How can I get him to respect me?
   

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How can I get him to respect me?

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    11-19-2011, 12:47 PM
  #1
Started
How can I get him to respect me?

My lesson today made me realize just how much X factor doesn't respect me. Maybe I'm over reacting and being a whiny girl, but X was fresh and he was acting weird also. I'm trotting fast (but I tell myself it's ok since he probably wasn't ridden for a while and needs to get his energy out), but he starts twisting his body (like a macaroni), so I try to straighten him, but the whole time it felt as if he was running away from my contact. That's what made me think the saddle doesn't fit him right. It fits well around the shoulders and the panels have an even contact, the only thing is that the gullet is huge. It's for a wide and high withered horse and X is pretty small/average. I could fit more than 4 fingers on top, and 4 fingers on the side.
Also when riding and turning a corner (not all but a few) he would start to canter and I am not sure, but maybe even do a little hop/mini buck.

Because he would randomly start cantering and doing little hop things and reacting and twistign his body as if the saddle (or I) was bothering him, I told my trainer I thought something was wrong with the saddle. But she told me he was just fresh and spooky (once when he took off at the canter (almost gallop) it was at the same time as a pigeon flew away)... and maybe that was all, but I don't know. He has never been that crazy with me, but then he's a horse...

AT the beginning of the lesson he also wouldn't stop chewing the reins and moving when I tried to tighten the girth. I kept trying to correct him, and finally after many pathetic little no's and slaps, I hit him. He let go of the rein, but I could tell he still wasn't convinced and would do the same next lesson.

I don't know what to do... I guess I'm hormonal because I feel so pathetic that I cannot gain any trust from him and that he misbehaves so much with me. ( I know it's my fault though) I am also slowly loosing some faith in my trainer for reasons I will not mention... I'm confused.

What do you guys think of all this? I need opinions so I can clear my mind out a little.

POsitive note to keep my morals up: I handled X well when he took off and wasn't afraid of falling and just stuck with it. (though my trainer said I looked really tense, but I didn't feel it at all. I suppose she thought I was because my reins were shortish so I could have a good contact with him. He would try to toss his head, bend it to the side, and lift it so I lost contact... so I shortened them. I wasn't pulling in his mouth though.
(sigh) I wish I had a video... maybe there was something wrong in how I was riding him as well, but I can't put my finger on it.
     
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    11-19-2011, 01:18 PM
  #2
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hidalgo13    
My lesson today made me realize just how much X factor doesn't respect me. Maybe I'm over reacting and being a whiny girl, but X was fresh and he was acting weird also. I'm trotting fast (but I tell myself it's ok since he probably wasn't ridden for a while and needs to get his energy out), but he starts twisting his body (like a macaroni), so I try to straighten him, but the whole time it felt as if he was running away from my contact. That's what made me think the saddle doesn't fit him right. It fits well around the shoulders and the panels have an even contact, the only thing is that the gullet is huge. It's for a wide and high withered horse and X is pretty small/average. I could fit more than 4 fingers on top, and 4 fingers on the side.
Also when riding and turning a corner (not all but a few) he would start to canter and I am not sure, but maybe even do a little hop/mini buck.

Because he would randomly start cantering and doing little hop things and reacting and twistign his body as if the saddle (or I) was bothering him, I told my trainer I thought something was wrong with the saddle. But she told me he was just fresh and spooky (once when he took off at the canter (almost gallop) it was at the same time as a pigeon flew away)... and maybe that was all, but I don't know. He has never been that crazy with me, but then he's a horse...

AT the beginning of the lesson he also wouldn't stop chewing the reins and moving when I tried to tighten the girth. I kept trying to correct him, and finally after many pathetic little no's and slaps, I hit him. He let go of the rein, but I could tell he still wasn't convinced and would do the same next lesson.

I don't know what to do... I guess I'm hormonal because I feel so pathetic that I cannot gain any trust from him and that he misbehaves so much with me. ( I know it's my fault though) I am also slowly loosing some faith in my trainer for reasons I will not mention... I'm confused.

What do you guys think of all this? I need opinions so I can clear my mind out a little.

POsitive note to keep my morals up: I handled X well when he took off and wasn't afraid of falling and just stuck with it. (though my trainer said I looked really tense, but I didn't feel it at all. I suppose she thought I was because my reins were shortish so I could have a good contact with him. He would try to toss his head, bend it to the side, and lift it so I lost contact... so I shortened them. I wasn't pulling in his mouth though.
(sigh) I wish I had a video... maybe there was something wrong in how I was riding him as well, but I can't put my finger on it.
Your situation kind of reminds me of mine when I first got Shamrock. He would never be really hyper, but he would test me. Basically to get his respect, you've got to prove to him that you're a trustworthy leader. He's got to know that you won't let him take advantage of you and that you will "protect" him.

If I were you, I would flag him before lessons. This means that you take a lunge line in the arena (or round pen) and move him around. Eventually, he should come right up to you when you have your back turned to him and then follow you. You've just got to make sure you're moving him where you want him to go and not just going along with what he's doing. Once you've made him move for a while and he starts to turn his ears toward you and look at you, drop the lunge line and turn your back to him. This allows him to stop and come to you. If he doesn't at first, look for signs that he's relaxed (licking and chewing mostly) and then walk backwards to him, pet him for a bit, then walk and see if he follows. This will surely get him to respect you.

If you think it is the saddle, then get it fitted to make sure it fits properly.

As for the chewing on the reins, Shamrock does that sometimes. He likes to pick up things with his mouth. He hasn't completely stop that behavior yet, but I just have to keep reprimanding him. It'll take some time. So be patient.

I don't know what to tell you about your trainer, I love the BO/trainer/BM where I board and ride. But if you feel he/she isn't doing a good job, or you don't feel safe under their instruction, I would suggest finding a new trainer.

Good luck! And don't lose faith. Keep at it, be consistent, and it'll pay off!
     
    11-19-2011, 01:29 PM
  #3
Started
Quote:
Basically to get his respect, you've got to prove to him that you're a trustworthy leader. He's got to know that you won't let him take advantage of you and that you will "protect" him.

(sigh) I guess I need to push myself to be firmer with him, although sometimes I find myself unable to because I don't know if I am being unfair or fair, or if it's too late to react. (AS a matter of fact, how long do I have to reprimand him for a bad behavior before it's too late for him to make the connection?).

Quote:
If I were you, I would flag him before lessons. This means that you take a lunge line in the arena (or round pen) and move him around. Eventually, he should come right up to you when you have your back turned to him and then follow you. You've just got to make sure you're moving him where you want him to go and not just going along with what he's doing. Once you've made him move for a while and he starts to turn his ears toward you and look at you, drop the lunge line and turn your back to him. This allows him to stop and come to you. If he doesn't at first, look for signs that he's relaxed (licking and chewing mostly) and then walk backwards to him, pet him for a bit, then walk and see if he follows. This will surely get him to respect you.


I would love to do that, but he isn't my horse and I don't know if they'd allow me to. I have lessons early the morning and he is eating when I get there, so I usually let him eat and then saddle him up 20 minutes before the lesson. I'll try to figure something out about that though.

Quote:
As for the chewing on the reins, Shamrock does that sometimes. He likes to pick up things with his mouth. He hasn't completely stop that behavior yet, but I just have to keep reprimanding him. It'll take some time. So be patient.

I guess patience is the only way. Although do you believe it is just a habit or him testing me? Or both?

Quote:
I don't know what to tell you about your trainer, I love the BO/trainer/BM where I board and ride. But if you feel he/she isn't doing a good job, or you don't feel safe under their instruction, I would suggest finding a new trainer.
I feel tempted to, but I am in a situation where it would not be possible. I don't think she is a horrible trainer or would ever put me in danger, but I think it's more that I have lost some respect and admiration towards her (I could name a whole list of reasons why), so when she gives a command, I second guess it and question it. This makes things worse because I don't do the command right away and then she get's mad because I take twice as long as I should to do it.
     
    11-19-2011, 01:44 PM
  #4
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hidalgo13    
(sigh) I guess I need to push myself to be firmer with him, although sometimes I find myself unable to because I don't know if I am being unfair or fair, or if it's too late to react. (AS a matter of fact, how long do I have to reprimand him for a bad behavior before it's too late for him to make the connection?).
Unfortunately, you only have a few seconds before he will no longer make the connection. The best way is to anticipate the action and then correct it immediately. You can be firm without being unfair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hidalgo13    
I would love to do that, but he isn't my horse and I don't know if they'd allow me to. I have lessons early the morning and he is eating when I get there, so I usually let him eat and then saddle him up 20 minutes before the lesson. I'll try to figure something out about that though.
I thought he was yours. Well, I guess that may not be possible then. :/ If it's possible for you to ride him other than at lessons, you could do it before riding. Or just overall spending time with him, petting him, grooming him, etc. will all increase a bond. You don't necessarily want to ride him every time you go out there because he may get resentful of you, especially if he doesn't like to work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hidalgo13    
I guess patience is the only way. Although do you believe it is just a habit or him testing me? Or both?
Patience must be present when handling horses. :)
With Shamrock, he's just being naturally curious. Horses are by nature. I doubt he's chewing on reins to test you, but to be curious, figuring out what they are. And it may be a habit of his to mess with things with his mouth to figure out what they are or to attempt to play. You've just got to stop the behavior so he doesn't mouth the wrong things or end up ruining tack!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Hidalgo13    
I tempted to, but I am in a situation where it would not be possible. I don't think she is a horrible trainer or would ever put me in danger, but I think it's more that I have lost some respect and admiration towards her (I could name a whole list of reasons why), so when she gives a command, I second guess it and question it. This makes things worse because I don't do the command right away and then she get's mad because I take twice as long as I should to do it.
I know what you mean, I was in a situation with trainers that I didn't necessarily trust. And come to find out later, they are very corrupt. But you have to remember, she is the expert and you're paying her to teach you, so when she tells you to do a command, do it when she asks unless it feels dangerous. My trainer often tells us to do a certain command when we feel comfortable. Remember that her goal isn't to ruin you, but to help you learn riding and handling horses. But then again, if you don't have a good relationship with your trainer, you're probably not advancing. You could try talking to her. It's hard to give advice on this when I'm not sure what she's necessarily done to lose respect. :/
     
    11-19-2011, 03:46 PM
  #5
Started
Quote:
With Shamrock, he's just being naturally curious. Horses are by nature. I doubt he's chewing on reins to test you, but to be curious, figuring out what they are. And it may be a habit of his to mess with things with his mouth to figure out what they are or to attempt to play. You've just got to stop the behavior so he doesn't mouth the wrong things or end up ruining tack!
I get it, thanks. :) How do you think I should correct him? Each time he puts it in his mouth, do I slap him on the shoulder? I tried taking it out of his mouth but he just pops it right back in, so do I at the moment hit him and say no?

Quote:
I know what you mean, I was in a situation with trainers that I didn't necessarily trust. And come to find out later, they are very corrupt. But you have to remember, she is the expert and you're paying her to teach you, so when she tells you to do a command, do it when she asks unless it feels dangerous. My trainer often tells us to do a certain command when we feel comfortable. Remember that her goal isn't to ruin you, but to help you learn riding and handling horses.
That's the thing. Sometimes I know it's not dangerous but I don't feel comfortable doing it. Like she'll tell me to canter but I don't feel ready and want to do another few steps at the trot to gain more control, so she's waiting for em to canter and I keep trotting a little (I try to tell her I'm not ready and will do it at the next corner, but she doesn't hear me and then starts saying I am not concentrated and not listening... and the whole time I'm trying to explain it all to her and it sounds as if I am making excuses). Another example, today she told me to turn and come to her in the middle of the arena, but I wasn't sure if she wanted me to turn before the standard, or after it. Well it soon became too late to do it before so I decided I'd go after, but there are poles (and jump standards a bit further in the middle) weirdly placed and it felt as if it was a bit tight to turn and go between. So I kept going straight because it was again too late. When I got off the horse I saw that I had enough room for it to be safe, but with X going so fast and at my angle it seemed a bit tight.


Quote:
You could try talking to her. It's hard to give advice on this when I'm not sure what she's necessarily done to lose respect. :/
All this is soaking in my head, but I think I will talk to her or something. Not sure what I'll say... but I'll see, when it get's clearer.


I'll give a few examples of why I've lost most of my respect for her.

When I first came to the barn 2 years ago, I had come from another where I felt I wasn't learning and I wasn't important. I found this barn and my current trainer was really nice and she was big on safety and starting me out on good beginner horses. She encouraged me a lot, and I felt very confident because the horses I started with (Desiray and Coco) weren't difficult and I was advancing well on them.

What bothers me is how I learned that she thinks she knows all there is to know. Yes she has experience, but she isn't open to new ideas or ways and doesn't listen. It's just the way she says it is and that's that. There is no discussing it.

I know she has a lot of experience, certainly more than me, but I believe you never stop learning with horses and there are so many methods and ways to do things out there, that I appreciate it when someone is open and see’s there is more than one way to do something with a horse.
If she had more experience and knowledge (she is 59 but hasn't been riding or training all her life. She became an instructor at 48-50) then it wouldn’t bother me as much. I would just see her as a trainer that is set in her ways and has trained hundreds of horses, but she doesn’t even know if a saddle fits a horse or not. She thinks anything fits any horse. This bothers me a lot. Whenever I suspect a saddle fit is a bit off and I say so, she tells me to stop fretting, making excuses and believe in myself as I am a solid rider. That sort of makes me mad that she doesn’t understand how saddle fit is important. I once felt off balance because the saddle didn’t fit well (and wasn’t balanced on the horse's back), so when I told her that was why I wasn’t doing so well, she told me, again, to not make excuses because I had to learn how to ride different horses with different saddles!



Then how she... I don’t like saying this because I find it’s a rude term ... but how she sucks up to the “well-off” parents and students. Obviously when you have a parent that is so nice as to bring you coffee each lesson and doesn’t mind paying for any lesson, riding exam, or equipment you sell them, you can’t help but feel on excellent terms with them.



Then for my riding exam, she kept telling me I would ride X factor. Then one day, I learned there was another girl riding him, but she told me we wouldn’t ride at the same time and we’d each use him. NOw, it’s the lesson before the exam (and the day before) and I happen to have a lesson with the girl who rides him too. My trainer organizes the lessons so she could have put her later with her twin sister, but she had a last minute invitation to see a horse show. Obviously she wanted to go, so she squeezed her lessons together. I don’t blame her on that, as it was really an opportunity that would have been silly to miss (her friend offered to take her to see Cavalia, and they were VIP, floor tickets). However I still didn’t like how right before my exam she was putting me on a horse I never rode before, and I needed to practice my canter on X. Charlie, the horse I rode, was good and wasn’t too difficult to control so there wasn’t a problem at the walk and trot. I couldn’t practice my canter on him though because she said he was too hard or something. My trainer tried to reassure me and say I would surely be fine tomorrow for my exam . No, I told myself, I won’t be fine. I was having trouble with X and the canter lately. I couldn’t keep him cantering and was hoping to practice it one last time with him that day. I tried to have faith in my trainer, so I told myself I would be ok. One practice at the canter won't change anything.

The girl who was riding X cantered him beautifully and was kind enough to offer to dismount and let me canter him. I was touched, but I was sad at the same that my trainer hadn’t thought of that instead. It was a good thing I did practice, because my canter on him was a disaster, but because of that last experience I knew what to fix for my exam, so it was all good in the end.
The next day was the exam, and unlike what my trainer had said, I was not to ride X. I knew the girl was going to the exam at the same time as me, but I thought we would ride at different times like my trainer told me. She said she just realized THAT DAY that we couldn’t both ride him, so she said since the other girl never rode Charlie, I would ride him, and we’d switch again for the canter. Charlie was a good horse, a little head strong but it went well... but the issue is that why couldn’t she just be frank with me and say that the we couldn’t both ride him finally? I'm sure she realized before and I would have liked it if she had been honest with me! At least I would have had been prepared for what was coming ahead. (Not that it ended drastically and Charlie made me fail or anything, but she is my trainer and in my opinion she should have told me before). The other girl does ride X better at the canter (we’re pretty equal when it comes to trot and walk), but I think the fact that she got to ride him and I didn’t, was partly (not completely, and don't want to blame her for things that aren't necessarily true) but my haunch is that she got to ride him because my trainer is super close to the her rich aunt (that also rides). Whatever the reason, I don't' care if I didn't get to ride him, but she could have at least told me before the day of the exam that it would not be possible.


Lastly,
I don’t like how she doesn’t treat me or encourage me the same way she used to. I know that she truly wants me to improve and become a good rider, but I feel as if she doesn’t do everything she can anymore to do what is best for me.

As I mentioned before, the horses were really fresh. My horse mostly. X is great when he is ridden regularly and isn't allowed to stock up big amounts of energy, but when he does, he's like a canon ball. Now after X had taken off at the trot poles despite my firm half of halts, and jumped the poles and cantered off as if we were doing a jump course, she made me canter him a bit to burn the energy and then when I stopped him she asked me to come and see her in the middle. She made me come because she again, wanted to tell me he was just fresh and then started saying to us how we were all solid enough to control our horses even when they have lots of energy. She then started telling another student a bit younger than I, how she wouldn’t have given another student Coco unless they had as much experience as her. That she knew she was good enough to control her.



I couldn’t believe she had just said that. I used to ride Coco, and she is the sweetest and best horse of the barn. She always tries her best, never misbehaves, when she get’s fresh she just trots faster. She’s the perfect lesson horse that just gives you the challenge of having to give the right cues clearly, and then she does the rest for you. You never need to insist with Coco as she is always so willing when she understands what you want... and here my trainer was telling her she let her ride Coco because she knew she was able to control her safely. And then here I was trying to keep X under control and stop him from cantering around the whole arena like a hyper racehorse (and I did a decent job of it and I’m proud of myself because had this happened a few months back, I would surely have fallen off. I thought my trainer would also be somewhat proud of my progress and decent control (as I did struggle to do so), but she leaves me standing there and goes to the other student with a much easier horse and starts telling her how she admires how well she can ride. I don’t want to sound jealous, because I find it good that my trainer encourages younger riders like that, but that comment was almost insulting.

I think I’ll stop ranting now.
     
    11-19-2011, 06:56 PM
  #6
Super Moderator
HIdalgo,

I have't read the whole thread, (I'll go back later and read your gigantic writing!)
But I wanted to comment on your feeling that it's all your fault.

I disagree ! It isn't your fault. From what you have said, the you noticed the horse felt "off" and his behavior was abnormal. It's a horsewoman's responsibility to be aware of these things. Our horse's can't speak to us, so we must know when they are 'telling ' us something isnt right.

Horses are very emotional creatures. They are usually extrememly honest about their feeling, and it shows in their behavior. It sounds to me that X had some really negative feeling going on, either from discomfort or from other reasons, such as being hungry , ditracted, lacking sleep, you name it. I am not saying that he be allowed to behave poorly, but that you cannot blame yourself or deny the reality of his emotional state and how it will affect your experience with him.

I think you may not have the option of round penning or lunging where you are, no? But if you can mount up a few minutes earlier and do a lot of walking around , changing directions , stretching him down and then back up and getting a feel for his emotional state. That will help.

If you COULD do work on a lungeline or round pen ahead of time, it would help a lot. But just riding him for 10 minutes where you really focus on doing what his mind needs doing. Maybe a good long trot on a loose rein. I dunno.
Then alone comes your lesson and you have to conform to the instructor, whatever the mood of the horse. Such is life.

Anyway, never discount the importance of where your horse's mind is in how he will behave, and dont' blame yourself. How you deal with that is what you will work on but it's unlikely that you are the cause of it.
     
    11-19-2011, 08:09 PM
  #7
Started
Thanks so much tiny. You always make me feel better. :) I need to call my trainer to schedule my next lesson, and I'll ask her if I can come earlier and let X run loose in the arena with the miniature so he can get his energy out. I've done that a few times before when my trainer thought of it, so I'm sure she'll say yes to that. :)

Yes my text is huge, please just browse it. It's mostly me just ranting and getting everything off of my heart, as everything I wrote, I haven't told anyone.
     
    11-19-2011, 08:24 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
I did read it, large as it was. Good for my miopic eyes!

I can see your point, and hers. I remember your thread about whether it's better to take the canter when it feels right vs when teach says to do it. And my feeling was it should feel right. Learning to "feel" of the horse is part of leaving beginning riding behind and going onward.

But, if you say enought times that this or that wasn't right, your instructor might think you are trying to blame circumstance or avoid umconfortable things. She may think you just need a little bit of a "push" sometimes. Some students do need a bit of a push.
We do have a special kind of love/hate relationsip with our trainers. Maybe it's becasue of the presence of fear and risk. In any case, I was really often irritated at my old trainer. I would not work well with her now, but at the time, she really pushed me out of my comfort zone and I learned a lot from her.
There will come a time when you'll know that it's time to move on; with a new instructor and maybe a new horse situation. You'll know.
     
    11-19-2011, 08:41 PM
  #9
Started
Quote:
But, if you say enought times that this or that wasn't right, your instructor might think you are trying to blame circumstance or avoid umconfortable things. She may think you just need a little bit of a "push" sometimes. Some students do need a bit of a push.
I think your right about that. :)

Quote:
There will come a time when you'll know that it's time to move on; with a new instructor and maybe a new horse situation. You'll know.
I thought today this was the time, but I think now that I just wanted to run away to an easier trainer and horse. I don't think that anymore though. I think there are still things to be learned and I just need to trust my trainer more, and things will consequently go better. You can't learn from someone if you don't really trust them. And about X, well although I want to ride a horse that doesn't give me too much trouble because I work hard for my money and I want every lesson to count and be enjoyable, he really does give me experience and is maybe preparing me for an amazing horse I will one day have or ride, and that will require all the experience I've gained from X.
tinyliny likes this.
     
    11-19-2011, 08:44 PM
  #10
Foal
When he was tossing his head to try to run away from your contact, you said you shortened your reins. I have seen this turn into a vicious cycle. The horse will toss its head, being bratty or whatever, so the rider tightens the reins, the horse gets more agitated and starts to get fresh, so the rider tightens the reins, so the horse continues to toss it's head and try to escape the pressure, and so on. I don't know if this was the case with you and, X, but I've seen it happen so many times, I thought I'd throw it out there. Good luck with him!
     

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