How to be more assertive? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 7 Old 03-06-2014, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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How to be more assertive?

As I move up in my lessons I'm beginning to feel that I'm not being assertive enough while riding. Like today for example, one of the mares that I ride in lessons would jerk her head down while I was getting organized after a rest lap and would occasionally catch me off guard. Now, I want to be more assertive as I know it'll be better for both myself and the horse but I think why I don't do it is because I'm "scared" that I'll do something incorrectly and will "hurt" the horse and I think that's something I need to break away from. When on the ground I feel in complete control and don't have problems but when I'm tested in the saddle, I know that I'm not.

Since I know this is something I need to work on and it's rather important, it'll be worked on immediately--but I was just wondering if anyone else had a similar problem when beginning to ride and what helped them become more assertive?

Thank you!
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-06-2014, 09:40 PM
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To discourage the rooting you can lift your inside rein to bring her poll up and have her do some bending and move those feet! Make her realize that rooting will end up putting her out of her comfort zone.

As for the general assertive attitude- it's just something that comes with time and working with many horses- particularly bratty ones. I guarantee the day a horse crosses the line and puts you in physical danger you will need to step up and care for yourself-so you want to start with the little things now :)

Being assertive doesn't necessarily mean harsh, yanking on the mouth, etc. You don't need to start a war with the horse. If they do something they shouldn't, simply shut down that option and guide them to a better one.

Try working on figure eights, serpentine s and other fun patterns to get you off the rail. This will require you to step up as a rider and use your seat, legs and shoulders to tell your horse where to go. It's all part of moving out of being a passive rider and into an active rider.

I apologize if this doesn't make much sense- sometimes things sound better in my mind than when they're out in print.

Good luck!

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-06-2014, 10:08 PM
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It makes perfect sense, ninamebo.
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-07-2014, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninamebo View Post
To discourage the rooting you can lift your inside rein to bring her poll up and have her do some bending and move those feet! Make her realize that rooting will end up putting her out of her comfort zone.

As for the general assertive attitude- it's just something that comes with time and working with many horses- particularly bratty ones. I guarantee the day a horse crosses the line and puts you in physical danger you will need to step up and care for yourself-so you want to start with the little things now :)

Being assertive doesn't necessarily mean harsh, yanking on the mouth, etc. You don't need to start a war with the horse. If they do something they shouldn't, simply shut down that option and guide them to a better one.

Try working on figure eights, serpentine s and other fun patterns to get you off the rail. This will require you to step up as a rider and use your seat, legs and shoulders to tell your horse where to go. It's all part of moving out of being a passive rider and into an active rider.

I apologize if this doesn't make much sense- sometimes things sound better in my mind than when they're out in print.

Good luck!
Sorry for the delayed response! I've been rather busy with school work this evening. Thank you for the comment though and it made perfect sense! I'll have to try some patterns though next time and try to engage a bit more.

Thanks again for the suggestion(:
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-07-2014, 02:35 AM
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Another trick you can use to get her to stop herself from rooting is to set your hands when you know it's coming. So, you're walking a lap and relaxing and you know that pretty soon she's going to pull. Just set your hands and don't let her pull you off balance and forward when she goes to throw her head down. She'll bang herself and her instant reaction will be to lift her head, go ahead and relax your hands then. You have to keep watching for her to "telegraph" what she is going to do next, so you can set yourself up to be ready for it. Hope that made sense.

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post #6 of 7 Old 03-07-2014, 09:51 PM
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I agree with what everyone's said - make her work or make her bump herself on the bit when she goes to root. Or, if you can, try to see what she does before she gets to that point and make her think of something else before she even gets there.

For instance, the mare that I ride will sometimes refuse to turn the way I want her to when I go back to the ring from a rest period in the middle of the arena. If she won't give to the bit, then we just do lots of tiny circles at a good clip in the other direction until I can feel that she's looking for an out, and then I take her back to the wall and have her turn the way that I wanted her to originally. Don't let her think that she can get away scott-free by misbehaving, and always make sure you get your way in the end.

Also, depending on what it is that she does, sometimes getting mad is appropriate. This same mare I ride doesn't like to have a lot of contact on the bit, and if she feels like the reins are too tight or she feels like being bratty (lately she's had a lot of energy and wants to buck a lot), she'll throw her head down and out to pull the reins out of my hands. For a while I just took them back and didn't let her win, but at one point she almost tore me out of the saddle and she got a good smack for it. You need to let them know that enough is enough. The intensity of your corrections need to correlate to the intensity of their misstep.

"If you act like you've only got fifteen minutes, it will take all day. Act like you've got all day, it will take fifteen minutes."
-Monty Roberts
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-07-2014, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
Another trick you can use to get her to stop herself from rooting is to set your hands when you know it's coming. So, you're walking a lap and relaxing and you know that pretty soon she's going to pull. Just set your hands and don't let her pull you off balance and forward when she goes to throw her head down. She'll bang herself and her instant reaction will be to lift her head, go ahead and relax your hands then. You have to keep watching for her to "telegraph" what she is going to do next, so you can set yourself up to be ready for it. Hope that made sense.

I totally agree. I totally agree..........
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