Advice please? Great hacker to napping monster.

TheHairyOne

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18 January 2012
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All of sudden i have developed a huge empathy for those people who buy a new horse then post about how fab it was hacking when they tried it then being unable to ride it off the yard as my horse is now doing the same to me after a yard move!

So 3 weeks ago my sister and i moved our herd of 5 to our new place. First week was all a bit dramatic as we'd been at our old yard nearly 7 years so the horses were rather unsettled and all acted a bit herd bound. Settled down and seem quite happy now, laid back on the yard by themselves, happy when some are brought in and yards nice.

So the first full weekend went out with my sisters horse leading the way (cause hes huge!) for about an hour and a half, few looky moments and had to get off once due to a massively flooded bridle way where we had no idea about the ground under the track and the horses were balking at it, but otherwise fine.

Last weekend out for over 2 hours. Led the way on my boy for a bit, my sister and one of our sharerers out with us. One moment where we had to stop and move out of the road to let something past resulted in planting followed by reversing over a different coloured patch of tarmac.

Following day out on the yard tracks and a big shouty and slightly reluctant to move away from his mates in one of the fields, but got over it quickly enough and we had a lovely time for about a half hour.

Today went out with one of our other sharers on a horse thats foot perfect following, but not so great in front. With no lead horse we got maybe a half mile from the yard and my boy just planted again. No apparent reason. Pressure resulted in walking backwards. Seemed happy enough to stand all day. Got off as we were on a narrow road on a corner. Wasnt even that happy to go forward inhand. He did this twice more and i had to get off both times and once was when we were almost back at the yard!

Prior to the move ive hacked him all over the place, alone, in company, boxing up to places to ride, fun rides and always fantastic!

Now its obviously the move thats caused this, but would you suggest i go about sorting this out, or just give it time?

Thanks for any ideas. :)
 

Pearlsasinger

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Personally, as you are pretty sure that his confidence has been knocked by the move, I would hack with others until he gets more used to the new routes/begins to feel that the new yard is his home now. I would let him go behind sometimes, ask him to take the lead partway round, especially on the way home and if he shows signs of napping, get the other horse to take the lead pretty quickly. I wouldn't let an argument about it develop. You just need to get him used to going forward all the time.
 

MochaDun

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18 September 2009
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I had something similar when I first got my pony, he'd been with one person with only on occasion one other horse for company sometimes. She hacked him about no problem on his own. I moved him to a livery yard with 12 other geldings - had about 8-10 weeks of perfect behaviour and hacked out on my own and then one day after a hack with some others where he got frightened by a load of quad bikes doing a race round a field he lost his nerve with me (and I with him a bit) and having decided he's rather be out in a field with others he then napped, planted, would turn for home even when out with other horses on a hack. I had to go back to square one and went out on long hacks with much more solid good leading horses - one a mare that feared nothing and at instances we would also encourage him in front which he would do for a while. He got to see so many hacks and so many things he knew a lot of the routes and then one warm summer day when he was full of grass and couldn't be bothered to argue I got him out by himself again - magic moment :).

In latter years we have retrenched slightly as where I am now doesn't have much good off road hacking and ideally need someone with you on the busy roads and he's lost his nerve a bit again as due to lack of time and not having as many regular hacking partners as we used to we are not getting out as much as we used to but I hope we will be able to build on that again and get our mojo back. So I'd say go out with confident horses and get him used to all the local hacks/rides over a period of time and then pick a good day to give it a go on your own. Also I'd say I knew I lost some confidence in him once he started napping and think they can sense that in you too so had to conquer my own nerves about that also.
 

Kallibear

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Don't underestimate how upsetting/ unsettling a move can be and how long it can take for them to feel happy.

I moved my youngster to a new yard last summer to use the facilties. I've had him since a baby and know him inside out. He's an outgoing, confident, friendly, extremely happy clown who's very laidback but occasionally excitable. Polite, gentle, sensitive and kind.

When we moved it was like I'd changed horses. For MONTHS he was sharp, stressy, spooky and grumpy. Nothing like the horse I knew. He wasn't safe to handle sometimes, never mind ride, but I can guarantee he'd have been nappy and spooky if hacked.

He settled with time and turned back into the nice horse I knew. It took probably 4 months.

Give your boy time BUT also beef up on your manners and groundwork. When they have such major changes in their life they often start to rethink other aspects of life. There's a good change that the manners you insisted on (or the bad habits you let him away with) before never caused any issues but now he's feeling unsettled he's a) needing a really good leader and b) chancing his luck.

Treat it like you would advise a new owner. Spend some time working on the basics, build up to what you're wanting to acheive and don't pick fights you're not going to win. And don't loose faith that it'll improve back to how it was.
 

JennBags

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Personally, as you are pretty sure that his confidence has been knocked by the move, I would hack with others until he gets more used to the new routes/begins to feel that the new yard is his home now. I would let him go behind sometimes, ask him to take the lead partway round, especially on the way home and if he shows signs of napping, get the other horse to take the lead pretty quickly. I wouldn't let an argument about it develop. You just need to get him used to going forward all the time.
^^^^What she said.
 

TheHairyOne

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18 January 2012
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Berkshire
Thank you all very much! I am back out again today with him and our solid lead horse again so hopefully he will have a nice time today.

I was just a little shocked tbh, we have just loved hacking everywhere for the last 2 years, and whilst its defp a confidence knock he has never just completely ignored me before.

I am wanted to check that my instinct to give it time and be a bit gentle with him were right, and you seem to agree with me. :) Hes not being nasty, no hint of a spin etc, doesnt even really seem to want to go home, just doesnt want to go forward. And had him since a 2 year old and he has always seemed bold and brave, this has caught me completely by surprise!
 
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