I have a horse that I have been riding for about 8 months now, when I first started riding him I really doubted if it was going to work out because he is very stubborn and disrespectful and we seemed to butt heads....but, we have been doing a lot of ground work to build respect and I was finally seeing a big change in his behavior towards me when I ride him.
I do carry a crop with me and I show it to him to get him nice and responsive, the number of times I have actually touched him with it can be counted on one hand......MY question is this: will there ever be a point where I can ride without a crop and he will listen just because I ask him to?
This was prompted by a horrible ride on Saturday, I had gone out to the large upper arena, mounted, and only then realized that I had left my crop in the trunk. I figured it would probably be fine since we have been working together for awhile now and I felt that he had some respect for me as a leader.....ugh, it was horrible. It felt like I was moving mountains to get him into a trot and even then it would only last for a second before he dropped back out into a walk. I was sweating like a pig and TIRED! Anyways, I decided it wasn't productive riding at that point and that I HAD to go get the crop to end the day on a good note.
After getting back to him I started to realize that he must have been having a fantasy that paralleled the scene in the movie titanic where the guy stands at the front of the ship screaming "I am king of the world!" He wouldn't let me mount up = a fun 10 minutes backing up. Then when in the saddle I asked him for a trot, not only did he not trot...he actually stopped walking. I had to give him a pretty good slap on the rump to get him up and going and into the trot. It seemed like everything we have been working on for the last several months was tossed out of his head!
On a normal day I typically hold the crop for the first 10 minutes or so, after that I put it on one of the fence posts and usually don't need it for the rest of the day.
I am not sure why this is bothering me so much, I guess I felt that he was responding to me and not the crop? Reality stinks! Lol
Btw, I am not asking if crops are okay to use, just wondering if anyone has had any success in getting a really stubborn horse to listen without a crop...how do you phase it out? I don't mind using the crop and find it handy but it would be nice if I didn't HAVE to use it.