Question: I have a 10 year old arab that I’ve switched from the Arab circuit to eventing. I bought him as a 5 yr old and did Arab shows for a couple years. He’s a gorgeous horse and an amazing mover, but has a really hard time keeping himself under control. He is always a happy horse, with ears pinned forward. My problem with him is when we get to shows he gets so excited that he literally can’t contain himself. He ends up rearing/jumping/bucking nonstop. I’ve had a chiropractor out, a vet out, and he has no issues with back or saddle fitting. If I take him to school at a place, he’s a pretty good boy. He just really feeds off the commotion of the show. Eventing has been better, he loves to jump and does great on cross country and stadium. But dressage is the first phase and he usually rears and leaps through our test. I’ve tried lunging him for an hour before, and he just gets more excited. We generally get there the night before and that hasn’t made a difference either.
If you have any suggestions on how to get him to calm down, please let me know!!!! He has amazing talent, but he is just like a child with ADHD.
Answer from April Reeves: Arabians are one of my favorite breeds: they are highly sensitive and intelligent, and learn fast. And they’re just incredibly beautiful as well.
They also can get a little out of control, which always brings me back to groundwork. An Arabian can never have enough groundwork. It’s great for their minds and they catch on to it faster than many breeds.
Posted in Breeds, Equine Behavior & Problems, Hunter/Jumper, Natural Horsemanship
Tagged behavior, bucking, english riding, foundation training, Groundwork, horse training, Natural Horsemanship, problem horse, rearing, spooky horse
Question: I have a welsh section a driving pony, he’s 12yrs and I have owned him for 18months. I was a novice driver and he was a very experienced pony, his previous owner drove him out alone without any problems. I believe I have spoiled him by being too soft, due to this he has no respect for me and I believe he has a learned behavioral problem of rearing now. When I ask him to stand and wait at a junction, I ask him with soft hands but he’s very quick and goes up, very scary. I have had him physically checked and there are no problems. Please can you offer any advice. Thanks, kind regards. Debbie
Answer from April Reeves: Hi Debbie, I have seen this a lot. It’s a common habit a driving horse/pony can get into. Depending on how long it’s been going on – will determine how long it will take to change it.
Start back at ground driving. Begin to drive him as you normally would in a cart, but stand to the side, not behind him. Walk him around for a bit to get use to being back on the ground again, and when you are comfortable and handling everything well, ask him to halt, with you standing to the side (enough to avoid being kicked).
Question: Hi there like you I have a reputation for riding and re-training horses that are deemed dangerous untrainable or non ridable however I have just bought a lovely ex-racehorse who is terrified of life. He has been completely checked over from head to toe and there is nothing physically wrong with him however he trembles if he sees his tack, rears when being bridled and has progressed to rearing and going over with his current rider. I am bringing him home tomorrow and plan on riding him as he was great when I tried him out. He did try to rear but got a good boot and a slap on the bum with my stick and sent fowards and then he went lovely.
I believe he just needs a firm hand but am concerned for his well-being mentally as his tack terrifies him and his rearing has already broken bones of his previous rider.
It would be great if you could give me your insight as to the possible cause of his fears and how you would rectify the situation.
He will not be sold on as I believe he has had a rough enough life, so I expect him to work, and after an initial tantrum was a well behaved, well balanced horse. Thanks for your time.
Answer from April Reeves, Horseman’s U.com: When you get a horse like this, unless you dig and ask questions you will never know the history that made the horse what he is today. On the other hand, does it matter?
Posted in Breeds, English Riding answers, Equine Behavior & Problems, General riding answers, Natural Horsemanship, Western training answers
Tagged behavior, foundation training, horse training, problem horse, rearing, thoroughbred
Question: I moved my two year old mare a month ago. She was really behaved for the first three weeks but now when I lead her she keeps rearing. Why would this be and would it help to use a pressure halter or would it make her worse?
Answer from April Reeves: By a pressure halter, are you referring to a rope halter? If so, I would strongly suggest it. If you are referring to nose chains or other methods, then I strongly argue against it.