Getting along with a gelding...

Discussion in 'The Carrot Stick' started by lori, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. lori

    lori New Member

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    Help me!

    So I have mentioned several times, next year I guess I am taking on my boyfriend's beloved gelding, Vinnie. Vinnie is consistantly 1 out of the money in the first division, that frustrates my bf, so with a less aggressive rider (me) maybe he'll hit one of the other divisions.

    So--some background: by chance, I have had a string of mares who are smart, strong, opinionated, and have great work ethics. I don't mind arguing about who is boss because typically once you establish that you're boss, they'll work pretty hard at whatever you tell them to.

    Vinnie--we decided is a sensitive asshole. This describes him perfectly. You ask for something, he'll give you the shoddiest reproduction he can of whatever you asked for. You say, "hey jerk, do it right" and then he's "Oh god, don't hit me! I can't do anything right!" This applies in a saddle or bareback. In a hackamore or a halter.

    He is physically capable, not in pain, but anytime you correct him he's all sensitive about it. Apparently, he really likes to be petted and coddled and told he is a good boy, then he is not so sensitive about getting corrected. I am really annoyed about the prospect of coddling this horse. If he does stuff right I'll coddle him. So I think if I just faked that affection, everything would be OK, but I'm kind of bitter about having to suck up to a horse.

    Several years ago I rode him more, I liked him, and he did anything for me w/out being coddled. So right now my plan is to hang out with him and bond, definitely take him on the April trail ride and not really be too particular of a rider. And then maybe I'll like him enough to coddle him and he won't be so sensitive about being corrected.

    Anyone else have a sensitive asshole gelding (lol... sensitive asshole, oh sorry.) or any suggestions?
     
  2. Blueyz2

    Blueyz2 New Member

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    I think taking him on the ride in april and bonding with him is a great idea. Once you two have a connection he hopefully wont be so sensitive about correcting him on things.

    Before I never really thought you had to have a bond with some horses to get them to work for you, but I was definently proved wrong 2 yrs ago. I had a mare and we could not find any common ground and it was a terrible relationship. We just hated eachother so I had to get rid of her. I can honestly say I've never encountered a horse in the 15 yrs I've ridden like her. I think some horses (or any animal for that manner) needs to feel that bond to bring them outta there shell. Thats my thought on it anyway.
     

  3. ihave3

    ihave3 New Member

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    Lori I think some horses are a little more sensitive than others. I have met some very sensitive horses and I have met some that could care more or less how you are. I think once you build that bond again that sensitivity will dwindle since he will know what you expect of him. I have a gelding who can be a little sensitive when he is being corrected. He usually begins to fret and then his mind goes else were. I have begun to realize when he is going to fret and I change up what I am doing to put his mind elsewhere and this has worked wonders with him. Good luck and I hope you bring him in April I would love to see him.
     
  4. JenR

    JenR Formerly Underworld Queen

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    :D

    You just described my gelding to a tee; except we call BGA a "loveable pig".

    Quite frankly I don't have a sure fire cure -- I ride him in spurs, he doesn't seem to mind spurs and your legs need a back up on him (he'd love it if you carried him on thos days you're doing something "stupid" to him, aka. something he doesn't like to do or is boring, or both). I use a whip when he needs it (he throws in a spook and bolt almost daily in the arena, to liven things up...it's sooo very boring and hard work! He gets a strong tap for that, and that's all it takes, as he detests getting even stroked by a whip) -- if he bucks and gets snotty, he gets another tap or yelled/growled at (he hates that too and it usually does the trick). It isn't at all easy, but the best thing to do is ignore his little twitches and spooks -- and get after him for piggish behavior and give him a rub on the neck doing something well or even just managing to show some self discipline; his reward for being good and doing his work is I get off; he gets some pats and loves, but I don't really coddle him, because he could care less about that (oh, he likes it, but his world doesn't revolve around it). And when the weather gets better I plan on letting him have his fun days of outdoor gallops, as they always turn out well and make him happy. He's relatively sensitive for a gelding, but he isn't an honest, hard working horse, and he really doesn't have a problem with confidence. Thank the gods of riding that he's pleasant and good natured in spite of that; if he was the least bit mean or cantankerous he wouldn't be worth having about. I've had four other German warmblood geldings in my past who acted much the same way; it must be a thing with them. They were not easy horses and while not at all mean could be a bit of the bully in a sly way.

    Now, that's a big difference between Al being a pig, and a horse like Chester (Adrienne's horse) who does some naughties or quits working well, but is hardly a pig. Chester "seizes up" because he's really a very nervous, hot horse who internalizes everything -- when he's not working/acts bad it's because he's gotten himself so emotionally overwrought; most of the time he's a very kind, honest horse. We don't really emphasize any discipline with him, and he does get coddled. He needs it. We work him at a pretty regular schedule (sometimes with Al you're only on for 15 minutes, if he does everything right you try to impress upon him that this is the path to heaven, Chester is already an angel). Also, we try doing really simple things that he for sure can do easily and well with the minimum of work if he's having a bad day to get his self confidence and general outlook on life up. Yes, I ride in spurs and carry a whip with him too, but spurs and whips can be either a refinement or an enforcement of your driving aids, and they are more of a refinement for him. Trail rides/gallop sets aren't much of a treat for Chester, just part of the job, so we "do" it, but the real magic trick is to just have days were no riding takes place and you brush and cabbage on him and feed him treats and tell him what a darling he is -- it settles him down and he likes it quite a lot. Jessica's QH horse Sam, and two TB geldings we used to have were a lot like this.

    Then there's my old Arab gelding -- who was a real fire breather back in the day. He could be a pig in yet another way -- as he was very hard working and intelligent, but a very belligerent, aggressive horse. If he had been a stubborn pig, he'd have been a real monster I think. The key to working him was to always challenge him with something hard -- mentally or physically, He liked that better than anything else, as he was essentially a bold, confident horse who had become a bit jaded and mistrustful. We had some real dominance "discussions" when he was younger (taking directions from people, who were obviously a lesser species, didn't impress him as a young horse -- as an aside, he was not disciplined as a foal and then he was treated very poorly by a previous owner before I got hold of him, and he had been a breeding stallion on top of it all). But he didn't like being physically disciplined too much, because he was at heart a very sensitive horse -- so I never rode him in a harsh manner, and when he did the least little thing right he got a reward, but we kept working because he needed to know that humans called the shots. He did get coddled -- after every ride (if good), not at all (if being a shit) -- because he loved getting pats and attention, and they were a way to enforce good behavior in him. Oddly, we used to go trail riding and gallop sets with him, and it never was as productive (much like Chester) -- he'd do it, but it wasn't a treat for him like it is for Al -- he would much rather work, work, work, then be cabbaged over afterwards then turned out and left alone until the next work time. I had a Poco Bueno horse like this and a Hannoverian with a lot of Anglo-Arab in him, both had been studs in their past as well.

    And to a certain extent every gelding I've ever rode fell into one of those categories -- outside of the truly mean mofos, and they're best dropped like hot potatoes as life is too short to deal with them (unless they are Olympic caliber, fortune earning steeds). I think coddling works on each type, and so does discipline -- it's just a matter of finding out where on the spectrum your gelding fits. They aren't (from what I've seen) as a rule as sensitive as a mare and are a good deal more lazy on average, but they don't hold a grudge and want to fight as much. So you have that going for you. Find out if the lack of work production is due to boredom/laziness (BGA), stressing (Chester), or a jaded/belligerent issue (Major) and ride/treat it accordingly.

    Doesn't sound like Vic is one of the mean mofos, so lucky you -- the only advice I have for those is a one way trip away from your place ;)
     
  5. lori

    lori New Member

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    No, no, he'd never buck. OK, he usually gets 1 free pass day in the spring, but other than that, and/or if you keep him going all winter, he will not buck. Typical naughty behavior is when you ask for an extended trot, to break into a canter like he can't trot any faster. Fortunately, he's doesn't get too sensitive about being criticized for that particular behavior, actually sensitivity is usually an arena thing... hrmmm, good to note.

    When my mare gets sensitive, it's just "NO, IT'S MY WAY, mare..." and whoever is the stronger personality gets to decide how the game goes. I can win that. But Vinnie's like, God! Don't yell at me! (insert Napoleon Dynamite voice) and then continues to do whatever he was before, usually involving acting like he doesn't know how to do something he does know how to do.

    Anyway, here's a pic from today... this is kind of a "sensitive" expression on his face, or position of his head, actually. I think I had just told him he was a jackass and gave him a big noisy kiss on his cheek...
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Buffy

    Buffy New Member

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    Awwwwwwwww. That is SUCH a good pic of you two! :-*
     
  7. JenR

    JenR Formerly Underworld Queen

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    Yep, sounds like he's one like BGA -- I don't listen to my loveable pig; when he plays his "don't yell at me, gawhd" when he is getting corrected for something, that's usually when he gets "yelled" at some more. And we keep right on doing the thing I wanted to do in the first place. When he decides it might be a good idea to quit with the back talk and foot dragging, and just do the work the way I'd like it. Then he gets a pat (or if it's a real moment of coming to true obedience, then I get off).
    One day he will learn: whining doesn't pay ;D

    And yes, Al will buck -- it has to do with reeeallly not liking to be touched with a whip. It isn't a bad buck (it's more of a pissy little hop, I suppose there needs to be a new name for it), nor does it happen every single time, but he really resents the whip and acts out (so of course I carry one).

    I've noticed that mare's are distinctly easier to figure out -- harder to truly "ride" as in training them, etc. but easier to figure out.
     
  8. twinkle

    twinkle New Member

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    Ahhhh how can you get mad at that face??
     
  9. PT

    PT New Member

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    Lori, you are soo gonna ride my horse at the camping trip! tres is the same way, but in a bitchy girl way, like when I ask her to do something she knows how to do, if she's not in the mood or doesn't do it just right, I'll ask her again and I swer if she could she'd stop and look at me and say "Well, what the hell DO you want?!?!" :D