Dancey Butt - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-26-2007, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Dancey Butt

How can I train my horse to stand still when I tighten the girth and adjust the stirrups. She insists on dancing around. It's not like I can force her to stay still. She's a very big girl. I have no idea what to do.
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-26-2007, 06:58 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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First of all, be sure to tighten your girth in at least three stages over a period of time. 1. secure the girth to keep the saddle up their on its own. 2. Do last minute pre-ride activities (i.e. stetch your horse's front legs, put the bridle on, pick the feet, put your spurs on, etc.). Then tighten the saddle up a bit more. 3. Warm up on the ground on the lunge, or in the saddle for a few minutes, and then tighten one more time.

Doing this will ensure that your horse isn't being rudely jammed into a tight girth without warning. This might remove some of the stress t that causes dancing. I am guilty of not always following these steps, and instead rushing, and I can tell that my horse gets a bit dancy about it.

Second, to teach your horse to stand while being saddled, the best way that I have requires a round pen or other small enclosure. Bring your horse into the round pen and remove the halter. Use a lunge whip or to create a driving pressure behind your horse (no need to touch horse with whip). Drive your horse in a couple of circles one way, cut them off, drive them the other way. Ask for a whoa, and if the horse doesn't stop and look at you, or better yet, walk to you, drive him some more, switching directions and amound of the circle being driven. When you get to where you horse whoa's and walks up to you, pat him, praise him...During this exercise, remove driving pressure anytime your horse shows the littlest effort to do what you want...he will eventually figure it out. Do this for several sessions until your horse automatically turns to you and stops when you say whoa.

Next, bring horse into round pen, also bring saddle into the middle. Do a short 1-2 circle session each way, ask for whoa, then approach and put on the pad. If he moves, drive him off for a few circles each way, ask for whoa, try again. Repeat until he stands still on his own. Next put the saddle up there, if he moves a foot, drive him off for a short session, try again. Repeat until he stands while you place the saddle, and secure it (not too tight).

Note: when doing this, your horse should have no halter on and be restrained by you in no way. You are teaching him/her to choose to do what you are asking rather than choosing to exercise.

Also, you might want to use a pad and saddle you don't care much about, because when you drive him off quickly, they will end up in the dirt.

This round pen exercise teaches your horse to stand still for you, so can be used for stirrup adjustment, putting on boots, and other activities. You can even use the same concept for bridling, but in that situation, you would have him lower his head by teaching him to move away from light pressure you apply to the poll, and then drive him off and have him work any time he raises his head up high when you try to bridle.

Good luck :)
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post #3 of 6 Old 10-27-2007, 08:55 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Florida
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Here is a short article that may help you. :)

Won’t Stand Still

It can be so frustrating when your horse can’t stand still. He circles, invades, pulls, even rears up. Sometimes it can even be a bit frightening, after all, humans are small in comparison to the size of a horse!

There are two things that can help your horse want to stand still and it’s probably the opposite of what most people do.

Instead of holding him tight and jerking on the halter, give him more rope and get him to move more! It’s called reverse psychology and it works.

Give your horse at least four feet of rope, put your back against a wall or fence and then play the Driving Game, sending your horse quickly from one side of the fence to the other. When a horse is full of adrenaline, holding him close makes him feel claustrophobic and panicky. By giving him more rope you stop aggravating this feeling.

When a horse needs to move his feet, the more you try to stop it the worse it gets. So do the opposite… get him to move his feet faster than he wants and pretty soon the adrenaline comes down and all he wants to do is stand still. This can take a little time if it’s an extreme horse, but even though a few minutes might feel like an eternity to you it’s a drop in the bucket of time where a horse is concerned. Take the time it takes.

Oh… and don’t let him go in circles. The fact that he has to go back and forth, faster than he wants is the secret.
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-27-2007, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SE Kansas
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I agree with paintlover and spirithorse. Tightening the girth is 3 steps is an important point. When I first got Vida she was very "cinchy" I think the previous owner must have been a 1 step tacker. I do her in 3 stages and she doesn't move a bit.
I also will put my hand between the cinch and horse after I do stage one and make sure her hair is smoothed and after stage 3 I lift her front legs to pull any skin that might be pinched. Have to make sure she is comfy. :)

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-27-2007, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2007
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yeah, I wouldn't dare jerk up the girth in one go. What I do is I go up one whole on the left side, then go to the right and go up one hole. And I keep going back and forth until it's tight enough.
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-28-2007, 11:19 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Southcentral Kansas
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Are you using crossties? Is your horse coming out of a stall to be tacked? If so I have to suggest doing some inhand/roundpen work before you tack up. Get the edge off his energy if possible first. Then, if he wants to move you make him move more than he wants to. Can't do this in crossties or tied at all. Teach him to stand before you are tacking up, etc.. Proceed a step at a time as has been described for many different things and he will learn more patience. Also if you can after the ride leave him tied for 15 - 60mins tacked up/then untacked. Standing tied teaches patience.. And never untie the moment you get to the horse. That teaches human = movement. :)

It takes time, persistance and patience on your part also.
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