Hacking trouble with new horse...

AmyJoy99

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Hi everyone.
So a bit of background :
he's a 15.2h Irish gelding , 12 years old, only known history is that he was a driving pony in Ireland most of his life and for the past three months was at a trekking centre where he was hacked extensively.
I've had him 3 and a half weeks.
I'm 16, he's my first horse after riding for 4 years. But I share him with my mum who grew up riding horses and we are both pretty confident riders.

Anyhow, he's got a lovely general nature - very inquisitive.
So here's the problem:
1. He didn't seem to have very good breaks. He was given to us with a Waterford gag which was an inch too big for him (cringe) , which he was very unhappy in (understandably!) so I put him in an eggbut snaffle and have really been working on relying on my seat to slow him down and this is definitely helping. But any tips on retraining this aspect?

2. When hacking, he sometimes freezes .

3. The main problem is that he chooses it seems one or two spots on hacks to do this thing where he firstly stops for a moment , and then tries as hard as he can to turn in the opposite direction. Funnily enough , he recently started doing this on the way home when we are about to turn into the lane which leads to his field. Any ideas why this would be? seems odd as you'd think he'd want to go home.

Appreciate any tips and tricks :))
Thanks everyone.
 

AmyJoy99

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When he freezes and spins, does he do anything else? Mine used to plant, go backwards, spin and also rear.

No it's not that bad. When he freezes, he'll either go forward if I wait about a minute , or he turns around(spins).
How did you tRain yours out of that though?
 

Clodagh

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If you look at it from his POV as a trekking pony he probably only ever followed the bum in front, and as a driving pony he wore blinkers. He probably just lacks confidence. I wouldn't let himj stand and stare if possible, try and get an active trot approaching the spooky spots, sit deep in the saddle and leg, leg, leg. Remember don't look at the scary thing yourself, look where you want to go.
 

AmyJoy99

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If you look at it from his POV as a trekking pony he probably only ever followed the bum in front, and as a driving pony he wore blinkers. He probably just lacks confidence. I wouldn't let himj stand and stare if possible, try and get an active trot approaching the spooky spots, sit deep in the saddle and leg, leg, leg. Remember don't look at the scary thing yourself, look where you want to go.

Thank you, that's very helpful. And yes very true about his POV.
Any ideas on why he chooses certain spots to play up , espeically when it's turning to go home?
 

PeterNatt

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A horse planting himself may mean he is unsure of something.
Your new horse neither knows the area he is in or you so may well take some time to settle down in a new environment.
Horses have a far superior sense of smell than we do and they remember where they are by smell.
All these unfamiliar smells may well unsettle him until he becomes used to them.
Try to initially get him used to one local circular route both in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction so that he gets his bearings.
 

Amirah

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It sounds like he is doing very well so far as in he is going out and about without the rest of his trekking possy.

I went to a clinic given by the brilliant Lucy Rees many moons ago. She said that if they 'see' something scary to have a really good look yourself and then relax into the saddle 'right through them' in a 'well that's nothing to bother about' manner. She also said that no horse ever thought it had 'won' anything if you get off and lead it past the monster, instead it shows leadership skills which makes them feel safer.
 

fatpiggy

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It sounds like he is doing very well so far as in he is going out and about without the rest of his trekking possy.

I went to a clinic given by the brilliant Lucy Rees many moons ago. She said that if they 'see' something scary to have a really good look yourself and then relax into the saddle 'right through them' in a 'well that's nothing to bother about' manner. She also said that no horse ever thought it had 'won' anything if you get off and lead it past the monster, instead it shows leadership skills which makes them feel safer.

That's interesting because I was always told that you should never look at what the horse is staring at and I have to say that has always worked very well for me. To turn and look means that it has caught your interest in the first place. I never had any qualms about leading past a problem. I used to have to ride past some lovely piggies who's greatest joy was to sunbathe in the mud right beside the road. My horse was always looking for them even if they weren't there and basically tortured herself. It was easier to get off and lead her past them - she always dived to my left so that I was between her and them,, and then get back on again a bit further along. It solved the problem without either of us getting wound up and surely that is the best outcome.
 

Goldenstar

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When at the trekking centre he just would follow the horse in front .
When driven he will have been wearing blinkers .
So it's a big ask to expect him to hack alone without some problems .
Can you get company for hacking ?
 

hypopit

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What I do with mine who have driven in the past, or with young horses is Longrein. It is invaluable for getting a new horses confidence who is going from driving more to riding without blinkers on their own. Get your Mum at first to walk at his head maybe the first time to give him that extra reassurance. Longreining lets you see a whole lot more from the ground out on a route, how a horse moves, tiny things, how they react before it happens.

I sometimes do mine either in a saddle or a roller, and if you have the saddle on you can jump on half way around. I find if the horse is doing something familiar to it in a strange environment then it can settle them quicker. If he has spent that many years driving he will be very responsive to the voice, use this when you are riding him. I talk to all my ride and drivers all the time, i'm a talker anyway!
If he has been driven as much as he has he will have probably been in a Liverpool, do you find he is heavy in your hands ? Or bears down on your contact? Maybe a change of bit.

It is VERY early days, he is all sixes and sevens with the big changes from being a driving pony. Take your time with him, lots of ground work, to gain his trust, work within his boundaries and take small steps and no matter how small end on a good note..always. He will come right in time and will go anywhere for you as soon as he realises you are the leader and he can trust you.

I would longrein rather than rely on company as he may be being a bit nappy on his own, I like them to all go out on their own and look to me for confidence not another horse, but all that starts on the ground, and it may take time but you have plenty of it in front of you.
 

hypopit

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I would also if you have not already done it, get his saddle checked by a master saddler they can usually tell you whether you need a back person. I get all news ones, 5 stage vetted, back checked, saddler out, teeth done. so I know if there are any issues it is not down to pain, as best as all those checks can tell you on the day!!! But it is always the best to rule out any pain before you start and go from there. The long reining will rule out the saddle rider effect, so always a good one to do.
 

Amirah

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That's interesting because I was always told that you should never look at what the horse is staring at and I have to say that has always worked very well for me. To turn and look means that it has caught your interest in the first place. I never had any qualms about leading past a problem. I used to have to ride past some lovely piggies who's greatest joy was to sunbathe in the mud right beside the road. My horse was always looking for them even if they weren't there and basically tortured herself. It was easier to get off and lead her past them - she always dived to my left so that I was between her and them,, and then get back on again a bit further along. It solved the problem without either of us getting wound up and surely that is the best outcome.


Me too, taught to not look and never get off! Lucy said that the horse thinks you are too dim to have noticed the potentially threatening object (I'm sure many horses think us humans are total numpties).

Getting off and leading is definitely the best outcome - if one disregards the remounting problems :). Or is that just me that can't get back on!

Fatpiggy, your horse must be very impressed at your bravery in the face of fat piggy danger!
 

Zipzop

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My horse, who I've had for ten years, was pretty awful out hacking until I realised he just can't cope with new places away from the security of his familiar yard/friends/stable/home. The only way round this was to stick to one route and gradually incorporate little new extra bits added on. Then keep doing this until this extra bit just became part of the hack. If I want to go somwhere completely new, I have resorted to leading him on the route in hand and then riding it the next day.
 
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