Getting tough - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 09-11-2012, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Getting tough

In the past few days Rosie hasn't been paying much attention to personal space.

I'd do work with her on the ground and she yields away from pressure fine. Before, in the stable she would just swing away when I put pressure on, and if she'd swing towards me I'd slap her with the lead and she'd back off.

Yesterday though she was really bad. I had her tied in the walk in stall and she kept looking behind her and then started swinging her hind end towards me so I slapped her with the lead, but then she just stomped and swished and kept swinging into me, so I whacked her with it, which she promptly ignored and then I had to jump out of the way and pull her head around the avoid being squished between her and the wall. I took her out and did some ground work, trotted her around, backed her etc and she seemed fine but back in there she did it again, ignoring my whacking lead.

I know she was disrespecting me, and just because she is more interested in what is happening doesn't mean she can do that so obviously I want to stop this behaviour immediately.

I was thinking of getting a crop or dressage whip or something so if she walks into me I can use that while staying out of her kick range... would that work?

What are the best things to do?

Can anyone recommend some exercises?
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post #2 of 15 Old 09-11-2012, 07:18 PM
Green Broke
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Your horse handling skills are sadly lacking. Why are you hitting her with a lead in the first place is what I want to know, and in the second place, how is that supposed to teach her anything?

I think it is less disrespect than it is that you have not made clear the rules to her.

Not teaching the things you want the horse to know and do gets this result.

All you "getting tough" will do more than likely, is confuse her even further, make her a nervous wreck, and ruin her.

Last sentence edited out.

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Last edited by Cherie; 09-11-2012 at 08:35 PM.
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post #3 of 15 Old 09-11-2012, 07:25 PM
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You need to learn the difference between 'nagging and pecking' and actually getting her respect and attention.

If you have to tell a horse something more than twice, you are being ineffective and are just irritating the horse by pecking on it. You are setting yourself to get kicked or run over.

It is not the exercise that is lacking. It is the application of pressure that is the problem.
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post #4 of 15 Old 09-11-2012, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Wow, completely differing responses.

She knows how to yield from pressure and she knows not to step into me, she's just not listening and this point in time. If you're not willing to offer advice, then there is no need for you to post here.

As said, this is a new problem, it would be great if people could give me some examples about what to do in this situation?

Last edited by Saskia; 09-11-2012 at 07:44 PM.
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post #5 of 15 Old 09-11-2012, 07:53 PM
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Does she not respect your space in situations where her attention is challenged, ie. the arena where other horses are riding or nearby it? Is there a safer place to command her respect so she is more consistent in her responses?
You should not need to carry a crop to whack her with. Personal space boundaries need to be consistent in every instance; some horses may need to be reminded constantly, others 'get it.'
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post #6 of 15 Old 09-11-2012, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Palomine View Post

The original quote has been removed
Umm, I don't mean to offend but isn't that a little extreme to say? People make mistakes or are misinformed sometimes. We ask for advice because we are open to different methods and want some assistance. If you want to help out, give someone some advice or encouragement instead of telling them to quit trying. Just some food for thought
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Last edited by SouthernTrails; 09-11-2012 at 08:57 PM. Reason: removed original post, MLS is correct, btw :)
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-11-2012, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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She's fine doing ground work in the arena, although we are always there alone, and she's fine in the paddock, it was just in the stall.

I don't plan to carry a crop around with me all the time, I just want some advice on what to do.
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post #8 of 15 Old 09-11-2012, 08:00 PM
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Is this a behavior that is generalizing? I think I would focus less on hitting her with the lead or the whip. Thats not going to teach her much except sometimes you hit her. Which could end up with you in a small arms race as she adapts to increasingly aggressive movements. I would put the lead line on her and if she moves her butt at you I would make her go in a small circle with her butt moving away from you. That way she realizes that moving her butt towards you ends up with her having to work and specifically move her butt away from you and where she wants to be. If its a safe enough area thats one idea but if it is a small area you might have trouble because she may not have generalized your space games to that area. Thats just my opinion.
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post #9 of 15 Old 09-11-2012, 08:58 PM
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It is not that she does not know how to yield to pressure.. it is you that does not know how to apply pressure, when to apply pressure and how much of what kind of pressure to apply.

Knowing these things means you must read the horse.. and you are not reading the horse.

As Cherie said.. if you have to do this more than twice it is NOT WORKING.. and can get you hurt (my first thought reading your post was you were lucky not to get kicked! Good horse!).

Training is all about pressure.. this means knowing what constitutes pressure in what situation, when to apply the right sort of pressure, how much pressure to apply and when to release pressure as a reward. Also.. not all pressure is negative (that was an epiphany for me years ago).

Sometimes the environment can be the overwhelming pressure (especially to a young horse of a horse in a new situation or seeing something really new). In that case, the wisest thing you can do is remove the pressure from the environment.. because the only other alternative is to create MORE pressure than the environment. The latter can work.. but you gotta be real careful because it can really backfire.

Here is a little story. Went riding with some friends. Got to a stream. One of the friends horse was afraid to go in the water. My horse was good.. so I traded horses with her.. figuring on 15 minutes in Elana's Horse Training school. The horse was terrified of the water (not reasonable.. and getting dangerous about it). The pressure was the water. The problem was the horse had to go thru it (or go many miles around it).

I removed the pressure by taking my sweatshirt off and using it as a blindfold on the horse.. and because the horse could not see the water it was no longer applying pressure. I rode the blind folded horse into the stream (it was a good size stream) and then reached up and took off the blind fold (and left the reins slack). This could have backfired badly (horse could have really freaked out finding itself knee deep in water) so I had my feet out of the stirrups and was ready to jump off.

Fortunately.. the experience was sort of like 'flooding' (no pun intended) and the horse just FROZE. Other calm horses around him helped the situation.. and I let him stand there. Finally he started to sniff the water and then drink.. and even played in it a little. Rode out the other side and then turned around and rode back in (no blind fold) and out a few times..

So.. we removed the pressure with the blind fold. Removed the blind fold and let the environment flood the horse.. and put no other pressure on him like reins and so forth. The flooding let him realize there was no real threat (so the pressure was removed). Rode him out (pressure was from riding aids) and then back into the water.. environment was no longer a threat so no longer exerting greater pressure than my aids pushing him and guiding him into the stream. When he moved into the stream willingly, I removed the pressure of my aids.

That is how pressure worked in that case.

When you applied the leadrope to Rosie, the pressure was insufficient to over ride the environment.. and she continued to ignore you (and could have kicked at you for nagging her).. instead of giving her a clear signal that YOU were what she needed to pay attention to.
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Last edited by Elana; 09-11-2012 at 09:01 PM.
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post #10 of 15 Old 09-11-2012, 09:17 PM
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She wings her bum towards you - If I were you, I'd be giving her a come to jesus lesson. That behavour is not on. Watch horses in a herd environment, a horse will swing its backside towards another horse when it wants it to move, usually accompanied by a grumpy face.
If the other horse is more dominant, the horse that swung its backside will cop a big one.

You need to be the dominant horse. Nagging, little slaps of your hand or the leadrope mean nothing to an animal that weighs in at close to or over 500kg.
You don't need a whip, instead, make yourself as big and scary as you can. I'd be running at that horse's backside growling at it like a banshee. I have yet to have come across a horse that hasn't jumped away from me at this point, and follow up by moving quietly away when I ask it to do so.
Nagging does nothing, think of a young child in a shop wanting a chocolate bar. "Mum...mum...mum...mum...mum...mum...mum...mum.... " It drives you beserk. Same with a horse, nag nag nag and you'll probably end up with a bite to the arm. Tell once, in no uncertain terms, and you're unlikely to have to deal with that behavious again.
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