Pushy Youngster

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We’ve recently bought a 4 year old, we’re not overly experienced but she is (was) a very well behaved youngster, or so we thought. She’s obviously settled on the new yard and is starting to feel comfortable and spring grass is probably playing a part too.

She actually had spasmodic colic just last week, she was quiet as a little lamb whilst she was recovering but now she has got over that she has become quite pushy when leading in and out, when being tied she’s impatient, she’s a pain to accept the bit too which we are trying to work on. She is starting to scare my daughter (she’s 16 and 6ft tall) who is normally very confident on the ground. She’s a big horse and I’m a bit worried that we’ve bitten off more than we can chew. She doesn’t kick, rear or bite so she’s not all bad, and I think it’s just her baby behaviour and not being taught her manners showing but I do think if we can weather the storm, then we will have a fabulous riding horse in the future.

My daughter has a riding Instructor so hopefully she’ll be able to help overcome this behaviour but if we do need to get a trainer in, or send her to boot camp, does anyone have any recommendations in the Shropshire area?
 
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Talk to your riding instructor. If youngsters aren't their forte, they should be able to recommend someone if you don't get any ideas on here. Ideally I would want someone to come to you because you not only need to train the horse, but the people who handle her regularly too.
I totally agree with you, there’s really not a lot of point a trainer working with her away from our yard and her being perfect for them but being just as pushy with us when she comes back. The instructor is out to us on Friday so we can discuss then. I have also just ordered a control headcollar to help whilst address her manners. Thank you for your reply.
 

Elno

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Equip yourself with a lot of patience 😉I sincerely hope this is not your first horse?

You don't really need any gadgets or special head collars. You just need consistent and fair handling, and alot of praise when she is doing what you want. Timing is crucial.

I've had several horses before but bought my youngster almost a year ago as a 4 year old. Little angel she was... Until she settled in that is and it quickly became apparent that adult horses and a four year old is a whoooole other kettle of fish entirely. It has been so much fun in retrospect and I've learned so much, but I would be lying if I said it was easy. Luckily we stay at a yard where several of the yard buddies have experience in young horses, and who helped a lot with turning my horse into a decent person with good manners 😊
 
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Equip yourself with a lot of patience 😉I sincerely hope this is not your first horse?

You don't really need any gadgets or special head collars. You just need consistent and fair handling, and alot of praise when she is doing what you want. Timing is crucial.

I've had several horses before but bought my youngster almost a year ago as a 4 year old. Little angel she was... Until she settled in that is and it quickly became apparent that adult horses and a four year old is a whoooole other kettle of fish entirely. It has been so much fun in retrospect and I've learned so much, but I would be lying if I said it was easy. Luckily we stay at a yard where several of the yard buddies have experience in young horses, and who helped a lot with turning my horse into a decent person with good manners 😊
 
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Thanks for your reply. No she’s not our first horse, we have two now retired horses who are both straight forward, my daughters worked at a couple of yards too so lots of ground experience gained, we also loaned another horse for 18 months before purchasing but we havent had a youngster before.

The headcollar I’ve purchased for piece of mind really as it’s my daughter who turns out and brings in, it’s her horse not mine, and I’m obviously concerned that she could get hurt. We want to work on her manners though so that we don’t have to use it so I hope that any use will just be temporary.

We moved to this yard when we got the new horse because it has better facilities than the last, so we are really just getting to know people although I will say that everyone is very helpful.

You’re absolutely right about consistency and praise. We will try to be more consistent in our approach, to be fair we were doing well until she colic’d, her character change has come since then.

Thank you for your advice. I hope, like you, we will look back in a years time and see a well mannered horse. Fingers crossed 🤞
 

shortstuff99

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I would be instilling some ground manners in her, she is doing this as she doesn't really know any better.

I teach all of my youngsters the commands of back, stand and to move over from the start which makes them much easier to work with.

I would try and find an instructor that can help you teach the groundwork and the books by Richard Maxwell are good too.
 
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Thank you. We are trying to do that with herb. Our instructor is going go to allow some extra time when she comes on Friday to help us with the pushiness. I’m sure we will get there eventually, overall she’s a lovely horse and although I’ve painted a picture of this terrible youngster she’s not that bad, she’s actually really sensible compared with some but we don’t want this to get out of hand and us end up with real problems further down the line. The bringing in at night is probably the worst bit. Thank you for replying.
 
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What is she doing?

I once had a short period of rearing from a yearling when being turned out and it was quickly fixed with spotting that she was thinking about rearing and good timing in sending her forwards.
 

ycbm

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Thank you. We are trying to do that with herb. Our instructor is going go to allow some extra time when she comes on Friday to help us with the pushiness. I’m sure we will get there eventually, overall she’s a lovely horse and although I’ve painted a picture of this terrible youngster she’s not that bad, she’s actually really sensible compared with some but we don’t want this to get out of hand and us end up with real problems further down the line. The bringing in at night is probably the worst bit. Thank you for replying.
I can't help with a recommendation but full marks for realising early that you need to ask for help.
.
 
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It sounds quite minor in comparison to rearing, generally just dragging my daughter, she tries to cut in front of her to get to the grass on the lane to and from her paddock. Just invading her space a bit, she’s not too bad with that as we are teaching her to back up etc.

The other issue we have is not lowering her head, which makes it a struggle when bridling. Again, we’re already working on that too. She’s a big horse, 16.2 and still growing so we need to get that sorted out.

I think we already really know what we have to do and, if I’m honest, how to do it but it just seems a bit overwhelming sometimes. She is quite sensitive to some things too so lots of desensitisation work needed. I know we can do it, it’s just a bit disheartening at times. Thanks for your reply.
 
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Sorry, I can't see your reply.
sorry, pressed post to soon!


It sounds quite minor in comparison to rearing, generally just dragging my daughter, she tries to cut in front of her to get to the grass on the lane to and from her paddock. Just invading her space a bit, she’s not too bad with that as we are teaching her to back up etc.

The other issue we have is not lowering her head, which makes it a struggle when bridling. Again, we’re already working on that too. She’s a big horse, 16.2 and still growing so we need to get that sorted out.

I think we already really know what we have to do and, if I’m honest, how to do it but it just seems a bit overwhelming sometimes. She is quite sensitive to some things too so lots of desensitisation work needed. I know we can do it, it’s just a bit disheartening at times. Thanks for your reply.
 
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Yes that’s right. The instructor is coming to her on Friday and she’s agreed to factor some extra time in to address the issues that are starting to arise before they have their normal lesson. Fingers crossed. I am sure we’ll come through this ok, she’ll be a lovely horse when she’s matured, but as you say, some professional support/help will assist us in getting there and at least we will know that we’re helping not hindering and making things worse.
 

TPO

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Second the recommendation of the Richard Maxwell books. He also has an online video subscription featuring groundwork.

On that same vein Joe Midgely had the Good Horsemanship Channel that can be subscribed to. He has a couple of video series about training and handling youngsters.

Personally I wouldn't be bringing a controller headcollar into the mix. The horse needs to be taught how to understand pressure and release. That will also making tying up a doddle.

To throw something "stronger" into the mix could make things worse. If the horse is currently a bit bargey to suddenly feel thr pressure of this halter could really frighten her and react badly.

There are quite a few videos free on youtube of the above mentioned trainers and of Warwick Schiller. They should give you an idea of what to look for in a trainer (besides endless patience and keeping everything calm) as well as exercise you can do yourself.

Warwick Schiller is another with a subscription service and you can choose the "relationship" training path that focuses on developing communication with the horse. The other training path of videos is similar but is more results focussed.

Another left field suggestion is the 7 clinics DVD series by Buck Brannaman or at least the first dvd in the series. It is about horsemanship and training the horse from the ground up. There are dressage riders and show jumpers in his clinics. I think it's the final dvd set that focuses on a pushy show jumper that doesnt have good ground manners. It definitely helps to see things from the horses perspective
 
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I understand what you’re saying and I have to admit, it had crossed my mind that it could create a worse situation. The leading issue when coming in is worse because she has to lead her down a narrow space which is fenced other either side with electric fencing and other horses on each side. Of course the grass along that section is more plentiful than the paddock and she wants it, and her current mindset is that she’s going to have it. We e had to restrict her grazing since the bout of spasmodic colic but I’m going to open it up tonight and let her have another section which will hopefully help her. She isn’t starving to death, but she acts like she is!
I have watched some of the Warwick Schiller videos, they are very good. I’ll look into the others that you’ve mentioned.
 

Clodagh

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I know everyone always says ulcers... but do consider them. Try feeding her a bit of chaff before turn out so she isn’t so hungry.
She sounds lovely and good luck
 
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Thank you for the tip. We haven’t considered ulcers at all. She does have a bit of chaff at night with her gut balancer but no reason why she could t have it in morning instead.
 

daydreamer

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If you can afford a YourHorsemanship annual membership I would really recommend it. Access to over 250 videos, many of which are about training young horses. It is a real system to build on and work through (I keep recommending it, I'm not paid by them I have just found it invaluable with helping with my youngster!).

Otherwise they do a "ground manners" bundle for £25 https://yourhorsemanship.com/product/ground-manners-video-bundle/ which I am sure would help.
 

daydreamer

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Actually reading the other comments - the Richard Maxwell videos are good, and educational, but when I have tried implementing bits of them I just don't have the timing he does and it doesn't always work out. The Jason Webb videos seem to break things down into smaller chunks and seem to build on the previous ones much more so I have found them much more useful.
 
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If you can afford a YourHorsemanship annual membership I would really recommend it. Access to over 250 videos, many of which are about training young horses. It is a real system to build on and work through (I keep recommending it, I'm not paid by them I have just found it invaluable with helping with my youngster!).

Otherwise they do a "ground manners" bundle for £25 https://yourhorsemanship.com/product/ground-manners-video-bundle/ which I am sure would help.
I like the sound of this, a very good investment. Because it’s not my horse, it’s my daughters I have to be sure that she will watch and take on board all the advice which she says she will. I shall be signing up tonight. Thank you very much.
 

Winters100

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Honestly I think you need help - on a very regular basis - not just once or twice a week.

I have had horses for many years, but if I wanted to buy a 4 year old I would not expect good results without a full time trainer. My personal recommendation, if it is an affordable option for you, would be send the horse somewhere good for schooling for a year and see where it is after that. You said that your daughter is only 16, and that your previous loan horses are now retired, so her experience is so far with 'made' horses, Sorry to say this but a youngster is another thing entirely. An instructor who is good for giving lessons to a teenager riding a made horse may or may not be the right person to help with a youngster, but there is a good chance not.

Of course it depends on what you want the horse to do, but sorry to say that I would seriously consider having it in professional training for 1 to 2 years.
 
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Thank you for your advice. I think I may have painted a bleaker picture than I should of yesterday. Yesterday she was brought in during an absolutely downpour and was not a happy horse however today was a different story, yesterday was just a bad day. Yes she does need some work on her manners, which we are already working on but she’s good in all other respects. It would not be an affordable option for us to send her away for that amount of time as suggested. We own two other horses of our own which are now retired and we loaned another before buying again but you are correct that they are all “made horses”. I’m not opposed to sending her for some training but would be weeks not years. She’s broken and fine in ridden work she’s just a bit pushy on the ground which we’re working on as that bit of her education seems to of been missed.
 
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I don't know as I've not seen the horse, but sending her away for up to two years does sound a bit doom and gloom to me. It's a horse, not a dragon and the description of what she does was on the far less dramatic side of what I had imagined. When you get someone experienced along to see you, your daughter and the horse in the flesh, they can give the best advice on how to move forwards.
 
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It really sounds like you just need someone with the right experience to come along and help. :)
Yes, I agree. To be honest she was much improved today we just had one bad day. She was brought in during a downpour and was just a bit pushy mainly because she was hungry as we’d had to restrict her grass. I think yesterday was just a bad day and I probably painted a bleaker picture that I should of with my post. She is young, she’s a big girl and is lacking a few manners but we can and are addressing that. She’s actually a well behaved youngster on the grand scale of things, yesterday was just a blip. The instructor is out Friday anyway and so will help daughter address the issues and we will just build from there. Onwards and upwards 😁
 
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I don't know as I've not seen the horse, but sending her away for up to two years does sound a bit doom and gloom to me. It's a horse, not a dragon and the description of what she does was on the far less dramatic side of what I had imagined. When you get someone experienced along to see you, your daughter and the horse in the flesh, they can give the best advice on how to move forwards.
Thank you. Yes, she really isn’t that bad. It does sound drastic sending her away for 2 years and not necessary in her case. My daughter is pretty capable, she’s young and although we probably know how to address her cheekiness it’ll be good to have a professional confirm that what we’re doing is correct. She’s actually a lovely young horse with a very placid nature which probably isn’t what I led you all to believe with my post, I think she’s just been hurried along by the dealer to get her ready for sale and not so much time spent on groundwork which I’m sure is pretty common. I do apologise as I feel I’ve mislead people a bit but thank you for your support.
 
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I would be instilling some ground manners in her, she is doing this as she doesn't really know any better.

I teach all of my youngsters the commands of back, stand and to move over from the start which makes them much easier to work with.

I would try and find an instructor that can help you teach the groundwork and the books by Richard Maxwell are good too.
I can't help with a recommendation but full marks for realising early that you need to ask for help.
.
Thank you 😊
 
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I've made things sound worse than they are before. Not intentionally. I really do try to be accurate, but sometimes the stress and worry comes out when I type and I then read it back later (when I'm feeling better) and wonder what I was on about.
 
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