Can an erratic, unpredictable completely sour horse be helped?

I would like to know if anyone has any ideas of how to help a horse that is completely sour on any type of work at all.
That includes both ring work and trail riding.

Three years ago I adopted an abused, rescued mustang from a local resuce group. I did so because after having had horses for
37 years both of my horses died within 11 months and so I was without a horse. I started working for a rescue group and was put in charge of taking care of an abused mustang. She was reclusive and wanted nothing to do with anyone but as I started to spend time with her she started to show me affection and put herself in my way and I started to show her the benefits of letting herself be loved. We both soaked up the love that each of us needed so much and so a deep bond was formed. I had never had any plan to adopt her but as our bond deepened I knew that I could not walk away from her, but I did so against my better judgment as she was then 8 years old and I was 65. I was looking for an experienced older gelding and wound up adopting an inexperienced young mare.

From the beginning I could see that she was stubborn as she would balk when I simply led her and wanted to go for a walk. I had suspicions that she might do this when ridden but when she was started in training by a natural horsemanship trainer she showed no signs of the stubbornness I had seen in her so I did adopt her. When I started to ride her myself she would test me by refusing to go into the arena but when I made her go in she gave up and stopped fighting with me.

I had two hip replacement surgeries during the time I have owner her so my riding her has been constantly interrupted but she has
had intensive ground work with me and has learned a lot. Although she is very lazy she does not fight me on doing what I ask of her.

In March of 2013 I hired a young girl to start taking her out on trails and at first she tested this girl too, refusing to go forward
and fighting with the girl until she was made to do as she was asked. As time went on she did not fight and went out on trails very well with this girl and I rode her in the ring and she did not fight. I started riding her consistently in October of 203 after my
last surgery and she did well for me. She never objected to going into the ring and I would take her on short trail rides, extending
out area each time and she did not object.

Then, in late February she had a meltdown. Each day she became more and more anxious out on the trail until the time that she became completely uncontrollable and I had to get off and lunge her instead. The girl that took her on trails had the same problem and when she tried to ride her on the property the horse would not go anywhere at all. Another day I got on her and she would not go past the mounting block and would spin and become uncontrollable. This was on property that she was ridden on everyday with no problem. I had a certified dressage trainer that I was working with try to take her on trails and she did the same thing to her and would not go anywhere at all without a fight. Another day another woman rode her and she did the same thing. What this told me was that it was not
any kind of fear that I had that was making her react the way she was as she would do it with anyone whether they had fear or not.

I started to look for physical reasons as although she had always been stubborn, she had never been this bad. Back soreness was ruled out, ulcers was ruled out. She did have a uterine infection and I gave her time off while I waited for the results to come in but after two weeks I rode her again and she was fine, and still had not been treated for the infection. Since then she has been treated. Another vet said that it was just because it was
the first heat of the year and so I thought that I had found the reason.

I moved her to another barn and gave her some time off for that and then started to ride her again and she was okay. But the more I rode her the more she started to object to the work even though all we were doing was taking a walk around the property or walking and trotting in the arena. Then she objected to going into the ring. I eventually put her in total training with a trainer on the property and although he was able to ride her through
her objections, even riding her up a mountain, he could not make her stop objecting to the work. The day after he rode her up the mountain she objected more strongly to be ridden. He told me that she would always do this and he could show me how to work through it but that she would never stop. After about 3 weeks he told me that he could not fix the horse in 30 or 60 days but needed at least 6 months to a year. He told me she is not the horse for me and suggested that I get another horse. I could not agree to the 6 months or a year as I knew that she would not be the same horse when I got her back and also I could not afford that much training.

This horse simply seems to have an objection to work, any kind of work. She is lazy on the ground but will work if made too,
but she simply does not want to go either into the arena or out on the trail or even for a short walk around the property.
She is not afraid to go she simply does not want to go. Today she did it in front of her stall. I have been riding her in small areas in front of her stall so she can get used to that and when she settles down I increase the area and that works for a while until she starts to turn around again even though we have not left the very area where she was fine for a while. And then she has days when she doesn’t fight too much and I think I am making progress and then the next time she refuses to go anywhere at all. Because her behavior is erratic and unpredictable I am at my wits end as to what to do with her. I love her so much and I hate the idea of parting with her but
I am now 68 with two artificial hips and can’t afford to have an accident.

To sum up, this horse has had extensive ground work including liberty work and she is okay with that. She does not want to do any kind of work at all. She used to prefer the trail to the ring but now does not want to go in either place. When I walk her on the property that does not entail any real work but yet, she does not want to go anywhere at all, not the ring, not the trail and not on the property. She is not at all mean but she is extremely lazy, stubborn and opinionated.

Does anyone at all have any experience with a horse like this and have any ideas as to how to work with her? I could use any help I can get.

I would send her to a pro and wait at least 30 days before I went to see how things were going. The horse doesn’t want to do anything because she’s 8 and has never HAD to do anything. When someone MAKES her do something, it isn’t going to be pretty. For her to be safe enough for a senior citizen with 2 artificial hips, it will probably take 6 months.

By pro, I don’t mean any more young girls. You would probably do best with a cowboy who can ride through her balks and inevitable tantrums. It sounds like you had an honest pro evaluation before. When one of those types tells you it will take months, they are usually right. I’ve got a friend like that. He can usually get a horse green broke in a couple weeks; if he tells you 60 days, the horse is bad.

I don’t see how you expect her attitude under saddle to change without actually changing her attitude. I think you either have to accept a pasture puff or an attitude adjustment and a trainer bill.

It sounds to me like she is in pain somewhere and you will need the vet to look much harder to find it. since she is a mare include an ultrasound of the ovaries, maybe she has a tumor or cyst on one.

Not only that, but do diagnostics for polysaccharide myopathy. (Or, if budget does not allow that, either start adding fat source such as Amplify, Empower Boost or even vegetable oil drizzled on her feed. If that helps, that tells you she needs a higher fat diet.)

Remember that mustangs are even more instinct-driven than a fully domesticated since birth horse. That means any physical problem whatsoever, whether it be pain, vision problems, being alone not in a herd will have a much stronger effect on the horse than it would in a domesticated-since-birth one. She now unfortunately has the memories of humans turning the whole thing into a fight, which adds another layer to the problem.

This horse may never be fixable enough for you to ride her. With her issues, the kindest thing to do would be either to give her the cushy retirement she may need, or if finances do not allow, a peaceful euthanasia. This is a horse that would only become worse, if passed out of your hands, and would be at risk of a bad end.

EPSM seems worth while to check on!!

Is she always being taken out alone? Could she just be herd bound? How does she act when in company? You never mention other horses and riders in your story.

If that’s the case- I would go - My grandfather used to say, “You can have anything but your can’t have everything.”

If every time she is taken out it amounts to just a big fight and power struggle with her rider- of course she’s going to hate being ridden… if getting a rider on her back is the key to unlocking a good fun time out with her buddies- she might have a different attitude about it.

Can you just retire her to a field?

If you don’t want to pay for a year of professional training (and I don’t fault you for that), and are unable to ride her through this problem… I’d just retire her. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a physical problem, or if there’s not one and she’s just learned to fight back because you forced her through her earlier physical problem. Mustangs are a bit too smart for their own good sometimes.

I would try anti-inflamitories for a short time to see if that is the problem.

But, here is something really stupid to try, but it may change her attitude.
First, let me preface this by saying many horses need a ‘reason’ to work.
Think ‘what’s in it for me?’, why should your horse ‘want’ to work with you?

Ok, so you have trouble getting her in the arena to work. Get a ground helper with a bucket of grain and let your horse know you have treats before you get on. Have your ground helper stand an irrisitable distance away and ‘allow’ your horse to walk forward to the ‘treat’ . Keep your helper moving ten-fifteen feet forward and allow your horse to follow and receive a food reward while you praise.
After she goes into the arena, have your ground helper stand a larger distance away, then walk forward to receive a reward. Keep moving around the arena rewarding frequently. Try leaving your helper in the center while you work your mare quietly, returning to the center for a reward every few minutes.

Do this every time you ride in arena for a week or so while you very slowly expand the time between rewards. My guess is your mare will start to look forward to working with you…and sometimes, just doing simple things like this really does work!

I think a horse that is started very late is almost always going to be a tough ride/need a consistently strong leader. Training doesn’t “stick” as much, so it doesn’t work to send them for 30, 60 days and then you have a finished horse.

Just as with humans, I think there’s a window when they’re young where they are most receptive to learn and to become socialized to humans. While their brains are still forming, we manage to convince them that work can be fun. Once we miss that window, it’s really hard to get them to see any benefit of having stuff put on their heads, in their mouth, and on their backs when they’d rather be grazing with buddies. Kinda don’t blame them. :lol: Training and treats can produce acceptance/obedience, but they may never lose that <meh, I’d rather not> attitude about humans and work.

OP, at your age and physical condition, you want a totally different kind of horse and I don’t think this mare will ever be that horse.

Problem is, she’s going to be a hard sell, as most rescues are. There’s a reason she was there. Unless you have a trusted buyer who has the skills to work with her, she’ll likely head back down the path to low-quality home and/or slaughter.

I’m really struggling with the idea of euthanizing an 8yr old horse because she’s difficult–but not dangerous–to ride. So she’s just not the sunny happy-to-work personality you want. That doesn’t seem like a killing offense to me. I will be a bit harsh here, but you took on the responsibility of a rescue. You don’t get to put on the noble mantle of saying it was a rescue if really your intent was just to get a cheap riding horse, and discard it if she didn’t work out.

At this stage of your riding, do you really need to buy another horse? Given the very light riding demands-- it’s not like you’re galloping and jumping and such-- you would be a good candidate to half-lease a horse that just needs a bit more exercise. Heck, even find a lesson barn, and for not very much money you could get two hour-long rides a week. After you’ve demonstrated your riding ability, you can ask if they’d let you use your paid hour to just ride around on your own rather than have an instructor teaching you.

This way you get to still enjoy riding, but also keep the mare you love but can’t ride.

Honestly, if she were mine, I’d hit her with Regumate, ulcer meds (including Sucralfate for hind gut ulcers for which there is no “ruling out” except by medicating), and EPSM diet.

Ok, well, first I’d do the ulcer meds, get a vet out to do in internal and then put her on Regumate if appropriate, and concurrently, I’d start changing her diet to eliminate grain and molasses, etc., and increase fat and protein.

Unless you’re a doormat, and your horse is a bit of a bitch, this is not normal horse behaviour. Something is wrong with her. Horses don’t just eschew work because they don’t like it, they bitch about it because it is uncomfortable or frightening. She’s exhibiting the symptoms of an uncomfortable horse.

And finally, I’d make sure I took her out to work or trail ride with at least one other reliable, quiet horse for the next little while.

Some horses are just odd, and I’m always the first person to suggest they are trying to tell you something if their behaviour is unusual. If she’s good in the ring it does not suggest pain, saddle fit or weight on her back, etc.

She might have been abused because the person who had her did not know how to handle her behaviour in the beginning, meaning it might not be the abuse causing her behaviour.

I know someone who imported a lovely young horse - and after years and years he never improved…and this person has my respect as a horse starter
and horsewoman. The horse was just odd.

Saviasgirl - I have sent you a PM.

Not sure how you ruled ulcers out but one of my horses started objecting strongly to work and it was ulcers. He also has a couple bad habits that developed because of how he acted with the ulcers and those are getting better with training.

I disagree that older horses are harder to train. Their maturity level can make it easier. I think her reluctance is some sort of pain issue also.

Agree with pain issues.

I would rule out everything that has already been mentioned and add a few:

  1. Possibly failing eye sight.
  2. a GOOD chiropractor to evaluate her from nose to tail and down to the hooves.
  3. Ulcers, both gastric stomach ulcers and hind gut ulcers; even though they were “ruled out”. I would rule them out again:)

By now she has learned a bad habit so, even if she does have pain somewhere and it gets fixed, now you have a learned bad habit that will have to be un-learned.

If she ends up going to a trainer (once medical reasons have been ruled out), I’d be careful where I send her. Not all trainers are created equal. She is a Mustang and ran wild for years; somebody is going to have to have some empathy for that.

You could probably fix things yourself, if this is a pain issue.

Or, as someone else asked, are you in a position to make her a Pasture Rose? Just playing with her, like you did when you first met her at the rescue?

Much to think about, good luck figuring it all out:)

I thank everyone for their responses and they are a lot to think about, but a lot of the things that were suggested were already done for her.

She has already had an ultrasound of her reproductive system and was found to have a uterine infection. She was treated for that and had a Caslick’s procedure to prevent a further infection. But she was ridden before she was treated for it and she was better so I am not sure that the cause of her behavior was the infection. Then my vet did examine her for ulcers and did not agree with me that she might have them but felt that she was acting as she was because it was her first heat of the year. I had never heard of that but have since done some research and have found that could be the case, but now it is June and she acts erratically whether she is in season or not.

My vet did not agree that she had ulcers because she simply did not show any physical signs of ulcers other than the erratic behavior. I did treat her for ulcers but although she seemed better for a while, she got worse again.

Also she is an insulin resistant horse so I cannot give her any kind of grain or any fats at all. She gets only straight bermuda hay.

She is not 8 but 11 years old and has been ridden for the last 3 years mostly by me but also by others including some trainers. She has done well and was really doing great by the time February came and then she fell apart and I am still not able to put the pieces together. She has been checked by a massage therapist/chiropractor for pain and other than a displaced hyoid bone and a locked shoulder he found no other causes for pain. He fixed the hyoid bone and the locked shoulder and afterwards she really did well in the arena.

But in February she stopped wanting to go out on trails or do any kind of work at all. She acted as if she was panic stricken and I cannot figure out why. She has never gotten away with her behavior and was always made to do what she was told to do, but still she will object to what is asked of her.

People say that I adopted a rescued horse and all that implies but when I did it I did not know what that implied. I realized that she was unbroke but did not realize that she would have problems because she was a mare, a mustang and a rescue. I thought that she was a rescue because there was something wrong with the former owner, not her. Also, she was not cheap. I did pay quite a price for her and have paid a lot to train her since then. But I did adopt her so that I could still have a horse to ride in my old age. I don’t want to think of riding as something I used to do, but something that I still do now, but I also know that I can’t do the things I used to do when I was 40 years younger. I can’t afford to keep two horses so if I can’t ride her then she will have to go to a rescue or find a home as a companion horse. But I will not let her go to a bad ending and that is why I am doing everything I can to make her into a good riding horse that anyone would want because someday I know that because of my age I won’t be able to keep her anymore and she will have to find a new home. It is important that she be well adjusted and be a good riding horse.

I think that possibly now her behavior has become a habit as she does not seem panic stricken but is just saying that she does not want to go. Surely she is not afraid in front of her own stall but she shows that she does not want to leave the stall. If she were in pain she would be in pain no matter where she was or what direction she was going in, but her objection is only when she is going away from her stall. She is fine is she is headed back to her stall.

Yesterday she fought me no matter where I wanted to go and that was even right in front of her stall. Today, I rode her in the round pen and she was a dream. Then I rode her around the property and she started to object but then I did something I don’t usually do. I talked to her and became more assertive and she responded. She still fought me when we got to places where we have not ridden before, but the area we are riding in is getting bigger and bigger.

At the very least, I am able to ride her and as someone said, I don’t need to ride much. I just need to ride and so, for now, she has given me a challenge to face and although it scares me, I am trying my best to face it. I am so used to her turning around that it has become part of what riding her is and it doesn’t scare me so much anymore. But when she does this out in the wash it is a very dangerous thing as there are rocks and bushes and if she is out of control then I could very well be hurt. So for now, we stay on the property and I am trying hard to see if I can get her to go where I want and give up the fight.

I think that the trainer that I had working with her was not the right trainer for her as he was too much of a cowboy for her. He gave up on her after just three weeks of working with her but I do have someone else who I know is very good as she works with abused horses for a horse rescue. She has done phenomenal things with these horses but I have to wait until it cools down. It is over 100 degrees here everyday and so no trainer wants to work in that heat. So for now I do what I can when I can and will start rehabilitative work with the trainer as soon as it cools down some.

Thanks again.

Does she run around and move around in pasture/paddock without pain?

Is she always ridden alone, can you find a trail buddy to ride with? Aka, she can have no fat added to diet…coco soya oil helped a lot with my cranky horse.

I too adopted a rescue, and boy has he taught me a lot, not just about horses but about myself…I am impulsive and he was an impulse and there have been many good times and some very challenging ones. Mine is part mustang and also was not ridden till late in his life…in his case, age 12 ! So DOH, here I come and take him on. (he is beautiful by the way, 1/2 Mustang half Arab) . He was on giveaway board as my finances were bad but they are getting better so he is coming off, and of course, nobody wanted him…in general, people do not want these horses so we either ride them or retire them to pasture.

I can only share the experiences I have had with this horse, and I have come to the conclusion that the mustang brain is a bit different. Strong survival sense, very intelligent, bonds like crazy on the ground, DOES NOT want to work, at all, he sees zero point in it. That said, we have made a lot of progress lately. ( of course you still need to rule out physical, so my advice deals with behavior). Mine had some physical issues, mainly a bit of arthritis which we are treating with previcox. Other than that, all attitude and stubbornness. Boy are these horses stubborn. On the plus side, he never did anything horrible ( and sounds like neither has yours) , with the exception of one time in three years, no bucking, or kicking, or biting, just some meltdowns, as you said, all on trails , all alone ( he’ll follow another horse anywhere on trail)

There are a few fields and trails he is very used to that I can ride him well alone, the rest, frankly, I have given up on. He’ll spin, back up, small rear etc, and get very agitated after awhile. I have not tried a very slow approach of a few feet each day and reward, but may try it as it did work well in getting him past palm fronds on ground which scare him. Other things he is very brave about.

Oddly enough, he loves jumping and it is the only thing he is motivated about ( and of course I am not a jump rider but do small x rails with him, a hunter rider takes him over low fences occasionally). He is getting a better attitude about dressage which is my main interest, he’s a pretty mover btw.

I bought a pair of spurs which work well on sour horses and they have been great, called Spursuader (huane spurs). They look large but are actually very good as can use them and the hosre feels them but does not get spur sour.

I wish I had a magic answer but I don’t. I had to have literally fights with this horse to get him motivated and moving. It is working, finally, and he’s pretty forward now, but I had to really exaggerate to get through to his touch mustang brain. I think they are hard wired to fight things. For example, he used to move and dance around mounting block. I tried all the gentle, sensible methods for a year to get him to stand, with limited success. Finally one day I had it, and backed him up 40 feet, hitting him repeatedly in the chest with dressage whip. Well , after that he stands like a statue at mounting block.

Now I am working with a dressage trainer and she is helping, once he accepts that he has to go forward, he is a pleasure to ride (most days). But it took three years.

The fact that this mare was so good early on and then deteriorated so far, makes me think it still might b physical…but my story is for any help if physical is ruled out . (I assume you have a well fitted saddle) hope some solutions are found, and wishing you luck and keeping fingers crossed.

You mentioned that she was IR. Have you had her vision checked since February? Just a thought.

If she was good in the round pen reestablish a healthy working relationship there for a bit if the training option is out. I agree with the folks above who say she doesn’t want to work likely for some reason. Be safe.

[QUOTE=Countrywood;7633701]Does she run around and move around in pasture/paddock without pain?

Is she always ridden alone, can you find a trail buddy to ride with? Aka, she can have no fat added to diet…coco soya oil helped a lot with my cranky horse.

I too adopted a rescue, and boy has he taught me a lot, not just about horses but about myself…I am impulsive and he was an impulse and there have been many good times and some very challenging ones. Mine is part mustang and also was not ridden till late in his life…in his case, age 12 ! So DOH, here I come and take him on. (he is beautiful by the way, 1/2 Mustang half Arab) . He was on giveaway board as my finances were bad but they are getting better so he is coming off, and of course, nobody wanted him…in general, people do not want these horses so we either ride them or retire them to pasture.

I can only share the experiences I have had with this horse, and I have come to the conclusion that the mustang brain is a bit different. Strong survival sense, very intelligent, bonds like crazy on the ground, DOES NOT want to work, at all, he sees zero point in it. That said, we have made a lot of progress lately. ( of course you still need to rule out physical, so my advice deals with behavior). Mine had some physical issues, mainly a bit of arthritis which we are treating with previcox. Other than that, all attitude and stubbornness. Boy are these horses stubborn. On the plus side, he never did anything horrible ( and sounds like neither has yours) , with the exception of one time in three years, no bucking, or kicking, or biting, just some meltdowns, as you said, all on trails , all alone ( he’ll follow another horse anywhere on trail)

There are a few fields and trails he is very used to that I can ride him well alone, the rest, frankly, I have given up on. He’ll spin, back up, small rear etc, and get very agitated after awhile. I have not tried a very slow approach of a few feet each day and reward, but may try it as it did work well in getting him past palm fronds on ground which scare him. Other things he is very brave about.

Oddly enough, he loves jumping and it is the only thing he is motivated about ( and of course I am not a jump rider but do small x rails with him, a hunter rider takes him over low fences occasionally). He is getting a better attitude about dressage which is my main interest, he’s a pretty mover btw.

I bought a pair of spurs which work well on sour horses and they have been great, called Spursuader (huane spurs). They look large but are actually very good as can use them and the hosre feels them but does not get spur sour.

I wish I had a magic answer but I don’t. I had to have literally fights with this horse to get him motivated and moving. It is working, finally, and he’s pretty forward now, but I had to really exaggerate to get through to his touch mustang brain. I think they are hard wired to fight things. For example, he used to move and dance around mounting block. I tried all the gentle, sensible methods for a year to get him to stand, with limited success. Finally one day I had it, and backed him up 40 feet, hitting him repeatedly in the chest with dressage whip. Well , after that he stands like a statue at mounting block.

Now I am working with a dressage trainer and she is helping, once he accepts that he has to go forward, he is a pleasure to ride (most days). But it took three years.

The fact that this mare was so good early on and then deteriorated so far, makes me think it still might b physical…but my story is for any help if physical is ruled out . (I assume you have a well fitted saddle) hope some solutions are found, and wishing you luck and keeping fingers crossed.[/QUOTE]

Hi Countrywood,

Your description of your horse sounds almost exactly like mine. She definitely is very bonded to me on the ground, but she sees no point in working at all.

When I turn her out, she simply stands in one spot unless I make her run. When she runs she does not show signs of pain. I can also get her to run by leaving her out alone and then taking my dogs for a walk. She hates to be alone so then she will run around, but other than that she almost never will run without encouragement.

When she acts up going on trail, she does it with or without other horses. Sometimes I think she is better without the other horse. I am sure that she is not in pain as her bad behavior is only done when she is on her way away from her stall but never when she is going to it. Sometimes she will go in the arena but then other days she decides she does not want to and so will not go.

Like your horse, she has places where she is more familiar and I find it easier to ride her there, except when she decides that she won’t even go past her stall.

So far I am finding the John Lyons method of riding in small areas and gradually making them bigger to be working. I was highly encouraged today as I rode her into the arena with no objection and she worked beautifully. I only did it for a few minutes as I don’t want to sour her. Then I walked her down to an area where she has always refused to go. I have been riding nearer and nearer to this area for a few days and today for the first time she rode right past it with no objection at all. This is all I wanted her to do and she has made such a big deal out of it, but today it was as if she was doing it all along.

I know, however, that if I were to ride her out on the trail she would object. Yesterday I handwalked her out on the trail and although she went with me she let me know that she did not want to go by stopping several times along the way and getting nervous and trying to walk in front of me so she could block my way.

In addition to her not wanting to work she seems very nervous in new areas or areas where she feels too far away from the barn. I am not sure if she will ever get over this. Luckily the barn where she is boarded has so much property around it that I could go for a good ride without leaving the property. Trying to get her out on trails might take a long time. But I think that working her alone is better than working her with another horse because then I feel pressured to make her go and she does not do well under pressure. I am finding that slow is better for her and I am finally getting somewhere with her.

Of course I used this approach last year and she did well and then fell apart in February so I have no idea if the same thing will happen next year. But for now, slow and steady seem to be getting me somewhere.

Oh yes, as far as getting her to stand still at the mounting block, that has always been something she does very well since she likes to stand still anyway.
I used treats to get her to stand as it is imperative that she does not move when I get on. She actually will stand without me holding her as I climb the steps. She is rock solid in this aspect and it is one of the reasons why I really don’t want to part with her as it might take a lot of training to get another horse to stand as dependably as she does.

I do a lot of ground work with her and although she moves, she does it slowly and I have to put a lot of energy myself into getting her to move, but, if I set up low jumps then she does get animated and excited when she jumps over them. Unfortunately, I don’t jump myself so any jumps she goes over she has to go over them by herself. I think that seeing the jumps gives a reason to go forward, but other than that she sees no reason to go anywhere and she is very good at preserving her energy. Add to that, it is around 100 degrees when she is ridden so there is no way that she actually could want to move, but at least she is going where I want her too, even if it is slowly.

One thing I was happy about today is that with my slow and steady work that I have been doing with her I got her to go past the area that she absolutely refused to go past since I have been at this barn and it is an area that even the expensive trainer that I was using could not get her to go past without her fighting him. My trainer was very assertive and made her do whatever he wanted, but I think that kind of approach actually made things worse for her. She seems to be responding better now to a slow, steady more gentle approach.

So glad she is responding! I do see that mine , frustraing though he can be, does really respond to praise.

One thing I have found to make him more “forward”, (which really means responsive to leg), is to make him do a lot of lateral work, or turns on forehand, turns on haunches, etc. It seems to break through his mental barrier and gets his mind engaged and he is then more forward. Mine also takes quite awhile to warm up and then can be quite responsive.

I wonder if it is in the mustang self preservation instinct to do as little as possible…makes sense if you are in a herd with scarce food and the main goal is to preserve energy and calories.

Best of luck and hope things keep moving in a positive direction!