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I bought a quarter horse 2 years ago because he was a mellow boy when I tried him out. Did everything I asked. Last summer I was going to ride him in my pasture and when I got on and asked him to canter he bucked all the way across my pasture until I fell off. This summer I rode him in the pasture and just walked him and all of a sudden he reared and whipped around and I was on the ground with a cracked rib. I have been on the trail with him and it usually goes OK. But when I come to a hill or tree to duck under and want him to go slow he plows through. He hates water. I have had horses since I was a kid, and I am afraid of him now.

Thanks for any help.......


Sounds like you don't do anything with your horses except ride occasionally and expect them to be nearly automatic. Your relationship with your horses begins on the ground. The reason your horse has changed his behavior is because you have neglected him somewhat. Horses need a lot more than to be ridden occasionally. Before you ride him you should spend 20 minutes or so doing ground games, lunging, round pen play or any number of actions on the ground. These actions need to be conscious on your part and not just trying to warm him up. They should be more like dancers having fun, getting connected so they can have a mutually satisfying dance. If you do not do anything other than going out and getting on your horse to ride, you do not have much of a relationship with him. I do not blame the horse for being unruly in light of the lack of anything that would connect him to you. He needs leadership and guidance to become the horse you originally bought. Sounds like he is not getting any of that. Horses need regular exercise, schooling and appropriate relationship with their humans in order for all to go really well. He does not respect you and I don't know why he should in light of what you have said. Do not expect a horse to be compliant and willing if you do not have a relationship with him. He sounds like he has had no schooling since you have had him. His behavior under saddle is typical of a horse that is not being ridden appropriately, consciously or with much skill.

I know it sounds like I am being a bit harsh with you. But I am telling you the truth. It is not about your horse. It is about you, your skills, your attitude, your beliefs about what your horse should be and do, who you think horses are and what you think you know. Please spend time schooling your horse appropriately. Spend time playing games on the ground with your horse. Have mutual quality time with him. This means more than just climbing on board for a nice little ride. There is so much more to the horse than you are telling me you realize or understand. Your relationship, trust and respect with the horse are formed on the ground first and foremost. If you are not doing any of this, do not expect things to get better. I know you have had horses since you were a kid. But that doesn't mean you know a whole lot about their psychology, needs, language, behavior patterns and more. I know many fine riders, horse owners all their lives that win at shows and actually know very little about the horse itself. The smart ones understand they know little of horses despite their good riding abilities. Many are not given correct information about the horse. Most riding instructors only teach riding techniques and nothing about the horse itself. There is so much to a horse that is over looked and misunderstood by humans. Your horse is not mean, stubborn, willful or any other bad thing. It is totally innocent and responding to a lack of guidance, leadership and appropriate schooling.

Please don't take offence to any of this. You are in the majority of horse owners today. If you really want the horse of your dreams, consider taking the whole horse into the dream and not just your projection of a nice ride. Horses are loyal, noble, smart, courageous, and skillful and know exactly whets going on inside of you all the time. Do you know what is going on inside of your horse at all? Let me know if you want to learn. Opening the human up to really want to learn something about horses, especially humans who have had horses a lot in their lives, is the hardest thing of all. The human thinks their projections and opinions are who the horse is. This is about as off base as can be. The horse is very straight forward, honest and in integrity. The human is not most of the time. Please consider the possibilities for you and your horse should you really step up to the plate and want to increase your knowledge about your horse and skills, and have a great relationship. If you do this, the rewards for you both are too numerous to mention.

Thanks for not taking offense to any of this. It is not meant personally. I am really trying to help you rise above where you are at with your horse. You can do it if you want. I can help you go further if you like. Let me know if you are interested. The training techniques to help the horse not run thru things, try to rub you off on trees and to accept water crossings easily are not hard to do. They are basic horsemanship skills. If you would like a bit of coaching in this tell me and I can arrange it for you. I do telephone coaching in horsemanship and training skills all the time. It is easy, convenient and cost is about what a riding lesson is. Let me know if you have any interest please. Meanwhile, good luck and please know it is more about you than your horse.

Sincerely, Franklin

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