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my discouraged rant

This is a discussion on my discouraged rant within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        10-13-2013, 11:24 PM
      #11
    Foal
    I can feel your frustration.... I really can. But you need to redirect your focus AWAY from ur preferred discipline. Whether it's dressage, trail riding, show jumping, running barrels or competing in the Olympics.... Ur horse MUST behave and act accordingly.

    Riding should be a pleasure and a thrill.... I even enjoy a challenge now and then. But until have to feel safe and capable of correcting dangerous behavior. You need to get a handle on this soon. To be honest this situation sounds a little dangerous. And if you need help.... Get it. No shame in that. But a horse kicking you like that is nothing to take lightly. You could have been seriously hurt or worse. :(
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        10-14-2013, 12:39 AM
      #12
    Green Broke
    How did she break someone's finger?

    Riding should be fun. Right now I am training a 3 yr old and every now and then he throws in an antic I am not ready for or a spook. It makes me nervous to even ride him sometimes, but he is a good boy 99% of the time. But that 1% keeps me from being relaxed and enjoying the ride. Sometimes I want to just ride our 20 yr old horses because then riding is FUN and not training.

    So I relate to training taking the fun out of riding. It might be good for you to take a little break from dressage to trail ride and then see if you miss it or not. You might just need a break and come back to dressage full force. Or you might feel having fun with your horse is more important than training all the time. For me, just relaxing on a nice trail ride is what is important. But you won't know where you stand unless you take a little break and then decide if your passion is for dressage or trails.

    But this is all a separate issue from your horse having respect for you. Trails, dressage, whatever, your horse needs to respect you. And I know it's tough. I've been there too!
         
        10-14-2013, 11:02 AM
      #13
    Foal
    Thanks for all your advice.
    I always know that part of me is going to miss those trails because I used to ride them all the time, but part of me also acknowledges that maybe it is time to move on.
    A good thing is today my trainer is coming to ride her so if she goes ballistic on him (which I doubt will happen), and depending on his opinion of the situation, I'll be able to get a better feel for it.

    This situation is potentially very dangerous and I don't want to give up, but part of me wants to because I feel like it's the "safest" option with the least risk.

    But part of me says, "you can be tougher than that. Suck it up"
         
        10-14-2013, 12:02 PM
      #14
    Green Broke
    IMO this has nothing to do with trail riding or dressage or any riding style. Being stalled may not agree with her - maybe she needs toys or more hay to keep her busy. She just needs someone who is going to be firm with her on the ground and who will set her straight without letting her act like an idiot.

    Not sure what your trainer is having you do but if it's only lunging, that will not help solve this.
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        10-14-2013, 01:15 PM
      #15
    Yearling
    My goodness, if my horse decided to act out aggressively, not once, but twice at me, they would get the snot pounded out of them. There are some things I tolerate to a degree, but when things get dangerous, I draw the line. Our big QH decided to try pushing me around when I was feeding grain.. Big, BIG mistake. I had a 5 gal bucket in my hand and used it to my advantage. It was my extension of my arm.. As soon as he pushed into me and pinned his ears, he got thwacked with that bucket. Then, I drived him away from the grain buckets, and let the other 2 eat. He got none. I played with making him move and stop with body language, let him eat hay and then push him away, charge him and make him move, etc. It all took me a half an hour, but by the end I could "pin my ears" and he would move.

    Sometimes you need to play nice, and sometimes you need to crack down. I am also giving up competing this year for a while.
         
        10-14-2013, 01:28 PM
      #16
    Yearling
    Continuation:
    I'm going to stop competing and training towards one thing. My mind gets set on winning, and it just ruins all of the fun associated. I started dressage last year, and it helps A TON. I believe dressage should be used as the beginning of all riding. I would quit on the dressage, but loosen up a bit. It's supposed to be fun! Focus on the small improvements :)
         
        10-14-2013, 01:36 PM
      #17
    Foal
    My horse has pushed me around for a while but it's always been small things and overall she has had a good deal of respect for me. She's had the little bad habit here and there, but nothing as dramatic as this. This was really gotten to me and I'm done with the disrespect but now I'm nervous to correct it because I feel like I might be in danger!

    My mare's hind legs were DANGEROUSLY CLOSE to my stomach/hip bone, and then to my friend (who is a VERY experienced handler)'s face but instead broke her finger.

    This has been a total 360 and I don't even know. I've always felt like I was completely safe around my horse and now I feel like I might be in a dangerous situation and I'm afraid.
         
        10-14-2013, 02:04 PM
      #18
    Foal
    Quote:
    This has been a total 360 and I don't even know. I've always felt like I was completely safe around my horse and now I feel like I might be in a dangerous situation and I'm afraid.
    You need to get it through her mind that You are the alpha and she is Not. Being in a new surrounding might take a few weeks to become accustomed to, but a complete change in her demeanor with you makes me wonder if she ever truly looked to you as a leader.. or if maybe she thought she was your leader and merely tolerated your behavior as she might with a foal who thought he was the lead stallion. Call it strange but I have seen it happen in a few horses, especially lesson horses, who never really respected the students but merely 'played along' to avoid being schooled by the person who they really needed to respond well to (a trainer who got on their rear and Made them do what the trainer wanted done.)

    Ground manners need to be worked on with this mare based on this information. She needs to be aware of the fact that her behavior has a consequence and that her job is to be mindful of you, where you are, and what you can do punishment wise. In other words, harming you or other humans has to have a consequence that drowns out any reason, Any Reason, to even think of turning a malicious thought your way. In the horse's natural language, this might be the equivalent of you, the lead mare, chasing the unruly colt that just bit you out of the herd and keeping him out until you invite him back in. The colt would then learn that the enticing thought of biting the lead mare wouldn't be worth the risk of being kept out of the herd. You might consider a serious round-pen session with the mare, especially if she checks out with the vet.

    But first you need to address the fear you have of her. If you're genuinely scared of a horse, you're not going to achieve a single thing with them. My old trainer described it as a walk-by world. A horse is a herd animal. It needs security, comfort and someone to look to for answers. When another member of the herd is frightened, the horse will "walk by" the frightened horse and continue his pursuit for a strong, confident leader. So really address what it is your scared of. Is it just this mare, or is it all horses? Is it the thought of being hurt again, or the fact that the mare could even do it to you? Is it the fear of being inadequate in someone else's eyes? Is it the fear of failure? All of the above? Something different? Regardless you're going to need confidence to address the issue you have with this horse, especially if you want to do something about it and keep her. You might consider taking a few lessons or a trail ride on a different horse that you can be confident on and relax on. Remember to breathe deeply, bring your mind down from a state of panic, and relax before you do a thing with this mare. Sometimes taking a break instead of pressing an issue is beneficial for you, mentally and physically. It can help you come to terms and make a decision without the added pressure of a failure or something else that happened that day or week.

    On youtube there's a trainer that I swore by when I was learning to train on a chestnut a*****e gelding lesson horse, before a knee injury knocked me out of the saddle. His name is Warwick Schiller, and I still watch his videos, biding my time until I can get back at it. (Even now, I go to "lessons" with my next door neighbor, she helps me work on groundwork principles and lets me witness stuff in the horse world that I miss out on.) You might consider checking him out for inspiration. His work with the black warmblood stallion was nice.
         
        10-14-2013, 02:05 PM
      #19
    Started
    It has not been a total 360. Those 'small things' were practice for the chance to escalate to what she's giving you now. Let the small things go, and then big things start appearing too, so what you're telling us is actually a very common and almost predictable problem with many horses and many gentle or inexperienced owners.

    The great news about that is that it's a common problem, and something that nearly all good trainers will be experienced at helping fix! Get with a trainer (not just a lesson instructor, but a HORSE trainer) and put yourself in a drill sergeant mentality. You can love her, but you must also expect complete obedience, and be on her for the slightest little speck of attitude for her own (and your own) good. She has to earn back her privileges by following all the rules with good humor, instant responses, and minding her p's and q's before you can give her any leeway again.
    Kayty, beau159, Cherie and 4 others like this.
         
        10-14-2013, 03:35 PM
      #20
    Green Broke
    First of all, sorry you got kicked.

    I went through this exact type of scenario last year. My bruise on my thigh looks very similar to the bruise you posted, although it might have even been a bit worse (not only was I kicked, I flew about 6 feet in the air from the force of the kick).

    So I don't want to kick you when you are down, because I know exactly how you feel right now. So I'm saying all these things with that in mind. BUT.......

    You need to stop babying your horse. What happened is your own fault. Here's why:

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iDressage    
    My horse has pushed me around for a while
    So she is the "leader" in your herd of two. And it's been long-established that she's the boss, and not you.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iDressage    
    but it's always been small things
    It does not matter if it is a big or small issue. Any signs of disrespect are huge.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iDressage    
    and overall she has had a good deal of respect for me.
    She double-barrel kicked you. She doesn't give a rats @$$ about you, much less respect.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iDressage    
    She's had the little bad habit here and there, but nothing as dramatic as this.
    Which means that all those little things over the months you have let her get away with, has now escalated to the point where she believes she can kick you to keep YOU in line. (Remember; she is leader in the herd of the two of you.)

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iDressage    
    This was really gotten to me and I'm done with the disrespect but now I'm nervous to correct it because I feel like I might be in danger!
    You are right to be nervous. This has escalated to a point where she is dangerous and she will attack you.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iDressage    
    My mare's hind legs were DANGEROUSLY CLOSE to my stomach/hip bone, and then to my friend (who is a VERY experienced handler)'s face but instead broke her finger.
    In order to fix this, you need to have only a few select people handle your horse with full knowledge of her dangerous behavior.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iDressage    
    This has been a total 360
    Nope. Not a 360. You have just not been paying attention to the progression and have been letting her get away with small things all this time. She figures if she can get away with small things, well why not the big things?



    When this happened to me last year, that it "was my fault" was the absolute last thing I wanted to hear, and it certainly didn't help my emotional distress. But you know what? It was all true. I was letting my horse's manners fall by the wayside just because he had arthritis and was getting cranky and agressive. He could have very easily shattered my pelvis, or broken ribs, or punctured my lung. I am SO lucky he simply bruised the hell out of my thigh. And I too was blind to the progression of his attitude.

    You've got to nip this in the bud NOW. That's great you have a dressage trainer, but is your trainer capable of dealing with a dangerous disrespectful horse? (Not all are.)

    At this point in time, I would say NO riding this horse right now. You've got to get her manners under control. Wear a helmet and a vest when you handle her on the ground too. No more lolly-gagging "fuzzy feeling" quality time with her. When you are in her prescence, she is going to work and she is going to never take her eyes off of you, because you are the boss.

    I personally am a big fan of Clinton Anderson because I think he explains this well as far as what he is doing and why. But I would strongly encourage you to find a trainer that is used to dealing with disrespectful horses (if yours is not).

    It is not about lunging in circles for hours on end. It is about making her disengage her hindquarters away from you. Moving her shoulder away from you. Backing up when you move forcefully toward her. Direction changes immediately when you ask. And working her into the ground if she even so tries to turn her hindquarters toward you. And you've got to be careful, because they are QUICK to get you if you aren't watching her body language or know how to read it.

    Ever see how a stallion treats his herd in the wild? First he may pin his ears as a warning if a horse gets out of line. If they don't quit, they get bitten. Same way the stallion might turn his butt towards the horse as a warning, and if they don't quit, they get kicked.

    Treat your horse the same. If they yield to you when you "crouch" and "glare" at their hindquarters (for example), then leave them be. But if they don't listen to your warning, you'll start tapping with the whip (much safer to have an extension of your arm). And if they don't respond to that, then they are going to get a good HARD HIT until they respond correctly. Timing is critical; that's why it is helpful to have someone hands-on help you.

    Your horse's "feelings" won't be hurt if you hit them when they deserve it. But they will learn that you are leader and what you ask needs to be done. They will learn to respect you, and follow you. And trust you!

    Ground work translates to riding. You'll find you have a much better and trusting riding partner, if they respect you on the ground.

    So dust yourself off, get your chin up, and go be the BOSS of your herd of two. Do not let anything slide. Stay firm. And stay safe.
         

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