All Work and No Play? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 16 Old 01-06-2013, 01:00 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Northern Nevada
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If you're not having fun at all, why are you riding? Sure, there are times you and/or the horse have to work to become better, but that should be fun too, shouldn't it?

If your horse is ok, but not perfect, what exactly is wrong with that? Perfect horses are pretty thin on the ground, but lots of people still manage to have fun riding them.
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post #12 of 16 Old 01-06-2013, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Nine Mile Falls, Washington
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I have fun while riding, plenty fun doing that. I'm a "backyard" rider who doesn't like showing for the competitiveness, same reason I don't do say school sports.

Its just the stress of doing manner adjustments that bugs me if I get stuck doing it so long. I was wondering if a horse is in the "middle" of getting regularly worked to sort out some kinks after being pastured for months without regular or consistant work, if it would be alright to simply ride for a day and relax.

I am far from nitpicky and I let him get away with a bit of things (attempting to untie the leadrope, his head nodding, etc) but he has prior habits from a previous owner that need to be worked out andhe generally needs freshening up. As I said before, its those bigger things I feel a bit reluctant to work on because of my current state of being.

In short, I need a recharge so that I can be gunho about this and get my butt back to feeling like the end result will be worth it and not a chore. Because, let's face it. I would not have done this if I honestly did not feel I could stick with it.
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post #13 of 16 Old 01-06-2013, 02:51 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NW Oregon
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I find that any time spend with the horses is really training time. We need to be aware of each other...not in a stressful situation...just aware. It keeps us safe and them from getting any silly idea that they might be the boss. : )
Maybe I am a bit confused about what you are asking...probably the late hour when I should be sleeping instead of sitting in front of this machine.
Do you have trails where you can ride of take him out and hand walk? Take a friend along? Even a large pasture with some trees or natural obstacles would work. You can have a nice ride weaving around tree trunks and stepping over logs and it still is training. You are using aids and signals. It can be a nice change from arena work. If you don't have trails you might get creative with obstacles in the arena and just play. Often a change of pace is good for both horse and rider. Nothing wrong with having a good time!!!!

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #14 of 16 Old 01-06-2013, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Nine Mile Falls, Washington
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I absolutely love riding him because once he calms down, he is a dream. Its just his manners on the ground are a bit rough. I get the impression he was trained really super well under saddle, but had his ground manners kind of "eh". Not to mention his previous owner was afraid of him, so he learned a few "tricks" to get out of doing stuff.

I do have a pasture that I would die to ride him in, but as I first attempted to do ground work with him there, his initial reaction was to rear, shake his head and try to rip the lead rope from me (yay long leads!). But again, needless to say we had an argument about that until he got the idea that his tricks don't work on me.

Its just stuff like that that wears me down, and once I get in that saddle, even after all the hard work prior, I feel a hell of a lot better.

I'm kind of weird in what I constitute as "work" I guess. To me, work is stuff that brings up negative association or otherwise stress. I'm not a robot, I have feelings and one of those is stress. So I can feel totally content doing ground work on a horse whose been there done that to practicee, and do the same on a horse who hasn't, and sometimes the latter becomes "work".

Working on leg yields, flexing under saddle, working on those flying lead changes are also fun. Until I get frustrated with myself or otherwise and feel I need to dial it back, stop, relax, refocus, and collect again before trying again.

Doing things on a soured mind isn't good, nor healthy. So I was wondering if skipping on ground work for a day to just "ride" be an acceptable practice even though Chance needs some fixins?
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post #15 of 16 Old 01-06-2013, 07:15 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Scotland
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I would not drill the groundwork. I don't find it that interesting and neither do many horses. If you are finding that you are working at this stuff 15 minutes per day, nearly every day that you work with this horse, and you still feel as though the horse isn't where you would like him to be with his ground manners, you should perhaps reconsider how you're training the behaviours you want, or don't want.

I virtually never do groundwork with my horse, because I've done it and instilled the behaviours I want, and there is no point in continuing to drill the horse on behaviours she already knows. If anything needs reinforcing or reminding, that happens in the normal course of catching/grooming/tacking up. If the horse, for instance, tries to push ahead of me while being lead (my BOs let her do this when they bring her in, so occasionally I have to reminder that it's still not cool with me), I stop and back her up a couple steps and she says, "Oh, sorry about that, right." That correction will have taken about 15 seconds and because the horse is trained, she knows exactly what the correction is for and I don't have to "work" with her on anything. As I look at it, once you've trained ground manners, you should not have to devote any substantial time each day to ground manners.

To get to this stage, you have to be sure that your completely clear in how you reinforce behaviours and what behaviours you are reinforcing. I would recommend reading everything Mark Rashid has ever written, as I think he is exceptionally succinct and precise in terms of how he explains how "bad" ground manners are learned behaviours, same as "good" ground manners, and it is up to the trainer or handler which ones are positively reinforced.

I too want to show up at the barn and just ride, but I want the horse to be easily handled from the moment I catch it to the moment I get on its back. So I will do the groundwork until the horse gets to that stage, but once it's there, it's there.
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post #16 of 16 Old 01-06-2013, 11:45 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MD
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I consider my trail rides as "fun time". We are not working on elements, and most of the time I allow them to pick the pace. However while my paint loves trail rides, my qh doesn't care at the best (sometime I feel she hates it). In a ring - no fun time, sorry. They are busy working. They have "fun time" in a field 23 hours out of 24.

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