10 yr gelding has no self confidence.. In a group of people he refuses to move forward, he backs into bushes, bucks/rear. I try and keep his feet moving, but it doesn't work. I wear spurs or carry a crop he still bucks/rears. He hates standing and then starts to spook, spin, prance, paw, and chomp at the bit. Anotherproblem, is he refuses to be the lead horse on trail rides when I am with another horse.

Ivy Schexnayder
Obviously, go forward is not something he wants to do, but he also doesn't want to calm down. If it was me (easy to say), I would endotap him. Teaching him to relax quickly with the tapping and then move from there to teaching him to go forward with a cluck and a tap. By using these two things in conjuction, you teach him not only to go forward on cue, but also that it is okay to relax and go forward.

Also, if it was me, I wouldn't wear spurs, unless he knew very well that a light touch from spurs mean go forward, but also that a touch from the spurs means relax as well.

Jill Faust Whitt
Jill Faust Whitt
I'm new here and haven't seen any of this before, but to me, I think this horse needs to be started over from the ground. Or is this what you are looking for. I would teach him his confidence from lost of ground work and long line driving well before I tried to do anything on his back. He needs his confidence built from ground work and taught to relax by lowering his head. All from the ground first.

Trainer on Retainer by Randy Byers Horsemanship

"Get the teeth floated". LOL. I have been pondering this question for a few days because I don't think the question is the question.

The obvious answer is make the horse go forward, do what it takes, but even the questioner knew that answer. The fix is do more ground, get the iHorseTrainer bla, bla, bla..... What is the real question?

I would like to see video of this so I don't have to just go off a few words on some dorky FB page. I have a millions questions that only my eye of discernment can see. Let's talk concepts and go past the obvious.

The first thing the questioner said in the question was my horse has no confidence! Now, there is the question to be answered. Let's forget about the go forward cue for a minute. I ask, who lacks the confidence the horse or the rider? Does the rider fear hurting the horse's feelings or getting hurt herself? Does the rider have the tenacity or the tools to fix this problem? Why do we care if the horse has any confidence or not. Does it not come down to the lack of LEADERSHIP in the horse's eyes as the true problem? The questioner would say, "I am confident", but not in the mind's eye of the horse! Get that, and the issue is over!

Example: I recently watched a video of a blind horse doing a level 2 dressage test. Did that horse have issues of confidence? How did a blind horse get confidence? Through the leadership of the rider. Confidence is the result of good leadership! The horse saw through it's minds eye trust and leadership. This leadership is only accomplished by effective training.
What do you think would happen if I jumped on the questioners horse? Do you have any doubt that in less then 10 minutes that horse would go forward for a life time?

I recently did a private lesson out of state for a very confident rider. She had been working for a long time (months, years) to get her horse to go forward. When I got on, it got messy for about 5 minutes, and now it is done... The horse rider have a better understanding of what go forward means.

I wrote an article about "Active vs Passive" leadership. I have also wrote an article about fear and confidence. Why did I write these articles? Because it is a real problem.

The fix!
Here is the answer to this question. Self-Confidence of the horse is archived as a by-product of effective leadership and training. We do not care if the horse has confidence or not. Confidence is a result of performance. Concentrate on better performance and the lack of confidence just goes away.

How do you get better performance? That is why I do clinics and build innovative training aids like iPhone/iTouch applications to take with you in the field or arena. The answer is already there you just have to get it done.

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Comment by Randy Byers Horsemanship on May 27, 2010 at 2:55pm
Editor's noteJust a side note on how I answer questions and post my blogs. If I use somebody's comment in my blog, it means I agree with it and there is no need to repeat the obvious in my comment. When I add my comment, I try to use mind provoking critical thinking aspects. I like to go beyond what is typically stated like: "go back to ground or check the teeth" or something is already been stated am million times.

Your continued comments are very helpful and reinforce good horsemanship. Continue to learn and teach! I only provide the platform for you guys to teach and refine thousands of years of horsemanship has taught to us of the years.

Thank you for commenting and adding substance to the tread.
Comment by Chris Parkinson on May 27, 2010 at 2:40pm
I think Ann Crago, you have a good point- you don't want to be up in the saddle on a horse that you haven't bonded with and that doesn't trust you. It will take time to get to know your horse just like any animal or pet that you may have. If your horse wasn't treated that well in the past it will take even longer to bond but the time spent on ground work will be well worth it in the end.

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Comment by Valerie Leach on May 27, 2010 at 6:09am
I agree with Jill in that you need to start confidence building on the ground. Quick question . . how confident are you? Alot of problems begin when we are unsure of what we are asking for. They are very clever animals and will get confused when we are not clear. They are pack animals and if they sense you don't know what your doing they'll just say to them selves "Well - I better take control of this situation" Start by finding out the personality of your horse. He sounds like a left brain extrovert to me but without spending time with him it's hard to say. Pat Parelli has a quick test on his web site that will help you figure it out. It will teach you how to read the personality of your horse which will tell you how to approach a more effect training method. Be confident and remember that success is measured in small doses. Horses are very forgiving and allow us to make the mistakes.
Comment by Ann Crago on May 26, 2010 at 1:24pm
My Ziggy is still what I consider " green " and he is much improved and ready for saddle work.....Like it has already been suggested....I used the winter to keep myself bundled and warm and did nothing but ground work with him....ground driving...lungeing..lots of walking with him in the fall season through woods and meadows...just hang with him ...he WILL bond with you and ..that's when he will trust you up in the saddle....will take a lot of time and patience...weeks months even....but it's well worth it ( and safer on the ground for you anyhow til you get to know each other)......Good Luck.....

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