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A Lazy Bully?

I purchased a 4 year old gelding last November. He is a Quarter Horse/Palomino mix. He was ridden very little before winter. Now that spring is here, he has displayed much unwillingness to being worked. I have taken him to a trainer for the past month. As of today, we saw him starting to yield to the bit and follow small requests. The trainer felt he would make a good trail horse given the proper amount of training/attention. The trainer has informed me that the horse is actually quite ignorant and basically lazy and exhibits some bullying characteristics to avoid work. How have you seen other people deal with this sort of problem? Do they just give up? Are there any dietary supplements that could increase his energy level? Is it possible that his allergies which we are currently treating have something to do with this behavior? Most people would say to walk away. I would like to give it my best shot before I have to resort to this. Is there anything you could recommend???

Thank You,
Desperate In Wexford Pennsylvania

Hello Desperate One,

Thank you for the opportunity to offer some suggestions. Horses, like people, have many differences between individuals. Some are brighter than others, some more energetic, some more laid back, some aggressive and others are docile. Some of this is genetic and some environmental. I have taken on horses that sound similar to this one. How much daily time to you have to into him and do you have a round pen? The round pen and daily sessions in it could be the key to turning him around.

Sounds like he is very sour from not being handled enough generally and not having a lot of good ground schooling. If you could put two sessions a day on him in the round pen that may really turn him around. One hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon would be terrific. I know it is a lot, but that is what I think will improve this horse a lot. Do you know how to use the round pen? One thing is that he moves around the pen if he exhibits any behavior you don't want (i.e. bullying, not paying attention, lazy attitude, etc.) He gets to hang with you and walk around peacefully when he does what you request.

As far as diet is concerned, he is not getting enough work to warrant 'energy' food like grains and more protein. Laziness can be habitual (i.e. the couch potatoes). Put him to work around the pen and be consistent. If, after several months of a really on target and consistent training program of twice daily, half to one hour sessions, he still seems lazy, stupid and a bully (which I don't think will be the case if you have done the job), then walk away.

What do you think? Can you try this? Let me know.......

Aloha, Franklin

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