eating grass on trail
   

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eating grass on trail

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    04-14-2014, 05:25 PM
  #1
Foal
Question eating grass on trail

I know this has probably been brought up a million times but I do think mine is kind of "special". He's a big boy!! Bigger than I really wanted in a horse but he's mine now. I know people will say "they can't muscle you around - it's all in training...." I'm a very small person and if he starts to look at the grass, I can push him forward and keep his head up just fine. But he will THROW his head down with such force, he gets his grass. I've tried bracing the reins and my hands on the front of the saddle but he's so strong, he lifts me right out of the saddle! I have a friend who does Parelli and she told me to carry a crop and tap him when he goes down for it - don't muscle him over it but tap him til he gets his head up and continue on. Tried that and I ended up having to whack him pretty hard.
The reason I say he's a special case - he does have ADD. Not just saying it, he really does. I put him on a magnesium supplement to see if it would help him and it really didn't. I played with the dose and did get it too high for him as he was sedated. So I lowered it til the sedation eased up. He's a pretty mellow guy to begin with.
Compare him to my husband's Arab - night and day. She has good recall and remembers things. After about 5 minutes, he forgets.
I have an injured hand so it's tough right now since I don't have full strength with it.
If he's out front or we are moving out, there is no munching. So I know his mind needs to be occupied so he doesn't have GRASS on the brain.
Although today we were out front trotting and he threw his head down to grab grass as we were TROTTING!!! I trot him on a loose rein and it took me by complete surprise!! I got his head up REAL QUICK. I heard my hubby behind me yell, "WTH!!! He's not very bright!!!"
YEAH - good way to go head over heels for sure!
Will be keeping a better eye on him even when trotting now. I did give up today when we were in back walking. My hand was killing me so I just let him grab the grass and then asked to move forward which he does. He doesn't just hang out in one spot to eat, he'll move on AFTER he gets his mouthful.
     
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    04-14-2014, 07:26 PM
  #2
Weanling
One thing I did with my sister's horse once. He was very bad at reaching for food when riding. I put a Pelham bit on him and rode with only the top rein and when he would reach to grab something I would just hold the bottom rein steady and let him run into it and feel the curb. It only took a couple of times and he stopped doing it. He was doing to himself because I didn't jerk the rein or anything and he figured it out quickly. He didn't need to grab at the grass because he was out on pasture so he got lots of it when he was on his own. Just a habit.
One time I was riding in a Hunter Pace on a friends horse and this horse took me by surprise but actually grabbing at grass while cantering. Never had that happen before and didn't like it one bit.
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    04-14-2014, 07:46 PM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodhaven    
One thing I did with my sister's horse once. He was very bad at reaching for food when riding. I put a Pelham bit on him and rode with only the top rein and when he would reach to grab something I would just hold the bottom rein steady and let him run into it and feel the curb. It only took a couple of times and he stopped doing it. He was doing to himself because I didn't jerk the rein or anything and he figured it out quickly. He didn't need to grab at the grass because he was out on pasture so he got lots of it when he was on his own. Just a habit.
One time I was riding in a Hunter Pace on a friends horse and this horse took me by surprise but actually grabbing at grass while cantering. Never had that happen before and didn't like it one bit.
Mine also has access to grass at home so it's not like he's starved for it. I was riding in a shank bit but just riding along and doing half halts, it was too much to use all the time. So your idea is an idea to think about.
     
    04-14-2014, 08:45 PM
  #4
Green Broke
Lol.. he sounds a tad spoiled, he has learned how to get away with this. Get his head up and make him circle or work, each bite, more work, circle, back serpentines ,
You have to find what he responds to , I don't think he is add , but just a horse who knows how much he can away with, and since the whip does not help with taps, whack the heck out of him. Pull his head back toward you and pull the grass out of his mouth, I have done that but be carefull not to get bitten or get your hand stuck on the bridle or bit.
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    04-15-2014, 06:40 AM
  #5
Weanling
Are you actually whacking him with the crop hard enough that he's actually feeling it? I've seen a lot of people carry a crop over the years and "think" that they're using it, when in reality they're doing nothing more than lightly tapping their horse....the same as if someone brushed your arm with their fingers.

A swift crack on the rump (such that it literally makes a cracking noise) will get your horses attention. If you're just tapping him on the bum with it don't be surprised that he's ignoring you, because he's learned he can without any negative stimulation to the counter effect.
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    04-15-2014, 07:14 AM
  #6
Green Broke
My best advice to you.... Stop treating you horse as a "special case" and start treating him like a horse. I believe he is the one who thinks YOU are the "special case" by letting him run the show. He definitely has out smarted and out muscled you. Not a good combination.

Like the others said, if he goes down for grass give him a HARD whack and yell "hey!" If that doesn't work I'd opt for a little curb action. Let him correct himself a few times, then again, of he isn't a horse with a soft mouth it won't work. Another thing you can try is to get a long dressage whip and boo him on the nose with it as he goes to throw his head down.

How does he lead over grass?
Posted via Mobile Device
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    04-15-2014, 07:33 AM
  #7
Showing
A good whack behind your leg should drive him forward when his head drops. Don't pull on the reins. Don't whack him on the rump as this can invite a buck, nor on the shoulder, but right behind your leg. If he scoots forward be sure to not yank on his mouth. If he's different from your husband's arab is because men have a no-nonsense approach and a horse knows where it stands. Your horse is having a field day because of your wuzzy approach.
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    04-15-2014, 08:38 AM
  #8
Green Broke
Rule #1 in punishment. Do not NAG the nag. If you use that crop MEAN IT. REALLY whack him.

If you are physically unable to keep the horse on target, the Pelham will work well.

Another thing you can do is set him up with a grazing check rein. Lots of instructors use these on ponies because little kids cannot learn to ride and muscle a pony through the eating if the pony decides to eat.

HOWEVER, all of the above are stop gap. What you need is more instruction on riding and this horse needs more training and an assertive rider. They are not like dogs. You can whack a horse with a crop behind your leg and if you do it correctly and at the right time that horse will forget all about grazing. Knowing how to ride through these problems and anticipate the reach for grass and moving the horse out before he gets his head down is essential. When you know how to ride the horse through your small stature should no longer be an issue.
     
    04-15-2014, 09:51 AM
  #9
Super Moderator
When I have small children off the lead rein on naughty ponies that just want to eat I put grass reins on them. A piece of bailer twine tied to the bit, back to the saddle, loose enough that they are not just holding the horse's head in a fixed position but short enough that he cannot reach the grass.

Horses do not suffer with ADD, they suffer with inexperienced riders that they learn to take advantage of.

Get tougher with him. Do not pull on both reins when he tries to get his head down use just one rein and fix the other hand on the front of the saddle whilst you raise the other high and hard,
     
    04-15-2014, 12:33 PM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlideStop    
My best advice to you.... Stop treating you horse as a "special case" and start treating him like a horse. I believe he is the one who thinks YOU are the "special case" by letting him run the show. He definitely has out smarted and out muscled you. Not a good combination.

Like the others said, if he goes down for grass give him a HARD whack and yell "hey!" If that doesn't work I'd opt for a little curb action. Let him correct himself a few times, then again, of he isn't a horse with a soft mouth it won't work. Another thing you can try is to get a long dressage whip and boo him on the nose with it as he goes to throw his head down.

How does he lead over grass?
Posted via Mobile Device
He IS TREATED like a horse. Sorry but I take some offense to your post because of that. He does have ADD (no one here knows him or has worked him or ridden him). Chiropractor and vet both have commented on how his ADD effects him. It's not as bad as some but it's there. Why do I say he's treated like a horse because he RESPECTS me on the ground. We always do groundwork before a ride. How does he lead on grass? Fine because my ground work is solid. Wiggle the rope he knows he had better pay attention. But he forgets quite fast because of the ADD. He can last for about 5 minutes. My other horses will stand til I say then can move forever. He has NOT out smarted me. That is for sure. HE has out muscled me and that I can't help right now. I have an injured hand and cannot use it. So I do need to rely on tools right now. I was tapping his shoulder not his butt as I was thinking just last night to myself, I need to try the butt instead of shoulder. That's what I was using when he refused to move somewhere out of fear on the trail. What I learned tho is that some horses do NOT respond well to a crop in certain circumstances like that. He couldn't think or work things out or listen to me. The only way he could respond was to basically shut down. So I stopped using the crop in those circumstances and just worked him up in the saddle, back up, asking for one step forward, release, pressure, release for a try and that worked great. He comes from a previous owner who thru him under the bus on trail rides. He's not the most confident horse. So when I say he's "special", he is. Eating grass is taking advantage of me - that I do know and I think a tap FIRST then a whack on his BUTT not his shoulder. I don't believe in whacking first - I believe in giving them the good choice first, if not, then it gets tougher. Starting out with a HARD whack teaches nothing.
I've rambled on here a bit just to give more of a background on him. And to let some of you know - I'm NOT an idiot with horses. But there are so many different ways to work horses that are grazers on the trail. And you have to also realize (although some of you would totally disagree with this) grazing is natural for horses. You are taking away something that is totally natural. You have to take that into consideration. I know Parelli says to NOT pull on their heads everytime they go to snatch grass, you are being unfair but they also can't just throw their heads down when ever they want so he suggests also to tap them either on their shoulders or butts and when they lift their head, ask to move on. I don't believe in never letting them eat grass. I think people who do that see their horse as a machine. It's exactly like taking a hunting dog out and telling it "DON"T hunt."
But there are rules. So I've had him now for just over a year and he now leads without fearing for his life. It took some battles for him to start trusting in me. I want his feet to go where I want his feet to go. When he starts to get scared or unsure, I start using my seat way more and he's doing much better. I have not had an explosion in a long time :) If I did, he knows the one rein stop and I might get off and start doing ground work right there on the trail.
I've read quite a few posts on the board and most people really try and help people and others jump to the conclusion that the person knows NOTHING and the horse walks all over them and some posters voice their opposition. I just posted on one the other day where someone said she didn't know anything about horses. She just had ONE issue that she felt she could deal with herself (NO trainers). And sometimes it's just an easy fix like mine could be tap the butt NOT the shoulder.
You can't hear tone in an email or post so that is where the internet is a bad thing. But I"ve read so many posts that say, "You DON"T know my horse." And that is so true. I wish people would stop telling people, "your horse is spoiled, you shouldn't have the horse etc...."
There are actually very few posts on here that need that kind of tone. There have been a few where a person could seriously get hurt but most are just holes in the training.
So enough of my long story..... Going to try the crop on butt
     

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