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*headstrong horse*

This is a discussion on *headstrong horse* within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • How to soften a strong horse
  • Horse bit "pull and release" continuous pain

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    03-19-2013, 10:02 AM
  #11
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by soenjer55    
How does he lead? How soft is he normally, say, with his buddy close by?
It sounds to me, from what you've said, like he needs to soften up a bit and you need to be clearer and firmer in order to get his attention away from getting back to his buddy and to his rider. To soften him, try working on the ground with just the lead rope and halter. He needs to respect pressure and learn to flex.
Start by standing to his side, and pulling the lead rope towards you. Make him flex his neck so that his nose is all the way to his side. You want to get him to a point where he will follow the pressure so well that it's like he's just following your hand. Do this on each side, and then do it in the saddle- pull his nose around to your stirrup.
Also, what kind of bit do you use on him? When you're riding him and he gets strong in your hands, try to bump him with the reins, or wiggle/ see-saw them. When you pull back and hold the pressure, it gives him the opportunity to brace against you and ignore it. But, if you're bumping or wiggling the reins, it makes it so that he can't brace or ignore you. Imagine someone trying to get your attention while you're distracted, either by a task or in deep thought- which works better, grabbing and holding your arm or poking it continuously? You don't need to yank or anything, just a consistent 'tap' on the reins, until you feel him give a bit. Then immediately let go. The problem is that his mind is so preoccupied with getting home and seeing his buddy that he's ignoring/ forgetting his rider, so you need to give him a reminder that you're there and he needs to focus on you.
What do you do when you want him to stop? How do you ask him? I would suggest that when you ask for a stop, you sit deep in the saddle. You may have to exaggerate it at first. It helps to take a deep breath and exhale when you sit. If he doesn't stop right away, then you use a voice queue ("whoa") and then if even that doesn't work, use your reins. See-saw them to get him to soften a bit if he's bracing, and then turn him/ flex his neck to the side in a one-rein stop.
We have been working on flexing, but he doesn't know how to soften his mouth or react to pressure well. When I see-saw the reins to get him to stop, it still takes an extremely long time to slow down. Thnk you though, it really helped me understand!
     
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    03-19-2013, 05:44 PM
  #12
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Palomine    
Racehorses are trained to lean into the pressure, and go faster when pressure is applied.
WT?? Why do they do that?? Not the ones I used to ride - they were at least well trained in the basics. & had a **** sight 'softer' mouths than most ponyclub mounts I've worked with!
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    03-19-2013, 05:48 PM
  #13
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by gambler2007    
We have been working on flexing, but he doesn't know how to soften his mouth or react to pressure well. When I see-saw the reins to get him to stop, it still takes an extremely long time to slow down. Thnk you though, it really helped me understand!
PLEASE DON'T 'see saw' on his mouth! TEACH him to respond rather than try to force the issue by creating pain.
     
    03-19-2013, 06:12 PM
  #14
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie    
PLEASE DON'T 'see saw' on his mouth! TEACH him to respond rather than try to force the issue by creating pain.
I normally woudnt, but we were cantering on the trails and I had to stop him before we reached the turn. It was a danger to both of us and I needed to stop. And I don't know what you're implying, but I would never force him to stop through pain. I love my horse...but sometimes you need to get your horse to listen to you. And it doesn't mean I'm yanking on his mouth so hard he throws up his head-its not hard and its quick. It just gets them to listen to you.

They train them to put pressure back on the reins so they stretch out their necks and that can help them win.
     
    03-19-2013, 07:08 PM
  #15
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by gambler2007    
I normally woudnt, but we were cantering on the trails and I had to stop him before we reached the turn. It was a danger to both of us and I needed to stop. And I don't know what you're implying, but I would never force him to stop through pain.
Using a lot of force on the reins(if your hands hurt, you can bet his sensitive mouth sure does) & see sawing is indeed causing him pain. Even relatively light pressure applied in certain ways(such as pulling on 2 reins with a single jointed snaffle for eg) can cause a lot of discomfort/pain. It's important to understand that.

I'm well aware that sometimes, in cases of emergency & such, it may be the necessary option - & it's good to hear you don't see saw generally(some do & have been taught to do this on 'hard mouthed' horses!). I think it's far better - as well as more effective - not to get into these situations if possible until you've trained the horse to respond to *soft* cues. Eg. I wouldn't be cantering at all until he's learned the basics & wouldn't be cantering out in the open until he's learned to do it with soft control in a controlled area.
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    03-19-2013, 07:17 PM
  #16
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie    
Using a lot of force on the reins(if your hands hurt, you can bet his sensitive mouth sure does) & see sawing is indeed causing him pain. Even relatively light pressure applied in certain ways(such as pulling on 2 reins with a single jointed snaffle for eg) can cause a lot of discomfort/pain. It's important to understand that.

I'm well aware that sometimes, in cases of emergency & such, it may be the necessary option - & it's good to hear you don't see saw generally(some do & have been taught to do this on 'hard mouthed' horses!). I think it's far better - as well as more effective - not to get into these situations if possible until you've trained the horse to respond to *soft* cues. Eg. I wouldn't be cantering at all until he's learned the basics & wouldn't be cantering out in the open until he's learned to do it with soft control in a controlled area.
I understand about their sensitive mouths. My trainer has been working with me and him a little, and I know not to yank on their mouths, but if I have to see saw or pull on the reins, I do it quickly and not hard, it will not bring them a lot of pain. I do a pull and release, not a continuous yank, and I'm asking for help on how to improve in the future in being less headstrong. As for the trails, he is a trail horse, and we have ridden him on trails before, and I know if I should canter him or not. It wasnt bad either, just took too long to stop him. So instead of telling me I shouldnt do it, tell me to do a one rein stop, for example. Thanks.
     
    03-19-2013, 07:32 PM
  #17
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by gambler2007    
If you do it quickly and not hard, it will not bring them a lot of pain.
That is different to getting upset by me 'implying' you were causing ANY pain.

Quote:
So instead of telling me I shouldnt do it, tell me to do a one rein stop, for example. Thanks.
Sounds like perhaps you didn't read my original reply, as that is precisely what I suggested. IMO it's helpful to people to tell them what, IME they should avoid doing, as well as...

"I'd take him back to the basics & teach him to yield laterally. ...
TEACH him to respond rather than try to force....
I think it's far better - as well as more effective - not to get into these situations if possible until you've trained the horse to respond to *soft* cues."

I disagree with you that just because you want him to be a trail horse & he's already been taken on trails means you should just keep doing this & shouldn't go back to the basics with him.
     
    03-19-2013, 07:36 PM
  #18
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie    
I disagree with you that just because you want him to be a trail horse & he's already been taken on trails means you should just keep doing this & shouldn't go back to the basics with him.
I do not want him to be a trail horse, never said that! I will go back to basics, I'm just distracted with the endless amount of work I have to do with him haha ;)

We rode him on some serious trails at a walk trot and he was fine, so if you never try you won't know!
     

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