Crops--cruel or beneficial when used properly? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 49 Old 06-20-2012, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Crops--cruel or beneficial when used properly?

Hi all! My horse has a lot of issues currently (that I believe are simple fixes). He was not ridden very regularly prior to me getting him. He's currently pretty rusty in A LOT of areas. I feel that a crop would be helpful in fixing some of the more important issues I have stumbled across.

Some of his current issues include:

-Refusing to move forward without having to circle him.

-Backing up when I ask him to move forward--sometimes he will even back in a circle when I attempt to use a circle as a fix. Usually in this situation, I will ask him to back quite a distance. I've found with a lot of horses that they would rather walk forward than back, and when given the choice, will walk forward--problem solved..temporarily. A smack on the butt helps as well--but I don't like being physical with him any more than absolutely necessary.

-His transitions need work. His walk to trot has gotten nearly flawless--however, his trot to canter is bloody horrid. Instead of transitioning smoothly and fluidly, he merely proceeds to trot faster and faster until it's both silly looking and extremely uncomfortable for the both of us, I'm sure. At this point, It's very difficult to both ride such a trot and continue ask him productively for a canter. He will eventually pick up a canter, and it's lovely! However, this needs work. A pop on the withers will more often than not work--since he was ridden western before me, his previous rider would use the split reins on the withers; unfortunately I can't do that with English reins (though I shouldn't have to!)

-He isn't necessarily refusing jumps, though he slows down drastically and hops over them or even steps over instead of jumping. This problem, I'm not extremely concerned with as I feel that this just needs a bit of work. He is most likely new to even small jumps, so I want to take my time with this. I just figured I would mention it.

Would a crop help me if used properly? I have never had to use a crop on a horse more than once or so, and it was because said horse was just plain lazy. I don't want to be cruel to my boy--I just can't imagine him thinking of me as an aggressive rider. I want to be assertive, but not aggressive. I want him to enjoy our partnership as I do, not fear it and me.

Any and all opinions or input welcomed and appreciated
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post #2 of 49 Old 06-20-2012, 11:34 PM
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It sounds like it would. Crops actually aren't painful most of the time unless you really swing hard.

Sounds like there are some respect issues there that a crop might fix!
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post #3 of 49 Old 06-20-2012, 11:36 PM
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The first two, yes to back up your leg. One good whack along with your leg aid may put a stop to this, not just using it alone. Make sure when you do whack, you are ready for the reaction and don't lean on or pull him back on the reins. That will undo what you taught him.

As for the transitions.. no. That sounds more like he's unbalanced. Lots of transitions down and up will fix that as will time. Horses build muscle memory as we do. Then if he isn't listening to your leg, you can give him a tap on his rump along with your leg aids, but honestly it sounds as though he's dull to your leg, and needs time ridden correctly to improve.

Also lunging trot to canter, canter to trot on the ground will help him get the transition down better. I always slow my horse down, halt halt to balance, and cue for the canter. I refuse to let him do the "tranter" so I slow him down, get him balanced and ask again. Ask him coming out of a corner. Large curves are easier for a horse than straight lines.

As for the jumping, consult an instructor.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"

Last edited by Skyseternalangel; 06-20-2012 at 11:38 PM.
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post #4 of 49 Old 06-20-2012, 11:36 PM
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As long as you don't become completely reliant on the crop, it can definitely be beneficial. Ask for the upward transition with your leg, and if it's ignored or he doesn't respond quickly enough, re-enforce it with a crop.

I carry a crop with me when I'm competing my TB over fences (eventing and jumpers, not for hunters) or schooling new XC obstacles. I never use one in jumping lessons.
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post #5 of 49 Old 06-20-2012, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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post #6 of 49 Old 06-21-2012, 12:05 AM
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I have half of some 8' split reins draped around my saddle horn. If my mare is afraid of something ahead, I work with her on her fear. But if she just doesn't feel like going further, and she starts backing up...then a quick pop on her butt beats her backing rear first into some cholla cactus...

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post #7 of 49 Old 06-21-2012, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
I have half of some 8' split reins draped around my saddle horn. If my mare is afraid of something ahead, I work with her on her fear. But if she just doesn't feel like going further, and she starts backing up...then a quick pop on her butt beats her backing rear first into some cholla cactus...

Haha!! For sure! My boy almost backed us off a cliff today. And into an electric fence. And a tree. That's when I realized that something had to be done before someone gets hurt!! (Better than cactus butt though!)
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post #8 of 49 Old 06-21-2012, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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I don't really worry about him being afraid, because as a previous search and rescue horse I was told that he had seen it all and been through it all. Her exact words were "If he acts afraid--he's not." I don't go by this all of the time, but he is a pretty fearless boy (which could be good or bad when you think about it!)
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post #9 of 49 Old 06-21-2012, 12:23 AM
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Hmm this is similar to a post I put up and ultamatly decided that I would use a crop and It has worked wonders on our transitions and our "Listen Here" moments- Never had to over assert myself just gave him a tap to get his attention- I'd say try and let us know how it worked out!

The Truth Harsher Than One Would Think
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post #10 of 49 Old 06-21-2012, 08:54 AM
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Use it. He may even come to the point where you don't have to actually use it, just have it and raise it. When my horse decides he's forgetting himself, out comes to crop and I don't even have to use it - I just have to wiggle it as though I'm about to.
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crop , training , whip

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