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Allowing a horse to stop and look when scared?

This is a discussion on Allowing a horse to stop and look when scared? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

     
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        06-07-2011, 03:58 AM
      #11
    Weanling
    I let them look but not for long and then ask them to move on... the longer there heads up in the air the more adrenline that going to be rushing through... try get their head down as they wont produce that adreline... I always try to change the focus... does sound like what you did but personally I think I would have not really let them stop and look once they had seen it...

    Does depend on the situation though
         
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        06-07-2011, 08:29 AM
      #12
    Yearling
    I also agree with the way you handle your mare's spooking. You know what her responses will be to certain scary things and follow through with proper technique. It all depends on a horses nature/personality to know how to react to their spookiness. The more a horse is exposed to different scenarios the better they can handle scary objects.
         
        06-07-2011, 08:43 AM
      #13
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jody111    
    I let them look but not for long and then ask them to move on... the longer there heads up in the air the more adrenline that going to be rushing through... try get their head down as they wont produce that adreline... I always try to change the focus... does sound like what you did but personally I think I would have not really let them stop and look once they had seen it...

    Does depend on the situation though
    I have tried the "head down" thing. She'll put her head down and then as soon as my hand is away from her poll, she'll fling it back up and continue being alarmed. It seems that when I don't touch her at all in that minute or two that she responds better. My hands are...I don't know. I guess stimuli that she feels are distracting her from the scary thing? Circles and yielding when she's in that high state of mind just make her go nuts.

    Thank you everyone. I do know her really well and can pretty well predict every mood and reaction, I just wasn't sure if I was doing the right thing.
         
        06-07-2011, 09:45 AM
      #14
    Super Moderator
    What you ultimately get from letting a horse teach you what it wants you to do (stop and look at everything) instead of taking a proactive approach with a goal of having a confident horse and rider combination that does not have to look at or shy from anything imaginable is up to you.

    How successful stopping and looking is, really totally depends on what your goals are. We all know horses are 'creatures of habit'. So, the habits you reinforce and are happy with are what you should teach. If you are happy with a horse that 'stops and looks', then by all means keep stopping and looking.

    Personally, I have much different goals. I want a horse to go along like a foal following its dam. I want a horse that is happy with any place or thing I want him to go or do or ignore. That has always been my goal -- to produce a horse that is confident and accepts my leadershp -- no matter what.

    It makes no differentce if you start out with a 'laid back' easy going horse or a 'flighty hot blood', you have to decide if you want to have to pander to the horse's natural 'fright and flight' instinct or if you want to develope a horse that depends on you instead of that natural instinct. Personally, again, I want a horse that trusts me enough to do anything or go anywhere I ask.

    I have been so good at doing this, that it has become the entire focus of my training over the last 15 to 20 years. As bad health and crippleing arthritis have taken my ability to train and show performance horses, I started to focus on really 'broke' trail horses and CLEET certified police horses that go anywhere a rider points their heads with NO questions or arguements. You DON'T get a horse like that by reinforcing that things should be looked at.

    So, bottom line for me -- each rider has to set goals and then has to either be happy with 'settleing' on a horse that runs the show or has to have a goal of being in total control of a horse's mind and worries.

    One thing I know for sure, stopping and looking at everything with never produce a horse that does not need to stop and look at everything.
         
        06-07-2011, 11:13 AM
      #15
    Foal
    Personally I'd rather have a horse who stops to look at a "scary" object, than one who igonores it and then blows up when he/she finally realizes something is there. To me stoping and looking is just part of the process, once they realize it is not scary then we move on, and after a few time there is no need to look.
         
        06-07-2011, 01:44 PM
      #16
    Super Moderator
    I would be interested in how you get the horse to never need to stop and look.
    Specifically. My experience with Mac has been that if I force him forward, when he has not yet processed what the scary thing it, then he has "blown" , and he goes from being tense to 180 degrees the other direction so fast it's amazing. Since I started allowing him to stop and look or listen, he has not spun on me. I do not allow him to stop and look at everything, tho.

    I am not the rider you are, I don't have a lifetime of experience. I didn't grow up on horseback. But if you explain the method you use for these police horse, well, I might learn something.
         
        06-07-2011, 03:10 PM
      #17
    Green Broke
    It depends on the horse, personally. I think the idea of allowing a horse who likes to look the courtesy of doing so as being somehow disrespect is incorrect. I don't WANT a bombproof horse who never thinks for himself. I depend on my horse's ability to alert me to danger and work with me through it. As such, my Arab is allowed to look. She is an approacher, if something is curious or startling to her, she will fairly boldly walk up to it to investigate. Denying her that ability convinces her that I must be scared of the object as well and there is reason to avoid it. By encouraging her instincts and familiarization of things around her, I find it only strengthens the trust she has in me to the point where she will traverse any terrain at my request. She is not a balker or a refuser, on a loose rein, she will approach the object in alert readiness, examine it and continue on our way. Due to this, I see no issue in permitting her this luxury. I have attempted in the past to take a more dominant role with her and it simply doesn't work - Zierra is a horse that works much better in a partnership as opposed to me trying to dominant her.

    Jynx is opposite, Jynx needs a firm hand and my leadership. If Jynx is afraid of an object and I can feel her tension, I must immediately take steps to drive her forward in a confident manner. If she feels my hesitation, she will lose her momentum and balk or even attempt to spin in some cases. Allowing her to look at things only loses her focus and doesn't help her learn whatsoever that they aren't to be feared. Only me ignoring them and riding her in a confident and forward manner will convince her she doesn't need to fear them.

    I think the key to any good training is recognizing and understanding what works best for YOUR horse.
         
        06-07-2011, 05:13 PM
      #18
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinyliny    
    I would be interested in how you get the horse to never need to stop and look.
    Specifically. My experience with Mac has been that if I force him forward, when he has not yet processed what the scary thing it, then he has "blown" , and he goes from being tense to 180 degrees the other direction so fast it's amazing. Since I started allowing him to stop and look or listen, he has not spun on me. I do not allow him to stop and look at everything, tho.

    I am not the rider you are, I don't have a lifetime of experience. I didn't grow up on horseback. But if you explain the method you use for these police horse, well, I might learn something.
    Pretty much exactly sums up what I would have said.

    I too am interested to know how you train a horse to never stop and look, as (on the ground, at least) whenever I make her move and push her and make her do circles etc it only ever succeeds in getting her more nervous and more anxious. On her back, I have dealt with this really scared state of mind by putting her in circles, but any heavy work when she's afraid has only seemed to make her just more afraid. How exactly do you suggest I get her over this?
         
        06-07-2011, 05:15 PM
      #19
    Foal
    I personally think that it depends on the individual horse and whether their reaction is just being high-strung and spooky or whether they are legitimately scared of whatever they are spooking at. I ride a pony who honestly believes that scary things might get her. Once she takes a look at the scary thing she calms down and doesn't spook at it any more. On the other hand, a KWPN training horse spooks at things just to see if he can get away with it. If you ask him to keep working, and keep his mind involved in his work, then he forgets about the scary thing. Your horses' personality is the most important factor in deciding how to deal with spookiness. It sounds like your mare needs to look, and allowing her to look will ultimately be most beneficial to her training.
         
        06-07-2011, 06:37 PM
      #20
    Weanling
    I have always learned that if a horse spooks you don't let them stop and gauke at what they are spooking at or force them over to that spot. I have always learned that you put a horses feet and mind to work. May it be circles, transitions, serpentines, sidepassing, etc. So they learn it isn't so cool or fun to spook and be stubpid about things.
         

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