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Horse's Energy

I have a 12 year old appy gelding; he's a pretty big boy, much laid back and a wonderful trail horse. But when I work him in the arena he is very slow, I have to keep after him to stay at a trot and even more so at the canter. When on the lunge line he is wonderful tacked or untacked he will go willing at all three gaits. I have to work him in the same pasture that he is in all day, does that make a difference? Also when we trail ride alone he is great not spooky and does what asked of him but when another horse is with us he doesn't listen as well and is a little chargey, by the way he is pastured alone with no horses next to him. If you could please help with this I would be grateful.

Thank you, Sandy

Hi Sandy,

Thanks for your question. It really depends on how the horse was trained and do you mean the arena is in the same pasture he is in? If he is not used to arena work that may be reason enough for him not to be responsive in the arena. He would need to be ‘trained’ for arena work (simply by doing it more and more). You’ll have to get after him to move it until he realizes that moving it when you ask is easier than not moving it. I assume you are riding him in the arena when this occurs. When he doesn’t respond to a cue try having him turn small circles around your leg tight in both directions. Make him work somehow if he doesn’t respond. Do not punish or abuse, just put him to work. Then ask him to move off. The goal is to make what you want easy for him and what he wants harder. Try it…….It works in most instances.

As he is not used to or socialized to being with other horses, when he is with them he is unhinged a bit it seems. This is why he is like a different horse when you ride out with someone. Again, make the wrong thing hard. When he is “chargy” or does what you don’t want, turn him around your leg in both directions 5-6 rotations. Do this a few times and then offer him a peaceful place by saying Whoa. This will handle most of the behavior you are describing. It is simple, non-abusive and effective. Let me know how it all goes. I hope I have offered some useful suggestions.

Aloha, Franklin

P.S. I am available to travel to present ‘Way of the Horse/Training Thru Trust Clinics’ if you think there is interest in your area.

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