I feel so bad - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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I feel so bad

So my ride today was just awful...... Flash is so barn sour it's not funny. I walked him into the arena and didnt close the small gate and all he did was head for the gate sometimes he's ok and sometimes he's not. After 20 minutes of riding in the arena we walked out to go back to his stall. He got super antsy and tried to bolt and ignored my commands. ( I know I'm new to riding again, but I do know I don't send mixed signals when I whoa him and pull back/down on the reins for him to stop.) he got worked up even more and started rearing and I got so fed up with it I yanked back really hard on the reins and I startled him, but he stopped. Now I feel like complete crap that I hurt him...we walked back to his stall and I untacked him and you know how horses eyes sometimes run? Well his left one was and looked like he was crying and I don't want to ride anymore because I feel awful. I gave him some peppermints before I left and he let me kiss his nose. What would you have done in that situation? Do you think I hurt him?
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 12:56 AM
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No, you didn't hurt him. You got just got his attention. Sometimes you need to raise the energy to grab a horses attention so that they realize that a certain behavior isn't acctable.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Copperhead View Post
No, you didn't hurt him. You got just got his attention. Sometimes you need to raise the energy to grab a horses attention so that they realize that a certain behavior isn't acctable.
That made me feel tons better. Thank you for the input, I appreciate that. I still feel bad though I can't keep doing that every time can I?
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 01:07 AM
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Are you still under instruction? If it were me, I would spend a couple days walking him into the arena, doing a bit of work, walking him back to the barn, and then walking him back to the arena for more work. Make him know that even though you are going to the barn, you aren't working yet.

But the situation could become dangerous if you don't know how to really train him. Rearing is dangerous and it could get worse if it's not addressed professionally.
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 01:10 AM
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Do I think you hurt him? Probably gave him a good startle, and depending on how hard you yanked, you could have very well made his mouth tender, yes. Do I think it will have a lasting impression? No. Do I think that you need to have a different way of dealing with the situation? YES.
I do suggest that you think about your plan of action should this happen again in the future. Instead of pulling straight back (which in most situations just hypes the horse up) disengage the hindquarters and do lots of circles to get the horse's attention back on you. Bring his nose right around to your knee if need be, and get him thinking about nothing but you.
When a horse is amped up and threatening to rear, the LAST thing you want to do is not give them a route "out" and pull back on the reins. When a horse is set to rear, they feel trapped and feel that they have no direction to go but UP - instead, disengage that as soon as you feel him get a bit "up" and do some small circles, or completely disengage him with what is essentially a turn on the forehand.
Learn from this experience and become a better horseperson from it. It would do you well to talk to a trainer about "what if" situations and how to deal with them properly, just in case you run into something in the future; I call that having lots of tools in your training toolkit - always there ready for action. You wouldn't go trying to do finishing carpentry with just a hammer and some nails; you need to know what tools are necessary for certain jobs, and how and when to use them. Same with riding - I have a lot of tips and tricks up my sleeve just in case, though I'll be glad to never have to use them again - hah.


Edited to Add:
Are you direct reining with the bit in your avatar? If so, I spy a big problem; that is one hell of a curb bit, only to be used on a very well trained horse and a very well trained rider - the idea is that the horse works off of leg and seat aids, and a bit of neck reining. If you're direct (plow) reining with that bit, no wonder he started thinking "UP!!!" when you pulled back when he got antsy. You need another bit if you're direct-reining or are not completely 100% on the money with neck reining and seat/leg signals.


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Last edited by JustDressageIt; 07-27-2012 at 01:13 AM.
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JustDressageIt View Post
Do I think you hurt him? Probably gave him a good startle, and depending on how hard you yanked, you could have very well made his mouth tender, yes. Do I think it will have a lasting impression? No. Do I think that you need to have a different way of dealing with the situation? YES.
I do suggest that you think about your plan of action should this happen again in the future. Instead of pulling straight back (which in most situations just hypes the horse up) disengage the hindquarters and do lots of circles to get the horse's attention back on you. Bring his nose right around to your knee if need be, and get him thinking about nothing but you.
When a horse is amped up and threatening to rear, the LAST thing you want to do is not give them a route "out" and pull back on the reins. When a horse is set to rear, they feel trapped and feel that they have no direction to go but UP - instead, disengage that as soon as you feel him get a bit "up" and do some small circles, or completely disengage him with what is essentially a turn on the forehand.
Learn from this experience and become a better horseperson from it. It would do you well to talk to a trainer about "what if" situations and how to deal with them properly, just in case you run into something in the future; I call that having lots of tools in your training toolkit - always there ready for action. You wouldn't go trying to do finishing carpentry with just a hammer and some nails; you need to know what tools are necessary for certain jobs, and how and when to use them. Same with riding - I have a lot of tips and tricks up my sleeve just in case, though I'll be glad to never have to use them again - hah.


Edited to Add:
Are you direct reining with the bit in your avatar? If so, I spy a big problem; that is one hell of a curb bit, only to be used on a very well trained horse and a very well trained rider - the idea is that the horse works off of leg and seat aids, and a bit of neck reining. If you're direct (plow) reining with that bit, no wonder he started thinking "UP!!!" when you pulled back when he got antsy. You need another bit if you're direct-reining or are not completely 100% on the money with neck reining and seat/leg signals.
Oh I know there will be no lasting impression from it. Last time we had this issue I did pull him in circles for 15 minutes...but where I ride people park their cars everywhere and he nearly backed up into a freaking car so I had to stop and let him go his way to avoid someones car being damaged. It is frustrating. Yes I use the curb bit as that is the one his owner requested. Last time I put him in a simple snaffle it was some effort to get him to respond so I figure why go to a less harsh bit when he barely listens with a harsher bit? I am usually very light on his mouth. He does neck rein, but when he is on a mission to get back to his stall he totally ignores the neck rein and my seat/leg cues. I just don't know what to do!
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 01:57 AM
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I figure why go to a less harsh bit when he barely listens with a harsher bit?
Because he will eventually get desensitized to your harsh bit, and then you will have to get one that's harsher, and harsher, and harsher. If you had to yank down on him to get his attention two-handed in a curb bit, you are pretty far gone. I would go straight into a rope halter or a snaffle and work on sensitizing him to the bit, not desensitizing.

If a horse is ramped up and rearing when you are pulling back on him, pulling back even more is worse. At this point I would suggest getting off and lunging him in front of the gate, then let him rest at the far end of the area.

I would first invest in some natural horsemanship ground control. Hip disengagements and casual circles in particular. These are tools you can use when you ride to get your horse's attention back on you. During a hip disengagement, it is very difficult for a horse to rear or bolt off, and it also forces them to work extremely hard in a small space.

I would never, ever yank on my horse's face, even to "raise the energy" to get their attention. The last thing the horse needs is his energy to be raised. The horse needs to spend his energy, and a lot of it, through soft hands and a given direction. If I want to get my horse's focus back, I do hip disengagements until the cows come home, and then I do some more. I want those back feet to be spinning and crossing as fast as they can, but also to be supple with my inside rein and give-and-take appropriately. The good thing about hip disengagements is that you can do them one-rein in a halter, and easier in a snaffle than a curb.
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Last edited by oh vair oh; 07-27-2012 at 02:00 AM.
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 02:07 AM
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I will respond to the curb but when I have a full keyboard. That bit, IMO, is for finished horses that work off of leg, seat and LIGHT neck rein aids. IMO you need a different bit. That one will not help you one iota, other than having lots of "whoa," which shouldn't be what a bit is for anyways.
You need a bit that is direct rein compatible. You need more tools in your toolkit so you know what to do when stuff like this comes up, and not jam his mouth in your frustration. Is he not your horse? If not, I would approach the owner about what happened and ask for guidance in how to deal with it better next time.
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 02:07 AM
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Originally Posted by PurpleMonkeyWrench View Post
So my ride today was just awful...... Flash is so barn sour it's not funny. I walked him into the arena and didnt close the small gate and all he did was head for the gate sometimes he's ok and sometimes he's not. After 20 minutes of riding in the arena we walked out to go back to his stall. He got super antsy and tried to bolt and ignored my commands. ( I know I'm new to riding again, but I do know I don't send mixed signals when I whoa him and pull back/down on the reins for him to stop.) he got worked up even more and started rearing and I got so fed up with it I yanked back really hard on the reins and I startled him, but he stopped. Now I feel like complete crap that I hurt him...we walked back to his stall and I untacked him and you know how horses eyes sometimes run? Well his left one was and looked like he was crying and I don't want to ride anymore because I feel awful. I gave him some peppermints before I left and he let me kiss his nose. What would you have done in that situation? Do you think I hurt him?


What are your preparations before riding and taking him into the arena? I used to have problems with my mare, and lunging her before a ride solved my problems completely. Do you lunge before riding? I think that is very important for a lot of horses especially depending on how much they do get ridden because they get that antsy bad energy out and they pay attention to what you are asking of them much better. But don't feel to bad, it is better for you to let him know he is doing something bad then to let him get away with it because then he will continue to take adavantage of you. If you give a horse and inch they can take a mile sometimes. But I do think it is important to try to prevent that from happening.

"It is not enough to know how to ride, you must also know how to fall."
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-27-2012, 02:10 AM
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Everyone else is covering the other questions in your post pretty well, so I'll just add - horses don't cry when they're upset. What you saw is probably a reaction to an insect or some dust getting in the eye.
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