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What are your emergency strategies?

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        02-21-2012, 08:30 PM
      #41
    Showing
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Missy May    
    Say, a mountain lion or bear crosses your path, would it be just huge holes in training that caused the horse to physically and mentally respond?
    Yes and no.. you can minimize the response but you can never get rid of it. Heck, I could handle snakes my entire life, but if I see a snake out in the wild and it's after me, I'm going to be scared!!!

    They do what they must to survive.
         
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        02-21-2012, 09:26 PM
      #42
    Showing
    Missy, it's not about beating them out of any response at all, it's about teaching them which response is acceptable and which is not. Lifting their head and/or flinching is acceptable, spinning/rearing/bucking/bolting is not.

    If you've never seen a fresh horse that couldn't just calmly walk/trot across a gully, then I'm sorry to say you've likely not seen any good, well trained horses.

    A good, well trained horse knows that "hopping" or any other action similar is simply not acceptable under saddle, no matter how good they are feeling. Any one of my horses ride the same every time the saddle is on them regardless of whether it's been 2 days or 2 years since they were last ridden.

    I know that not all horses are like that, some need a warm up before they are ready to really work after an extended vacation, but to intentionally not react at all whenever they do something that is inappropriate under saddle is the same as encouraging it.

    It's the rider's responsibility to prepare the horse for what they are expected to do and, yes, the horse should be corrected every time they do something inappropriate under saddle, no matter what. That doesn't even come close to breaking a horse's spirit, it just teaches them to behave like mature, trained horses instead of spoiled 2 year olds.

    Yes, mine get corrected every time they act inappropriately and, no, they aren't anywhere close to being "broken". Well trained, yes, but they still have as much fire and spirit as any horses I've seen. It's just a controlled fire.
         
        02-21-2012, 09:59 PM
      #43
    Trained
    Smrobs, I agree w most all of what you are saying. I was just saying...it is a bit much to expect any horse to have seen and have been habituated to "everything", when the vast majority of people have not. And, good, nice people don't always just stay calm when they run into "new and intimidating" things. I am good and nice, for example and cockroaches make me bolt right out the door - and nothing short of gun point will bring me back!

    And, by "a gully"...I meant severe high walled (no less than 15 feet and steep) gullies. It is rare that a horse "fresh out of the gate" takes one w/o so much as batting their lashes. I don't think of it as "bad behavior", I just think of it as...what they need to do. I don't mean, if they just kept bucking until they jar your teeth out...I mean a little buck should be acceptable and expected in that instance.
         
        02-21-2012, 11:00 PM
      #44
    Showing
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Missy May    
    smrobs, I agree w most all of what you are saying. I was just saying...it is a bit much to expect any horse to have seen and have been habituated to "everything", when the vast majority of people have not.

    No, that's true, you can't expose them to everything, but if you instill the basics of how to react to the feeling of fear, then their first instinct will be to react that same way in every situation that comes up. After that first gut reaction to freeze or flinch, then, upon further thinking about the situation, can decide whether it would be safer to continue on or go the other way. Plus, that added second or two when they are frozen will give you time to decide if you are safer where you are or running the other way and you can make the decision of what to do next instead of leaving it to them.

    Horses learn best what they learn first and will often revert to that original training in a moment of panic. I've seen it happen over and over and had it happen to me more times than I care to remember. That's why I take special care to teach my greenies what reaction I accept from the very start. Even on a green horse, I don't accept a bolt or a buck as just "par for the course" with the mentality that "I'll begin to teach the horse not to bolt/buck later in their training". If they learn at the start that they will be permitted to bolt/buck with no consequences, then they will continue to do that until it becomes habit. At that point, it is a very difficult thing to overcome.

    I've ridden horses that were allowed to buck as a response to being scared because people just allowed it because they thought it was "to be expected". Even after extensive training to get them to stop bucking, every time they got upset or a little bit scared, it was still their first instinct in a pinch when things got ugly. Horses that hadn't bucked in years would suddenly turn into rodeo broncs in a hairy situation because that was what they learned in their first months of training.

    For a very green horse that has never seen pretty much anything before, that plastic bag that suddenly begins flapping when the breeze comes up is just as scary as the coyote or bobcat or deer that jumps out of the brush. Granted, we don't have bears, but if a horse reacts one way to a mountain lion (yep, come across those while riding too), then I doubt it would react that differently to a bear.

    And, by "a gully"...I meant severe high walled (no less than 15 feet and steep) gullies. It is rare that a horse "fresh out of the gate" takes one w/o so much as batting their lashes. I don't think of it as "bad behavior", I just think of it as...what they need to do. I don't mean, if they just kept bucking until they jar your teeth out...I mean a little buck should be acceptable and expected in that instance.
    Oh, I understood your description of gully, that's what we call it down here too. That's where you and I differ in our training ideas. IMHO, bucking (even a tiny bit) is never acceptable and to just accept that it's "to be expected" is asking for trouble later down the line.

    What happens if you're going up the gully wall and when the horse decides to give a buck because he's feeling good, the footing crumbles or he trips and you both go rolling down to the bottom of the hill? Is it still "acceptable and expected" when you're laying there with broken bones and internal bleeding? If the horse is more concerned with being able to hop around because he's fresh than he is with paying attention to the cues you're giving or where his feet are at, then something bad will happen, and probably sooner rather than later.


    I guess I just have higher expectations for my horses that most folks. I expect to be able to get on them and go for a ride without constantly worrying and wondering whether they are going to throw a buck here or there, whether or not they plan to bolt today, or having to spend the entire ride in constant rigid fear because I know that they will spin and bolt the first time that a blade of grass or a leaf flutters in the wind when they weren't expecting it. Why would I want to ride a horse that would purposefully buck just because he's feeling good, even if it's a little one? On any given day, a little buck can hurt you just as bad as a big one.

    Is it really too much to expect a horse to behave like a good saddle horse should? For goodness sake, they have 20 hours a day or more to go run and buck and play, they should be able to behave for the small fraction of time that I am handling and/or riding them.

    I mean, riding is supposed to be fun above all else. Spending every micro-second of every ride wondering where and when the buck/bolt/rear was going to happen doesn't sound like very much fun to me.
         
        02-21-2012, 11:09 PM
      #45
    Trained
    Sacking out is not about introducing them to everything possible. It is about teaching them good responses to fear.

    I've just spent 3 months working with a pro on my 11 year old Arabian mare. Our goal was to teach her how to respond acceptably to something scary. Spinning and running as fast as you can is not an acceptable response.

    After 3 months, she has made progress. She hates little kids (although she has been around a bunch), and the sound of plastic wheels rolling across the ground has always been something that causes her to run around her corral.

    Yesterday, I was riding her and a woman came by with her 2 kids - pedaling trikes with plastic wheels. Little kids. Plastic wheels. Mia was genuinely frightened. So how did she handle it?

    We faced the scary things, and stopped. And as long as I let her look at the scary things, she stayed immobile. Head up, ears forward, snorting - and immobile.

    The lady & kids were willing to stay for about 10 minutes and give Mia a workout. If I tried to distract Mia by turning her head, she'd spin around 2-3 times. But she didn't run. I could back her up and she obeyed. I could move her forward, and she would obey. I could scratch her neck, and she would stand without moving a foot.

    That is NOT a well broke horse, but it is light-years better than spin and run mindlessly with diarrhea coming out the back. Mia's fears have always been genuine. Bolting - running mindless with fear - is no fun. Standing immobile is ever so much better.

    I cannot introduce Mia to every scary thing, because it doesn't work. She has heard plastic tires rolling across the ground hundreds of times, and it drives her bonkers. She would be thrilled if everyone under 20 was executed tonight. That isn't going to change.

    What can change, and is slowly changing, is how she responds to scary/hated things.

    My mostly Arabian gelding also has been taught to respond to scary things by standing still. A couple of months ago, he saw kids playing on a trampoline. How do you prepare a horse in advance for that? His hooves grew roots. His neck was perpendicular to his back. His eyes were the size of dinner plates.

    But he didn't move. So I dismounted, and scratched his neck, and after TWENTY minutes his head dropped maybe 6 inches. So I called that victory and led him, from the ground. After a few more experiences, he will now stroll past the trampoliners without more than a cocked ear. My other 2 horses see nothing unusual with people flying up and down in the air, and have never cared in the least.

    Each horse seems to have his own idea of what it is that screams, "DEATH!" For my part, if I can teach my horses to stop when scared, it is good enough. Once the scary thing is identified, we can work on making it less scary. That will probably go on for a lifetime.
         
        02-22-2012, 06:33 AM
      #46
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Missy May    
    Well, I just can't agree w some posters that believe you can train the buck, rear, and bolting out of a horse. For example, I have never seen a fresh horse of any age go down a deep gully and right back up the other side that didn't give at least a tiny "hop" once out of the gully, or nice solid big buck, and move on. What should you do, beat them for it? The rider should know (be "trained") it is coming. If one "trained" a horse to never startle, never lose control of thier composure no matter the circumstances...they would have indeed "broken" the horse. Say, a mountain lion or bear crosses your path, would it be just huge holes in training that caused the horse to physically and mentally respond?
    Your talking about something that is totally different. The bolded comment, well a horse's natural instinct would be survival. There is a HUGE difference between a horse who's survival is at stake when coming across a predator and a horse that is just ill-trained and rank and bucks, rears, bolts out of defiance and disobediance.
         
        02-22-2012, 10:52 AM
      #47
    Banned
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    Sacking out is not about introducing them to everything possible. It is about teaching them good responses to fear.

    I've just spent 3 months working with a pro on my 11 year old Arabian mare. Our goal was to teach her how to respond acceptably to something scary. Spinning and running as fast as you can is not an acceptable response.

    After 3 months, she has made progress. She hates little kids (although she has been around a bunch), and the sound of plastic wheels rolling across the ground has always been something that causes her to run around her corral.

    Yesterday, I was riding her and a woman came by with her 2 kids - pedaling trikes with plastic wheels. Little kids. Plastic wheels. Mia was genuinely frightened. So how did she handle it?

    We faced the scary things, and stopped. And as long as I let her look at the scary things, she stayed immobile. Head up, ears forward, snorting - and immobile.

    The lady & kids were willing to stay for about 10 minutes and give Mia a workout. If I tried to distract Mia by turning her head, she'd spin around 2-3 times. But she didn't run. I could back her up and she obeyed. I could move her forward, and she would obey. I could scratch her neck, and she would stand without moving a foot.

    That is NOT a well broke horse, but it is light-years better than spin and run mindlessly with diarrhea coming out the back. Mia's fears have always been genuine. Bolting - running mindless with fear - is no fun. Standing immobile is ever so much better.

    I cannot introduce Mia to every scary thing, because it doesn't work. She has heard plastic tires rolling across the ground hundreds of times, and it drives her bonkers. She would be thrilled if everyone under 20 was executed tonight. That isn't going to change.

    What can change, and is slowly changing, is how she responds to scary/hated things.

    My mostly Arabian gelding also has been taught to respond to scary things by standing still. A couple of months ago, he saw kids playing on a trampoline. How do you prepare a horse in advance for that? His hooves grew roots. His neck was perpendicular to his back. His eyes were the size of dinner plates.

    But he didn't move. So I dismounted, and scratched his neck, and after TWENTY minutes his head dropped maybe 6 inches. So I called that victory and led him, from the ground. After a few more experiences, he will now stroll past the trampoliners without more than a cocked ear. My other 2 horses see nothing unusual with people flying up and down in the air, and have never cared in the least.

    Each horse seems to have his own idea of what it is that screams, "DEATH!" For my part, if I can teach my horses to stop when scared, it is good enough. Once the scary thing is identified, we can work on making it less scary. That will probably go on for a lifetime.
    The visuals I was getting out of this made me smile....
         
        02-22-2012, 11:39 AM
      #48
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by smrobs    
    Oh, I understood your description of gully, that's what we call it down here too. That's where you and I differ in our training ideas. IMHO, bucking (even a tiny bit) is never acceptable and to just accept that it's "to be expected" is asking for trouble later down the line.

    What happens if you're going up the gully wall and when the horse decides to give a buck because he's feeling good, the footing crumbles or he trips and you both go rolling down to the bottom of the hill? Is it still "acceptable and expected" when you're laying there with broken bones and internal bleeding? If the horse is more concerned with being able to hop around because he's fresh than he is with paying attention to the cues you're giving or where his feet are at, then something bad will happen, and probably sooner rather than later.


    I guess I just have higher expectations for my horses that most folks. I expect to be able to get on them and go for a ride without constantly worrying and wondering whether they are going to throw a buck here or there, whether or not they plan to bolt today, or having to spend the entire ride in constant rigid fear because I know that they will spin and bolt the first time that a blade of grass or a leaf flutters in the wind when they weren't expecting it. Why would I want to ride a horse that would purposefully buck just because he's feeling good, even if it's a little one? On any given day, a little buck can hurt you just as bad as a big one.

    Is it really too much to expect a horse to behave like a good saddle horse should? For goodness sake, they have 20 hours a day or more to go run and buck and play, they should be able to behave for the small fraction of time that I am handling and/or riding them.

    I mean, riding is supposed to be fun above all else. Spending every micro-second of every ride wondering where and when the buck/bolt/rear was going to happen doesn't sound like very much fun to me.

    I agree w most everything you said in both posts, minor exception..the gully thing. I would only ask a sure footed horse to perform that task, a good one will fully clear the gully before they buck, but point well taken.

    Like I said, I don't disagree w most of what you said. All I was saying is that believing an emergency strategy should be unnecessary b/c a horse should be bomb proof is taking it a bit far. Oh, and I am not saying that is what you said, there are several posts where that is the implication.

    As a favor to a friend that was injured, I rode his retired police horse often to get him "out and about" - he loved to be riden. I prefer to ride my own horses only, but he is a good friend. I got into a horrible situation along the road - a situation I had never even "considered" as a possibility. He didn't flinch or bat an eyelash. Had it been my horse I would have been dead. So, yes...I wished my horse at the time, God bless her soul, were that "solid". But, then, he wasn't sure footed in rough terrain, and she was the best. Should I have trained her to take on even that horrid of a "pop up" on the road? Well, yes, it would have been best. So, I don't disagree...there is nothing like a solid horse, I am just saying - it shouldn't exclude considering the possibility of an emergency.
         
        02-22-2012, 11:40 AM
      #49
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by smrobs    
    Oh, I understood your description of gully, that's what we call it down here too. That's where you and I differ in our training ideas. IMHO, bucking (even a tiny bit) is never acceptable and to just accept that it's "to be expected" is asking for trouble later down the line.

    What happens if you're going up the gully wall and when the horse decides to give a buck because he's feeling good, the footing crumbles or he trips and you both go rolling down to the bottom of the hill? Is it still "acceptable and expected" when you're laying there with broken bones and internal bleeding? If the horse is more concerned with being able to hop around because he's fresh than he is with paying attention to the cues you're giving or where his feet are at, then something bad will happen, and probably sooner rather than later.


    I guess I just have higher expectations for my horses that most folks. I expect to be able to get on them and go for a ride without constantly worrying and wondering whether they are going to throw a buck here or there, whether or not they plan to bolt today, or having to spend the entire ride in constant rigid fear because I know that they will spin and bolt the first time that a blade of grass or a leaf flutters in the wind when they weren't expecting it. Why would I want to ride a horse that would purposefully buck just because he's feeling good, even if it's a little one? On any given day, a little buck can hurt you just as bad as a big one.

    Is it really too much to expect a horse to behave like a good saddle horse should? For goodness sake, they have 20 hours a day or more to go run and buck and play, they should be able to behave for the small fraction of time that I am handling and/or riding them.

    I mean, riding is supposed to be fun above all else. Spending every micro-second of every ride wondering where and when the buck/bolt/rear was going to happen doesn't sound like very much fun to me.

    I agree w most everything you said in both posts, minor exception..the gully thing. I would only ask a sure footed horse to perform that task, a good one will fully clear the gully before they buck, but point well taken.

    Like I said, I don't disagree w most of what you said. All I was saying is that believing an emergency strategy should be unnecessary b/c a horse should be bomb proof is taking it a bit far. Oh, and I am not saying that is what you said, there are several posts where that is the implication.

    As a favor to a friend that was injured, I rode his retired police horse often to get him "out and about" - he loved to be riden. I prefer to ride my own horses only, but he is a good friend. I got into a horrible situation along the road - a situation I had never even "considered" as a possibility. He didn't flinch or bat an eyelash. Had it been my horse I would have been dead. So, yes...I wished my horse at the time, God bless her soul, were that "solid". But, then, he wasn't sure footed in rough terrain, and she was the best. Should I have trained her to take on even that horrid of a "pop up" on the road? Well, yes, it would have been best. So, I don't disagree...there is nothing like a solid horse, I am just saying - it shouldn't exclude considering the possibility of an emergency.
         

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