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i bought a 12 year old gelding and have started to team rope on him he has started to rear in the box and is very persisent about it was wondering how to go about correcting the problem
Your email concerns a roping horse in a box but it could just as easily be about a speed event horse forging and rearing before the event.
The horse has been taught a sequence of events. Do this, then this, then this, then this, then this AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN.
The problem is he can do the sequence faster than you or the circumstances can adapt and he gets impatient.
Urgent repetitious events are very hard on horses. The percentage of horses who can handle them is rather small.
Since horses are very easy to train they learn patterns very quickly. If you train a pattern and use speed as an ingredient YOU have to keep up with the horse. You cannot reasonably expect the horse to adjust to your timing because the horse lacks the ability to make decisions based on the circumstances. You have trained the horse to do the sequence and now he wants to do it.
What can you do?
Getting another horse is one option and probably the best. This will be a lot less stressful on you and him. Or you can retrain the horse to a variable sequence that he cannot anticipate. You may have to alter how you do your roping (or gaming) until he is unsure what to do next and waits for your direction. Exactly how you do that may take a little thought.
Perhaps when the chute is opened and he begins his run out you might let the steer go and turn him back into the box. You might face him to the back of the box and then allow him to slowly turn when the steer is released.
*I* would also work him some through the sequence out away from the arena. I would mentally go through the sequence out in the open. I'd imagine the box, chute, the barrier distance and in your imagination imagine what the horse should be doing and cue accordingly. No box, no noise. no calf, just the procedure. And I'd do it here and there, not in the same place. Mix it up, a few imaginary runs, ride around calmly, even just sit in one spot.
I have some videos that may help: "How To Mentally Connect With The Adult Horse," "Despooking The Horse" and "The Horseman's Speed Eventer's Guide To Winning." Click here for my video listings.
The trick is going to be disrupting the sequence until he relies on you for direction then you being able to set up the sequence you want when you need it.
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