Young horse drama in the crossties

Linden16
Herd Member
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 6:53 pm

Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Linden16 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:38 pm

One of my young horses has “behavioural challenges” when crosstied. Grooming and tacking is no problem, but the moment I stop physically touching her, or step away from the crossties she morphs into an insolent crap weasel.

Pacing forward and backwards, dancing, nonstop pawing, hopping up and down on her hind feet, stress pooping multiple times, and generally pissing everyone off within a 30ft radius is her MO. She even deliberately backs up to tap the wall behind her with a hoof. If there is a manure bucket in the corner, she looks back, aligns herself with it, and aims her kick right at it.

As soon as I go back to her and put a hand on her, she’s back to lamb-land.

She will do this even if I am standing 4 feet away, talking to her and in plain sight. Nothing is close enough unless I am in contact distance. If I have to step away, out of her sight, she gets furious.

Note that she never challenges the limit of the crossties, never pulls back or tries to escape.

If she’s crosstied and I have someone stand with her and keep a hand on her, she still does it. Apparently she only has eyes for me.

Now I’ve been trying a few different tactics to fix this, the first one being getting after her every time she does the bad behaviour, the second one being purposely oblivious to the behaviours, ignoring all the bad, going about my business as if she nothing is happening and then praising her when she’s polite.
Lastly, I’ve tried putting her in the crossties and sitting across from her and hoping she realizes she will not get any attention or acknowledgement until she stands still. Then if she starts dancing again, I immediately leave her and go back to just sitting within eyesight until she quits and stands quietly.

This is not a horse that handles confrontation well, if I get after her, in any situation, she melts down. I can usually bring her back from the edge by giving her a job to do.

Can someone who has directly dealt with this, give me some advice please?

heddylamar
Herd Member
Posts: 355
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:04 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby heddylamar » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:16 am

I've approached very similar behavior twofold. The bad behavior (kicking, striking, biting) is directly and instantly dealt with by getting big, loud, and in their face, or whatever works.

The rest -- wiggling, pawing, dancing, etc -- I completely ignore. It sounds like she's an attention seeker, so she'll eventually give it up ... and move on to something else :D

Remember that she's only 4. This is the wiggle-worm, boundary-testing phase. Your reaction now will frame your future partnership.

My 4yo is going through a similar spot. She's not kicking or striking (that was her dam's MO), but she's determined to dig a hole to China when not wiggling everywhere. I tie her on a short line to a post and go about my business, and if we're in-hand, I just keep putting her back where I asked her to wait. Eventually she'll give up and be as cool and calm as her dam.

User avatar
orono
Herd Member
Posts: 416
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 3:35 am

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby orono » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:19 am

I might try a different approach - not testing her cross tie limits or bringing out the bad behaviours. I know that at some point you want a horse that you can leave while you run to the washroom or whatever, but at this point I would treat her like a horse that doesn't tie - ie have everything you need ready at hand before you bring her in and stay with her. As she settles and matures you can test the waters and you might find that the bad habits have lessened or gone away completely.

I've had OTTs like this, and it simply wasn't safe to risk them throwing a temper tantrum. Their behaviour was genuinely insecure though, so being close at hand didn't make their dependence worse, but allowed them to gain confidence in the situation.

How long have you owned her/had her in work?

heddylamar
Herd Member
Posts: 355
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:04 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby heddylamar » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:34 am

Orono brought up a great point in what happened with my current 4yo -- she freaked out in the cross ties. Tying to a post/tree (not ideal at my current barn) is her comfort zone, so that's what I reverted to. Eventually I'll be able to use cross ties again, but at this moment, she's just too insecure.

User avatar
Flight
500 post plus club
Posts: 990
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 11:39 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Flight » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:11 pm

I don't cross tie but when my horse was young and got antsy being tied up, I'd work him on the ground then let him rest at the tie up spot. He's a bit lazy so got it quite quickly. Not sure how much room you have available to do this though.

User avatar
Chisamba
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 2211
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:33 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Chisamba » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:18 am

First off its not weasel insolent behavior, it's anxiety.

And secondly I agree with Orono and flight.

Work the horse in hand and let relaxation in the cross tie spot be the reward. However truly anxious alpha horses may take some. With Deneb I would have her stand near me while teaching, so there were days where after work she would be standing for two hours with an expectation of some semblance of manners for a significant time before being at her reward spot, ie cross ties. However it was not until I put her on regumate that she totally relaxed I ties. And that was at the age is seven, so it was five years of consistent effort. She improved but was always anxious until I tried hormone treatment which was after she leaped into the mirror under saddle. Deneb is maybe the hundredth or so horse I have trained and even so I did not realize the extent of her level of anxiety until I tried hormone therapy.

With almost all studs people recommend gelding to treat certain behavior but attempt to address mare training without hormone therapy

Linden16
Herd Member
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 6:53 pm

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Linden16 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:47 pm

She's been stateside since July 2. We were at one barn for 2.5 months and then moved to a different barn just down the road, just after my gelding arrived. I know there's anxiety in there, but also she is an absolute cookie ho and if she thinks she is going to get a cookie when she is in the crossties she will not stop acting up. I have seen and dealt with many nervous horses in the crossties but not one that had this much obvious attitude. (she literally aims at the muck bucket and taps it with her foot. Not hard enough to knock it sideways, but enough that she expects me to come to her and placate her. She KNOWS if she kicks the wall or the bucket, I will give her attention to prevent her from doing it again (because it's rude and she can hurt herself)

Again, she has never ever come close to trying to actually leave the crossties, or actually get scared. Her face is not scared. It's annoyed.

Even if she's been longed well AND ridden, she does the same thing. No amount of groundwork will reduce this behavior at this point. She's perfect for tacking up, wrapping her legs, etc. Just don't get outside of arms reach. She is the one that will stop what she's doing, whatever it is, and gallop to me the very instant I call her. She's very attached.

User avatar
Chisamba
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 2211
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:33 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Chisamba » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:46 pm

Linden16 wrote:She's been stateside since July 2.


i thought you lived in Canada?

i think i would just move the muck bucket and ignore the behavior since she sounds like a real gem otherwise

Tsavo
500 post plus club
Posts: 927
Joined: Wed May 25, 2016 2:01 am

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Tsavo » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:06 pm

If she is so focused on cookies, you can use treat timing/withholding to stop this behavior.

My horse gets a metric ton of treats every day I am with him yet rarely paws because I have made it clear that he is being treated for standing still. I don't know why he paws once or twice a year but when he does it he doesn't get anything the rest of that day. I also try not to talk to him the rest of that day. Whatever, he doesn't paw again such that I can't remember the last time he pawed. I say it is once or twice a year but there have been years and several years when he did not paw.

I think timing will work if she is treat oriented enough.

demi
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1153
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:02 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby demi » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:50 pm

Linden16 wrote:...she morphs into an insolent crap weasel...


:lol: I have no advice but my 10 yr old mare morphed into an “insolent crap weasel” yesterday after her lesson. She wouldn’t get on the trailer. So I morphed into an alpha mare and she got the point.

khall
500 post plus club
Posts: 789
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:47 am

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby khall » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:09 am

I agree with Tsavo about cookies, teach her such behavior is not going to be rewarded with cookies only calm nice quiet behavior will.

Not in cross ties but badly pawing horse for food: he came to me pawing up a storm for his food, horrid behavior. What I did, I had feed bucket would move toward him, anytime he started pawing I would turn my back on him, he would stop for just a second I would turn back to him and move forward, he would paw I would stop and turn my back. Only calm quiet respectful behavior got fed, obnoxious pawing got my back turned to him. Worked like a charm.

I also like something similar to chisamba where horse must stand and be quiet on line. I like them several feet off and be able to stand with draped lead. Similar to above but actively directing horse a bit: Horse wiggles and moves sometimes paws, horse is asked to back to their original place plus a step or two (I use drive of lead rope movement to do so) horse gets to place I stop and relax. Horse wiggles etc, horse gets moved back to place plus 2 steps back. What I want to be able to do is stand not having to pay attention to my horse and them stand there quietly with drape to lead.

Hope this helps.

demi
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1153
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:02 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby demi » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:04 pm

^I really like Khall’s explanations here. Sorry i didnt take the time to explain my situation with Rocky and the trailer, but I though the expression “ insolent crap weasel” was so funny I responded to that instead.

Anyway, what Khall says is basically (and please correct me Khall, if I’m wrong) that the person becomes an alpha, in charge, mare. With Rocky, it was: “alpha mom (me) is going to keep tapping you with this whip until you walk forward. The instant you walk forward, I will quit the tapping.” Now the tapping method worked fine at home, but in the newer situation at the trainers farm, I think Rocky felt my own nervousness and decided to test me to see if she could take the alpha position. She kicked out and reared up quite nastily several times (insolent crap weasel!) but I held my ground and didnt quit tapping till she walked forward. The hard part was having the resolve to not get mad, AND to take the time (40 minutes!!) to out stubborn her. Really, it requires a lot of time and patience in some situations.

Tsavo
500 post plus club
Posts: 927
Joined: Wed May 25, 2016 2:01 am

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Tsavo » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:36 pm

What I am talking about and what I think khall is also is not really about being alpha. It is just rewarding what you want. It's trick training.

With a horse zooing around in the ties as I move off, I would start close when the behavior is not apparent. I would wait 5 seconds while the horse stood still and then effusively praise her and treat her. The horse will be visibly processing this trying to figure out what she did right to earn the praise and treat. Do it again and she will probably realize it is for standing still and not "doing" something.

Then move off a little ways and just stand there. If the horse stands still for 5 seconds, effusively praise and treat. If she moves then you moved too far off and have to move in a little until you get the standing still. Once you link the standing still with the praise and treats, it will only be minutes before you can move off a large distance. You may need to reinforce the training later that day or on subsequent days but I think if you are always ready to praise and treat standing still, she will do it all the time. You need to focus on the standing still and not the pawing basically.

I can leave my horse, walk out to my vehicle out of sight and come back and he will be looking for me quietly. That's because I trained him to do nothing while I am out of sight by immediately effusively praising him and treating him when I come back to him. It's just a trick. All this stuff is a trick.

The more problematic the behavior, the more split second accuracy you need in the timing. Once you know it, it is easy. I think I could train my horse to paw and then stop pawing within the space of a half hour using this technique because he will prostitute himself for a cookie. LOL
Last edited by Tsavo on Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Tsavo
500 post plus club
Posts: 927
Joined: Wed May 25, 2016 2:01 am

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Tsavo » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:40 pm

Horses know and show when they are being praised. My horse's whole facial expression changes and his eye seems to soften even more. On the lunge, he softens his movement when praised. You can look for that expression change when doing this trick training.

demi
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1153
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:02 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby demi » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:09 pm

Tsavo wrote:What I am talking about and what I think khall is also is not really about being alpha. It is just rewarding what you want. It's trick training. ...


Right, but even in trick training, someone is the alpha horse. IOW, if the horse stands quietly, it gets the cookie because you control the cookies (and the situation). The alpha is the cookie giver, and the horse has to submit to the desired behavior to get the cookie. In some cases (like where the horse is very hot blooded and high strung, not to mention being a mare!), I think it requires a lot of time and thought in how one takes the alpha position. And a lot of patience.

I get the feeling that Linden will do very well with Ehren, and I am looking forward to watching their progress.

piedmontfields
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1394
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:41 pm
Location: E Tennessee USA

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby piedmontfields » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:49 pm

I am no expert young horse trainer. I do see a lot of young horses come through my barn, though. The ones that are set up to succeed by their owner/in a new setting (rather than strongly corrected after the fact for messing up) tend to learn quicker and become solid citizens. Those owners that respond to undesirable behavior (pawing, kicking, etc.) after the fact seem to continue to have these problems.

kande50
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1311
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:28 pm
Location: Williamstown, MA

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby kande50 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:45 pm

Tsavo wrote:What I am talking about and what I think khall is also is not really about being alpha. It is just rewarding what you want. It's trick training.


Also called behavior modification.

heddylamar
Herd Member
Posts: 355
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:04 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby heddylamar » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:37 am

Patience and quietly putting the mare back where I asked her to "wait" finally paid off after 2 months! She stood completely still today, not twitching a single foot, for grooming, tacking up, and then grooming after riding.

We'll see how she is on Saturday! Likely a reversion back to the dancing, digging machine :)

Abby Kogler
Herd Member
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:29 pm

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Abby Kogler » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:29 pm

I don't put up with much when it comes to the horses and their manners. I have few rules but I never give an inch when it comes to them. I was thinking about this thread the last few days and trying to think what exactly do I do to teach them to be so good in the x ties and the turnouts and everywhere...I think it is an accumulation of lots of things and of being totally, completely consistent. As heddy says, put them back. Put them back firmly and if it takes ten thousand times, well, that's what it takes >;-> Never ever reward the behavior you don't want, inadvertently.

I don't let horses be pushy at the gates, or in the stalls, what have you. If I am making grain and somebody new starts pawing, too bad, they don't get the grain. I tell them quit, and when they quit, I give it to them. They stand respectfully when I enter the stall and walk toward their feed tubs or else I leave. They figure it out very fast. I have a real thing about manners going in and out of turnout. I mix up the order of who comes in/goes out. If one of the boys gets upset and starts ramming around and pawing at the gate or whatever, they stay out. I tell them from a distance to knock it off. I will act like I am bringing them in and walk toward them, but I stop twenty feet away. I wait till they stand still and face me even for a sec and say GOOD BOY and start to walk toward them again. They move away from the gate or start ramming around and I stand there with my arms crossed and say Nope! That's not what we do! Lather rinse repeat. They figure it out super fast and they wait patiently at the gate for me to come get them. If they are pushy to get back to their stall instead of taking them back I put them in the xties, or take them to another turnout. Its not punitive, its just to break the "In for dinner! In for dinner!" thing. They have hay all day in the turnouts, so I know they aren't starving, its just a behavior and they want their grain. But if they are remotely rude or pushy, I do something else with them.

Same with ground tying, feeding, xties...I use treats and my voice. They do what I want, they get the cookie. They don't, they get my mean mom voice and a poke or a placement. Any actual aggression and I make them very sorry for only for a half a sec, there is nothing punitive but its very clear that they better not ever ever do that kind of thing again.

I think it takes taking the time to be totally consistent no matter how in a hurry you might be or how long it takes or how tired you are or whatever, and that can be really hard. But it really pays off.

Its also important not to nag them...just be super consistent and super clear. I see people walking their horse around and sometimes they let the horse push them, or grab grass, and its ok, and then the next time they yell at the horse and snap the shank etc. Its so unfair.

tlkidding
Greenie
Posts: 43
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2015 5:41 pm

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby tlkidding » Fri Nov 17, 2017 3:34 pm

Is there a time where the barn is quiet and you and your mare would be the only ones around?

Move the muck bucket and anything else she can get into trouble with, close any doors/gates, put her in the cross ties after working/riding, and walk way. Go clean your tack, de-cobweb your stall, mix grain up for the week, etc. Unless she breaks the cross ties, don't engage her at all even if she's "tapping" the wall, pawing, etc.

The other thing I'd work on is she needs to have her head even with or lower than her withers when you are working with her in the cross ties. A horse won't usually move their feet with their head down, plus its showing her you'll be the alert one and she can be the submissive herd member and trust you to keep watch.

Then, when she's chilling in the cross ties, pop by every 5 minutes or so and as you pass, ask her to lower her head, and walk away once she does. No treats in the cross ties.

I've done this with my horse and a super busy Arab-X that I helped ride for about a year. The idea is the horse never knows how long they are going to be in the cross ties, so they might as well relax.

khall
500 post plus club
Posts: 789
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:47 am

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby khall » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:15 pm

I agree with kande, it is behavior modification positive reinforcement training. I enjoy training dogs as well as riding horses, I foster so get the gamut of types of dogs, from puppies to adult dogs with issues (from lack of training of course).

Horses need an off switch, why the cowboys have the "tree of learning" aka get tied in safe place until you learn to be patient. interaction (punishing or soothing) is reinforcing bad behavior when you interact with them during the bad behavior with an exception and one I have used for horses who don't want to stand still at mounting block. with those who do not stand for mounting they get moved around until they say uncle I want to stand! I say GOOD IDEA and mount up. They move again, they get to "work" and then brought back to mounting block to stand. Again, does not take long for them to change their mind!

User avatar
Chisamba
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 2211
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:33 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Chisamba » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:19 am

i find that people are rarely patient enough to put in the amount of time it takes to develop manners at gates, for bringing in, in x ties, when feeding, etc. They want to feed in half and hour and go home, they do not want to take an extra thirty minutes treating manners.

be it in x ties, or as Abby said, at the gate. its one of those things if you are in a hurry it takes all day, if you act like you have all day, it takes less time.

however, there may also be a nack for realizing when you are rewarding poor behavior. even a strong " alpha" correction is attention to the attention seeking horse. However i do find this thread really interesting and am enjoying learning each persons perspective on a method.

i do think it is different if the horse is very anxious, or very pushy.

Abby Kogler
Herd Member
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:29 pm

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Abby Kogler » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:54 pm

If I get a super anxious horse first they get all the physical attention they need, be it omeprazole, the therapy work. But I also do a 'panic pose' thing...since chewing and dropping the head is a relaxation response, and raising their heads, tightening their necks, and looking around wildly is anxious, I either stick my finger in their mouths and have them quietly step around me, inside hind under body, not just spinning, till they calm down, or I stand in front of them and actually say 'panic pose, Max' and put my fingers softly in the corners of their mouths and vibrate toward their ears till they drop their heads. If they are a jack in the box and immediately fling their head up I just keep doing it, staying soothing and quiet, till they calm down. I do this every single time they fling their head up and I don't continue whatever I was doing until they calm down. It becomes a habit for them and it really works/helps. Doing this on the ground makes it easier to do it on their backs and gives them a frame of reference for calming down. If I take them somewhere, and they get worried, 'panic pose Max' and the same routine calms them down. It gets so I just have to say it and they start to focus. I find that the mouth thing works better than just teaching them to drop their head, which is also good, but involving their mouths makes it work better.

Pushy horses get backed up. If we quietly back all the way to the barn from the turn out, so be it. But this is part of the whole manners thing. I never let a horse pass me when I am walking with them. Ever. If I stop, they stop whether it is going in to the xties or the stalls or anything. They ALWAYS let me go first. Period. They learn to watch me and wait for me. I can drop the lead rope and walk away and they will stand there and wait for me.

People get hurt at gates. I am so strict about that issue. If I have more than one horse turned out together, and I go to bring one in, I teach the others to STAY AWAY. There is no crowding by the other horses. There is no biting in the ass by another horse as the chosen one is led out. There is no greeting while being put out either..no horse comes up to the new horse when I am still attached to that horse, putting on a fly sheet or mask or whatever. The other ones are taught to Git! and they are not allowed in to the space of the horse I am putting in or taking out. I know more people who have been knocked down or kicked by horses while turning out or bringing in in a group. Nope. This keeps us all safe and also gives the horse I am handing confirmation that I am trustworthy and will protect him.

New people marvel at how 'nice' my horses are. I explain to them that horses that understand what is required of them and are never confused by contradictory requirements are happy horses. I also address the physical stuff that contributes to the behaviour. Clients tease and call me Tranquilla, and say that their horses go to Aunt Abby's Equestrian Resort, Spa, and Boot Camp >;-> Yep.



JME.

kande50
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1311
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:28 pm
Location: Williamstown, MA

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby kande50 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:22 pm

Chisamba wrote:
however, there may also be a nack for realizing when you are rewarding poor behavior. even a strong " alpha" correction is attention to the attention seeking horse.


Sometimes we inadvertently reward unwanted behavior by engaging in a behavior chain. In it's simplest form it goes something like: the horse paws the gate, we yell at him, he stops pawing so we put the halter on and bring him in. A few reps of that and horse soon learns that the chain starts when he sees the human, then he has to paw, then the human yells, and then he gets his reward. :-)

It's why turning around and walking away from a pawing horse is a better choice. It doesn't seem like it would work at first because it takes longer to walk away and come back later than it does to yell at the horse. But walking away doesn't initiate a behavior chain in which the reward is associated with the pawing, so is much more effective.

I do think it is different if the horse is very anxious, or very pushy.


I also think that the level of anxiety is an important factor to consider, and the more I learn about behavior modification the more likely I am to put my efforts into decreasing anxiety as much as possible before I try to modify behavior in other ways.

In fact, the way trainers address the horse's anxiety levels is probably the single most important reason that some make training look so easy while others work so much harder to get so much less.

heddylamar
Herd Member
Posts: 355
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:04 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby heddylamar » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:11 pm

heddylamar wrote:We'll see how she is on Saturday! Likely a reversion back to the dancing, digging machine :)


She surprised me and was a perfect lady when tied again today!

I aim for the head down, lip licking relaxation and submission too Abbi. The above mare gives it easily in the arena, her dam is more of a challenge.

Linden16
Herd Member
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 6:53 pm

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Linden16 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:36 pm

I have been reading each of these and trying them with some consistency in the barn with her.

Nothing has changed. When this filly was in germany, she went through the westphalian auction, and I know that a lot of sensitive horses (my mare is definitely one) carry excess baggage from that environment.

The daily handling like leading, stoping, turning, entering doorways, feeding etc, is all 100% solid. She respects the boundaries and waits patiently. It's literally just the crossties that instigate this inappropriate behavior. Like I said before, if I am ext to her or working on her, shes solid as a rock. the minute I step away even two feet, she starts to hop up and down and paw. after three months of correcting this behavior in every way I know how, I am not making any progress.

I do know that both my horses had their own designated grooms after I purchased them, and so for 5 months they were doted on every waking minute, and fed cookies and treats all day long, especially in the crossties. I believe they were spoiled. My big black gelding does not have any of these behavior issues, it's just the mare.

I can work her for an hour, hard, and she tells me she is physically tired so the session ends, and it has no effect on her behaviour in the crossties whatsoever.

It's a think I dont know will ever resolve. Because she's so good in every other scenario (grooming, tacking, riding, loading and inloading, vet work, farrier etc, is it ever ok to just accept a quirk like this and equate it to one of those things that *special* horses have that are part of their personality and a trade off for how talented they are in other areas? This mare's absolute sweet disposition and loyalty to me (we are extrememely bonded) make it difficult for me to have this conflict and I am wondering if it's just something I have to learn to live with. This mare would walk through fire for me.

Koolkat
Herd Member
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:15 am
Location: Cascade foothills

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Koolkat » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:33 pm

I would want to reframe the conversation from "I don't want you to do this", to "I want you to do this". Can you totally change your routine? You want to set the horse up for success. . . .My inclination would be to work on the cross tie scenario after riding when the horse should have some of the physical edge worked off. And specifically work on that - my experience with modifying these types of behaviors is finding another one for the horse to do instead that you can reward (ex; - food aggression, you teach the horse to look away from you when you come in the stall with food). Can you saddle her in the stall? I would not expect to correct an ingrained habit quickly. You may get one 3 second quiet behavior in the cross tie, reward, stop, and do not ask the question again that day. OR - Teach the horse to put their head down on command. Put horse in cross ties (loose enough to allow (or just one cross tie)), if horse gets ansie, put head down, reward, and change environment for the day. You need to give the horse something else to do at that moment (that you can reward) and eventually you will break up the cycle. Be prepared to reward a glimmer in the right direction, stop, and find another way to do what you need to do. Things take time.

I would never perceive nervous poop as bad weasel, that's a direct line to the horse's psyche at that point (and she may be anticipating punishment. . . ).

It sounds like "it's complicated" now, as they say. .. find the baby steps, nail the timing :)

khall
500 post plus club
Posts: 789
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:47 am

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby khall » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:33 am

You could always teach her to ground tie and take the cross ties out of the equation.

Kyra's Mom
Herd Member
Posts: 493
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:04 am
Location: Sunny? Southern Idaho

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby Kyra's Mom » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:13 am

I agree with Khall...lose the cross ties. I don't like cross ties. Some horses are just claustrophobic and I think you are lucky that despite all the activity, she hasn't lost it and had a really big wreck. So...tack her up in her stall? We have a tie wall at my barn with single ties. I always use the Blocker tie rings and those things are worth their weight in gold. Definitely work on ground tying. I know that cross ties are a fixture in many barns but when my horse was in a different barn with cross ties, I just use one and did a straight tie.

Good luck. She sounds so good except for this one thing and if you haven't made a dent in the behavior then try a different spot...without cross ties.

Good luck.

Susan
from susamorg on the UDBB

User avatar
orono
Herd Member
Posts: 416
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 3:35 am

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby orono » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:04 pm

Agree with the above posters. Many barns function well without crossties, and a place to tie isn't even needed (does she straight tie better?). Be fully dressed to ride, have her tack ready at hand. Bring her in and groom while holding her/ground tying and tack up the same way. Once the bad behaviour stops being a habit it may go away completely if you try again in a year or 2 from now.

rosinante
Greenie
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:12 pm

Re: Young horse drama in the crossties

Postby rosinante » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:38 am

Have you tried teaching (a) ground tying or (b) leaving her in the cross ties and ignoring the behavior? Option (b) might take a while. I had a trainer who said "Horses needed to learn to control their emotions."


Return to “Young Horse Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest