Flag and UNspookiness
 
 

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Flag and UNspookiness

This is a discussion on Flag and UNspookiness within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    • 1 Post By CLaPorte432
    • 1 Post By Saddlebag

     
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        08-04-2012, 03:46 AM
      #1
    Started
    Flag and UNspookiness

    So, I have the opposite problem of most, I think. I have begun riding my 3 year old with flags. First with a little training flag to be sure she was ok under saddle with me holding it while on her back....then graduating to a big flag carried on her back. Breezy day, I was a little nervous. Well, she LIKES the flags. She will actually turn into them and try and play with them flapping at her face. Absolutely no spook. My goal was to just be able to carry a flag in case of ever riding her with an American flag at a show or a parade. Plus I wanted to try using them while riding teaching her more of yielding from pressure. So if she is leaning into them instead to play with them....how do I make her yield from it? Do I have to resort to smacking her in the face with them? I really don't want to her being inquisitive naturally do I?
         
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        08-04-2012, 08:49 AM
      #2
    Green Broke
    You should never 'smack her in the face with it'. This would easily be the worst thing you could do and would only result in many problems and suffering for the horse. Sorry if that came off harsh, but simply it is reality.

    Before you look at what your horse is doing wrong, start with looking at what you are doing. Are you holding the flag correctly? Do you have even rein contact and leg pressure? You may find that the horse is doing exactly what you are mistakenly asking it to do.

    If you are sure that it is not a rider issue then you should begin looking at why the horse is doing this? Is she really doing it because she thinks it is fun, or is it something else? Personally, if she is physically bending get her neck to look at it I would open my opposite rein and put the leg if the side which she is bending to on, make it easier for her to go into the space that you want her to and harder for her to bend her head to where she wants to. Don't be mean and pull on her mouth or kick her heavily across, simply use a firm but light contact and once she does what you ask, reward. Make sure she knows what she is doing is correct. Also, give her a chance to do the right thing, once she is responding with your contact. Give her the opportunity to do it correctly herself, but be aware of her habit and be ready to correct it.
         
        08-04-2012, 08:51 AM
      #3
    Trained
    Do not hit your horse in the face.
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    ChingazMyBoy likes this.
         
        08-04-2012, 08:59 AM
      #4
    Showing
    The flag won't teach her to yield from pressure, it's the release of the rein and leg that teaches this.
    Foxhunter likes this.
         
        08-04-2012, 10:56 AM
      #5
    Yearling
    They can learn to differentiate whether to move and yield away from the flag or ignore it depending upon whether the presentation of your intent and body language is asking them to move or to stay. The lesson they learn is to listen to what you're saying rather than "what the flag is saying", if that makes sense. From where you're at now I would also want to teach her to yield to it without sacrificing her curious nature, which is what you need intact to teach a horse anything in a positive frame of mind. To teach the horse to move away from the flag I'd go back to the ground first and get her to move by tapping her with it on the shoulder, rump, pretty much anywhere on the body and not the face. Make sure to rub her with it as much as you use it to move her so her responses stay balanced, or pretty soon you'll have the situation where she'll move away from it but will no longer let you touch her. Then just keep going with it until you feel that she's listening to you and that the flag has become just an extension of you rather than something separate.
         
        08-04-2012, 12:13 PM
      #6
    Started
    We haven't even reached the level in riding that you all are trying to help me with.....I have only just introduced her to the big flag. I use the little flag when I lunge her or and schooling her on the ground in place of a lunge whip or whatever. I descencitize her to everything, though she really doesn't seem to need it. I only brought out the 'big' flag the other day to do the same thing basically...descencitize her and see what her reaction would be with a big one....with the thought of one day carrying a flag under saddle. She did so well with it on the ground, so the next time I brought the flags out under saddle to see how she would react. Nothing substancial again, just descecitizing, but under saddle.

    She is a goofy, playful horse. And even on the ground she will try to gently take the end of the flapping flags in her mouth. I do not feel in any way that she is being sassy and trying to bite the flag out of irritation etc. She does it with lead ropes and other things as well....just playing.

    So, under saddle, I thought it may be different....but it wasn't. If the flag was blowing by her face, as I moved it around her head, she would just try to take her mouth and play with it. I obviously want to continue to encourage this behavior of not being scared and being playful. The one thing I was going to try and do though is use the small training flag like some trainers do to ride bridleless and have the horse move off of the pressure. I realize that it also takes my seat and legs too. Maybe I just can't try this with this type of horse? She moves off of pressure beautifully otherwise. It just seems when I am using flags by her face she thinks it is a toy and wants to play with it. She yields fine at her face when I pump the air with my hands and just with my body language....I never really have to use anything else.

    So, do I just not try this stuff with her since it isn't necessary?
         
        08-04-2012, 05:20 PM
      #7
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ian McDonald    
    They can learn to differentiate whether to move and yield away from the flag or ignore it depending upon whether the presentation of your intent and body language is asking them to move or to stay. The lesson they learn is to listen to what you're saying rather than "what the flag is saying", if that makes sense. From where you're at now I would also want to teach her to yield to it without sacrificing her curious nature, which is what you need intact to teach a horse anything in a positive frame of mind. To teach the horse to move away from the flag I'd go back to the ground first and get her to move by tapping her with it on the shoulder, rump, pretty much anywhere on the body and not the face. Make sure to rub her with it as much as you use it to move her so her responses stay balanced, or pretty soon you'll have the situation where she'll move away from it but will no longer let you touch her. Then just keep going with it until you feel that she's listening to you and that the flag has become just an extension of you rather than something separate.
    Thanks for that reply ianmcdonald. I understand what you are saying. In thinking about this....I am actually going to question it with my percheron though. I can put pretty much anything on her and she will stand there with her full attention to me...like a statue. Maybe she was trained in the past to be like this due to her being a carriage horse? However, whenever I have tried to used an aid besides my hands (which is all it takes really), she just stands completely still. I would hate to add pressure and start smacking her with the flag or whatever. I guess it definitely should be done at the shoulder if I had to.

    As for the horse I originally posted about....even when I am walking her into the arena with the object....she will try to get closer to the item to mouth it and play with it. She is another one that will read my body language and just move off of me pushing the air with my hands or simply mirroring my body movements. I understand what you are saying though as far as them both reading me to move from the object itself.
         

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