My horse seems depressed , and can be a bit difficult when I ride h

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  • barbara_adkins Original Poster
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 0

    I have had horses for many years , and he is a great horse to be around until you step in the saddle , then everything changes , he becomes aggressive and impulsive . I also think he is depressed because sometimes when he’s in the pasture he just stares into space . He was abused before I got him , does anyone think that this may be the problem ?

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Doubtful that the staring into space is abuse related. He may just be so relaxed he is zoning out. The riding issue could be. Had something similar with my boy, and what worked was to take him back to kindergarten, and start all over again from the beginning. I included a lot of time in the barn, just playing with him and getting him comfortable with me. When I met him, he would go around the ring with his neck stretched out and his head sideways, no collection, no framing, nothing. After many, many months, he is now collected, calm and carries himself as if he is a hand taller than he actually is. He has also gone from being low horse on the totem pole to king of the mountain in his pasture. He has an extensive vocabulary and knows his music, follows me around like a puppy, and is just generally a different horse (he was 21 when I met him, so age is not a factor). Since he is very food oriented, bribery helped a lot, although that isn’t good with all horses. I would suggest that you not ride him for a time, but do a lot of ground work, particularly in long lines and on a regular lead line. Teach him (all from the beginning, no matter his past experience) lateral movements, so that he has to think about what he is doing, rather than just react to what he fears might happen. I am assuming that you have already had your vet rule out any health issue, and that his tack fits him properly. If not, do those first.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Have you ever tried just spending more time with him; outside of riding time. You could also try join-up; many abused horses respond wonderfully to this method. Depending on how he is with other horses, you could try him with a pasture mate, even if it is just a little mini/pig/goat or other horses. This could brighten his mood. What discipline do you do? You could always try switching/ doing other disciplines every other week(while still doing the discipline you like) switching every now and then keeps the horse, wanting to continue riding/training. You can also try putting little toys around his pasture, like a stuffed animal filled with treats or even a ball to nudge around. Whenever your horse does something good, or is just calm when riding you could/should give out the occasional treat.

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    There is no way of knowing whether the abuse/neglect is causing emotional distress, all you can do is try to perk him out of it. Stimulation in the form of joining-up is good. Hand-grazing him and hanging out with him is good.

    A horse knows whether he is loved, or just used.

    Time spent with them is how we tell them the difference.

    I have a horse that is gentle as the day is long on the ground, but his brio picks up the minute my foot goes into the stirrup. That’s his training. Gentle at hand and spirited in the saddle. This is a good thing, in his case, a wonderful thing. It’s probably a good thing for your guy too, he just needs more harnessing of that spirit, and more effort to bring out his thinking rather than reactive personality.

    When in the saddle, flex right and left when he gets aggressive, turn in circles, collect him, back him up. Move him right then left, work serpentines, jump logs, change speed. The more energy he has for aggression, the more you can and need to channel into work. As he relaxes, you can too, keep your energy up with his, and your temper set to zero no matter what.

    This horse does not want a passenger, he needs a partner. As you’ve been around horses for years, you’ll know how to make him engage at a higher energy level. Chances are he’s tried intimidation and won, maybe that’s what prompted the neglect, but it doesn’t have to always be that way. A neglected horse is a challenge, kudos to you for giving him a better home. Good luck.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 6

    Your horse is probably scared, nervous, and bored; try hanging out with him a-lot more, and don’t visit him just to go riding. Also don’t ride in the arena always it is boring for a horse to constantly go in circles, try going on trail rides sometimes and your horse will enjoy it and be more happy, and your horse will then look forward to spending time with you and trust you more. You can also try the join-up method. Lastly, when you ride just have fun, and your horse will too.

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