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 Arabs and low confidence when hacking out on own

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shah Posted - 20 Aug 2009 : 08:53:17 AM
Why do arabs have such low confidence when hacking out on their own compared to other breeds?? My old boy was terribly nappy on his own (got better but never got over it); every single arab I rode when I was looking for a new one this year had some sort of confidence problem when I rode them out on their own. And, surprise, surprise, my new boy is unconfident when hacking out on our own. He doesn't nap but it's like riding glue and you have to keep your leg on near constantly.

In the last few years I've only ever ridden one arab that strides out happily on his own (credit to Arachnid here) but why is this??? Even the 4-year old non-arab that's just been backed that we hacked out with last night was striding out more confidently than my 9-yr old arab. Why oh why is this? I'm so fed up riding something that just doesn't want to move forwards on its own - in my past I've had plenty of natives that never ever had this problem.

I do loads of desensitisation training, my boy is actually quite brave in scary situations, walks across bridges no problem etc. But I just despair at having to ride something that wiggles underneath me and rather go back than go forwards. I'm a confident rider myself but starting to feel like a pony-kicking thelwell girl again

What else can be done to improve their confidence??????
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Emmajane Posted - 17 Jun 2014 : 7:18:22 PM
Aaargh typos everywhere as on my phone. enough to make them shoot forwards not goats ha ha sorry
Emmajane Posted - 17 Jun 2014 : 6:14:11 PM
Mine is good to hack alone and in Co. Although he being young I've worked quite hard to get him there. He did go thriving a terribly flighty spooky phase (dangerous) then aged moving yards he settled and after ground work and leading out he stated hacking very well alone. Then about 6 months later he became too lazy and backwards. I did lots of research about how to get horse more responsive or quicker off your leg. Basically never use too much at all ever!! If he ignores leg then sharp hard tap hard enough to make him shoot goats. Then re ask quietly he will most likely respond quicker so then load of praise. Each time they're slow to react or respond a sharp instant smack. Now u only have to click and he'soff. He's now a forward responsive pleasure to ride out.

Bev Parker Posted - 27 Sep 2009 : 10:00:16 PM
You don't say how old your boy is but I sometimes wonder whether horses that are on the nappy side have done enough long reining. I have had four pure breds, three of which I have backed myself. I always do a lot of long reining - you can start when they are two or three - and because you are driving them forward they have no choice but to go forward really - and it teaches them to be brave. One of my boys is inclined to be nappy. He hates schooling and naps towards the gate on the lunge but was always fine to hack out until last year when he suddenly started napping and if pushed, would rear. I was puzzled and checked all the usual things, teeth, back, saddle etc. It wasn't until he started getting colic like symptoms that the penny dropped and the vet eventually diagnosed stomach ulcers. A month on gastrogard followed by another mone on cimetidine and he is like a different horse! No more napping or rearing. A salutory tale for me because I was on the verge of dismissing it as naughtiness! If you are thinking of buying him and have ruled out all other possibilities it might just be worth getting him gastroscoped as part of the vetting. Apparently horses with this condition get quite uncomfortable when worked because of the stomach acid sloshing around, particularly if the horse is worked on an empty stomach. As to why he got ulcers, the only thing that I can come up with is stress from the loss of his field companion who had to be put down last year.
Good luck with your horse. Like most people on here, I really don't think this is typical behaviour for an arab - or for any other breed for that matter. I will probably get shot down in flames for this comment, but I do wonder if people tend to treat arabs differently? Do we start them differently I wonder? I know most competition horses will get sent to a professional to be backed in the traditional way, ie lunging, long reining, hacking out with a companion and then out on their own. This is the route I have followed with mine and they are all confident (spooky is not the same as a lack of confidence in my book - more self preservation!) and forward going. Interesting thread - do keep us posted.
faymouse Posted - 20 Sep 2009 : 12:47:00 AM
Dessie, when I first got him would scour dreadfully when going out but always went willingly...just the coming home bit...he alwaays wanted it to be 90MPH! Previous owner said the scouring was nothing to worry about and that "he used to scour for the 1st hour " when she compeated him on LDR's three years down the line he has learnt that he can have peaceful laid back hacks with no pressure aand throughly enjoys himself, alone or with company.
I must say I have been lucky in the fact that all my Arabs have gone out alone willingly, so is my new. rising 3, TB filly. Do have a Belgian Warmblood who previous owner said he wouldn't go out alone but after kicking up a bit of a fuss the first few times is fine now. Just each one is different and I guess a lot more folk only ride in these days which won't help.
shah Posted - 17 Sep 2009 : 11:12:07 AM
Well, an update. Have had a lesson and the schooling work clicked into place, he's now schooling really well in trot and canter. Done nothing to his confidence though. Instructor thought he was a lovely lad and just becaused I managed to hack there on our own, he wasn't bad at all. It wasn't a fun hack though...

Did the pleasure ride with company as was not sure how he'd react and he's absolutely fine in company. He picked up half way through and really enjoyed himself but whinnied when we crossed the finish line so obviously liked being back. BUT will he ever enjoy going out on a second loop on his own - that's the million dollar question for me at the moment...

Tried on our own a bit yesterday and he napped BIG time. So spent lots of time reversing and reversing until he'd move forwards. We then got the 'I pretend to be scared and jump around all the time' phase, and then the 'let's piaffe all the way home to the stable because I'm now in a tiff with myself' before getting back. He then worked beautifully in the school.

Horses - who'd have them
debs Posted - 27 Aug 2009 : 2:39:40 PM
Found it, thanks deebee!
deebee Posted - 27 Aug 2009 : 2:23:53 PM
Maybe all this is relevant to post, despite it wandering a little?

I only held back a bit about the 'other one' coz I don't want to rock the boat... I assume it's ok though? it's 'naturalhorsepeople.com'; it's undergoing some changes at the moment so you might find the 'blue' site which is the new one that isn't working properly, you want the 'green' site where the forum is working properly. Let me know if you have problems finding it; is it ok to post a link?

It's a great site and friendly just like here; more general but all NH based.
debs Posted - 27 Aug 2009 : 2:04:24 PM
I think the feed thing is more anticipation,when we are getting feeds ready and he is in stable, they have been fed in field a couple of times and he leaves his and sticks his head in Micas, then they eat together! Are you allowed to mention other forum? Sorry am hijacking post!
deebee Posted - 27 Aug 2009 : 12:46:23 PM
The book I got this from is 'Don't shoot the dog' by Karen Pryor; there's also a wonderful woman called Jenni Nellist who 'teaches' us on another forum...

I would definitely get him checked with the dentist, though, but yes it could also be tension; they can get dry mouths when the heartrate and adrenaline is up (which is evidenced by licking and chewing...) there could be underlying stress there; mine was a 'perfect angel', I could see the tension though and now that she feels safe to express herself it does come out more, but in a better way than being suppressed.

He could be a bit worried about the feed situation, maybe feeling a bit threatened that it could be 'stolen'? (also true if it has happened in the past; it gets very ingrained if they've ever had to fight for it).
debs Posted - 27 Aug 2009 : 10:31:19 AM
Thanks Deebee, is there a book on this? Would this work with teeth grinding, Ali grinds at feed time also opens mouth, draws tongue back and moves bottom jaw side to side, the only other time he seems to do this is if if doesnt want to do something... ie go out when others are still in yard. Presume is a kind of tension/nap, but have ca;led dentist just in case...He is pretty relaxed in other ways, doesnt get up in stable when i go in...
deebee Posted - 27 Aug 2009 : 10:01:07 AM
Hi guys, sorry for the delay!

Free shaping is a way of allowing the horse to be rewarded for self-expression, or figuring out things from scratch; you both just stand neutrally, with you having decided on an end result you'd like to achieve such as the horse going in a clockwise circle. The horse, for whatever reason, makes a move to his right (clockwise); you click and reward; the horse thinks 'oh I'll do that again!' so you click and reward; he starts doing it more and you reward each time, although as he does it better you wait for a bit more each time. Eventually the horse is moving in a complete circle then getting a reward - having offered this freely of his own accord! The beauty of it is that, the less you reward, the more the animal tries to earn it, so you actually back off from rewarding and the animal knows he can only get a reward for excellent work. (this is how the train cats, chickens etc.) Obviously the animal will offer other behaviours to try to get the reward; you simply ignore these and only reward the behaviour you want to encourage.

We're training a horse to stand still without cribbing, by clicking every time he has his head still. We then just extend the time we reward him standing for.

It may well be what people consider to be clicker, anyway; it's just that there is no cue or aid involved, at this stage, it's just 'free'.
Kash Posted - 25 Aug 2009 : 3:15:40 PM
Hi Tabita,

I've emailed you

Lauren

PS Look forward to hopefully seeing you at Firle Park!
faymouse Posted - 25 Aug 2009 : 02:38:57 AM
I had an Arab gelding on loan a few years ago who was not happy to hack out alone in open spaces.quite happy to do road work but in the open he would "see" something far off in the distance and you could feel his heart racing and his legs trembling, poor boy. In the 18 months that I had him he got more uptight not less and it seemed the kindest thing to let him go back to his owner where he would have company to ride out with again.
shah Posted - 24 Aug 2009 : 08:21:24 AM
Oh, and yes what is free shaping???? I know clicker training but as debs never heard of free shaping???
shah Posted - 24 Aug 2009 : 08:20:05 AM
Thanks for all your advise and support

Had a lovely ride on Sat evening up the Downs with my OH on foot, first time Tuki actually trotted on the fields up the top. It wasn't a terribly forward going trot but at least it was moving forwards in between the sheep.

I have booked myself a lesson on 4 Sept, spoke to the trainer on Fri after Arachnid's lesson and we've agreed it'll be a challenge! Had to agree that OH can have golf lessons as a trade off... Tuki is terribly unbalanced so a bit of low key flatwork will probably help.

We will also (all being well) do a little 16k pleasure ride in Sept, just so that he can start seeing the world. It will be a good test to see what he's like at a party!

Will keep at it!! Have used an old cowboy trick to get him going this weekend (very ugly but effective) and also started getting him used to the wipwop so between the two I might be able to use the legs less...
barbara.gregory Posted - 23 Aug 2009 : 09:16:30 AM
My old gelding loved going out, alone or in company, never had a problem. The horses I have sold have also been fine out on their own. May just be a confidence thing and I suppose some bloodlines are more confident than others. My 4 year old boy hasn't yet been backed but he leads out on his own quite happily and is very confident and non spooky so I am sure he won't be a problem. He is very "in your face" and full of his own importance so I suppose that helps! He was going to be backed this year but due to job uncertainty I didn't feel I could afford the money without knowing if I would have a job (and I am nowhere near good enough to do it myself).

Barbara
debs Posted - 23 Aug 2009 : 06:34:34 AM
Deebee, sorry for my ignorance... whats free shaping?
Pauline Posted - 22 Aug 2009 : 8:12:42 PM
Tabita

Will talk to you on messenger later.

You know what the horse has been through take your time with him he is a nice horse.


Pauline
Bebely Posted - 21 Aug 2009 : 11:16:42 PM
Hi Shah

I agree with much of what has been said before. Tamba is now hacking out happily on his own but early this year I honestly thought we would never get off the yard by ourselves.

We did loads of groundwork, then loads of walking out in hand. I then started riding with another horse, then without the other horse but with a friend on the ground. Eventually the friend fell back behind us and we could manage by ourselves.

Each stage didn't take very long but he seemed to need his security blanket before we could progress to the next stage. Now we can go out by ourselves and can tackle most scary things as long as I give him time to look at stuff, register it and cope with it before pushing him on.

He now will stride off down the drive happily and will turn off onto a new route all by himself with no hesitation. I have to keep my energy UP to keep him striding forward or we do get a bit sluggish but actually he is better in new places. Perhaps they are a bit more interesting. Keep up the good work. You'll get there.

Oh and keep a progress journal so you can remind yourself how far you have come when you have a glum moment
BeckyBoodle Posted - 21 Aug 2009 : 8:29:32 PM
The loan Arab I had before Eba was like glue on the way out and a runaway train on the way back, and spooked at everything. But his owner rarely rode him out on hacks so although he was an old boy he wasn't used to it.

Eba I have taken out for walks round the countryside since I had her at 16 months and although she isn't backed yet, is perfectly happy to go for a walk on her own with just me. She is another one that as long as you let her approach something new and figure it out, she will go past anything.

Hope you get it sorted.
B
Kash Posted - 21 Aug 2009 : 8:12:54 PM
Hey Tabita, sorry to hear you've been having a bit of trouble. I must say though Agonia's fab to hack on her own or in company- she has her moments of course,but I partly attribute it to time we spent doing things from the ground. As you know,she was unbacked when I bought her+apart from shows hadnt seen much of the outside world! We went for loooong walks inhand+generally had fun together-for 2yrs! We still go for walks now, its always fun! My opinion, for what its worth, is take your time+ enjoy every moment together. Theres a lifetime together ahead for you, so enjoy each step of the way! By the way, I too cant carry a whip. Lauren
baxter Posted - 21 Aug 2009 : 3:55:17 PM
I can only talk about one arab as only ever hacked Aurran alone and he is unconfident and can be spooky....it's frustrating isn't it...
deebee Posted - 21 Aug 2009 : 2:37:23 PM
Hi. Mine (admittedly only part bred!) has always been reluctant to go out. She will but I have to really boss her until we are heading homewards. It's not such a problem if we've gone out in the box; she likes to see new places.

It has become more apparent since I've been helping her come out of herself a bit; I have used clicker training, with 'free shaping' to let her know self expression is ok (she was traumatised too, and shut down). So now I'm using lots of positive reinforcement for when we're going away from the others. She's getting much better now that she knows something good is going to come of it! (i.e. an apple or a good graze at a favourite spot - she loves hazel!)
Nut Posted - 21 Aug 2009 : 1:53:16 PM
Hello, pateience is a virtue as they say. I have two, one of them has hacked alone from day one and the other one prefers to be in company. He is simply happier in company when going off for a plod, if i insist he will go alone but its alot of leg work to get round the farm. BUT he has improved loads and so I would echo everyone else and say keep at it, its not arabs in general, and is more the exception than the rule. we have a couple of our yard that are the same, they prefer company(30 horses on the yard all a mix of breeds and types).

Hope it works out for you, let us all know how you get on x
shah Posted - 21 Aug 2009 : 08:34:50 AM
Caryn, you'll have to understand that I only have experience of 'problem' arabs, my previous was a rescue with huge issues that we overcame together. If Arachnid and I had a pound for every strange arab owner that we have met during my journey to find a new horse we'd be rich now She had me ride Spider so that I would find out what it feels like to ride a 'normal' arab and that's what I have as a yardstick for myself now. I truly do not expect every horse to nap, in fact the whole of my being was wanting to feel a horse that strides out normally when I first got on Tuki.

I'm glad to hear that there are people who have horses that are wusses to start with and that they've overcome it (thanks Sazzle ) - I'm also genuinly glad to hear that there are arabs out there that hack out fine on their own from day one. Maybe in a few years time or so when I have some money I will be able to afford a good one. I'm afraid that, as with previous horse, I just have to work with what I have.

Zan - we're only allowed to walk this week due to having had chiro work done on Monday, and I had to do loads of walking to start with as he'd had 12 months off on grass before I got him and he's terribly unfit. He gets very uptight when trotting and he doesn't know what a gallop is (past issues with canter that I don't want to talk about on a public forum), he's agoraphobic and just stops when you come to a nice field whereas my old man would be off in a split second! I do loads of walking inhand, which works fine, as well as ground work and lunging in the school. It's been hard, he didn't even know how to lunge when I first got him...

Thanks for all your advice - it's genuinly helping


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