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Trainer Q&A - Behavior Problems & Quirks - Can you help me with my gelding who lays down while I'm riding him?

Can you help me with my gelding who lays down while I'm riding him?

Jcquarter Asks:

I have a 10 year old Arabian gelding that will lay down on me. I will be riding him and without any warning, he will go down and lay there for 30 minutes. He doesn't stop or go down in the front like he's going to lay down. He just drops and I never know when he will lay down. Sometimes I can ride him and he doesn't lay down. I've had the vet check him out. He has taken tests and checked him all over he can find nothing wrong. His feet and legs are sound. Is there anything you can suggest that might help me. He has had this habit as long as I have had him and he seems to be getting worse. Thank you for your advice.

Our Trainer Answers:

You did the right thing by having him checked out by your vet, that's always a great place to start. It sounds like this is not a problem physically. Therefore, it must be a behavior problem. What do you do when he lays down with you? If you just get off of him and let him lay there, then you are rewarding his bad behavior. Arabians are very intelligent, this is no secret. The fact that he has done this since you've owned him goes to say that he probably got away with doing this to his former owner.

If this habit of his has become ingrained in his head it could prove to be very difficult to overcome. Next time he lays down with you, you must make him very uncomfortable. If possible start spanking him with your reins or a crop, without getting off of him, the second he collapses under you. If it is not possible, step off and begin spanking him immediately. This may sound harsh but his behavior is very dangerous to you. If you cannot make him realize that every single time he exhibits this behavior you will cause him to be very uncomfortable (even if you must inflict some pain to do so) then you must find someone who can. I would highly suggest sending him to a professional if you plan to continue riding him.


Thank you and happy trails!