"Giving" to pressure... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-11-2010, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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"Giving" to pressure...

How do you thoroughly teach a horse to give to pressure?

I'm only asking because I was reading the laying down thread and I'd love to teach Lacey to lie down, but the first step seem to be calmly giving to pressure which she has a hard time with.

She is totally fine after she figures out exactly what I want but the first time I ask her to give to pressure from anywhere, she kinda goes into a "uh oh! what does she want? Oh my goodness! I better figure it out! Ahhh!" sorta state and tries all sorts of random stuff until she comes up with what I want and then for the rest of the session she's mostly ok. I just figure that she's not completely 100% comfortable giving to pressure if that's her reaction...Maybe I'm wrong...

She'll move off my finger pushing her over, I can move her shoulders and her rear with a finger, that one she has no problem with. Flexing her neck vs backing up is basically the area she has the most trouble with.

She's also fine with vertical flexion, she's fine stepping on her lead rope, if she does she'll just stop, put her head down, and wait for someone to save her.

Thanks! Hopefully I was able to word this in a way that made sense...I was having a hard time getting my thoughts down right.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-12-2010, 02:13 AM
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Basically you keep the pressure until they do the right thing to relieve it. From what I understand you're trying to get her to stretch her neck around to the side and hold it there for a second but she backs up instead. The fact that she keeps trying to understand what you're asking (even if she does some weird stuff) is great. She's trying for ya.

Put her in a corner and ne the ground with a halter as her to turn her neck and give to the pressure. Keep the pressure on until she turns her neck. Instantly release with the slightest turn in the right direction. What I'd do is put her in a stall corner and you stand on the side that is not near the wall, put the lead rope on the side of her neck that is near the wall and hold it up over her neck so when you ask her to turn she turns towards the wall so she can't back up or turn. Use a little pressure as possible.

Just keep building on that with the halter until she'll hold it there until you turn her back. It takes a while and remember that is not a very comfortable position so don't ask for it for too long! Set her up for success with tiny milestone such as can you turn just a tiny bit? Can you hold it there for a second without me keeping the pressure on? Two seconds? Three? Now can you do it with a bridle?

Remember lots of praise and rubs. When she does the right thing praise and rub her like she just won the Olympics. :)
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-12-2010, 02:36 AM
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Good advice from Marissa

Just remember there is a difference between a horse responding to pressure, and as marissa replied, being rewarded - thereby learning, and a horse being forced about.

I could take any horse on the planet and yank it over in about 5 minutes - this will not teach it anything - and could lead to fatal injuries should the horse panic.

The key is to have the horse respond to a little pressure - be rewarded - and then left for another day - it can be a mistake to keep repeating the exercise over and over again. Slower is better ( and often faster ) , a horse can remember a previous exercise, and if repeated on another can make sure that you know the horse is remembering - not just repeating an exercise.
Little pressure, small movement, repeated over time can result in little ( or no pressure at all ) and a large movement.
I trained one of mine this way and ended up with a horse that would lay down by just tickling his elbow / girth area and asking him to ' lay ' - I also know that he remembered because the horse was found a couple of years after I sold him, his new owner ( who had had him for around a year ) had no idea of his 'special training' - she was told via e-mail how to lay him down, took him into the sand arena tickled his girth area , said lay and down he went .
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-12-2010, 05:33 PM
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Horses natural instincts are to go into pressure--when a dog bites their belly if they went away from the pressure the dog would rip open their belly and.

The biggest key to teaching yielding to pressure is the release. The release has to be instantanous and complete or it doesn't work period.

The second thing is start very light and add pressure until you get the desired result--then release it NOW!! The horse will never be any lighter than how light you ask when you teach then. Pretty big deal.

When you start teaching it only ask for a try--and release it NOW!! build on it and expect more and more.

Here's a great thing to start with. Take the lead rope between two fingers and apply downward pressure towards the ground. Release the instant their head even trys to move downward. Remember by pulling down you are putting pressure on their poll. You should be able to get them to almost touch the ground with just the slightest pressure downward. Build on in until you achieve it.

Now you can do the same thing by putting your fingers on the poll and applying slight pressure--same cue--different way. RELEASE it as soon as the move their head. Again you should almost get them to touch their nose to the ground.

You now have taught them to yield to pressure and to lower their head for haltering and bridling!!

All of the rest of the cues are taught the same way. Lateral flexion, Vertical flexion--even the three buttons on the horses side--shoulders, ribcage and hindquarters.

Stay light when you first ask and release it NOW. Thats your lesson--the release.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-12-2010, 10:02 PM
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A few point to remember about teaching a horse to give:
1. Pressure means nothing without a well timed release
2. Take what you can get, take the smallest step in the right direction and build on it.
3. Follow through, no matter how ugly it gets at first just keep holding you pressure til you get the response
4. The examples you see on TV or on DVDs are on there for a reason, because things went smoothly. Things are much different int he real world of training

Please ask if you have any specific questions
PaytonSidesHorsemanship is offline  

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