Noobie questions about horse behavior
   

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Noobie questions about horse behavior

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  • Horse behaviour - planting feet
  • Horse behavior questions

 
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    05-10-2011, 06:22 PM
  #1
Weanling
Noobie questions about horse behavior

I have recently started taking hunt-seat lessons. I like the stables a lot - the lessons started with grooming and hoof-picking, which is great because I think I might want to have my own horse some day and need to know how to take care of them. I actually really like the grooming part, even the hoofs. I am pretty sure these horses know that I am a total rookie, though!

My first question is this: sometimes when I am leading the horse into the ring (prior to mounting and riding) he will just plant his feet and stop. He does not slick his ears back or anything. It looks more like "Oh, you mean I have to WORK now? Boo."

I'm not really sure what is the most effective way to deal with this. I think it doesn't make a lot of sense for a 180lb two-footer to get into a tugging match with a 1,500lb four-footer. What I have done if I have gotten a little ahead, I go back to his head and give him a little Talking-To. Tell him not to be silly, time to work, etc. And then I just step out with the assumption that he's going to follow along. So far it has worked, but I don't know if I'm just lucky.

So when you're on foot, leading a horse, and he doesn't feel like going where you want him to go, what's the best way to deal with that?

My second question is this: this horse does a lot of yanking on his bit. I responded to this by letting some slack into the reins. The instructor said that it is not because I am holding the reins wrong, she said it is because he knows there are inexperienced hands on the reins and he thinks he can get away with it. She made me take the slack back up.

This is actually a couple of questions:

What is it that makes hands experienced vs. inexperienced (other than experience, right...I mean, what is the difference to the *horse*)?

What should I do about this tossing? Is that something that I just need to put up with? Or is there something I ought to be doing to discourage it?

It startles me a little bit. I do not yet know how to know when he is going to do it. If I am holding the reins where the instructor wants me to, and he yerks his head down, it pulls my hands forward.

(I don't have a problem asking my teacher these questions - I just didn't think of them at the time, and I don't have another lesson until later in the week.)

Thanks for any insights!
     
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    05-11-2011, 04:52 AM
  #2
Weanling
Question 1:So when you're on foot, leading a horse, and he doesn't feel like going where you want him to go, what's the best way to deal with that?

I would stand at the horses shoulder and throw the lead rope from around my back to get him in the flank. Not hard just enough to get your point across. Most horse see when your positioning yourself to do it and move before you can tell them to LOL

Question 2: What is it that makes hands experienced vs. inexperienced (other than experience, right...I mean, what is the difference to the *horse*)?

With more experience, you can send mini signals to your horse without much notice. Also your hand are stiller and move with a purpose.

Question 3: What should I do about this tossing? Is that something that I just need to put up with? Or is there something I ought to be doing to discourage it?

Well first of all it could be something that the horse is trying to tell you. Something annoying it. Or it could be that the horse leans and pulls and gets rewarded for it. You should sit strong and push the horse forward.
A question for you - do you ride the horse the whole lesson in a contact?? Or do you drop the rein, let it all out and rest on the buckle on the wither??
If not, the horse is trying to get relief for the hard work, you should let the horse have his head when your standing around talking or watching.

Hope this helps
     
    05-11-2011, 07:49 AM
  #3
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by corporate pride    
question 3: What should I do about this tossing? Is that something that I just need to put up with? Or is there something I ought to be doing to discourage it?

Well first of all it could be something that the horse is trying to tell you. Something annoying it. Or it could be that the horse leans and pulls and gets rewarded for it. You should sit strong and push the horse forward.
A question for you - do you ride the horse the whole lesson in a contact?? Or do you drop the rein, let it all out and rest on the buckle on the wither??
If not, the horse is trying to get relief for the hard work, you should let the horse have his head when your standing around talking or watching.

Hope this helps
Thanks for the feedback! Especially about the lead rope - I hadn't thought of that at all.

I'm not sure what riding the whole lesson in a contact means. (still picking up the lingo) When I give him a cue with the reins, I let it go when he responds. He does, however, have a tendency to not *stay* stopped, and he definitely wants to inspect the ground to look for edibles. Frequently. I think this is why the instructor told me to take the reins back up after I gave him some slack.
     
    05-11-2011, 08:58 AM
  #4
Showing
Welcome to the forum!

If you are riding him in a snaffle, there should always be some contact with his mouth - very light contact but so that he knows you have the reins in hand. Leaving him slack is his que that it's OK to wonder around and pick at the ground.

Walk him with his head close to your elbow but ~1" off for distance; and (as mentioned), use the long end of lead to swat him on the rump if he stalls on you. Do not stop walking and do not look back - just swat him.
     
    05-11-2011, 09:31 AM
  #5
Banned
Hi Serafina. I've had my rescue 3 years and she does the same thing. My trainer thinks it was because the previous people held her too tight, and I know when I get anxious about signals I think she's sending me (I'm getting ready to act out, I'm going to buck, I want to go faster, etc.) I do the same thing. Finally so it wouldn't be me trying to stop the behavior I tacked her up a couple times and just walked her around the farm, with her reins tied together and over the horn. I gave her plenty of slack but not so she could get her head to the ground. She yanked on the reins but within 15 minutes she figured out she was yanking herself and quit, with her head a reasonable height and slack in the reins. I did it the next time I went and she tried it again, but maybe twice then stopped. Now I'm moving her into a bosal to try and make sure I don't undo what she 'taught' herself. If you're riding a lesson horse, and you're inexperienced, you probably aren't the first one. The trainer knows her horse better than I do of course, but I would imagine he's had his mouth yanked on but a lot of new riders. Yet that's no excuse since you are giving him pressure (rein cue) and then release (slack rein) I hope he straightens up for you soon because you just embarked on a journey that will enrich your life for ever. Cheryl
     

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