Are there things your horse just won't do?

Sprat

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Hack alone. She has never been a fan, spooks at everything, terrifies herself with traffic, wheelybins, people cutting grass etc.

Hacks mostly ok in company, and I'm sure I could improve it but I honestly just can't be arsed. Neither of us enjoy it, I don't want to get decked on the road and she gets herself so upset it takes forever for her to calm down again.

She quite enjoys a pootle on the roads in company so still gets a chance to go out. She generally has a nice varied lifestyle with trips out to lessons, the gallops, competitions and clinics so I'm not overly concerned that I need to fix it. If I ever sell her I'll have to sort the issue, but no plans on that!
 

vmac66

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Mine refuses point blank to go through water any deeper than a puddle. Last time we tried she got so wound up that she spooked at a dog, I came off sideways and horse shot off
As for cows, shes fine as long as there is a hedge between us, although we did get chased by a herd of bullocks, them in the field, us on the road. Luckily horses didn't take off too far.
 

Kat

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Come to call. She is fine to catch, just stands and waits but she will not come to the gate before the time she considers is reasonable.

She is also very attached to her beard. I can now just about get enough off to look respectable but it isn't easy or neat. She doesn't even like scissors on it.

She's a saint to hack though, happy with all animals including pigs, alpacas and cows, and any traffic.
 

Caol Ila

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I guess they all have their Things. If she was only a bit spooky or balky at cows, I'd totally encourage her to pass them (at least with a fence between us). But the high octane explosions aren't much fun nor particularly safe. I'd rather not hit the deck on the road.
 

chaps89

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Cannot pull her mane. Clipping her legs is only advisable when she's under deep sedation and there's about 3 people holding onto her.
So frankly, we don't. It's cosmetic, I can do a reasonable enough job on her mane with scissors, we don't compete and there's more important things in life to worry about.
She is a saint in pretty much every other way so I'll take it!
 

Green Bean

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Mine won't be washed outside, she panics and runs off, but inside is 'okay'
Won't go near a tractor with its engine on, even if it isn't moving
Goes ballistic if a truck bigger than a 3.5t horsebox goes past her on the road, even if it is at snails pace (that just makes it worse)
Won't be tied up to normal tie up point. I had to bring out my sewing skills and make a set of cross ties in a wide space, with trailer ties each side in case she freaks, then she will be okay but not for long
We don't talk about going near the face, as much as I would love to trim her ears a bit and her beard in winter, it is not going to happen. Luckily she loses the beard in spring and when she is sedated for the dentist, I move in and trim her ears just a tiny bit. I give her an Irish clip in winter but have to stop two thirds of the way up the neck otherwise she freaks out that I am getting too close to her head
I love cows, can't believe so many don't. Horse won't go near them though
 

ponyparty

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And does it make you an inadequate horseman/woman?
My boy wouldn't tolerate being sprayed with fly spray etc. He really strongly objected to it; even with the distraction of molasses licks (before I knew better) he wouldn't tolerate it. During one of many vet visits, I mentioned this in passing; my vet shot me a withering look and said "He's not a 4 your old you know, L." After that I tried to get tough with him over it for a while, but in the end I thought, what am I doing this for? He really didn't like it - so why keep doing it? Sometimes we need to accept they're individuals and not every horse is going to react the same way to stuff.

I could have persevered, lunge line through a tie ring and battled it out until (perhaps) eventually he might have resigned himself to it (learned helplessness?). But why would I do that, causing visible distress to my beautiful and generally cooperative horse, when I could just stick a fly rug and some sponge-on fly stuff on him? I don't think that made me less of a horseman (not that I think I'm some amazing horseman, LOL, far from it!). I don't think it's winning the "battle" that makes a horseman, it's knowing your horse and the limits of their comfort.

There was a similar thread recently about hacking alone. He would hack alone, with lots of cajoling and using every trick in the book to keep him going in the right direction. It was never really fun though. He was golden in company, so we tended to just do that. Sheep and donkeys were always a sticking point; but he'd follow another horse past them easily enough (with eyes on stalks and about 2 hands taller than usual).
 

Flame_

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Flame used to take approximately an hour of huffing and puffing and feet stamping to load leaving home pretty much every time. She'd then walk straight on and always went straight on going home. I just always allowed an hour and a half for loading and was occasionally a bit early. She might have improved if we'd gone out more regularly tbf.
 

JJS

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Flower is still young, so lots of things we haven’t tried yet. With Mary and Sixpence, I can’t really think of anything they won’t do! Clippers are still a work in progress with Mary, but I think we’ll crack them eventually. If we don’t, that will be her only real quirk, so I can cope with that.

Cows are definitely not an issue - they live on a farm and have shared a field with them in the past, so they don’t bat an eyelid at them (I never enjoy riding through them though).
 

PapaverFollis

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I do very much try to avoid "won't". I like my horses to be as easy and safe to do as possible so some stuff they really do just have to learn to cope with. I've found most things can be sorted with time and patience. But I do pick my battles and don't worry too much about things like cosmetic trimming or similar things. I'm 95% sure I could eventually trim "the beard" with enough work but I'm 100% sure I have better things to do with my time!

The Beast is needle phobic but we have to keep working on that. I hate it, she hates it but she's not allowed to kill the vet either.
 

GinaGeo

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One of mine loads like a dream, onto his own lorry or trailer.

A different one, that smells wrong. Despite being identical in nearly every other way. Nope. And it’s not just stubbornness. He’s genuinely worried. He’s never had a bad experience travelling. He’s only ever been transported by me. It takes 25minutes of patience, reassurance and baby steps to get him going on a different box. And then he’ll say the same for at least the next five outings although the time will slowly decrease.

He used to be the same with stables. He’d only go in his own, a serious amount of cajoling would be needed to get him in the one next door. He’s better with that now though. But it’s easier to practise with various stables on a regular basis than it is horseboxes 🙈
 

tatty_v

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My boy is easy to do in nearly all ways, and pretty much a saint to ride. His major flaw is he has extreme separation anxiety. He had it when I got him at 15 and now he’s 20 and it’s no better. He can’t be left in a field alone as he’ll jump out and just run in blind panic. It’s frustrating but I’ve never managed to fix it, clearly it’s too deep seated an issue. He hacks solo and competes solo though so I just put up with it for all the good stuff.
 

Polos Mum

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My 3 y/o is on occasion in a field next to the cows next door - he started off looking at them through eyes on stalks. After a week or so I usually catch him licking them over the fence (no joke) the cows must like it too because they have to come right up to the wall and lean over to let him reach them.

My old boy used to lick the pigs we had on the yard - that was the salt I'm sure, even thought he had access to a lick perhaps fresh salt tastes nicer.

Having helped get horses used to doing African safari's - watching lions and coming v close to elephant / rhino and seen them train police horses I'm not sure there's anything they wouldn't learn to get used to if you really wanted them to and had lots of time and patients.
 

ihatework

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Not really!

The little one is a twerp about pretty much anything and everything new, but once he has had a diva meltdown can generally be convinced to do whatever.

His mum could also be a drama queen, but on the whole was pretty compliant. Only thing I didn’t crack was clipping which required sedation.

The short fat one out on loan is easy as.

The big one I just sold was pretty amenable in everything. The occasional welsh meltdown over something random but generally got over himself pretty quick.

And nothing springs to mind from the other bunch of hooligans I’ve had over the years. I kind of just expect horses to be on board with what I ask them to do.
 
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A friend's cob who I've ridden and has been well schooled in the past will not tie up, be clipped, be sprayed or have her legs touched by anyone other than the farrier. I didn't know about the spraying issue or the tying issue when she stayed with me so I was quite surprised when she reared suddenly. My mare doesn't like sprays but she's used to it whereas Arizona rears and is so nervous. She's fine being tied if another horse is there but if you leave her she hates it!
 

rextherobber

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Um, no not really.....I had one that took 45 minutes to catch, every. Single. Time. Sometimes it took that long to catch her in the stable too, but I'm pretty stubborn so I never let her win, just allowed an extra 45 minutes if we had to do anything with her (she was a broodmare). I don't do "wont".
This would drive me nuts!
 

milliepops

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one simply does not pull Kira's mane.
Ohhhhhhhhhh no.
no no no no no. Nonononono.

I'm OK with that, I wouldn't want anyone to rip my hair out either and I'm a dab hand at golfball plaits.

she doesn't hack on her tod either. We've come to an understanding on that too. she does other things well, it's OK to not be an all rounder.
 

rextherobber

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Mine wouldn't do lots of things when I got her, she's pretty good now, apart from one thing - being lunged. She gets really tense at the sight of the lunge rein, will walk about half a circle about 2m away from you, then suddenly snaps, goes for you, (teeth and hooves) then runs away. God knows what happened to her, but she's not forgotten it. These days, we use the lunge rein for in hand grazing, hoping the good memories will replace the bad. I'm not the biggest fan of lunging anyway, so it's not a huge problem. Would like to know why she feels the way she does about it though.
 

laura_nash

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17 July 2008
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Ireland
Mine doesn't really jump show jumps. He just doesn't see the point of jumping things that fall down if you hit them and couldn't care less about whacking poles and having them fall around him. I guess if its something I cared a lot about he could probably be trained out of it, or could have been when younger anyway. I did try briefly once but had to give up as the pole breakages were starting to annoy the YO.

I can't think of anything else though.

He is excellent with cows, including herding laying down dairy cows off the path, standing quietly whilst a herd of cows is driven past / around us on the road, herding escapees into a nearby field and riding in the field right next to our own little Dexter cows (who like to eat the ivy off the dividing wall). Not sure I'd be too keen on young and curious highland cattle following us loose in the field when I'm cantering though!
 

DabDab

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There is a gate, a specific gate on one of my hacking routes that Arty hates. No idea why, it's just a wooden gate across a tarmac drive, but I cannot get her to be OK with it. We always have to stop and snort when we get near and then scuttle past in the hedge on the other side of the road.🤷‍♀️

And pebbles has a bit of an odd thing about vaccination injections in her neck - she's fine with the bigger sedative needle in her neck or the vaccination needle in her bum. Bizarre, but at least she leaves enough yes options to make it work-round-able
 

AdorableAlice

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I bought a horse that would not let me clip her legs due to M/S sores and her previous owner shoving the blades through the sores. She was pretty violent about it, but with a bit of care and making sure I didn't hurt her she did come round quite nicely and I can do her easily now. Did take a while though.
 

MiniMilton

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31 March 2013
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Ireland
Mine will not go into water first. Never. He must get a lead from another horse in and even then its never really guaranteed.

It's really bloody annoying because he will jump anything out XC but grinds to a halt at the water and makes a big embarrasing scene out if it.
 

Michen

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Really can’t think of anything that Bog won’t do. Or Bear so far.

ETA- oh yes- early clipping! And a sub 30 dressage but suspect that’s more me ;)
 

IngramsRoughDiamond

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6 April 2020
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We used to have fantastic off road hacking at my yard, but now the bloody farmer has put a herd of beef cattle out free range of the entire place, accept the fields we use as turn out, he says 'just ride around them' no thanks. I now just don't hack and I pay a bloody fortune for DIY, it's expensive because of the hacking, that we can no longer use but no discount on livery because of this. It sucks 😡
 

paddy555

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ours have to go through cows or we would never get 10 yards down the road as there are lots of loose cattle wandering around the roads and moorland. There are very few days when we don't have to wind our way through cows and calves. The horses love them. They like playing and driving them.
Our last youngster was the only one scared of cows. It took a while and I penned him in the yard next to the road so he had to watch them wander past the gate. Then I led him in hand to see them but it was when he started to learn to drive them that he really got the idea. He realised he was the boss and had the power to move them.
He was still nervous when he started being ridden so sometimes he is ridden through them but if he is apprehensive I get off and lead so he gains confidence.


One horse was spent his first couple of years living in a field of cows. He had no other company and those cows certainly learnt to move as he trained him self to be a cattle pony. :D when I started taking him out on the roads he would see a group of cattle and they would be off. They didn't hang around for him to get near his authority over them was just so great.
 

Cheeky Chestnut

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Never met the perfect horse. So no I would never think that just because a horse won’t do something that I’m a failure.

I’m giving the wee guy the best education I can but he hates water and puddles. It’s something I haven’t had much of a chance to work on as I wanted to go to an xc course with a good water complex so I could just walk him in and out and have him stand in it would worrying about the footing. Haven’t been able to with Covid. Doesn’t make me a bad educator even if he doesn’t get over his aversion to it.
 

saalsk

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Carmarthenshire
My old guy, sadly no longer here, was perfect in every way - hacking, loading, catching, schooling, competing, hunting, TREK, very low level dressage, field ornament - you name it, he did it perfectly.

But you couldn't touch him if you had gloves on.

Absolutely not.

No gloves. No gloves at all. Of any colour, of any texture. Washing up, gardening, latex, riding, woolly, waterproof, cheap, expensive, black, white, any other colour.

If you attempted to approach him wearing any sort of hand covering, then he simply left. At speed.

20 years - never got him over the issue, and never discovered why it had happened in the first place !
 
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