When Do You Call It Quits?

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FurstPlaceMiniatures

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So I have a 45" pony that is legit perfect in every way. But, my trainer is calling him dangerous.

He flipped a cart the first time he was hitched. The second time he was hitched, he had a protest but did not. I put my foot down and said I did not think he was ready to be hitched, took it over myself. Eddie was having a big protest about 10 minutes in on every session with the trainer, then would simmer down and work well.

Got him on the most obnoxious drag ever, he did well. Did the 'PVC pole trick' and all went well a few sessions, the third session I was having a rough day and he had a protest, Snapping the harness when he got one half under him. Made something up with a surcingle, haven't had another protest in 4 to 5 sessions. Trainer came to me today and told me he didn't feel he was worth it. Not sure as to why.

I don't know what to think. If a riding horse had 3 truly bad sessions when we started him, I wouldn't say he would never ride. Does he just need to 'grow up'? He's only 3. Does he just need 'a sweat' more frequently? Do I just need to give up? This isn't an animal I see and ounce of fear out of ever. I do see he has a stubborn streak though. Thoughts?
 

chandab

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I don't drive, yet, but is it possible that he could be sore somewhere? At only three it's possible he needs to "grow up" more before being ready for work, they don't all mature exactly the same. Perhaps go back a few steps in his training, and do lots more ground work and wait to hook the cart up again; he might need more training in some areas and the gaps only show when he's hooked. Like I said, I don't drive, but did ride for some time and know some take longer to get it.
 

happy appy

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I wouldn't give up on him yet but I would give him another year to mature. My main driving mare took 3 years to decidethat sshe was ready to train. I started her the first year and we didn't get that far. She just didn't seem ready to focus. The second she was better but I wasn't ready to hitch. She just wasn't ready. Finally on the third we started in the summer and she drove at the National drive like she had been driving for years.
 

Marsha Cassada

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Three is pretty immature yet. You could back off on the training for another year and let his mind grow a little. Some horses are born drivers and seem to just take to it naturally.

Another thing to think of is some horses won't work alone, but will perform better with a team mate. Is that an option for you to try?

I think a lot of it depends on your age and experience. Do you feel as though you could handle getting hurt?

If you have confidence in the trainer, you may want to take his word for it and move on. I have had a couple of horses that were too unpredictable for me. Some drivers love that challenge; you may have to decide if you are one of those.
 

FurstPlaceMiniatures

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He is not sore. I have entirely restarted him. I've trained a lot of animals, horses, dogs, now have a team of oxen coming, and my gut says he needs a good hard sweat 2 to 3 times a week before making a true decision.

His age is unknown but his teeth say 3 to 4. He is supposedly a rescue from 'abuse,' but in my true opinion this is a horse that for lack of a better term he 'hasn't been abused enough.' Never once have I seen him he afraid of anything - especially people. He would bowl you over, was lippy-er than my stud, charged in the field, was super food aggressive, and about destroyed the barn - in a screw you way not a I'm scared way. We had a few 'conversations' when needed, and most of it stopped. He 'plays' 4 of those stupid 7 parelli 'games' flawlessly - he was every trainers nightmare - a parelli flunkie.

The rest of his 'Eddie-ness' came to a screeching halt when he went into training so I won't be discontinuing that.

I think this is a horse that did whatever in the heck he wanted for 1-2 years. We don't play like that here. Schedules are strict, rules apply to all and are enforced, patience is expected at feeding time, and overall there are no excuses for any aggressive, pushy, or flighty behavior. This is 365 days a year. I would bet a large sum of money someone 'rescued' him, felt sorry for him, and seemed to think that letting him do whatever whenever was proper 'rehab.' I need to 'rehab' the 'rehab.'
 

lucky seven

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Furstplace, your second paragraph is an accurate description of my mini Seven. For the most part his food aggression is gone and he is on a schedule. He does have a screw you attitude,is only afraid of deer, he knows how to lunge but won't. He has a smirk that says it all, you can't make me. After I have had driving lessons, he will go to the same trainer. I am guilty of letting him get away with next to murder and now I'm paying the price with an unruly brat. But I love the little rascal.

Feel free to rehab.
 

Marsha Cassada

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I worked with a horse rather like that. He had always done exactly what he wanted from a weanling and was a spoiled brat. His owner thought he was a pussycat because she had never asked him to do a single thing except be cute. We discovered his true personality--he has to be worked every day, maybe not in harness but in some kind of discipline. If not, he goes right back to the brat.

I sent this horse home, as I didn't want to bother with that kind of driving horse, even though he was gorgeous in harness. Maybe your trainer is thinking the same thing.

I'm not saying he was bad, but he was the kind that worked his way up through the pecking order no matter where he went, and didn't give up till he was at the top.

If you feel you want to be challenged, go for it. He may really pay off as a splendid driving horse.
 

Sandi J.

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I agree, he isn't ready for the level of training he is being exposed to...I wouldn't stop working with him, but I'd would lower the level of training, really slow down...set him up for success...do things he can easily master & succeed at and build from there...very slowly, letting him mature in the meantime...good luck...

Sandi
 

MiniNHF

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I did 6 months worth of ground driving with my boy and we even led him next to the cart etc, even tied things to make noise as he moved around etc; he was doing fantastic with everything we threw at him. When we went to just hitch to the cart, not entirely sure what happened but he bolted forward and literally blasted through my arm. After that he didnt want anyone even touching the harness. He was not a happy camper.

Since then I have just gone back to the drawing board and have long lined him around other horses driving in the same area at the barn and doing more ground work. Probably added another 4 months onto his training adding other techniques etc. I had to keep reminding myself he was still only 3 even though he is a fantastic mature 3 year old he is still a baby.

Just because you have had 3 bad times doesnt mean you have to call it quits; maybe just take a breath, step back and start at the basics again with adding other techniques.

Ive had MANY riding horses I trained, some I could have trained in less then 6 months, others required a good solid year of training before I would let them go as eventing or even show jumping potentials; these were adult horses being repurposed.

Also to me there are no "dangerous" horses, there is a reason they are acting out the way they are. I have taken many "dangerous" horses and made them terrific riding horses. Every horse needs to be handled differently.
 

FurstPlaceMiniatures

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Ok guys - we figured out why he was having sooooo many protests with my trainer. I'm an idiot. You will laugh.

I was working Eddie 3 to 5 times per week. Trainer was working him 2 to 3 times. I had been working on gee and haw, as had my trainer. I am dyslexic as they come. I taught him backwards. When the trainer would work him, he would say it right, and Eddie would do the opposite (-as he's been taught) then get reprimanded - which would perturb him. Finally, he would do massive 'what I give up' tantrum.

I am at a loss for words..... Gahhhhhhh I'm an idiot! Guess I'll just have a backwards horse!
 

Max's Mom

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But maybe your horse will do great in England... this is from Wikipeadia:

Gee (pronounced jee) means to turn to the off side (away from the driver). Haw means to turn to the near side (towards the driver). In the U.S. the driver of draft animals stands on their left -- so animals will turn right to the gee command, and left to the haw command. In England the driver stands to the right of the animals, reversing the relative directions they indicate (i.e. an English trained team of horses will "haw" to the right, while an American trained team will "haw" to the left -- in both cases towards their driver.) As James Lloyd Clark points out, "Generally, work horses are not subject to a lot of international travel so the fear of great confusion on the farm is minimal."[3]
 

Tab

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I second third and fourth wait, possibly until he's 5, maybe doing plenty of groundwork in the meanwhile!
 

StardustandBreezysMom

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Just as we are not all cut out to be airplane piolits, doctors or movie stars, in my opinion, all horses are not cut out to be driving horses. That is not to say that they can't do it but some will excell and some will just cause you frustration and cause them frustration. At some point you have to decide if it's not fun anymore...and if it's not fun, then why do it?
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We have spent about 2 years training one of our palomino mini's to drive...we've had a few scary moments....I was nervous about hitching her and nervous about getting in the cart and in return she was nervous about doing it...then we decided to purchase a mini that is already trained to drive and excells at it and it was fun for me again! It made me realize that I might be pushing something onto our palomino mini that she's just not cut out for...We've back off consderably with her and will continue to work on other directions that she and I can both enjoy together!
 

jeanniecogan

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There are an awfully lot of really nice horses (ant size) out there. they would love to drive.

glad you found your problem. good luck, now.
 

FurstPlaceMiniatures

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Thank you all! He is doing very well now. Trainer has changed his opinion fully on him. Thinking he is just a 'one person' horse a bit as well. My boyfriend ground drive him yesterday and while he did well he just was nowhere near as responsive or cooperative on the reins as when I drive. We will need to work on that and have as many people as possible work with him.

I strongly disagree with giving this horse more time though. It isn't a maturity issue, he focuses very very well when I make it clear he has to. Waiting with him would simply make the problem worse, he would have more time to get stuck in his ways of not having to do anything. A 2 yr old child that's always sat on a couch with a bag of potato chips will respond better to being made to do chores than a 16 yr old child in the same situation. Horses need to be pushed sometimes and this is one of them.

His workouts have been going so well though and I am impressed with him. Have been ground driving little obstacle courses with him, and I make intense ones. A 5' by 4' 2" thick piece of squishy crunchy foam? Perfect for a walk over! He did those very well, even though he'd clearly never been exposed, now we are working on sounds as that is what he makes excuses to spook at lately. Opening and slamming a tailgate, quarters in a can, bells, various cell phone ringtones, etc.

The next step is to hitch again. We have done the PVC poles, been on the drag, etc with no issues. He's never been all too afraid, he's been unsure but has always worked through it quickly. We are making a breaking sled a little heavier than the cart. No so heavy it hurts or anything, but heavy enough to make him think twice about bolting. He is so so so lazy!

I'm excited once again about the equine potential I've always seen in this horse!
 

dangerranger

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We have one mini that came to us as a resque. She was stubborn, difficult , food oriented, and extremely alpha! We have had her about 7 or 8 years now, and she has made a complete turn around, except for being food aggressive. She is my favorite driving horse because she is fearless! Bridges, water, kids on bikes, motorcycles, etc.... none of that bothers her. She will never be a show prospect because she wont stand well, has confirmation problems, and starts crap with other horses. But she has the Fun Factor! She is driven to be first, fastest, or flashiest. She does well in CDE type events, costume classes, and does really well in liberty events. But before settling in, she turned over the cart twice, flipped over backwards once and once got her hind leg over the shaft. other than I have gotten good at making harness repairs, She is none the worse for wear!

So don't give up on your boy! DR
 

FurstPlaceMiniatures

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This is for anyone wondering how he's been going. I know the breechinh is loose - was first time ever in that harness. Was also his first ever trip off the farm, first time at the place, first time being worked with other horses, and only his second time through the obstacle course itself.

Nut job isn't he? Lol! He's 3 at the oldest and had lost a tooth that morning too. Only 45 days ground driving on him.

Needless to say the official verdict is him and the trainer just have an irreconcilable personality difference!
 

jeanniecogan

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Yes, i was wondering how he was doing. glad to see it was just complications with the trainer and language. hehe. he is very handsome. have a great time and hope you will update again.
 

MajorClementine

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Oh I'm envious of that obstacle course. Looks like your boy is coming along nicely. I've noticed that some horses and people don't get along with each other. There never seems to be a reason, just "personality differences" like you said. Looks like you two get along great though!
 

FurstPlaceMiniatures

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Thanks everyone! As per family tradition we set up the obstacle course once a year and everyone brings horses down and we do a BBQ. Anyone in upstate ny next year is welcome to join!
 

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