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Absolute beginner seeking some tips

This is a discussion on Absolute beginner seeking some tips within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

     
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        06-29-2010, 04:04 PM
      #11
    Yearling
    I wish I could, but I live in a flat, pay rent and have a medium'ish salary and live in a capital city.
    I was going to riding school whenever I could afford for the past 2 years. However, I have recently found out about the shelter and I decided to drop the riding lessons and volunteer there.

    The money I use on riding lessons could help some horsies in need. If you search for ****ed_evans threads and pictures you will see those horses were most some appaling cases of abuse and neglect

    As for my own personal riding, I will still go on trail rides in the mountains perhaps 1 / month :)

    Also another thing that was a bit upsetting was that at riding shcool I was learning more about the rider, less about the horse. Here I am starting to learn:
    - how to wash a horse
    - what they eat
    - how they express their anxiety, dominance, pleasure, happiness etc
    - how to lead, how to feed...

    I think it will be overall a much better experience than the riding school.
         
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        06-29-2010, 04:11 PM
      #12
    Foal
    I am pleased to see that you are helping horses in need.

    Pleased you had fun,
         
        07-29-2010, 09:17 AM
      #13
    Yearling
    I don't want to start a new thread for each problem I encounter, cause I figured I would flood the whole forum since I am indeed very new to horses.

    So here's my 2 latest issues I encountered with horse behavior:

    1. Leading a horse that refuses to move forward

    As I was leading one of the horses to the training area, he suddenly stopped in the middle of the road.
    My first instinct was wrong, exactly what you advised NOT to do, and I am very sorry for that, I guess my brain took a vacation for few seconds... I tried to just drag him along. Obviously no result there. He was not even making any effort to hold still.
    Then I tried circling him which did not work either, the road is very narrow, not much circle space. Only thing I managed was to bend his neck a lot on both sides.
    All this time the horse's attitude was a polite but firm "NO, I am not moving, but thank you very much for insisting." He was looking at me, ears pointed to me, relaxed neck and head, just that he just did not want even to flinch.
    I tried with a pat / tap on the shoulder but no avail either.
    Eventually I gave up and gave him a good scratch all over the head and behind his ears, muzzle, etc. Then I asked him again to move but without pulling, just standing near him and with my hand on his shoulder.
    It worked.

    Was it the right thing to do? And what to do next time, if there is a situation in which I cannot afford the time to beg scratch pat pretty please him?

    2. My own behavior
    I went to pick a mare who was grazing. The other volunteers advised me to "try but be careful" as this mare has a history of kicking / biting apparently.
    But I went there brave like Indiana Jones, with my pockets full of carrots.
    I really don't know what was in my head.
    As I was approaching, the mare lifted her head and gave me an ugly look. When I came closer she immediately turned her butt to me. On this point on I was already kinda shaky lol.
    I avoided the butt and came in front of her with a carrot, she accepted it, then I tried to put the halter on.
    I could probably spare you the details and not embarras myself on a public forum, but I guess if I hide the truth I'll never learn.
    I froze there >.>
    As soon as she saw the halter she elongated her neck, planted her feet on the ground, ears flat pinned back and moved towards me one step...and tbh I know they're herbivores and such but her face turned quite frightening.

    And here is my problem: My reaction was among the worst. I froze there like a deer in headlights. I could hear in a muffled far away universe the girls screaming for me "Just drop it! It's okay just leave her, don't get closer" but none of that was really reaching to my brain. I just stood there petrified for a few good seconds and then retreated backwards carefully

    How the heck am I ever going to be good around horses, as rider or anything, if everytime one horse threatens me I freeze like a statue :/

    Actually even the idea of running away crossed my mind a milisecond. Thankfully I had a fragment of logic left in my brain and my conscience whispered in a tiny voice "You can't exactly run faster than a horse"

    Right, so resumed, these are my problems, for those who won't read the long post:
    1. I can't make a horse move if he refuses to.
    2. I'm such a chicken.

    That's it, thank you for reading!
         
        07-29-2010, 09:27 AM
      #14
    Yearling
    Everyone has to start somewhere. :)
    As for making the horse move, could you bring a dressage whip with you? I think SilverStallion suggested it early on, but having a long whip can help move a horse along. Tap the horse with it, on it's butt, on it's shoulder, until it gets the idea. Unless you have a horse that spooks/shys from whips, in that case, don't bring a whip near it. I also find bribery works on occasion- stuff your pockets with treats. :)

    I'm sure others will have plenty of comments about that, but as for your 'chicken-ness', I think you just need experience. It's scary when a horse first lashes out at you, but next time [or the next time, or the next time] it shouldn't be quite so scary. Good luck!
         
        07-29-2010, 11:03 AM
      #15
    Foal
    In the first instance, don't tap at the shoulder if it is a real refusal. You want to stay in position and tap *behind* the horse. Whan I'm teaching a horse to lead, I carry a riding or lunge whip so I can tap the rump while staying at the shoulder. You hold it in the hand that is away from the horse and cross it behind you to tap them. Stay at the shoulder, facing forward. A naughty horse that you have to correct like this might take off forward for a few steps when you do this. It's ok. Just collect them and continue. Don't get upset.

    Though in this case it sounds like maybe You got out of position. If the horse leads well, and the handler gets in front of them, sometimes they will stop. He wasn't trying to do anything else, was paying attention to you, and lead properly after you returned to your position at the shoulder.

    In the second instance, this is just practice. If I were you I would not attempt to handle any difficult horses without an experienced person beside you to help you learn how to do it. If a mare made a face like that at me, I'd really get after her ass.

    Don't feel bad. Everyone had to learn at sometime. Everyone has had troubles. It is a great thing that you are volunteering!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by inaclick    
    I tried with a pat / tap on the shoulder but no avail either.
    Eventually I gave up and gave him a good scratch all over the head and behind his ears, muzzle, etc. Then I asked him again to move but without pulling, just standing near him and with my hand on his shoulder.
    It worked.

    Was it the right thing to do? And what to do next time, if there is a situation in which I cannot afford the time to beg scratch pat pretty please him?

    2. My own behavior
    I went to pick a mare who was grazing. The other volunteers advised me to "try but be careful" as this mare has a history of kicking / biting apparently.
    But I went there brave like Indiana Jones, with my pockets full of carrots.
    I really don't know what was in my head.
    As I was approaching, the mare lifted her head and gave me an ugly look. When I came closer she immediately turned her butt to me. On this point on I was already kinda shaky lol.
    I avoided the butt and came in front of her with a carrot, she accepted it, then I tried to put the halter on.
    I could probably spare you the details and not embarras myself on a public forum, but I guess if I hide the truth I'll never learn.
    I froze there >.>
    As soon as she saw the halter she elongated her neck, planted her feet on the ground, ears flat pinned back and moved towards me one step...and tbh I know they're herbivores and such but her face turned quite frightening.

    And here is my problem: My reaction was among the worst. I froze there like a deer in headlights. I could hear in a muffled far away universe the girls screaming for me "Just drop it! It's okay just leave her, don't get closer" but none of that was really reaching to my brain. I just stood there petrified for a few good seconds and then retreated backwards carefully

    How the heck am I ever going to be good around horses, as rider or anything, if everytime one horse threatens me I freeze like a statue :/

    Actually even the idea of running away crossed my mind a milisecond. Thankfully I had a fragment of logic left in my brain and my conscience whispered in a tiny voice "You can't exactly run faster than a horse"

    Right, so resumed, these are my problems, for those who won't read the long post:
    1. I can't make a horse move if he refuses to.
    2. I'm such a chicken.

    That's it, thank you for reading!
         
        07-29-2010, 11:18 AM
      #16
    Foal
    Don't forget you hat when leading. Anything can happen and trust me a spooked horse running into you for reassurance hurts x
         
        07-29-2010, 06:20 PM
      #17
    Yearling
    Hello thank you all

    Regarding the whip suggestion:
    I would rather not.
    Most horses that arrived at this shelter have been abused and severely beaten up. They are shy and spooky about whips and sticks.
    I have tried to reroll the scene in my head and yes, Kaioti, you might be right. I might have gone in front of the horse and he might have stopped just to avoid trampling me over.

    Regarding my chicken-ness well um, I hope I'll do better this time. A trainer walked right past both of us and said something like "let someone else do it, you started out wrong. Just go straight to her, don't hesitate next time, get the rope on her neck, pop halter on, don't give her time to make a move"

    Uh well, easy to say heheh. I hope I'll be able to fake at least some guts next time.
         

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