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Disrespect or inexperience?

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  • Disengaging horse's hind end
  • What is disengage a horse

 
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    07-28-2011, 07:42 AM
  #11
Weanling
Take tinylinys advice and start disengaging her hind quarters to get her mind back on you and what you are wanting. Making a horse disengage their hind end actually will get their mind back on you also. You should only allow your horse to go a few steps before asking them to disengage again and when your horses ears are listening to you (im sure you are aware of what I am saying) you can allow a bit more forward motion at a relaxed pace. When you first ask your horse to disengage you may get a bit of an excited response as she will be thinking....but she will settle down as she realizes what you are asking.
It is one of the very best methods used to get a horses attention back on purpose and to get a horse to relaxe and you will see results after a few rides. Best of luck.

Note: disengaging also lets the horse know you are the one who says where and how fast they are allowed to go. It puts the focus back on you as opposed to the horses surroundings which is key.
     
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    07-28-2011, 09:23 AM
  #12
Super Moderator
Disengaging a horse's rear end should be saved for life-threatening emergencies, like when a horse rears straight up or tries to buck hard. Little rears and crow-hops should also be countered by moving a horse out faster and getting control through impulsion.

I would assume that anyone thinking it is the end-all cure-all to every little thing where impulsion works better, has never actually finished a horse where you want to bring a hip into the center for flying lead changes, correct canter departures, as well as western spins (turn-arounds) and rollbacks and even can foul up good side-passes and good lateral movement at gates. You cannot teach a horse to work a cow if you have already taught it to 'flop' its butt out every time you ask it to stay parallel to a cow, taking its head to toward the cow and 'hold its ground behind' so it can roll back with the cow. Over-using this one maneuver will come back and 'bite you' in almost every advanced maneuver you try to teach a horse. Some NEVER get over its over-use.

I teach leg yielding exercises and disengagements of the hind quarters very early in a horse's training when they first learning to move off of my leg. I NEVER use it after that unless there are very special or life-saving circumstances. I never use it when I teach a one rein stop. You can teach a horse to stop and give you its head while still keeping its hind end straight behind it where it belongs. They actually do a much better and more useful 'one rein stop'.

If you use this maneuver often, you will have nothing but grief when you get to more advanced maneuvers like lead changes and probably won't even know why you are having so much trouble.

As for the original poster -- I work with people almost every week to teach them how to get their trail riding courage and confidence up to complement their trail horses. This is how I do it and it works wonders with every rider and horse I work with. Ride forward with a purpose and you get a confident, willing trail horse that thinks you are god. Very quickly, when you have established your leadership skills, your horse will be more than willing to slow down and ride on a loose rein. This is what I now do for a living and I make it work every day.
     
    07-28-2011, 10:41 AM
  #13
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
I do not think she needs more ground work. I do not think she needs to be stopped or disengaged or put in a lot of circles unless they are done loping.

I think she needs you to show her that you have more confidence.

I think you need to give her job.

I think you need to ride harder and faster with a purpose.

One of you needs to be the bold leader here and you need to step up to the plate and be the one. If you only have open field, it is more difficult. Are there trees around the edge? If there are, weave between them (like pole bending) at a strong trot. Circle around every 3rd or 4th one -- a different direction each time. Use inside leg to get nice 'open' round circles. Then stop every now and then and do a 'rollback' to the outside and reverse that circle.

And if she speeds up and starts to get "silly" (shaking her head and such), what should I do? Just push her harder forwards and ignore it?

I have found that horses that lack confidence have usually been ridden by riders that lack confidence. You cannot get more from a horse if you do not ask for more. They do not just 'jump up' and make themselves into 'broke' horses. If she was a nice trail horse before you got her, I am sure she had a confident and not a tentative rider. She will go right back to being that nice trail horse when you give her a chance.

She was ridden by a trainer, so yes, a very strong and confident rider. I have always had problems with confidence. I've found that the more I learn, the more confident I get, but when I go and "research" a solution to the problem I'm having, my brain just keeps telling me: "How do you know this will work? How do you know you can pull this off correctly? This isn't your idea-what if it screws everything up more?"

I hope this makes sense. I am not trying to be critical. I would like to see you become that confident rider that can go out and have a LOT more fun and a lot fewer worries.

I think it does, and no, I know you are not trying to be critical and do not take offense. Between me and the horse, I have always been the one who was started (and ended, I guess) our problems. Most or I'd even say all of my frustrations and the horse's problems are my problems. It's never been her fault, and I don't think it ever will be.

In answer to your original question -- neither disrespect or inexperience.
I probably should work on disengaging the hindquarters anyhow...we need to learn it. She probably did learn it from the trainer, but I haven't gotten a good one from her so far.
     
    07-28-2011, 01:31 PM
  #14
Super Moderator
I thought this sounded like the situation with you and your horse. She is probably fighting your hands and not her head. Horses ridden on a light or loose rein just don't fight their rider. It take two to fight -- the horse just cannot fight if you do not put her in a position to have something to fight and fuss about.

I do not know where you live, but I wish you were close enough to work a day or two with us. This is what we now specialize in as we have gotten too old and decrepit to train performance and cow horses anymore.

If your horse speeds up or shakes her head, maneuver her with one rein only. Use an inside leg with it if she tries to dive off instead of making a nice rounded turn. When you pull on both reins at the same time, you give the horse something to fight and brace against. When use one rein at a time and do serpentines and do circles with direction changes after each one or two, all horses slow down. When you quit giving them something to fight, they get much more calm -- especially if they already know how to ride right. This what I used to do with all of the OTTBs and OTQHs that I used to reschool. They settled right down. If they didn't, I did the same thing in the brush and big rocks.
     
    07-28-2011, 01:42 PM
  #15
Weanling
I do ride with a loose rein, very little or no contact. I think most of her head shaking comes when the flies are bad (which I feel like she shouldn't be doing anyways, no matter how annoyed she is-after all, she doesn't furiously shake it in the pasture when the flies bug her), but she tends to do it when she gets frustrated as well. I know she needs her teeth looked at and likely floated-they're way overdue for it and we're having the vet come out in a few weeks, so that may be why she likes to shake her head a lot and perhaps it will clear up after. She only shakes her head when she is all reactive and tense, too...if we're quietly riding along or even walking on the ground, she doesn't.

I'll use the one-rein thing when I ask her to circle and serpentine and all that. I can't think of it now, if I pull on her needlessly at circles and shapes, but knowing me, I probably tense up and do unconsciously. Since her teeth likely do need done, I don't like to pull at her mouth but...in the heat of the moment it tends to go out the window.

I'm in Ontario, so yes, a bit too far away. It would really be nice if we were closer and you could help me out in person, but not much we can do about that.
     
    07-29-2011, 11:08 AM
  #16
Weanling
Get her teeth checked first. That in itself can be the larger issue with her.
     
    07-29-2011, 11:26 AM
  #17
Weanling
On thing I found with my mare (she is 3 and excitable) when we started going out on the trails (short rides of course for her age) when she would want to run through me and not listen to my body, I would do slight tugs alternating right and left n the reins, I would get more and more firm as the length of time increased for her to respond. If she did not respond to that, I would pull on both reins at the same time until she gives to the pressure (again increasing as you go but always giving her the chance to give before you pull hard) and as soon as she slows I released.

Most times now if she gets fired up and wants to run ahead I just do a few light tugs on either side to get her attention and tell her to slow and she does.

Something to try anyways.

Also, I have definitely learned that things that make her nervous (ie: creeks, cows etc...) if I think of my heels being part of the ground and look past what is spooky towards the goal (going past the cows I stared at the gate beyond them and counted the rails lol) and ask her to move forward (if she isnt already moving well) as if we were just asking her to start moving in the arena. Just relaxed, ready, and both butt bones on the saddle!
     
    07-29-2011, 11:45 AM
  #18
Green Broke
I agree with Cherie.

I really have no opinion on the one-rein stop/hind quarter disengagement as I have never really used it. If my horse is really go-y, I may circle/ figure-8 her around some trees, but I never really disengage her the way other people are suggesting. So I really don't know what I think of it.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that when I bought my Foxtrotter she was mainly used as a broodmare and then I found out she was pregnant, so I never got to ride her really hard that first summer. And all winter long after the baby was born, she was a hyperactive mess.

This summer I really got down to riding her and I've done a lot more gaiting and cantering with her and she's actually settled down to finally walking nicely on a loose rein. I was a bit worried I might re-enforce her go-y habit, but I was riding with friends and having fun and did a few rides where we cantered a lot. (We also did a lot of walking rides as well).

Anyway, she is a different horse now. Walks on a loose rein calmly even coming home. But it took some mileage to get her there mentally. I think anytime a horse has a big lay-off like that, they can get excited thinking it is all new again. But mileage, mileage, mileage and I'm sure she will be right back to where she was two years ago.

And I don't mean go canter her willy-nilly if you don't feel safe doing so. But just go out, let her trot out a bunch (especially going away from home), do some hills, ride for hours if you can, and just have fun. Canter in safe areas when you feel she is ready. After a bunch of good, long rides I think she will settle back to her old self. I can't blame the horse for being excited when she has been out of practice for so long.
     
    07-30-2011, 11:06 PM
  #19
Weanling
Thank you everyone for helping out!

I took Cherie's advice today and got really confident and assertive. Every time she got insecure and started speeding up the walk, I pushed her faster instead of shrinking down and trying to slow/stop her. For the first few moments of pushing her faster, our energies would sort of "clash", if that makes sense, but after a minute, she would settle down. This is a large difference than me shrinking and trying to be quiet and relaxed, and her being insecure the entire time and never settling down. I found that if I want her to relax after she's started going into insecurity mode, my "energy" needs to be stronger and more vibrant than hers, sort of challenging hers. I don't want to go all "new age" on you with this talk of energy, but that's the best word I can find to describe what it felt like.

Today I never let her look at or pay attention to what was scary or interesting (unless of course, it was me who was scary and interesting ). The best example all day was an encounter with fire. There's a lane that runs by my neighbour's house that takes you to most of the trail paths, and my neighbour had lit a fire to burn garbage or something. The first time past, my horse bulged right out to try and get away from it. I went on a little ways then looped back and passed it again, and continued this 4-5 times. The last time, she barely bulged at all and nor did she look at it-she had one ear on me and one on the fire, but continued straight on.

By the end of the ride, all I had to do was bump my leg or fiddle with one rein and at least one ear would flick back to me. I did not go very far from home today, but at least I feel better about controlling her now, and know that I CAN control her.
     
    07-30-2011, 11:25 PM
  #20
Super Moderator
Congratulations! You did really well. Great results and great advice.
     

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