Thursday, September 16, 2010

Grumpy Face

Milo is a grumpy face to other horses in the arena. When we work alone, he doest pin his ears or excessivly wring his tail. But when we work in the arena with other horses that we pass or they pass us, as they get closer Milo flips his head up and pins his ears are them. For the past year I have just tried to push him back into frame and keep working. This isnt working so well.

Im wondering if there are any other things I could try instead to tell him its unacceptable. Moreover, Milo needs to pay paying attention to me and not worrying about other horses around him. Last year at a drill team practice we were joining up with another horse - we were jogging toward each other than at the center supposed to turn up together and ride to the end. Well, the other horse, who was much larger than Milo, kind of body slammed into him. That seemed to only exacerbate his pinning ears problem and being defensive about his space.

I thought maybe I could tell Milo "unacceptable" by maybe stopping everything when he does it and maybe backing up and going the other direction. But I also dont want the backing to become a discipline, or something he will end up not liking. Not to mention I dont want him to learn that we stop when we get close to another horse.

Than I thought maybe working him harder past the horse may teach him that when his ears pin he works harder. I could see this becoming a problem too where when he get next to another horse we speed up. Not what we want.

Lastly I thought that when he does it I could one-rein stop him and disengage his hindquarters. Thats what Ive done when hes gotten unruly about other things and it seems to get him using his brain again. Than, of course, when we pass a horse and he doesnt pin his ears or mind them at all give lots of praises.

You know, this is one reason why I love this blog, it gives me the chance to think things through and get to a conclusion! Not to mention receive outside opinions I hadnt thought of before!


Mare said...

Missy is the same way. Part of her problem, I believe, is the fact that she's just so far down on the totem poll in the herd. Therefore when we're working, she tends to pin her ears and "makes nasty faces" at the other horses. It always makes me nervous, yet she never does anything besides show her disapproval; she's never kicked out or bitten another horse. I've been riding Missy for years, and the entire time I've known her, she's had this problem and nothing I do changes her attitude.

So what I do now, it just work through it. She doesn't get rewarded by getting to stop working just because she pins her ears and makes a big deal about another horse. Of course I keep an eye out for any horses that do come near, but I don't make a big fuss about it, because me doing so has never changed her attitude.

Story said...

I have the exact same problem with Dee. And like Milo, she had a wreck in the past that probably made the problem worse (before I got her, while in the warmup ring at Regionals, a horse being longed slammed into her bad enough she needed to be scratch from all her classes and had to see the chiro). It's bad when a horse passes us, but even worse if they are coming toward us. I'm looking forward to any advice you get because I'd sure like to see my girl stop threatening every horse that comes near us.

paint_horse_milo said...

Story-I will you you updated on my trying of the one rein stop and see if it works.

But I too am looking forward to more input!

Anonymous said...

Do something that engages his brain - have the feet move in a small circle, figures, serpentines, etc. - he'll be busy thinking about something other than making ugly faces. Dawn has this same issue, although we don't have to deal with it often since we're usually working alone.

in2paints said...

I don't have any experience with this type of situation, BUT if I did, I think I would do something similar to what Kate said. When he gets nasty or if you think he's going to get nasty, make him work. Turn him in a circle or ask for a transition. Do something to engage his brain so it takes his mind off the other horse.

Is there a rider you can work with at home that can ride past you many, many times? :)

paint_horse_milo said...

Thanks guys. The only thing I could see problematic would be circling - as we are usually on the rail with someone coming on the inside, I couldnt turn into them or the wall, so I would have to stop or wait for them to pass.

And yes I have used a friend before, I can see if she will do it again...