Fear of making things worse!? :( - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 27 Old 08-18-2012, 09:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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I use clicker training as a great motivator when things get sticky. I cluck with my tongue so the horse knows it's doing right and follow up with the treat (alfalfa cubes broken in to small wafers). I always extend my arm so the horse has to turn away to receive the treat. It soon learns that mugging me gets him nowhere except moved out of my space in a hurry. If your horse is alone try setting out caches of treats (pellets are good) so he has something to look forward to. Don't offer any hard feed stuffs when you get home. If you have the time do this every day for a week, placing the caches farther away and apart. We did this with one horse and eventually we had to coax him to come home. Sometimes leave his halter on and take a lead and pack a lunch for both of you.
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post #22 of 27 Old 08-18-2012, 09:49 AM
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I have a gelding like this, he test people with the canter. A strong confident rider gets him behaving right away but with someone namely like me who is learning he takes advantage right off the bat.

I have had to use the one rein stop twice, once I had to bail out in the turn because I lost my balance and the next time while I didn't have to bail I knew it wasn't the best one rein stop in the world. If you keep this horse I would suggest you practice the one rein stop over and over in the round pen, in a enclosed area. Start off at the walk then move on up to the canter. If you are out trailriding you want to have the balance and muscle memory to do this so that your body takes over and leaves your mind free to make decisions. If I had tried this on a trail before doing this at home I'm not sure how things would have went.

If you really like the horse and you feel that he is worth your time and effort then you should do all that you can to keep him, you have to look really hard at him though, don't just let your feelings be your guide.

Have you ever asked a confident rider to try him out to see if the main problem is with you or the horse's training?

Good luck
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post #23 of 27 Old 08-18-2012, 10:30 AM
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Educate yourself, and you will know exactly what choices you have to correct any errativ/unwanted behavior.

Every horse will turn into a monster if you don't address your lack of understanding first.

And absolutely nothing against you.. I'm still on the learning boat myself :)

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #24 of 27 Old 08-18-2012, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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ThursdayNext: I was planning on going to because otherwise I figured the problems would still be there. He might be fine for the trainer but I want him to be fine for ME. My Dad's problem is that when he took care of a horse for a neighbor.. The mare was headstrong and dumped him in a ditch full of water about a mile from home. My dad has never really been open to horses since. :) Also.. Yeah. I've had a friend on him who has rode horses for quite a while but never trained one. From the start he listened to her.
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To ride or not to ride? What a stupid question!

Last edited by RisingGlory; 08-18-2012 at 06:18 PM.
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post #25 of 27 Old 08-18-2012, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by RisingGlory View Post
ThursdayNext: I was planning on going to because otherwise I figured the problems would still be there. He might be fine for the trainer but I want him to be fine for ME. My Dad's problem is that when he took care of a horse for a neighbor.. The mare was headstrong and dumped him in a ditch full of water about a mile from home. My dad has never really been open to horses since. :) Also.. Yeah. I've had a friend on him who has rode horses for quite a while but never trained one. From the start he listened to her.
That's great news! Not about your dad in the ditch - he needs to get over that - but that your horse listened up good to your more experienced buddy. That says it really is just a handling/riding issue on your part, and not a bad attitude/dangerous mindset on the horse's part. It is much easier to fix the first kind of problem!

Once you've learned how to handle the challenges your horse is throwing your way, it will probably take a while for everything to go good. They say it takes 30 seconds to make a bad horse habit, and 30 days to undo one. It's a bit of a simplification, but - and I know the trainer will probably say this too - a big key is in staying 100% consistent. Even when it's a hassle, even when you're tired.

My horse can be a handful too, that's how I know about this stuff myself, and my trainer tells me to be careful not to start something I can't finish. So if I don't have 45 minutes or an hour to keep *at* some request I've made, etc. if the horse isn't cooperative, I should just wait to make that request until I do have time. But if you are totally consistent, you'll get the horse you want to have. It will happen. (And, by the way, this is also VERY good practice if you want to have children, because you have to be just the same way, totally consistent, with them too, or you get the same kind of behavior problems.) :)
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post #26 of 27 Old 08-18-2012, 09:03 PM
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Being a 'strong' leader has nothing to do with whether you're successful using food treats IME. But being *consistent & clear* about what you reinforce(& what you don't) is vital, regardless what type of reinforcer you use.

'Pats or a kind voice' is actually (most?)often not even a positive reinforcement/reward for a horse at all. Pats/scratchies can be for some, some of the time, but are often something the horse has just learned to tolerate - often actually a punishment(undesireable). A 'kind voice' or whatever other noise you might make(eg a clicker) can become meaningful as a 'conditioned reinforcer'(eg. Pavlov's bell) *if it's consistently given at the same time as an actual reinforcer/reward*.

Originally Posted by MyBoyBlue182 View Post
Now like people some horses can become addicted to gambling - these would be the food aggressive horses that should not go to the casino at all!!!
Nah, I reckon it's a healthy addiction! If done right, any horse can become 'addicted' to playing your games, which isn't a bad thing at all IMO. 'Food aggressive' horses are just those who haven't been taught their manners! They haven't learned that only 'cued' behaviours pay off & 'rudeness' never works.

People don't get 'addicted' to vending machines because they're boring, reliable & no surprises - unless they don't 'work', which gives people the s**ts because they've put their money in(performed the behaviour) so expect the goods. When bashing & shaking doesn't work, they give up & blame the machine. Kind of like getting into a new car & having it not turn over. You're not likely to try for long & you are likely to feel aggressive towards the manufacturer/seller.

Compared to pokies, which are fun & addictive because it's always worth a try, because you never know what you'll get, but you know you're in the running to get something highly desireable. If at first you don't succeed, try & try again, because the harder you try, the more likely a good payoff. Kind of like that old clunker in the driveway that you don't expect to start first pop, but you know if only you perservere, it'll eventually take you somewhere.
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post #27 of 27 Old 08-19-2012, 02:28 AM
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Horse has your number. And won't make a bit of difference if you sell this one, and get another, or get another 20. The problem here is you, more than the horse I think.

While you are of the "won't hit the horse" fixation, "hitting" the horse does not mean flailing away with a 2x4. It can be a firm tap, as a correction, which I can assure you will not hurt the horse near as much as a corrective tap from another horse would.

And lunging per se will do nothing to build respect. If owner/handler does not have the dominant role, horse will behave just as badly during any exercise in the round pen. Seen it happen too many times, and every time, it is the human's fault.

The horse wasn't listening to the hackamore before, and he is not refusing to listen to it now. In fact the hackamore had nothing to do with any of it, the horse was going along with the program while he figured out whether you could control him or not. Once he had a handle on that, and found out you couldn't? He has begun doing exactly whatever he wants to do, because he knows you won't stop him. He would do the same in a halter, or a spade bit, or a harness for that matter, hitched to a hay baler. He is running the show.

The "respect" everyone talks about, does not come from gadgets as much as it comes from the handler being the boss of the group. This needs to be shown when haltering, leading, saddling, grooming, or riding or feeding. And even when handler walks through field, that leadership needs to ooze through the pores of the human, as it does through the lead horse in the pasture.

The leader of the herd, or the upper pecking order, does not worry about bonding with lesser horses, and they do not care whether the other horses like them. And they don't worry about hurting the other horses either.

I would expect that this horse has been showing you all along signs that he was becoming more and more dominant, and you just haven't known enough to identify it. Pushing against you, rubbing head against you, snatching head down to graze in hand, or under saddle perhaps, ear pinning at feeding time....the list goes on and on as to the ways that a horse can show disrespect for a human. Even something as simple as "vacant eyes" signals that, just as it does in a child. Eyes focused elsewhere is a blatant sign of "you don't matter to me" and "I will do what I want."

That is why I don't unhalter if horse has "distant eyes" or is looking to see if feed is in, or is trying to see over stall partition. I shake halter and tell them to pay attention to me, and don't release them until they do so.

It is not the training or lack of it. It is your horse handling skills that are the root of this more than likely. If those don't change, you will never get anywhere with horses. Occasionally I have seen a horse that won't push the envelope with a weak handler, but in 56 years now, there has not been even 3 of those. And those horses were just laid back about everything to begin with, and didn't care where they were in the hierarchy period, with horses or humans.

Toughen up in your handling of this horse. All horses for that matter. Act like a leader, and forget being a friend. Horses don't think like that. If there isn't a leader, they will take that position themselves. Cut out any extra talking to this horse, as that makes it worse. Keep things business like, and short of words. And no baby talking, or petting and praising either.

When horse looks at you with the look of "I am waiting for you to tell me what to do" then you will have headed towards a partnership with it, but not until then.
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