Lesson horse behaviour - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 35 Old 12-05-2011, 08:40 AM
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I'm not impressed with your instructor, from what you say here. If you "keep pulling on the reins," even on a school horse, you'll just end up in a pulling contest with a hard-mouthed horse who has learned she can plow through the bit whenever she wants. Which is probably what this school horse has become due to receiving such treatment daily, as I doubt you're the only student with whom she does this.

You should pull and release, repeatedly, until the horse stops, or make the horse execute a series of tight turns and circles (there are a variety of ways to handle this) but more importantly, you would be better off with an instructor who could help you improve your riding and horse handling, rather than shout at you for not knowing things she hasn't taught you.

The way I look at it -- if you're in a riding school paying good money to take lessons and you're feeling like you need to ask a bunch of random people on the internet how to deal with various horse problems, then you're riding school isn't doing its job!

Last edited by thesilverspear; 12-05-2011 at 08:45 AM.
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post #22 of 35 Old 12-05-2011, 08:53 PM
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It took awhile but my young horse will stop when I do three things somewhat at the same time, sit heavy in the saddle, lift the reins, (not pull) and say "whoa". When she stops I drop the reins. I started this when I first started her under saddle. Sounds easy but it takes time, patience and persistance.
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post #23 of 35 Old 12-06-2011, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Once when I was trying to slow her down I did give her some rein and then continued pulling, but then my instructor gave me a lecture on how I shouldn't give her any rein until she has done what I have asked for. I can't really do circles to slow her down as ther are usually other people in the lesson and Saffy kicks other horses when they get too near to her.

I see what your saying about the teaching quality but I wouldn't know what stable to move to or where to start if I was going to move. I have only been at this stable a few months and they are loads better than the one I used to go to. My old stable never asked me to groom or pick out feet and the horses were always in their stalls and were tacked up all day. At least at this stables I am learning some things about horse care.

it is annoying how sometimes they expect me to know things though. Maybe they forget I haven't been riding as long as some of the other 14 year olds (I've only been riding a year and a half). It really upsets me when I get told I've been riding long enough to know things, because if I knew how to do stuff I would do it! Also, during my lessons I feel that I can't disagree with what my instructor is saying because she will just tell me i'm wrong.

In a lesson the other week there was this girl on a pony who was going to canter. The pony is really hard to get into canter so she was told to give the pony a smack with her whip while she was in walk so that it would wake up go into canter better. She was asking why but my instructor wasn't answering, she just kept telling her to do it. Eventully the girl did hit the horse and it bucked and then went into a canter. I don't know why she wouldn't answer the question.
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post #24 of 35 Old 12-06-2011, 12:28 PM
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I don't like the sound of your instructor.. I would be looking for someone different.

I've noticed that when you take lessons from people versus when you have your own horse and take lessons.. they are much different. When I used to take lessons, everyone never bothered to explain things, just told me to do whatever and yell at me when I got worked up. Now that I have my own horse, the instructors go out on a limb to help me and explain things because they know I will fire them if they aren't being respectful or not caring enough to make sure I understand the mechanics behind every tap or why I play with the reins or why my horse does this or that. They work WITH me.

You need to stand up to this instructor. Tell her you have a lot of gaps that need filling with answers and explanations. You need to know WHY you do things, and if you don't agree with them, tell her. If she yells at you, calmly tell her that you are trying to learn, and if you aren't learning then you will find someone that is willing to TEACH, not tell, you.

You are paying for these lessons, and if you don't even have a good instructor that can help you figure things out, then you are wasting your energy and quite frankly, your money too.

The lesson horses come with the territory. Once you get a better handle on what to do and WHY, then they will start giving you more respect instead of a hard time. But I think the main issue you are having is communication issues with your instructor.. maybe even a teaching method clash.

Something I tell myself when I'm looking for a good instructor:
"They need to work well with ME AND MY HORSE"
Since you are using lesson horses:
"They need to have a learning style that works well with me"

I hope it only takes a conversation to turn your lessons around :)

Have you tried talking to your instructor at the end of lessons about why you did things, etc?
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post #25 of 35 Old 12-08-2011, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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I had my lesson yesterday. The stable owner was teaching me so and it was a good lesson. I tacked Charlie up with Christine (stable owner) watching/helping me and she told me not to bother picking his feet out because he is a bit stroppy with it. She told me that as he is becoming grumpier and is kicking, we have to flick him with the whip on his hindquarters. When I tightened the girth he kicked and she gave him a flick and he didn't kick out again. It was a bit strange at the beginning of the lesson because they had a horse show that they had to get to at the end of my lesson so my lesson started 15 mins early which meant I had to be in the same lesson as the group before me for 15 mins. After that we did some work on slowing Charlie down in trot my rising slower and speeding up by rising faster (which was hard because it felt like I was banging down on the saddle) and stopping just by pulling on one rein.

When we got onto cantering Charlie did a huge buck and his hoof made contact with the fence around the school making a huge bag which scared me a bit and I lost some of my rein so when he was cantering and I was being told to slow down my reins were too loose. When He did stop Christine told me that I'm the only person that he reacts too like that and asked me what I did with my legs. I showed her (one leg behind girth and one on the girth) and she asked me whether my legs had gone too far back. I didn't think that they had. The only other conclusion she could come to was that I had given a small kick not a slight squeeze. She said that my main problem is that I over ride and that he knows that he will be going into canter when I go sitting so be only needs a small aid. After that we did some sitting trot work (and he kept trying to go into canter). All my canters after that were good, I just need to not flap around so much.

Then the girl in my group (who is about 8) was being really annoying and kept saying that she wanted to jump. It was too windy to jump because the poles would fall off but we shortened up our stirrups and were told to go into trot in jumping position. I have never trotted with short stirrups let alone go into jumping position trotting. I was all over the place! When we stopped I told Christine that I have never done that before and she seemed surprised. She told me to watch the other girl do jumping position in trot and then I had another go.

After the lesson Charlie was untacked for me because they needed to be quick to get to the show on time.

My mum said that I will have my riding lesson next week but after that I will miss two lessons so that she can save some money and to hopefully make the stables realise that they need to stop messing us about (They only phoned up yesterday morning to tell us to get to the lesson 15 mins early and they have me in a group that they even admitted isn't right for me, but they aren't doing anything about it. Every week I have no idea how many people are going to be in my group).
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post #26 of 35 Old 12-16-2011, 05:03 PM
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I've boarded at a stable with lesson horses for years now, and I've always seen this behavior in the more popular school horses. It simply comes from beginners not being able to correct the horse, and the horse learns bad behaviors. My horse was the most well-mannered horse ever before he became a school horse - now I find myself working with him once a week at least to make sure he maintains his manners. The hoof thing is something I just try to hang on to the hoof as long as I can for, and if they do get it away then I pick it right back up even if I was finished with it.
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post #27 of 35 Old 12-16-2011, 06:16 PM
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Its important to pick out the feet to make sure there are no stones or
cuts on the hoof

Country Woman

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post #28 of 35 Old 12-17-2011, 04:20 PM
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Sometimes you have to inflict some negative reinforcement to get discipline.

Case in point, the horse I lease suddenly developed some nasty stall manners. She would turn around to kick if I tried to halter her up in her stall.

The next time that happened I went to the tack room and grabbed a dressage whip and went back for her. The moment she turned around on me I let her have a painful (full force) lash on her hindquarter and a loud, assertive NO. Then I would back off and wait a few seconds then go back in the stall quietly and gently with the whip lowered but ready for action.

It took about four or five instances of that before she realized that I am the dominant one and will not tolerate disrespectful and dangerous behavior from her.
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post #29 of 35 Old 12-17-2011, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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I try to make sure I pick up his hoof is he puts it down, but it's hard when I have only got a certain amount of time before the lesson has to start. In fact, often tacking up can take 10-15 mins and that means I often only have 45 min lessons when I'm paying for an hour. I do turn up early but I don't know which horse I am on for my lessons so I have to wait for someone to tell me.

I know that I really should be checking feet, but when I'm told not to bother by the stable owner I can't really go against what she says.

I would like to be able to punish the horses more for their misbehavior, but if I suddenly started to bring whips over to the horse when I'm tacking up and whacking them people will think I am being horrible, especially as no one else does things like that.
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post #30 of 35 Old 12-17-2011, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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I can't really try out anything for a while now anyway as my mum has said I can't have riding lessons over Christmas to save some money so it will be three weeks until I ride again :(
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