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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Arabian that does not "Whoa" Well

Dear Franklin,

I have a 22 year old Arabian named Fawn that has the fire and spirit of a two year old. I like my horses with a little fire, but recently she has developed a problem that is a safety issue. Fawn is somewhat ring sour for the pervious owner never rode her outside, but she does well on the trail as long as she has another horse with her. Recently, the pony we have has gone lame and until we find a replacement I have to ride Fawn alone and she FREAKS OUT. I am starting to think, because she was a brood mare most of her life, that she considers the pony her baby because when we had a bigger horse she could easily be ridden away from him. Fawn is so attached to this pony that when you take her away she is almost uncontrollable. I went riding a few weeks ago and as I was walking her away from the pony she just started to weave back and forth until finally she stopped, spun me around a circle a couple times and than started back towards the barn. The worst part is that I was pulling back on the reins with all my strength but she would not stop. I have been told that I should not bail off a horse if I can help it, but I did not know what else to do for she was so excited that she was coming very close to running into some of the machinery out in the field. This has made me afraid to gallop her out of fear that she will not stop when told. Don't get me wrong, Fawn is a very good horse and is calm and fearless after some of her energy has been burned off or when she has another horse with her. Is there anything I can do to get her to calm down and pay attention to what I am asking of her? Lugeing her works most of the time, but in my opinion that is just a quick fix and I am looking for a more permanent solution. She is a very smart horse and an exceptionally fast learner. I know this can be corrected I just need some advice on 'how?'.


Hi Lynelle

The permanent solution to the situation is consistent, steady, focused, fun work for the horse. The horse needs more action more often. Daily would be great for say 30 minutes to an hour. If you do this, I promise you a different horse, a better horse, a horse that you will not have concerns about. but not just plain old circles. The situation needs exercises and games that engage the horses mind too. They can be done slowly. In fact, that is prefered. You get good at a slow pace and then you can speed things up. Lungeing is fine but there needs to be more than just circles. I have DVD's that specifically address this issue. Have a look at my shopping corral and maybe one will 'call' to you. You develop a better stop on a horse by riding the horse lightly in an enclosed arena for a while and develop the stop with only a halter and lead rope. By the time you go to a bit the horse will have a great verbal stop and body cue stop if you know what you are doing. You are right that a little lungeing is a quick fix. You need some thoughtful ground play. Action that engages the horse's mind as well as its body is called for. Again, several of my DVD's have that.

For the herd bound behavior, take the horse for little walks out by itself, short ones and come back. Gradually increase the time out. Move out of sight of the companion horse for a few moments and then back. Do this a lot and extend the time a little longer each time. Anyway, good luck and please keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

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