me. (y)
     
    ginster likes this.
  4. Arem

    Arem Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Messages:
    19,902
    Likes Received:
    48,426
    No! Punishment is never the answer. What she needs to do is get him focused on her and following her lead. Punishment will only breed resentment in him. He’s way smart. He won’t tolerate it.

    He needs guidance, “discipline,” not punishment.
     
  5. Oaks

    Oaks Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2015
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    400
    I've not got suggestions, but I'll commiserate with you. Some horses will take a mile when given an inch. You just gotta figure out where those inches are coming from :D. The appy in my avi is an old man these days, but good lord is he still a model for "appytude". I hated it when I first got him, as he would always be outsmarting me and calling the shots. But I soon realized it made me better a partner - I learned how to think before him, set him up for success, focus him, and ride through the "I know better than you's!". Sure, it's tiring sometimes, makes you want to ship them off to the nearest auction and use the $$ for a spa day....but in the end I was able to take all these things I was taught by him and apply it to other horses. He's still a prick, but won't be leaving my paddock till his dying day, because, well, he's worth his weight in gold. It would have taken many horses and many years to teach me what he did in such a short time.
     
    sherian, Arem and MzCarol like this.
  6. MzCarol

    MzCarol Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Messages:
    3,191
    Likes Received:
    3,740

    This.....absolutely.
     
    sunrisegurl146 and Arem like this.
  7. bobo and horses

    bobo and horses Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,304
    Likes Received:
    4,754
    But, in my barn, discipline may well be a smart crack of a whip on the behind. I am agreeing with SLC on this one. She has owned this fella for quite a while, sweetly asking is not the answer. You don’t have to beat the begeeses out of him, no one is suggesting that, but to every action there has to be a reaction, whether it be a release of pressure, or applying an action that will certainly get his attention.

    He has been doing as much or as little that has been asked of him, My suggestion, make him do what is asked, he is not a green horse, at 12 they should be down ing what you have asked.

    Don’t always do the same stuff over and over if it bores him. Keep changing up, in this situation he seems to be the one running the show so to speak.

    Ok, people, you may have at me now. Won’t change my mind, but go ahead, lol
     
    ginster, Puddincup, slc and 2 others like this.
  8. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Messages:
    7,728
    Likes Received:
    23,615
    I agree and disagree. I don’t see what slc suggests as punishment so much as discipline. He needs to know that the behavior stops now.

    Sparky will pull this carp on a mid-level rider. He won’t rear but he’ll bolt for a gate. He’ll make things just scary enough for the rider to give up or not push.

    But a push is exactly what he needs. He needs a good crack of a dressage whip across his bum and firm leg that says “not this time Boyo!” And a few circuits of the arena like that gets his attention in a big way.

    I do the same with B who is far smarter and more sensitive. And she would rear. Which I had to catch before it happened and apply another good smack.

    It’s no fun. But it’s what happens when we let them get away with this nonsense too long. Both of mine are not traumatized. They’re good horsey citizens.
     
    CarlisleChipper, Puddincup and Arem like this.
  9. MzCarol

    MzCarol Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Messages:
    3,191
    Likes Received:
    3,740
    Please do not assume or insinuate that I have 'asked sweetly'. I've put the whip on him and I have dedicated hours upon hours riding him out so he knows "I" say when we stop. I don't ever get off right after he's 'hopped' - we work on.

    I don't do the same stuff over and over - that would drive 'me' insane. We mix things up all the time - and I mix up how many days he will get ridden in a week - if at all that week.

    See, he DOES do what he's asked LMAO He does it right the first time and then doesn't understand why he has to do it the second time if he did it right the first time. No, of course he's not the perfect horse, but his horse brain doesn't comprehend the intricacies of, say, jumping, or leg yielding. He only knows that I asked for one and he did one, not that it was or wasn't pretty in which case I might ask for another one. Think of those extremely smart kids in school that started to misbehave because they understood the lesson and were bored waiting for the other kids to catch up so they could move on to something else. THAT is Chevy.

    I need to keep his mind engaged and suggestions on doing that would be great.
     
  10. MzCarol

    MzCarol Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Messages:
    3,191
    Likes Received:
    3,740
    I get what you are saying - that there is a fine line between punishment and insisting/reinforcing what you as the rider are asking for. BTDT too.

    You probably remember that he was the jerk I was having trailer loading issues with a few years ago. He's is a fabulous loader now - every time. I'm looking for suggestions to unlock this door now and talking about it helps.

    I may have sweet talked this horse once or twice before I bought him but not since. I'm not that nice a person.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page