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Large strong horse tanking off!

(29 Posts)
TropicalHorse Sun 24-May-15 05:43:26

Hi! Just casting around for some ideas here... I've got a 6yo Friesian x Oldenburg gelding who is wonderful in almost every way except that he is 18hh ish and he knows it!! Every now and then he simply charges past me pulls the rope/rein out of my hands with the sheer weight of him. The first time he did this I had him in a flat halter and lead rope which quickly got changed to a Dually correction halter and lunge rein with gloves for me every time... And he still does it. Even a bridle with lunge rein clipped to the bit rings doesn't work, he just barges through it and goes! I'm an experienced trainer and rider and I am really at my wits end with this!! I've done lots if ground work with him and he was improving a lot... Until he remembers his party trick! sad
Today after a ride I was leading him to the field and he was a bit slow to move away from the gate, then tried to pull away a bit to snatch a mouthful of grass so I brought him up sharp with the correction halter and was doing some basic yielding, halts and backing up in the lane way to the field and I saw the realisation dawning on his face, like "I don't have to take this!" and he just whooshed past me and pulled the rope out of my hand. I went and got him, we continued the groundwork and within seconds he did it again!! Argh! Walked back to the stables and made him walk sensibly to the field, yielded a few times and then just shoved him out.
I KNOW that the thing the horse most needs is to never ever ever get away with this trick ever again but even with my precautionary tack, being prepared and having done lots of work getting him to yield his quarters and be respectful of the rope, he's still managed it twice today! Feel v frustrated! He'd gone several weeks without trying it before today and I thought we were getting somewhere! His former owner was a slight and nervous lady and he obviously got away with it with her. She was too frightened to lead him to the field!
He's not a bad natured horse in the slightest, he's lovely to ride, he just knows his own strength. Anyone got any tips for me??

Sierraspider Sun 24-May-15 09:30:45

Does he do anything when ridden? Might sound strange but my friends shire cross did this for months and she thought he was taking the P. She had the the dentist out who found his teeth really sharp and they had caused ulcers. He did drag her off once after they were sorted but think more out of habbit?! Anyway, 3 weeks on and he hasn't done it since. It seems he was in a lot discomfort of when she halter pulled down on his nose he freaked out. If his teeth are fine, what about trying a calmer? Not sure what else to suggest as it sounds like you are doing the right things already.

britnay Sun 24-May-15 11:36:24

You might get more advice on the horse and hound forum smile we're a friendly, helpful bunch, mostly ;)

Bonkey Sun 24-May-15 12:21:59

The only thing I can think of is a chiffney?

Although I wouldn't say so if you weren't so experienced...its a last resort imo but its sounds like you might be there

Maybe it could give you that little bit extra you need until he kicks the habit?

Emjones88 Sun 24-May-15 17:14:47

Carrying a whip may help? Also as Bonkey suggested a chifney may work.

At work we lead the stallions to the field in a bridle and carry a whip. They are impeccable 99% of the time but if they are ever naughty/acting through impulsion a tap to the chest can gain their attention/respect.

Also can you rule out any medical reasons? Teeth, abdominal, back pain?

Sounds like your doing good things with him though.

Str1p3yl3af Sun 24-May-15 23:26:48

We've got a 15.2hh 30yo naughty Welsh sect C. We've had him for 25 years and we've never broken him of this habit. He can go months without doing anything but when he wants to barge off he just goes.

We tried EVERYTHING. Never ever cured it and I'm strong!

The best thing we could do was recognise the trigger points and tie a lunge line around his nose.

Good luck.

AuntieDee Mon 25-May-15 00:26:42

I had one of those and the only way was to lead with a lunge line so they couldn't pull it out of your hand. If they go to go, put them on a small circle - they soon learn that trying to bugger off means hard work

feezap Mon 25-May-15 07:29:47

We had this problem whenever we tried to load my pony at home. She is only 13 hands but built like a brick shit house!

Like you, she had gotten away with it with her previous loaners so even though she'd never been like it before with me she learnt she could get away with it and I got to the point I couldn't get past too.

I got an intelligent horsemanship trainer out for an hour or so and that was all it needed. I was doing things mostly right, I just needed a but of help and outside perspective.

You sound a lot more experienced than me though so you've probably done most of what an IH trainer might do. The only thing that might be useful is an objective opinion and new set of eyes to make suggestions.

Good luck xx

nagsandovalballs Mon 25-May-15 07:48:42

This is going to sound very unprofessional, but it can work if you have a greedy horse. Get some non-sugary herb treats in your pocket. If you start to notice his trigger signs, distract with a treat. Not feeding straight away, but engaging his attention so he forgets about bolting. Then do some yielding/rein back ground work for a few steps and feed the treat.

nagsandovalballs Mon 25-May-15 07:49:55

Ps also agree with the lunge and small circle.intelligent horsemanship can also work, but they are often expensive!

TropicalHorse Mon 25-May-15 11:59:09

Thanks, nags! I have never met a greedier, more food motivated horse so that might be a direction to go in! I have instituted a strict no-hand-feeding rule as his manners were so bad but it might be worth pursuing as a motivator!!

Bonkey Mon 25-May-15 13:12:37

If you go down the food route try clicker training as a positive reinforcement!

You tube has some great vids to start with and mine have always picked it up very quickly!

Booboostoo Mon 25-May-15 20:57:30

If he is food oriented that is your answer but it is ell worth teaching him a 'leave it' command first so that you do not get mugged. Pop him in the stable, stand outside and offer him your hand closed into a fist with a small treat inside. If he nudges, licks and generally molests you do nothing, keep your hand in place. The moment there is daylight between his muzzle and your fist click and open your hand so he can take the treat.

If you think he may bite you use a box you can open remotely rather than your fist.

I had the same problem as you and this worked surprisingly well.

Pixel Mon 25-May-15 21:58:45

The 'small circle' idea only works if you have space though, and I imagine this boy takes up a lot of space! I'm only mentioning because we have a narrow footpath down to our paddocks (not wide enough to lead two horses at once) so I wouldn't have this option and the OP might not either.

I had a pony like this years ago. He was a sweetheart but I weighed practically nothing (compared to now!) and he knew it. Plus he was exceptionally strong, I had adults tut tut at him pulling me about only to try themselves and be immediately dragged into the distance!
He was much easier to control if I led him in a lunging cavesson with the rope attached to the front middle ring, and kept quite close to his shoulder on a shortish rope. That way if he tried to go I could pull his head towards me and dig my elbow into his neck/shoulder. It's not so easy for them to get away if you can do that but you have to react quite fast. Once they get their head turned away from you it's too late so it's all about being one step ahead of them.

WellErrr Mon 25-May-15 22:02:24

You might get more advice on the horse and hound forum smile we're a friendly, helpful bunch, mostly ;)

Thanks, I needed a laugh grin

OP, you need a chimney and lots of groundwork.
Hand feeding treats will not be your friend here.

Pixel Mon 25-May-15 22:05:24

I'm confused. How will she do groundwork on the roof? grin

WellErrr Mon 25-May-15 22:06:56

She'll need a chifney with her chimney.

Can't have one without the other wink

Pixel Mon 25-May-15 22:19:28


Cantbelievethisishappening Tue 26-May-15 19:17:03

I would also say chiffney..... we used them successfully on then most revved up, argy bargy strong colts who would bugger off in a heartbeat.

Gabilan Wed 27-May-15 20:29:32

Another vote for a chifney. It used to be the only way to load my horse. Now I can load him in a normal bridle. Carrying a schooling whip and smacking them on the chest, and meaning it, when you realise they're thinking about going helps. I know it's not at all in line with natural horsemanship but it can work when all else has failed.

IME the key with a chifney is not to be the one pulling on it. Keep the lead rope slack, if they pull on it, they'll soon stop.

Of course, you do have to check if they're in any pain or discomfort first. The other thing is not to turn out until he's worked for hours and is too knackered to argue!

honeyroar Wed 03-Jun-15 22:17:04

My husband's horse went through a bargy stage when in his terrible 5s! While I was a pretty experienced trainer too, my more novice husband had something on me, he was strong and tall. He could hang onto him and pull him up. It broke the chain, and stopped the realisation that " you can't stop me, can you!" (I remember seeing it on his face too). We went through it riding for a while too.

backinthebox Wed 03-Jun-15 23:56:33

Rope over the nose worked for us. BigHorse was 17.3hh and 750kg. He was famous for his impromptu exits, so much so he inspired the central role in this cartoon! He always thought you were no fun though if you just let him go. He would get about 20 yards and then go 'booooring!' A technique only to be used if you are certain the horse isn't going far though (I've known a few ponies who would bolt and keep going.)

FredaMayor Mon 29-Jun-15 16:07:21

You've got two forward going breeds in his background, and he's had a diffident handler who wasn't able to discourage barging. It's lucky he is treat orientated and this brought to mind a huge ex army gelding called Sean a friend was given years ago. He shared barn stabling with a herd of about 40 other horses and ponies and was often scraping his sides to get in or out first. The senior groom then taught Sean the trick to raise a front leg a bit like a dog shaking your hand and received a treat if successful. Just before it came time to go through a gate or door the groom went into the treat routine. Sean was on three legs and happily eating a treat whilst the other horses moved through and I do believe it gradually reduced his anxiety about being first. Just a thought and apologies if you've already tried that.

SunnyBaudelaire Mon 29-Jun-15 16:12:27

I came on to say chiffney as well, or the rope over his nose but that might not work.

PoshPenny Tue 30-Jun-15 08:32:55

Have you tried a rope halter, a cattle type one with a metal ring so it pulls tight and releases quickly, not the thin rope natural horsemanship type, although one of those might work thinking about it. He's a big bolshy bugger by the sounds of it. What a naughty boy, far too big to be carrying on like that.

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