|Michigan 2 year old MFT with 60 days professional
training ridden in Snaffle and Circle Y Western Saddle in Paddock &
pasture by rider with 15 years experience but with no formal training
Question: I purchased a two year old Missouri Fox Trotter gelding approximately 2 months ago. The breeder had sent him to a trainer in Missouri for sixty days where he was broke to ride on trails. He has a very sweet and gentle disposition to work around. When I first brought him home he didn't flinch at anything. Barking dogs, cars, mail boxes, etc.
Because of his age, I have been working him lightly both in the paddock
and on the trail. Out of the blue, he's decided that he will occasionally
arch his back and "goat" hop until he gets me off. I haven't been
able to identify what sparks this behavior. I at first thought it
was him feeling separated from the other horses but when we work the other
horses and he's alone he could care less. My second thought seems
to be that he's fine if he can go along with the other horses (where you're
not asking a lot of him) but seems to throw the
He also seems to be very "jumpy" if you discipline him at all.
I have started to work him on a longe line asking him to mostly walk and
whoa, basically trying to establish a relationship with him. What
exercises should I be doing with a horse this age that won't push him too
fast but will get us past this very unacceptable behavior?
From Panelist Liz
From Panelist Erica
Check his saddle fit right away. Most unwanted behaviors such as bucking
that suddenly show up, are a result of poor saddle fit or something similar.
Also check his teeth and make sure the bit fits him properly and is in
his mouth correctly. Also check your position in the saddle. Are you leaning
back in the saddle or sitting more upright? These things can make a big
difference. If the saddle, teeth, bit, rider position, etc check out and
he keeps doing this, I would also have a Chiropractor (equine) out to check
him. Be sure to give him the benefit of the doubt in a situation like this.
You don't want to be disciplining a horse that is bucking and find out
later it was because he was in pain.
From Panelist Stella
You are right,two months is certainly very little time, in which a horse
cannot be thoroughly
To rush a horse in early training is to skip a step or two in the "foundation" work, and wherever there's a "hole" in the foundation, sooner or later there will be a problem, that you have to go back to and address.Two year olds are just NOT physically or mentally ready to perform to the level of a more mature horse, and riders just need to have the discipline of patience THEMSELVES to take their time, take it slow, and wait it out. Otherwise, you can ruin a horse, physically or mentally, that can take years to undo...or possibly be permanent damage. And no, a 2yo's attention span to concentrate is not very long, that's just a stage of development and not the horse's fault...its just how nature is. Dont expect from a 2yo horse more than you would from an 8-10 year old child.
At this age, its best to keep alot of his work by himself, with a one-on-one
relationship, to stay focused.....trailride with just one or two other
horses, but have those riders aware to take their time and take it slow,
since you have a 2 yo; consider his well-being as a youngster. Their muscles
are simply NOT physically developed (and many joints not closed
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