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Studly won't focus and no respect

Hello Franklin,

I have a 6 y.o. Thoroughbred gelding. I bought him as a stallion and he was gelded as a 4 y.o. old. I have owned him for two years. My problem with the horse is that he is very playful. He lowers and shakes his head when asked to go forward, takes the bit and runs with it, and it is hard to steer him when he acts like this. He hops up in the air and resists my aids. This has been going on for about a year off and on.

Also, he resists moving forward off of your leg. When asked to engage his hindquarters, he sucks back and if you try to get him to go forward he does all of the behaviors I mentioned above. Then, if you use a crop with him to get him to move forward, he will lunge, twist, and buck. He bucked a friend of mine off a few months ago. He is not a "hot" horse; he is actually lazy. He doesn't respect that when I am riding him it is work time, not play time.

He is very studly and has trouble focusing when any mares are around. He will prance with his tail up and disregard my presence.

I spent a year rehabbing his fragile feet, which are in great condition now. I would hate to see him end up in a bad place if I sold him but I am very frustrated having to struggle with him every ride. He is fine on the ground and respects my directions. He also lunges well and responds to body language and voice commands. I hope you can help.

Thanks, T.S.

Hi T.S.,

Sounds like you know a lot about what you are doing. How about taking the horse back farther to more of the basics of his training. If you re-start him from the ground up (maybe a months effort) he'll become the horse of your dreams. Of course this depends on if you feel you have the skills to take him back to the "beginning". If he were mine this is what I would do. It is the only sure fire way I know of to really and deeply change the behaviors you are describing.

There are little things you can try for some of the individual behaviors (bend him in small circles around your inside leg in both 4-5 rotations and then ask for forward movement). But good overall training can be reinforced and modified by going back to the very beginning and restarting the horse yourself. If you do you will have a relationship with this horse that is quite beyond where you are now and even where you think you can go with him. When I take on a deeply troubled horse that has terrible abuse in his background and is dangerously fearful, I take him back to his beginnings. You horse is not nearly this bad. He needs better leadership from the beginning. If you want I can help you with this by coaching you thru it via the phone, if you think it will help. If you have not done this sort of thing before let me know. I can help. Anyway, This is what I would suggest. Let me know your thoughts.

Sincerely, Franklin

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