not going forward and barging

Discussion in 'Confidence Club' started by debsu, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. debsu

    debsu Guest

    I apologise that this is so long but I'm desparate. My just 5year old cob is really hard work to get going in the school, a real plod. I've had him for nearly 2 years and because my confidence comes and goes we just don't seem to be getting anywhere. In an open field he jig-jogs and won't walk, which scares me because I'm not in control and i;'m afraid he'll take off, my daughter tells me that I do all the right things to control him and that he's still a baby! Then in the school he plods!:frown:

    Another problem is part of the way we have to walk to his field is covered in long lush grass, he barges across my path head down really quickly and munches away. I've tried all sorts of things different head collars, now in a dually, he's always worse with me too. I'm thinking of putting a feeding muzzle on him to stop it. I think this behaviour is showing that he doesn't respect me, but he's fine with other things.
    I'd value any thoughts on this PLEASE!!
    Deb:help::frown:
  2. Roxy's Mum

    Roxy's Mum New Member

    Hello & welcome to the forum :wavespin:

    I'm sure you'll get plenty of good advice on here about what to do but here's my two pennies worth...

    Sounds like you need to establish yourself as the leader with him & that he's walking all over you. I understand your frustrations with walking him through long grass, my mare used to do this and wouldn't budge for love nor money.

    We have since moved yard, I found myself a brilliant RI who takes a more natural approach and have since made it quite clear to Roxy that I am in charge. Doesn't mean she doesn't try it on mind you! But she has a lot more respect for me now.

    Some of it is also being more 'in tune' with your horse; anticipating any slight movement that they are heading for the grass and pulling them up before they even try it. I know Roxy's body language like the back of my hand now and can read her mind when it comes to food so I am one step ahead.

    I personally would do more ground work and build a stronger bond and leadership position with your horse (not saying you don't have a bond at all but based on experience) and then take it from there. I understand it's frustrating and cobs can be real arses at times - hopefully you'll be able to make some progress from there.
  3. tiga

    tiga New Member

    Hi and welcome to NR.

    I have a cob who can be bargy and I really have to keep on top of it otherwise he will take advantage at any opportunity.

    Have you been shown how to use the Dually properly? Because if you are using it right, he should start listening to you. I use the dually for our groundwork and it is very good but you need to get the timing just right.

    To solve my boy's bargy problems I did LOADS of groundwork. Have a look at the Kelly Mark's books, Perfect Manners, it has lots of exercises and simple explanations of what to do.

    Some exercises to start with are: (do these with the Dually)

    Leading in the school with a lot of changes of direction. When he doesn't follow you he should feel a tug on the dually. This will get him focussed on you.
    Backing up. When he pushes past you, back him up. Then ask to walk on. As soon as he pushes, back him up.
    Use obstacles to get him going over, through, under things.
    Get him to move over, move his hind quarters.
    When walking to the field, keep his head where you want it, the second he moves his head, remind him where you want it with a sharp tug. If he gets his head down, unbalance him to get his head up and then back him up.

    It really is just lots of practice and consistency. I feel your pain. But you will only solve it if you put the work in on the ground with these bargy b*ggers!

    Not sure about the ridden stuff - except that maybe he finds the school boring. I find if I have a lesson and am very focussed Izzy goes great in the school. If I am in on my own without a plan - then he is lazy and very unhelpful. Could you add some poles to make things more interesting? And have some lessons?

    Don't forget he is just a baby. Do you have any pics?
  4. Laura2184

    Laura2184 New Member

    Totally agree with Roxy's Mum. Walking my cob through lush grash used to be an impossible task, he is just so strong and there is NOTHING you can do to get his head up. He's like a possessed horse around grass :redcarded:

    The only thing for it is as Roxys mum said, stop him before it happens, I know this is hard as sometimes they can just dive to the grass and start munching, but I now know when my horse is thinking about going for it so encourage him forward with my voice to try and distract him.

    He tries it on pretty much every day, it's just his nature but a little reminder on his manners and then he's good as gold.

    As for being a plod in the school, I can sympathise, my boy is too so I only hack him out and school in the fields. I would find a really good instructor that you feel comfortable with to work him in the field. I use a centered ridning instructor who is excellent at working you through nerves and getting you and your horse on the right track working in harmony rather than fighting each other.

    Good Luck with whatever you try!
  5. Jane&Ziggy

    Jane&Ziggy Learning together!

    Hello and welcome! This is a great forum, I am sure you will get lots of help. I know I have.

    I also recommend that you deal with the respect on the ground first, and do it through groundwork. Kelly Marks' books are all good and you will find that a lot of us use Rio Barrett's "101 Horsemanship exercises" which covers ridden work as well as groundwork.

    As for being a plod in the school, he needs to listen to your forward aids. Do you nag him with your legs (kick, kick, kick)? I know I used to do this when I rode a ploddy Highland. My RI told me to stop kicking and I said, "Then he won't go at all," but she showed me another way.

    (1) Give a light leg aid, the sort you want him to respond to.
    (2) If he doesn't respond - give an aid you KNOW he will respond to! You might need to find what works for him. For my horse it was a slap on the neck with the reins, which he hated. For others it is rattling something or using a wip wop rope (which Kelly Marks explains).

    He needs to know that you mean it. Same as on the ground.

    Good luck with him and keep us posted!
  6. volcy

    volcy Active Member

    Helloo and welcome, I too have a bargy cob , made all the more apparent when I had to cross 500m of open field to get her in!! I have used a rope halter and done lot's of groundwork, doing the exercises Tiga described. I have the Kelly Marks books too! I found a good insructor that helped me get started. I also found that she was more forward going in the saddle as the groundwork improved so you might find this is the case..

    Mind you my cob does seem to have a bit of an off switch as we go into a school but we do exercises out hacking as we have limited access to a school at the moment and that seems to work well? I agree that having a purpose in the school helps her though and I have BD tests downloaded onto my Ipod to do if I need some structure.

    ETA J&Z posted while I was writing and I can also recommend the 101 horsemanship excercises - I have this too (all these books gave the inlaws something to buy me for Christmas..) The first exercises in it are pretty much what my instructor was doing with me in the first couple of lessons.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011
  7. natural horse

    natural horse New Member

    Lots of good advice already given. I too have a heavyweight cob who was bargy when I got him. As someone already said you need to anticipate when he is about to do something and stop it immediately. Don`t be afraid of being too firm with him. A lot of people are not firm enough with their horses and niggle away at them rather than giving them a short sharp shock. When I bought my cob he would barge through the stable door when I went to open it. Very dangerous and he ignored all reasonable requests to stop it. The one thing that worked was a hard slap across the nose with a rope. It so startled him that it cured him. Like your cob he also tried cutting across me to eat grass, so I got his head up and made him lunge on the 12ft line I always lead him by until he had had enough, then made him do a bit more until I requested him to stop. He did try it once more after this but I made him lunge again, so he doesn`t do it now as he knows it means work!
    As for him being a plod when schooling then we had this with granddaughters pony. It is pointless to keep using your legs if he ignores the leg aid. One good whack with the whip if he is taking no notice of your legs will get him going forwards and then you need to keep him going. He will remember the hard crack with the whip, so if he ignores your leg aids just a small tap with the whip will make him take notice. Worked with granddaughters pony and she never had to use the whip again.
    He will be more forward going outside as he will probably be unsure of things and be looking to you to give him confidence.
    I would firstly establish his respect for you on the ground. In the school really get him going forwards and practice lots of transitions from walk to trot and vice versa. I would always use your voice too, to ask him to walk, trot, canter and whoa. All mine will work from just voice commands without leg aids, which is good if they ever get a novice riding them. If he is jig jogging when you ride him out then make sure you are not holding the reins tightly or he will be fighting them. Let him have a loose rein and if you feel he is going faster than you like then turn him in a circle. Take things slowly with him as he is only young. If need be go right back to basics with him. Hope all of this was of some help.
  8. debsu

    debsu Guest

    Hi thank you to everyone for their encouragement and ideas. Typically he was very good to get in today! I was feeling quite assertive and strong.

    I went to see Kelly Marks a couple of weeks ago in Dorset and it was very informative. I also have her first 2 books which I read but seem to forget when I'm at the yard! I know, it doesn't make sense! And I've also watched the DVD about using the dually, Monty makes it look so easy.! Having said all that I am going to persevere and take him in the school and do ground work with him. I am very tuned into him and I know almost what he's going to do next its his determination and my lack of strength sometimes that makes it all go wrong. Thanks again everyone! :skip:
  9. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

    When I started riding my share horse I had a problems with him being bargy and generally not respecting my space. We stated doing the most simple groundwork exercises - simply stopping, starting, backing up, moving over etc. and his attitude changed completely. I guess that I was being the leader and telling him what to do and he respected it. Now I have found my confidence with him, the old attitude has completely gone.

    I would advise that you find yourself a good instructor to work through these problems. It doesn't sound like you are having much fun at the moment and need someone to guide you through. 5 year old cobs can be handfuls and you are about to enter the teenage years where it could get worse.
  10. Ruskii

    Ruskii Active Member

    Another owner of a bargy cob ! If you don't dictate to him that you won't tolerate any nonsense, he'll treat you like dirt and push you round.

    Groundwork, groundwork and then more groundwork. All the advice above really only will repeat what I was going to type, I found the book mentioned as well really good. Kelly Marks also has a good book 'perfect manners' that will get you started and just some basic groundwork exercises will help instill it it your horse that your the boss. :) Good luck and don't forget to update us ! :bounce:
  11. debsu

    debsu Guest

    What is it about cobs!! Sully is such a character and I wouldn't change him for the world, except his manners of course. I have ordered that book from Amazon so I will definitely keep you all updated! :wavespin:
  12. Flipo's Mum

    Flipo's Mum Heavy owner of a Heavy

    Yep, if they know their own size and strength you're pretty much screwed lol (speaking from experience). I have worked hard to convince my boy that I weigh ten times as much as him (not hard when I'm feeling bloated).
    The biggest thing for me is feet. Just spend a day noticing how much your horse moves you around - even if its just one step.
    I go to plait my boy's forelock. He moves his head so I have to get round to it. We're standing talking to someone and he'll inch his head round in the way so I have to move to see the other person. He encroaches on my personal space and I find myself moving out of his way.
    The thing is, I don't even realise I'm doing any of this, until I truly concentrate on my feet. Since then, he's cantered right at me (not happy that he was being confined to a penned off section, being all dramatic) and I just stood there, pointed at him and said 'don't you dare'. Not recommended, but I knew he was trying it on and would stop.
    Also agree about the nagging leg thing. I'm tryin to develop a feel for my horse losing impulsion, and using my leg just in time for him not to lose it. If he doesn't respond, he gets another shot, if that doesn't work then a tap with my schooling whip usually gets a reaction (not hard by any means). He's slow in the school, guess we've just got to keep it interesting and keep focused. The moment I lose sight of what I'm doing, my horse just stops - downs tools and heads for the gate.
    Good luck with him, he'll be fab, just five minutes a day, getting him to back up in the field. Clicker training has switched my boy on as well. Might be useful to keep him focused on you.
  13. LindaAd

    LindaAd Active Member

    That's all very good advice about the groundwork. As for the riding, it could be that you're blocking him in some way so he can't move forward freely, or, if you're not confident, you may either be unconsciously holding him back, or making him nervous too. I think what you need there is a good RI who can help you understand own body - it's very, very difficult to overcome on your own. I've been working with a brilliant Centred Riding instrustor, who has shown me that what I thought was Hebe's nappiness and reluctance to go forward was really just her responding to me.
  14. domane

    domane Well-Known Member

    I have a 2yo coblet and a 16hh Clydie X and my best friend has been a half-litre plastic coke bottle with a bit of gravel in the bottom of it! When Jack (the big one!) first arrived, he had an incredibly irritating habit of rubbing his head on you... and it's a BIG head! Every 10-15 seconds he would do it. Jack learned within about 6 shakes of the bottle that it was associated with him head-rubbing and ceased doing it completely within 2 days. It's funny because at the time it was a big problem for us but I'd quite forgotten that he used to do it until now....

    It was also great for helping me manoevre the little one through gates when he was smaller... it just helped keep him out of my space.

    If you give the bottle a quick shake the instant your boy starts to put his head down for the grass but carry on walking and don't hesitate, he will rapidly associate his movement with a nasty noise. Keep patting him and act completely normally so that he's reassured that you are still "you", so to speak.... worth a try :biggrin:

    It also worked on stubbornness in the school too!!!
  15. Pencilbeckett

    Pencilbeckett New Member

    Hi There

    My Horse Ozzy was a nightmare on the ground when i got him. I couldnt get in the stable without him barging at me, he would drag me along on the end of the rope. We would be walking he would cut across the front of me tread on my feet and just stop by grass and dive his head down.

    I tried the dually and it didnt do the job to start with so i got a leadrope with a chain and threaded it under his chin on a normal headcollar. Harsh i know but i had to lead him across a road and my safety was paramount. He respected this straight away, he barged off and the chain tightened he behaved and it it was loose. After a while we moved yards where the field was on the yard, I started to use the dually again and he was so much better. During all this i got kelly marks perfect manners and spent time in the school doing groundwork always using the dually (i only used the chain for leading when i HAD to be in charge and stay safe). Ozzy is not perfect if we are on the yard and someone puts a bowl of food out he will still try to pull me in the dually but i can control him.

    I will say though, as far as im in charge with Ozzy he trys his luck with every new person, he is a clever horse. I also give Ozzy lots of praise and treats when he does well, i deal with the negatives calmly, i dont believe smacking or punishing a horse will teach him anything.

    Good luck hope things improve :happy:
  16. debsu

    debsu Guest

    Well I can't thank everyone enough for all the advice and its nice to know that it isn't just my horse! Yes it seems a huge thing at the moment and its on my mind all the time, is that sad, I do have another life really lol. It doesn't help that there is no grass in his field now and i know this may sound soft but i can understand his being desperate for the grass! :redface:

    Onwards and upwards lets see what he throws at me today :unsure:
  17. kathyt1

    kathyt1 Active Member


    Wise words. I do also fine that a clear and consistant rider who shows good leadership will have an improved relationship on the ground as well.
  18. Wally

    Wally Well-Known Member

    Couldn't agree more, one massive plunge and bound at him, put the fear of god into him and you'll only have to do it once a year when he forgets and tris the boundaries again.

    This, again is my experience. Horses generally don't want to drop you, and they will slow down if they feel you are not 100% balanced up there or if you are doing something that makes going forward awkward for them. Read up on anything by Heather Moffet, Youtube vids too,
  19. crinklesb

    crinklesb New Member

    I would agree with everybodies comments above. Groundwork is absolutely essential. I had similar problems with my boy since I bought him 2 years ago and it was only moving to a new yard last summer with a trainer who believes in groundwork so much that made a difference. She showed me how to make him move forwards, back, over, halt. She teaches classical dressage where inhand is the first satge for any horse big or small. Now we are doing shoulder in, turn on the forhand, pirouette and even starting to learn spainish walk!. Soon we have to start doing all of these in trot. This is from a horse who 6 months ago would happily run all over me on the way to the field, refuse to pick his feet up and regularly break his baler twine when tied up in a rage. I was beginning to give up with him and really didn't know where to turn next. He needed a leader and one he was confident in and that obvoiusly wasn't me! Once I started to be firm and clear with him about what I wanted and insisted he did what I said everything really fell into place. He still has his moments but they are few and far between and it has improved his ridden work massively. He is more responsive and much more respectful.

    So my advice is:
    1. Get a list of good groundwork exercises to do - the Kelly Marks ones are good as a starter
    2. If there is a classical dressage trainer near you I would highly recommend it, the pride I have when my boy does a perfect pirouette is fantastic and I stil can't believe sometimes that my big, 17.3, lumbering, skewbald, IDx can do it at all!!
    3. Be very clear in what you are asking him to do. As some other people have mentioned you need to be clear and not afraid to be firm when you need to be. I would never ever advocate using a whip too much as that is just pointless but when you see your horse in the field playing and the general group dynamics, if he steps over the line and takes it too far he will get a swift bite, kick or warning from his field mates. The key is take it in 3 steps:
    - Ask him nicely first e.g. a gentle nudge with your hand and voice command 'over' to get him to move over
    - If he ignores you ask more firmly, increase the tone and volume of your voice and using a schooling whip give him a tap on his side
    - If he igniores again you now must TELL him. This means a sharp slap with the whip and an aggressive 'MOVE OVER NOW!'

    The beauty of this is that you are giving him the option every time of being compliant and doing it the easy way, if he repeatedly ignores you must follow through and TELL him. He will soon learn who is the leader, that you mean business, and what will happen if he ignores you.

    Good luck and I hope it goes well, post back to let us know how you are getting one!?
  20. Claire1605

    Claire1605 Active Member

    My cob Harvey if given an option would wait until I used the last firm option of extremely firm scary voice and hard slap with the schooling whip. I especially had to use this as he kicks the gate of the paddock if I bring Victory in to ride and pushes the hinges out of the post!

    He now only needs me to assertively walk over to him and tell him to go back and he does.

    He like a lot of other cobs is like a rhino with a hide to match :wink:

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