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Stop your horse vs "ask him to stop"

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        02-16-2012, 03:59 AM
      #21
    Trained
    Well I greatly envy for you for having those sorts of opportunities DR, I am so limited here. It is basically the 3 main english disciplines - dressage, show jumping and eventing. Then the hackies (show horses) that I have zero interest in. Western, well there's a few camp drafting comps around, and a little bit of western pleasure stuff, but that's about it. A handful of vaulters come and go. Its all quite boring really!
         
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        02-16-2012, 07:16 AM
      #22
    Yearling
    Last summer, I was cantering -- more of a hand gallop, really -- through the woods near the stable when a child, a lad of about 11 years old, jumped out of a tree and into the middle of the trail, not more than fifteen feet in front of us. My mare did a gallop-halt that would have made a reining horse proud (though I did wonder why that kid, on seeing a galloping horse, thought, "I know, I'll jump out of this tree in front of it." The mare is half Shire -- you can hear her gallop a mile away). The thing with that incident is that at the moment the kid appeared, seemingly out of nowhere in front of us, was that the horse and I had this unity of purpose. I don't remember asking for the halt, or thinking, "We should halt." I just thought "Holy sh-!" and it was, for all intents and purposes, a correct halt; not bracing, perfectly balanced. Not like some of our halts in the dressage ring where I am thinking carefully about it and get too involved in faffing about, which really means I get quite bracey through my arms and back, and the halt consequently sucks.

    Mark Rashid discusses this sort of thing in his book on aikido and horsemanship. He says that when the rider is incredibly clear and directed, not just in the way they ask but *mainly* in their own mind, the horse picks up on it so the rider need not even "tell" the horse what to do. I experienced this in the anecdote above. On another ride, a loose dog came after my trail companion and I. I was in the lead, the other horse following, and the dog came up behind the rear horse, who got nervous and spooky. I don't remember asking or telling my horse to wheel around and charge the dog; I just remember thinking, "We need to chase that ****ed thing off Prince's heels," and then we were doing it. On the trail, or over a course of jumps, stuff is happening that we need to react to, actual, concrete stuff, and I can be much more directive -- not, to reiterate, in how I cue the horse, but in my own mind. But this is what the horse responds to.

    Dressage, on the other hand (at least when I do it), lends itself to lots of waffling. In my case, far more waffle than you'd get in an IHOP. :) "She needs to bend more," "She's not round enough," "That shoulder-in was crap," "I need to let go of the inside rein," "Oh dear, we just went hollow in that canter transition (possibly due to me not letting go of the inside rein)," "If I were less crap, she'd be more underneath herself," "Half-pass, good, good- squirrel!" I imagine riders who are good at dressage achieve that clarity in their riding while in the dressage ring, even while the sport itself is inherently quite faffy. The way I ride it, I'll start an exercise thinking, "I'm going to half-pass from the centre line to the rail on the right bend, switch the bend, and pick up my left lead canter." By the time I've completed the half-pass, I'll have completely forgotten I was going to canter and will have done something else. That clarity of purpose eludes us and means I have to "ask" and "tell" my horse what to do, as she has no idea (and chances are, neither do I).
         
        02-16-2012, 09:22 AM
      #23
    Showing
    Tiny, you are on the road to developing a light and sensitive horse.
         
        02-16-2012, 09:59 AM
      #24
    Showing
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinyliny    
    This doesn't mean I am going to "beg" my horse for his thought. But it does mean I won't accept him backing up while still mentally (and sometimes physically) leaning on the rein to go forward. It's pointless to try and direct him to do things if his though is far away. Either do what it takes to get his though with you, or realize that he cannot give up that thought (like a deep seated buddy sour horse) right now, and work out a plan for helping him give up that need.
    Love it Tinyliny. Reread it once I got some sleep (2 hours outta do it!) and it's making a lot more sense to me. Though have there been times when you feel them start thinking "oh I need to stop" and then you ease up and they think "oh.. never mind then, walking on" ?? How would you work with that then?
         
        02-16-2012, 01:34 PM
      #25
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
    Tiny, you are on the road to developing a light and sensitive horse.


    Thankyou. That made my day.
    Zulu is not light, yet, but is certainly capable of it. Currently, his owner has kindly been allowing me to ride him free of charge, as I keep him excersized and "loved" on. I dont' have the skill or physical ability to jump him, as he is a dandy but very strong jumper, so I do what I can; building in sensitivity.
    Yes, you can build in sensitivity, just as you dull it out.

    With regard to Sky's comment about her horse not stopping well when "asked". To me , it sounds like the horse is stopping because you are making him do so, but his mind is not there. He stops, obeying (eventually) her correct body cues. But his mind continues going out there. All I can say to that is that the "ask" might have to get a lot, lot stronger and "un ignorable" for a bit, so that she can start making it less and less and less. But it might get uglier first.

    If Sky were running through my stop "asks", I would up them big time until he both stopped and thought back to me, even if he was irritated or upset about it. I would haul on his mouth real hard, or I would bend him around and around until I saw his ear and eye come back to me and could see that he had given up his thought to go forward and was looking back to me for "Now what?"
    It's that way the horse looks back to the rider with a "now what?" that tells me his thought has come back to me. Sometimes he wont' go that far, but maybe just flick and ear, or exhale a bit more. It may not be dramatic, and at first I may settle for just intereupting the strength of the horse's thought if he is very hardly focusses on something . LIke, if other horses are running away ahead of him.

    This is something I will have to deal with on Zulu. He gets very upset if , when not leadin, the horses canter in front of him. He reacts by bucking, and I mean bucking! So, knowing that I am not a bronc rider and cannot afford to come off (God willing) I am working on getting him to come back to me mentally, frequently and easily.
    When it gets harder, I hope that I will have built a pathway and can bring him back to me without too much drama. I don't know, however, how willing I am too test it out.
         
        02-16-2012, 02:01 PM
      #26
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
    Love it Tinyliny. Reread it once I got some sleep (2 hours outta do it!) and it's making a lot more sense to me. Though have there been times when you feel them start thinking "oh I need to stop" and then you ease up and they think "oh.. never mind then, walking on" ?? How would you work with that then?



    If you signalled your horse for a stop and he starts to do it, you change your mind but your horse is still stopping? I guess it depends on the horse. Some really light , well trained horses like those that work cows can adapt quickly to a new "ask", so you could change you mind and ask them to move on. Zulu is too big and heavy to really do that, -yet-. If I had asked for a halt, but changed my mind as he was breaking from into a walk from a trot, I would let him , then thank him with a pat, then ask for the next gait.
    I want to be fair with my horse. If he does what I asked then I would never want to be too quick and say ,"nope, not that , you big dummy, I really want to trot".

    However, I do work with him doing this; I trot out, ask him to slow (as if I am easing into a walk) then , just as he's about to walk , I ask for a lively step into a trot before he actually comes down to a full walk. I think that's training for "half halts" is it not , dressage ladies?
         
        02-16-2012, 10:21 PM
      #27
    Showing
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinyliny    
    [/B]


    If you signalled your horse for a stop and he starts to do it, you change your mind but your horse is still stopping?
    It's more the reverse.. I keep my idea of "let's stop" and he's like okay... and then when I start to ease up he says "oh but I rather keep going so.. I'm going to keep going" so I apply the slowing aids again... "fine I'll stop.. but are you suuuuure? Walking is just so much better!!" so then my fingers are closed, my legs are closed, my butt is as deep as it can go, letting my weight travel down. And then he starts doing this weird.. sloth crawl.

    But tonight he didn't.. he stopped right away, square every time. So yay!
         
        02-16-2012, 11:05 PM
      #28
    Weanling
    Thats awesome! Grady does that from time to time haha Its like he thinks if he's moving slow enough I wont notice I laugh every time.
         
        02-17-2012, 12:27 AM
      #29
    Super Moderator
    My trainer says that when you go through the "steps" of aksing for the stop, the last one will be for you to close your hand. At that point, the horse has had plenty of warning, and if he isn't listening then it's time to be firm about it.

    Walk along. Pick a place about 20 feet ahead of you. Begin your signals that you are asking for a halt; deepenign your seat, firming your core, shoulders back and lower, firming your elbow to your side and taking up a bit more rein contact.
    AS you approach the SPOT you picked out that will be your exact stopping place. When your body crosses that spot you hands will have (little by little ) become firm and now they will be as heavy and firm as concrete. YOu will GLUE him to that spot. If he keeps walking you give ZERO. Literally think of your elbow as being attached to that spot that you picked out. Whatever distance he went past the place where every once of your body was saying "STOP!" is distance he must back up, right back to that spot. He backs up to that spot. BUT, do not release the rein until he gives to it. Dont' just hold him there with him leaning on it. HOld it until you feel him say "oh, should I lift my head off the bit? Then reward bigtime.

    AS you go along you can prepare for stopping on this spot by the last three steps he takes, approaching the stop spot, you breath outward in short exhales and count, out loud, One, Two, three (and it's CONCRETE hands!)

    You horse will get better and better at feeling those three prep steps to stop and if he goes past hat spot, you have concrete hand that are chained to that spot, to which he must retreat if he expects to have some freedom.
    Eagle Child likes this.
         
        02-17-2012, 12:55 AM
      #30
    Showing
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinyliny    
    my trainer says that when you go through the "steps" of aksing for the stop, the last one will be for you to close your hand. At that point, the horse has had plenty of warning, and if he isn't listening then it's time to be firm about it.


    You horse will get better and better at feeling those three prep steps to stop and if he goes past hat spot, you have concrete hand that are chained to that spot, to which he must retreat if he expects to have some freedom.
    Yeah my hands are last, I was just listing the things I do. But evenso.. he bullies his way through them. He can be a huge bully at times.

    Hopefully he works through it with others. They all tell me he has a horrible stop. But how am I supposed to teach him if no one taught me lol.

    Anyway, tonight he was great so woo!
         

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