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#1 Diva's Girl

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 12:49 PM

I have been driving my mini mare diva for about 6 months now with no trouble. She went anywhere you asked her to: Trails, road, indoor arenas and outdoor. She didn't bother with passing vehicles or animals and was very trustworthy. She even let beginners and kiddos learn to drive her under supervision with no fuss.

A few weeks ago she started behaving weird and balking and at first I thought she was getting barns sour because she didn't want to move away from the property down the road so I started working on that but then it reversed every other time. If she doesn't go the direction she wants to she will balk and try to rear and sometimes backup, basically try to throw a tantrum to see if she can get her way. Nothing has changed about our routine other than this new behavior. My riding instructor sujested that this behavior might be because i have gotten diva very conditioned and now that she is feeling good she is testing me. I talked to her old owner about it and she said that she had hooked her to a cart previously and Diva had trown a tantrum backed them into a ditch while they were driving down the road and they gave up and put her away.

She is such a good driving horse with the exception of this new behavior and I don't want to give up on her but I am lost right now, I have tried everything I know how to do but it is hard to correct this behavior when you don't have your seat to back up your words and encouragement. I have gone back to ground driving right now and she is doing the same thing on the ground.

If anyone has any expirience with this or has any ideas of how to discourage it please post, thank you.

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#2 MiLo Minis

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 04:56 PM

This could be a completely new problem and if you have made a habit of consciously or unconsciously allowing her to make the. Rules or run the show it could well be that she is just having a little diva moment in which case a smart crack with the whip should resolve the issue. You must be prepared to go with her and not grab her in the mouth when she does move forward or you will create further issues. It is also possible though that this is an older issue that she has just now gotten so fed up with tolerating that she is putting the brakes on. You need to thoughtfully analyze your competence as a driver - are you rough on her mouth? Horses are VERY forgiving and will tolerate quite a bit for quite some time then suddenly "okay, I've had enough of this". If you feel the problem is not coming from you then your very first order of business should be to carefully go over every piece of equipment to check for fit or possible problems such as a rough piece that is irritating, dirt in a sensitive spot, etc. Then of course you need to check for the number one issue for a bitted horse of any size or breed - dental issues. If all is well with her mouth check carefully the fit and comfort of your horses bit as well . It is possible that there could be a rough spot that has developed on the bit.
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#3 Field-of-Dreams

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 07:31 AM

My tiny driving gelding was the same. He would decide that he was NOT going over that dip in the road, or up the ramp or pass that sign. He was the one Ient to friends to drive in parades and on trails, he was so safe. So the last time he was out the "experienced" person driving him decided the she would BACK him over these things- something you do NOT want to do with a DRIVING horse! She was so proud of her resolution- I was p*ssed.

 

So, two weeks ago *I* drove him in the latest parade. He started to fiddle at a sign on the berm: fussing and trying to spin and back. I tell you what- I LAID into him with the whip. REALLY let him have it- and he walked RIGHT off and never gave me a moment's problem the rest of the day.

 

Needless to say, there will NOT be any sharing of him again. I'm pretty sure the other drivers let him get away with his rubbish.




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#4 Marsha Cassada

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 09:45 AM

I was training a pony.  She was rather "hot" and I was taking a lot of pains to work her properly.  One day she decided to have a tantrum in harness.  I could tell it was coming on and I got out of the vehicle to hold her bridle and ask her for focus.  She made a decision to have the trantrum--it was deliberate.  There was no question of ill fitting equipment, dental issues, anything scary around her.  She decided to have a tantrum and she did!  Perhaps she was in season, I don't know about that.  She did tear up the harness, but I got her back to the barn and unhitched.  Then I patched up the harness and ground drove her for 2 miles.  When we returned, I tied her until she relaxed--about a half hour.  We did continue to ground drive after that, but I did not keep her.  I don't have the proper equipment for her, nor the training skills, nor the desire at my time of life to be injured and have my equipment damaged.

 

If your equipment is sound, and since you are young and flexible, I would work with her to get her past this.  As long as you were only asking her to do something she wanted to do, you thought she was perfect.  As soon as you asked her do something and she didnt' want to, she tried the same trick that worked in the past to get out of it. 

The mare I had was basically a very sweet horse, and wanted to please.  But when she had a tantrum, it was a doozy.  I have heard that the trainer who has her is driving her singly and in a pair and she is doing great.  So don't give up on yours.  


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#5 paintponylvr

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 10:47 AM

All I can say is "good luck, I hope you are able to work it out"...  I've never had this type of experience with a driving pony. 

 

I did have an issue with a stallion that I was driving that was the opposite - any time you were out, he was fine leaving home or the trailer.  BUT the closer you got back to your destination, the faster he wanted to go and he started having "fits" or tantrums when asked to walk or slow jog.  That was when he was driven single.  He often went out with a group of riders (& sometimes with drivers) and it didn't matter if he was leading, in the middle or in the rear.  He worked fine on our 9 acres at home and later, he worked great as a pair.  Never did fix the issue with a trainer or instructor with more experience than me - had other ponies I was working regularly and then he came down sick, got better and then got hurt and was euthanized before I was able to work everything out.   Looking back over the years we owned him, I really think part of this was a conditioning thing (when the girls were riding him and he was being used in lessons, he went for hours - often at a long trot or gallop)  and he knew it was the one time he had me "buffaloed" and nervous.  He did throw two tantrums while driving as a pair.  I was thankful it was when I had the larger, higher built wagon with a longer tongue.  His hind hooves didn't reach the wagon.  He realized he was only "hurting" himself when he got his inside rear leg (in this case the left) over the tongue and after the 2nd "fit" and getting himself "hung up", he quit!  He drove awesome after that for several pair drives.  It was only 2 months after that that he came down sick...

 

I agree with Marsha... 

 

Please update us later with what you do, how you do it and what works.  Kudos to you for trying to find out what the problem is and how to fix it!!


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#6 Marsha Cassada

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 03:07 PM

I know that one is not supposed to dismount from the vehicle while hitched, as the horse may bolt and be a danger to himself and others.

I happened to be in my own pasture when my mare had her tantrum. I chose to get out of the vehicle as I really feared for my safety.   I had a hold of her bridle and both reins in my hand when she blew up.  I managed to hang onto one rein and keep her in a circle.  At one time I thought she was going to purposely run over me as I worked my way up the rein to get close to her head.  She respected me enough not to do this, and I was able to get her under control.

 

Thought I would mention this, as anyone dismounting from the vehicle whose horse is fractious--be prepared and know that you can lose control and have a "loose cannon".

 

Drivers, please chime in here with recommendations in such a situation, and constructive advice. 



#7 disneyhorse

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 07:13 PM

Sometimes I revert to ground driving... But I carry a whip and INSTANTly whack them when they even think about balking. A driving horse should be very forward... And when I say move forward they better do it or there is a quick whip.

#8 rbrown

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 05:58 AM

I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet- might she have a physical issue that's causing this behavior? My Skippy was a little stinker about moving forward last year. I was getting really frustrated because she is such a nice horse. I had a chiropractor work on hert several times, and saw improvement with that. Then, she started showing signs of ulcers (girthiness, didn't want to be groomed near her belly, very cranky) and started getting balky again. I treated her for ulcers for 30 days as recommended by my vet, and she improved, but not drastically. During one lesson last fall we just could. not. get her to move. I was so upset! I had been putting so much time, energy, and money into her and she clearly was not enjoying being a driving horse. The next day, she came up lame, and several days later a huge bruise appeared on the sole of one of her hooves. I gave her time off for that, and then decided to treat for ulcers again, this time for 45 days. I ended up giving her all winter off, and I had a much, much happier horse come spring. She's still her usual lazy self much of the time, but she responds to my aids and isn't balking or getting super cranky in harness like she had been. I keep her on a good ulcer supplement, she gets routine massages, and I'm constantly checking her harness fit, monitoring her mood, etc. She's a very sensitive horse and I know I need to be very mindful of that. Just something to think about. It may very well be that she's just testing you, but I personally would have her checked out by a good vet just to make sure that she isn't hurting anywhere. JMO. Good luck! I know how frustrating these issues can be!

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#9 Diva's Girl

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 11:59 AM

I adjusted her breaching and lowered it one hole to see if it was maybe too high and rubbing uncomfortably on her Hoo-haa and I got a drastic improvement. Diva seemed to be moving forward much more willingly. She still throwing tantrums but I am able to correct them and get her moving again without having to get out of the cart. A instructor from a drivng clinic I went to told me my breaching was too low(which it was) but when she adjusted it she put it too high. I took her to a play day at one of my favorite stables with a bunch of horses, minis, and ponies yesterday and diva did fantastic. She gave kids pony rides, jumped in sync with a friend's shetland gelding that was almost her exact size.

When it was time to drive I put her harness on and just ground drove her for a bit and she did excellent. I had to tie her up to help another friend introduce their harness to their horse and she stood quietly like a good girl, only started digging in the sand after a while and stopped when asked. After I helped my friend I hooked up diva and it was like I had my old horse again, she did everything I asked her to do instantly. If I wanted to canter she would go from a stop to a canter on cue and then would slow down to a trot as soon as I asked her to without complaint.

A pony went after diva in the cart and tried to bite her in the side but I scolded it and poped it in the nose with the tip of my whip before it's teeth could touch diva. It jumped back and looked at me like it couldn't believe i actually scolded it, lol. It's owner, who has been talking to her friend didn't even notice what had happened until I scolded her horse then she grabed the pony's reins and apologized. Diva just flicked her ears back and forth and tried to look behind her to see what was going on(she had her blinkers on so she couldn't see), she had no idea she had come so close to loosing some hide.

She is still challenging me but I can now get her to move forward, I think this may just be her personality. I don't think I am going to let beginners drive her for a long while because of this. Diva needs a strong expirienced hand to control her and the beginners just don't have enough expirience to do it. Once she does listen she is a beutiful mover and is very easy to drive, she just needs more miles and training. Thank you everyone for your helpful posts and encouragement. I know this isn't the last of diva's balking but I have finally started to make some progress with her. Thank you!!!

~Brittany

 

Daring and Devious, always looking for a challenge.

Innocent and Pure, my little sweetheart.

Versatile and Innovative, the little wonder horse.

Amazing and beautiful, and yes, you know it!


You are my Horse, and I am your Girl. Together we are an inseparable team. :wub


#10 Marsha Cassada

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 02:49 PM

Hurrah for Diva and kudos to you.  Glad to hear you are working through it. 






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