Posted: Sun May 09, 2004 1:25 pm Post subject: Is he sensitive or bad mannered
Seamus is generally a well mannered horse but occassionally he has little tantrums. For example when jumping a course if he runs out at a fence and is asked to jump it again be seems to sulk from then on he will do everything in slow motion, going up to the fence then almost stopping and climbing over. Or he will go so fast that he is almost uncontrollable. He is a strong boy but generally it does not cause a problem. It seems to me that he objects to being told off if something goes wrong and then sulks. If he is allowed to calm himself a bit he is fine but if you persevere trying to get him to do something he just gets more headstrong.
This is an interesting question. I think I would need a lot more information before I could make any suggestions. If I understand you, it sounds like your horse gets very anxious when he has been reprimanded. (A horse may demonstrate anxiety by rushing to get things over with, or also by resisting.)
How often does this happen--say, once per month, once per week, once per session, several times per session?
Can you be a little more specific about what leads up to the balking? In your example, you said that if he runs out he misbehaves the next time you ask him to jump. What causes him to run out? What do you do when he has run out; how do you correct him? When you approach the jump again, are you riding more aggressively?
I wonder if your horse has had a bad experience in the past, so that being corrected makes him more anxious than it should.
On the other hand, perhaps after he has misbehaved/been corrected, if you are riding more aggressively, perhaps you are using different or more strong aids, that he doesn't quite understand. For example, if you usually use very gentle rein aids, but you use very strong rein aids right after he has been corrected, he may find that confusing.
I'm not working with very much information here so I have no idea if either of the above is at all applicable to you. If you could give me a little more to go on, then I might be able to come up with something else
Probably the best thing for you, though, would be to get a local instructor to come give you some coaching (if you don't already have an instructor). Having someone on the spot, watching you, can be invaluable. Often someone one the ground can see a lot that the rider can't feel; the different perspective can be so illuminating. Even the Olympic level riders take regular lessons
Many thanks for your input. This is not a huge problem or a very frequent one thank goodness. Basically he can be quite lazy but enjoys jumping in general. If I can give an example he was jumping a course of 6 fences and 1 particular fence causes a problem. It is not any particular type of fence it seems random. Now if he runs out or refuses a fence it may take one or two attempt to clear the fence. Doing the course again can lead to another refusal or he will jump the fence then rush away.
He can be strong and if he is determined to tank off he can do so and there is little you can do to stop him. I just feel that he is not being naughty otherwise he would either do it at every fence or more regularly. You may be right in as much as the first refusal make lead to tension as Em expects him to do it again which may start the cycle of behaviour off. I know I have seen many people in similar situations being told not to let the horse away with it and they get a good smack but Seamus does not respond well to a smack, I think it makes him more stressed. I think he needs a moment or two to chill out then he will be fine again. We always finish lessons on a good note so maybe the answer is to relax more then maybe it wont happen, what do you think?
I think he needs a moment or two to chill out then he will be fine again.
Every horse is an individual. You have noticed that your horse doesn't respond well to aggressive correction ("a good smack"). So even when people suggest it, you know it won't help.
You've also said that if you give him a moment to relax, he comes back and performs better. I think that is probably your best option, like you said
Is he a little green? It sounds like he might sometimes be a little unsure about what you want. Sometimes a horse who is anxious or confused will try to just not do anything. If you actively correct him for expressing confusion, that could make him much more anxious. If, instead, you calmly come back and are a little bit clearer about what you want (instead of punishing him for not being sure), it can help him keep a good attitude about it.
This is an instance where you can get a lot of benefit out of knowing your horse well. You may sometimes have to make a judgement about whether he's just hesitant, or in fact misbehaving. If you're sure that he's misbehaving, then you will want to correct him so that he doesn't start walking all over you. But if you think that he wasn't being naughty, then you can be understanding and work with him.
I thought that I would update you on our progress. We are now riding in a full cheek bit and after Emma's last lesson we have noticed that she carries her whip often at 90degrees to her body, Seamus can obviously see this. So we have tried not carrying the whip at all and what a difference. He is much more relaxed and controllable. Basically she was not carrying the whip properly and if we can get by without one we will.