Groundwork to help increase horse's respect for me? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-11-2011, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Maryland, USA.
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Groundwork to help increase horse's respect for me?

I recently switched trainers, and my new trainer (who has been incredibly helpful thus far) told me the other day that she thinks many of the issues I have with Roxy are rooted from her not having enough respect for me. She can be a bit stubborn with loading onto the trailer, occasionally stops at a few "scary" jumps, tries to eat when being led etc. Nothing major, but none the less we want to fix them.
I've been trying to spend 10 or 15 minutes every time I'm at the barn doing some basic ground work with her to get her to realize that while she's bigger than me, I'm in charge. When I bring her in/out of the field she has to stop as soon as I ask, usually standing over grass, and wait until I tell her to go. We'll halt, back up, walk in circles, trot a few steps then halt etc, so she can't just charge into the barn and has to focus on what I'm telling her to do. I've also been working on getting her to move away from pressure. If I put my hand above her stifle (can't think of the name of that area...) she'll move over right away, and I can get her to circle around me now just by tapping her once and holding my hand there. She seems to be responding better, but her manners still haven't improved a ton. I would not describe her as being a "pushy" horse, but she does occasionally pull towards grass or hay in the barn still.

My question is, are there any other excercises I can try with her to make her gain more respect for me? I'm continuing to work on the above of course, but I'm running out of new ideas. Thanks!

Worth The Wait <3
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-11-2011, 02:31 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Sounds like your on the right track. One thing I do with horses that seem to lose focus when there is food/grass/hay around is to get a bucket full of grain or hay and set it on the ground next to me, then do "respect circles" around me making that horse stay out of my space, then I move away from the bucket until it is between me and the horse and do more "respect circles" keeping the pace the same when the horses passes the bucket until the horse ignores the bucket completely. Sometimes I move the horse around so that the bucket is just outside the circle and then move back out... anything so that the horse doesn't get bored but is still ignoring the food.
Has worked for me pretty well thus far!
Good luck!

One is closer to God's heart on a horse than anywhere else on earth!
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post #3 of 6 Old 06-11-2011, 06:09 PM
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I'd be just consistent and make her DO it EVERY TIME she doesn't listen to you. If she eats grass - stop it right there at the spot and make her work (like back up or move her hind). Etc.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-11-2011, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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heart- That sounds like a great idea, thanks. I'll see if I can start pulling a grain bucket out every couple of days and working her around that.

Kitten- I've been trying to make sure I stay consistent with her so she doesn't get confused, and making sure she always responds correctly to me. I'll keep doing that, thank you. :)

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post #5 of 6 Old 06-11-2011, 10:42 PM
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I agree with Kitten, you must be totally consistent. This means that you are so mentally "with" your horse, that you know when she is even thinkin' about putting her head down, and you interupt that thought. You stay on top of her for awhile and she will stop trying, but you have to never leave her mentally. Talking with a friend while she is online? saddleing her over the grass, taking a cell phone call? One of your two eyes must be on her constantly and "ssss!" at her the minute she shows an inclination to go for the grass.
Then don't hand graze her. Ever. OR, if you must, put the lead on the ground, So, if she is online in youir hand, NO GRAZING. If no one holds the leadling and it's on the ground, grazing is permitted.

When you work with her doing circles and such, is she looking at you? putting an ear on you? Do you think she is really thinking about you? Or, is her eye rolled out toward the barn? ears cocked toward the barn?
When you work with her on the ground, do not stop until she is thinking ON you. Look for that change in her mental state, then get some nice circles and let her walk forward.
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-11-2011, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Maryland, USA.
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Yes, she's never allowed to hand graze. The absolute only time is if I let her eat after a bath while she's drying, and I unclip the lead an walk away so she knows it's not work time. As soon as the lead is clipped back on she doesn't get a blade of grass until she's back out in the field.

I'll pay more attention when I go to the barn tomorrow to see if she's really paying attention to me when we're working. Thank you
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