getting a horse to carry a flag? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-01-2013, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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getting a horse to carry a flag?

Um my horse Pancho is really scared of bags and stuff like that other than that he's a really great horse. nothing on the ground scares him such as bags that are on the ground blowing. but as soon as I go to work with him with a flag he freaks out. I'll continue to work with him and it just doesn't seem to work. should I just continue to work with him a little bit every day until he is use to all the movement..

I'm asking because there's a parade that I want to ride Poncho in carrying a flag and I'm worried that he will freak out.

Sorry if some of this is spelt wrong I am using my voice thing on my phone

I'm asking this because
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-01-2013, 04:34 PM
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We have taught a lot of horses to carry flags including some real spooky ones. Here is a list of the things we do to get one over their fear of the things.

1) Never try anything new or scary at the beginning of a ride when a horse is fresh. Do anything frightening at the end of a long ride when the horse is calm and quiet and preferably tired -- never fresh. This is when we teach a horse to let us swing a rope, drag a log, shoot a gun nearby or ?????

2) If you want to do anything like carry a flag or drag a log, get a second person with a 'broke' horse to help -- at the end of a long ride, of course. Get this other person to carry the flag and then follow them around until your horse will ride up close to them and the flag.

3) When your horse does not mind following the flag, then, ride him along side of it and finally right in front of it.

4) When your horse is quiet and accepting of riding beside and in front of the flag, carry it on him. If your flag holder is on your horse's right side, make sure to go along an arena fence with the fence on your left side or opposite side from the flag. This keeps a horse from going sideways away from the flag.

We use these steps for everything new that might scare a horse. It has worked every time.

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post #3 of 8 Old 06-01-2013, 06:07 PM
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I really like that list, Cherie. (I'm a list lover, LOL.) You have a tendency to break things down into manageable steps, and I just wanted to let you know I admire that about you.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-01-2013, 06:27 PM
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Getting a horse better with something can be a good warm up too.

1. Take the flag and just first walk around bored-like and just wave it around. Flap the bag, drop it and move it with your feet, stretch up with it.

2. Once the horse is OK with you having it, begin to work with the horse with the bag. When you do circles with him, have the lead hand in neutral (so the horse knows you don't mean anything by it) and wave the flag around. Don't look at the horse or at the flag, otherwise it may tell the horse that the bag is scary or the horse should be afraid of it.

3. After warming up with it, do the friendly game. Rub the bag everywhere on the horse. Rub him like you would a rubber curry. When you get to a more sensitive the horse isn't quite sure about, work with that area. Rub the bag quickly over it or try this other technique: Rub the bag to the spot right before he flinches and then retreat to a spot he is sure about. Then again get to that spot before, only go just a little bit farther. Continues this until he gets OK with it. If the horse moves when you rub him with the bag, then keep moving with the horse and continue rubbing until he stops. When the horse stops, immediately stop the rubbing and moving. This tells the horse that what he did was good and helps him to let the horse know that the bag really is his friend, not some scary monster from the back woods.

Just try this for a few days and your horse will get better and better each day. Always end on a good part, that way when you come back the next time he will be a little better. Were if you stopped when he was being bad, then next time it may be worse.

My horse thinks that Spray bottles are the devil - but that is a whole other story if you want your horse to get good with that, haha!!

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post #5 of 8 Old 06-01-2013, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Thanks for your replies. I am the only one who rides. So its kind of me.doing it all my self. I worked with him today. And man was it hard. I put him in the roundpen. And went to put his BELL BOOTS on and he freaked out when I walked toward himsith them. Finally after getting them o. I worked with a bag on the stick. After like 45 of trotting running snorting. He stopped and I dropped the bag.he relaxed. Then I got him to let me rub it on him. Just his back/ but area. If I went towards his chest then that he'd start moving again.. my other horse has no problem with bags or flags. But I really wanna ride this one in the parade because this is the only problem he has. Sunny needs work on other 'Imgoingtoeatyou' things l
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-02-2013, 02:45 AM
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I like what Cherie has told you.

Many moons ago Queen Elizabeth was visiting the area we lived. It was decided that we would stand the ponies along the country road she was being driven along.
One girl turned up the an enormous Union Jack to carry on her pony.

All was well and plaited up ponies we set off for the road. The flag carrying pony was a little unsettled and fidgety but nothing to bad - until there was a gust of wind and then he took off.

I well recall this girl, flag billowing disappearing along the road apparently going to meet the Queen before she had finished her visit to the town!

A few minutes later they appeared still carrying the flag, still at a fast canter only stopping because we blocked the road.

The flag was held by someone else on a horse that never minded it!
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-02-2013, 03:36 AM
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I really like Cherie's list!

Just wanted to add a technique the woman I leased my drill horse from used. While her horse wasn't exactly spooky each drill season she had him "live" with a flag. She found a cheap flag that could live outside 24/7 and secured it in his stall near his waterer. He lived in a coral where wind would blow the flag occasionally and I would often brush it when I was petting him. Past that I used techniques like Cherie having a flag broke horse walk/trot next to us with a flag then I stood/walked/trotted with a flag with a broke horse next to us. The more we did it the less of an issue the flag was. Consider also some flags are annoyingly big enough to fly in front of you and touch your horses neck or maybe ear. It'd be a good idea to desensitize him to that too.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-02-2013, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Yeah. I hung about 6 bags near his feeder... so get used to it or starve lol. And on next to his waterer as well... his getting the hang of it
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