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Lesson horse behaviour

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  • My horse tries to boss me around

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    11-27-2011, 02:16 PM
  #11
Foal
I don't know if he has been checked, I'm only at the stables once a week and I'm not really close with anyone there for them to tell me. Kids just avoid him and adjust to his behavior. I think he had a bad back a while ago though and I remember thinking at the time it was strange that people were still riding him (but it might not have been him with the bad back though, as I said I don't really know what goes on much).

An unrelated story, but a while back, a horse I rode bucked me off and afterwards I heard my instructor talking to the stable owner and saying that her saddle didn't fit her and had slipped too far forward.
     
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    11-28-2011, 05:58 PM
  #12
Foal
Yikes, I had the same problem with a horse last week-end. Big horse, Percheron and I went to get him from his field to lead him to the barn. Well, he wanted to eat grass and I let him pull me around. I guess he was just taking advantage of me. Next time I will let him know who is the boss and not let him boss me around!! LOL I never had a problem with other horses but I think the fact that he is sooooo big scares me. If he decided to run away there is no way that I could stop him!
     
    12-01-2011, 12:02 AM
  #13
Yearling
As most have already pointed out, the horse is calling the shots and not you. If you're not there daily it would help if any other people making use of this horse could help out. Any time he takes his foot from you (even if you've just finished with it) take it back, pick it out and brush it more. Establish with the horse that you determine when the foot is finished. Hold the foot and lower it to the ground. If he slams it down and out of your hand, pick it back up, bush it and try putting it down easy again. It might take time. When I was training my mare it took me a month of daily work to teach her that her feet stayed up as long as I needed them. She went to her knee many times. Jerked her foot free even more often, but the end result was that she spent more time with her foot up and me cleaning it many times over until she held it still and allowed me to put it down gently every single time. When they do it correctly, praise them and if they are food driven try little treats (avoid sweets...a hey cube can work nicely). They will usually quickly catch on to what you require by way of good behavior and are usually happy to comply for a reward.
Back feet can be tougher if they are kicking. Being more careful and aware. First mission should be to train them not to kick. Rewards have worked well for me in this area too.
Some people have issues useing food/treats rewards. The horses will start out expecting it once you've successfully established it. But as with anything else, a little time working with them and you can ween them past it (after they've learned to do what is required)
This is not a quick fix. It's lessons for a long term fix.
I bought a 3 year old filly that hadn't had much done with her front feet and would not let her hind feet be touched. It took two months of work, but at the end of two months you could do what ever we needed for as long as it took. To the point that she'd rest her hind foot in the holder even if you had to go get a sharper knive to cut back her bars. Do it as a one person job with no one holding her.
Now if that sounds overly
simple, it's not. That's the result of daily work for 60 days. You start out rewarding for even the smallest action that is the direction you want to go.
Example for the hind feet, which were the most difficult. Started out just getting her to let me rub all of her hind legs down to the hoof. Praised and rewarded her for it. After that was no longer a problem we worked on her foot coming up. If she liften her heel she was rewarded until lifting her heel was easy. Then allow her foot to be touched with her heel lifted. Continue with small stages until they will give you their foot and let you do what it's needed. It's all done with little steps and rewards for any progress. No rewards for negative actions.
Most horses will catch on. They like praise and rewards. Take patience, time, patience, care for safety, patience, consistancy, patience, determination. Did I mention that it will take patience? :))
     
    12-01-2011, 10:27 AM
  #14
Green Broke
Where is your instructor during all this? You're there to learn, not get yelled at for what you don't know.
It doesn't sound like this barn has the best interests of the horses or riders in mind.
Ask yourself if you are looking forward to your next lesson with joy or anxiety. If it is the latter please consider changing barns.
     
    12-01-2011, 11:49 AM
  #15
Foal
I had my lesson yesterday and was on a different horse, Saffy, and I was amazed at the difference. She doesn't try to stamp her feet down and doesn't kick when I pick out her back feet. She was more challenging to ride, but on the ground she was great.

When I ride Charlie next I will try to keep lifting his feet up until he stops slamming them down, but It's hard when I'm having to quickly tack him up before a lesson and I can't spend 15 minutes trying to teach him manners.

Its lbs not miles- that's some good advice, but its hard to do all of it when I only see Charlie once a week and sometimes, when I'm on different horses, not even that. It would be hard to get other people who ride him to try to get him to lift his feet nicely because he must have lots of different riders and I don't know who they are.

Natisha- I do look forward to my lessons, but I don't look forward to tacking up because I feel self-concious and that I'm doing things wrong. Some people at the stables, like my instructors, expect me to be able to do everything, ans some people, like the girls that help out there, do everything for me and don't let me help out. Its hard to get the balance right.

Another question that arose from the lesson - Saffy doesn't slow down very quickly. My instructor tells me to keep pulling on the reins and tells me off for giving her rein until she has. I feel horrible having to pull with all my might on the reins for about 10 seconds before she slows down/stops. I hear people on this forum talking about light rein contact and only having to give the reins a squeeze and the horse slows down and I see the pictures caused by bits and I worry that I am hurting her, but if I don't keep pulling on the reins she won't stop. Is this normal lesson horse behaviour?
     
    12-01-2011, 12:19 PM
  #16
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by natisha    
Where is your instructor during all this? You're there to learn, not get yelled at for what you don't know.
It doesn't sound like this barn has the best interests of the horses or riders in mind.
Ask yourself if you are looking forward to your next lesson with joy or anxiety. If it is the latter please consider changing barns.
I'd have to agree with this. If you are doing something wrong or if you are having a hard time getting the horse to do what you want him to do on the ground then an instructor should step in and instruct you on a proper, better way to go about things. If my instructor ever said to me, "You've been riding long enough to know this," I'd quickly respond with, "Well, it seems you never taught me so how about doing so NOW? That is, after all what you are paid to do!" I'm not an advocate of getting snippy with people but such unproductive comments deserve to be put back in their place.

After 20 years of riding someone FINALLY showed me the proper way to pick up a horse's hoof. You know what I might do if I were you? Find a farrier to give you some pointers on how to manage horses who don't stand well for hoof picking. I bet they know ALL the tricks of the trade, so to speak.

And try once more the talk to your instructor. Be very specific: "I'm having difficulty leading my horse around and switching his bridle to his halter. Could we spend a few minutes of my lesson time today or afterwards to work on the ground with him so that you can show me a better way to handle him?" Heck, if I were your instructor (not that I am an instructor) I would donate my time to a student who was having difficulty with the basics yet willing to learn rather than just complain about it or give up.

You are a great student; you deserve quality instruction.
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    12-01-2011, 09:45 PM
  #17
Weanling
Sounds like he's trying to see what he can get away with... Reminds me of a certain Paint Horse I know *cough cough* Joker *cough cough* Like some of the others have already said, do not be afraid to discipline him! When you are picking out his hooves you really need to PUSH!!! Do not let him put his hooves down! If his hooves slip out of your hand, then pick it right back up! When you take his bridle off, first put a halter around his neck (not too tight of course) But do NOT tie his halter up to something! If he pulls back while it's around his neck, he can flip over backwards and break his neck... So anyways, if he tries to walk off while you're unbridling him, just grab the halter real quick, tell him woah, and back him up to where you had him before. When he tries to eat the grass, you can:
A: Push his mouth with your boot (not too hard)
B: Hit his side with the lead rope and cluck
C: Twirl the end of the lead rope
Hope this helps!
     
    12-01-2011, 11:36 PM
  #18
Trained
Remember also that while few are strong enough to overpower a horse's neck straight back, many can do it to the side. If my horse wants to eat and won't bring UP his head, then his head is coming to the side - WAY to the side.

Once bent to the side, it isn't too hard to lift up. Their neck muscles give them strength in a direct line. They don't have a lot of twisting strength.
     
    12-02-2011, 08:45 AM
  #19
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by vergo97    
Another question that arose from the lesson - Saffy doesn't slow down very quickly. My instructor tells me to keep pulling on the reins and tells me off for giving her rein until she has. I feel horrible having to pull with all my might on the reins for about 10 seconds before she slows down/stops. I hear people on this forum talking about light rein contact and only having to give the reins a squeeze and the horse slows down and I see the pictures caused by bits and I worry that I am hurting her, but if I don't keep pulling on the reins she won't stop. Is this normal lesson horse behaviour?
I know what you mean, but I think that the light rein contact discussions usually have to do with people's own horses, not with lesson horses. Lesson horses don't usually have the kind of sensitivity to the aids that involves light rein contact.

You do need to pull on the reins, probably harder than you think you ought. I had a lot of trouble with this for the same reasons you do - I don't want to ride with heavy hands, I don't want to yank on the horse's mouth, etc. One thing that REALLY helped me was when I was walking my horse, my trainer walked right next to us and took the inside rein and put the right amount of contact on it, and then had me hold that, so I could see how much the "right amount" was.

This was on my horse, and is is VERY sensitive to the aids, and it was still a very surprising amount of contact to me! It was much more firm than I had been using.

It is not actually a favor to the horse to keep contact that is too light, because (what I've been told) the bit can bang around in their mouth if the contact is too light. Also, if the contact is too light the horse will not be sure what you are asking for, and if the horse things that you're not sure about what you are doing, it will either try to take control of the situation, or it will just stop going until you make up your mind.

The other thing is that it is not good to just haul away on the reins and get in a pulling contest. What works a lot better is to kind of massage the bit in the horse's mouth. You would pull back but then give a little and then pull and then give, etc. instead of just pulling and pulling and pulling.
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    12-05-2011, 07:46 AM
  #20
Foal
My parents horse used to stomp her foot down when you were picking it out, I took to just holding onto it and making her hop around on 3 legs til she got bored and let me pick it out. Not easy since there's 520kg of her but worth it as she's a dream to pick out now.
     

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