he is just confused? - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-15-2007, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
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he is just confused?

Hey everyone,
My horse Ronan and I have just begun schooling, When I bought him, all the previous owners did with him was trail ride. We started schooling and I began asking him to move away from pressure on the ground. first the hindquarters then the forehand and then both from both sides. The first couple of times I schooled him, he did great. Moved forward as soon as I asked, would move away easily from both legs in the saddle. I couldn't believe he was doing so well so quickly!!! Well, I think I may have bragged too much because recently he has started to kinda hesitate when I ask him to move forward. When asking for the trot from a walk he would tense up, throw his head up and slow down. After several tries, it almost seemed to me that he was confused about which leg to move away from! It was almost like "Ok your putting both legs on...do I move right? no left? right? I don't know, so I'm just going to stop!!!" So, this continued on for about 2 schooling sessions. However, I took him out on the trail inbetween and he was FINE! So I thought, maybe he is just protesting being stuck in an arena since he's so use to trails. So, I have taken a step back... Not asking him to move away from my legs in the saddle in any direction except for forward...He's back to going forward nicely....Have I missed an important step in making him understand that both legs means forward? It was really weird! But on the trail he's fine! Let me know what ya'll think!
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-18-2007, 03:29 PM
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Ok... the most important thing when schooling a green horse, is when you ask them to do something, they don’t say "no I’d rather be on the trails, or im going to protest & ignore your cues!" they DO it! And I mean every single time you ask your horse to move off your legs, it should respond... "YES MAM!" If you let your horse get away with it just once, that is a step back in your training, which could have been avoided!

Ok, if your horse is giving you trouble in the arena I want you to work his butt off while on them trails! Make him trot circles, stop, back up, move forward, trot, stop.... over and over again! Then after he’s does this though-out the trails take him in the arena & let him walk & relax. This will teach him that trails are NOT going to get him out of working, & riding in the arena doesn't always mean you have to work! This is also what I do for barn/herd sour horses! It works like a charm!

Honey, he DOES know your leg cues, he is refusing because he knows from past experience, that he can get away with it! Don’t let him!
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-19-2007, 07:06 PM
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Giving to pressure on the ground and giving to pressure under saddle are very different. He may truly not understand what you are asking. Therefore, I would take several steps back in your training.

Why is it you keep constant contact on to move forward? I train with relaxed legs. I give the cue to walk on and then reward by relaxing my legs. If I want to leg yield to the left, I apply pressure with my left leg until the end of the movement. If re-enforcement is needed, I tap behind my left leg with my dressage whip. I don't expect a huge reaction but do require as least some leg yielding. Horses get more respondent to pressure over time (when trained correctly). Perhaps you are sending mixed signals or a slightly blurry request that he doesn't understand? After all, he is only learning.

I can only go by what you describe. I don't personally believe he is getting sour yet, although I may be wrong. Horses out on the trail are generally more motivated to move more freely forward. Arena work can become very dull and uninteresting. His change in attitude between the arena and trails is very common amoungst horses.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-20-2007, 12:50 AM
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Yes, giving to pressure is VERY important! Souring can show up at ANYTIME however! I had a green horse I was working with that got sour very quickly & if you don’t work on it NOW, it will only get worse & worse. Then you will have a horse that will buck or rare to get what it wants. So I would step back & do some work on souring before you go back to your schooling. Take care of the problem at hand before you move forward! Holes in the foundation are what cause horses to have behavior problems. Deal with it now, then go back to what said Kristy & work on pressure & release.
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-21-2007, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments! I really don't think he is getting sour at all. I have never let him get away with stopping like I described in the previous post. I would just keep after him until he moved forward. I do practice reward and release. I practice ask correctly, make correct, then reward. I do not ride him with constant leg pressure either. I think he was just testing me, and I think he still is. The stopping problem has been corrected...after I established again that both legs on means forward, he's doing great. Now his thing is trying to turn to the gate at one side of the arena but only when going to the right. If I keep his nose to the right, he can't do it. And I can tell EXACTLY when he's thinking about it, he looks that way, then tilts his nose and braces against my hands and heads that way. Usually I try to pull him back around to the right and continue down the long side. If I react a little too late, I just continue his little circle to the left (kinda ignore his little protest) circle all the way back to the track and drive him forward with my legs. Seems to work pretty well. After a couple times of not getting his way, he starts to go on like he should! When on the trail, he works! I have been building his hind end muscles so he trots up EVERY hill...sometimes canters...he works harder on the trails than in the arena! And we only school about twice a week. I think I will introduce some trotting poles to make the lessons a little more interesting and help with his balance!
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-21-2007, 01:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanse004
Thanks for the comments! I really don't think he is getting sour at all. I have never let him get away with stopping like I described in the previous post. I would just keep after him until he moved forward. I do practice reward and release. I practice ask correctly, make correct, then reward. I do not ride him with constant leg pressure either. I think he was just testing me, and I think he still is. The stopping problem has been corrected...after I established again that both legs on means forward, he's doing great. Now his thing is trying to turn to the gate at one side of the arena but only when going to the right. If I keep his nose to the right, he can't do it. And I can tell EXACTLY when he's thinking about it, he looks that way, then tilts his nose and braces against my hands and heads that way. Usually I try to pull him back around to the right and continue down the long side. If I react a little too late, I just continue his little circle to the left (kinda ignore his little protest) circle all the way back to the track and drive him forward with my legs. Seems to work pretty well. After a couple times of not getting his way, he starts to go on like he should! When on the trail, he works! I have been building his hind end muscles so he trots up EVERY hill...sometimes canters...he works harder on the trails than in the arena! And we only school about twice a week. I think I will introduce some trotting poles to make the lessons a little more interesting and help with his balance!
I may be wrong but if he is turning towards the gate every now & then he is becomming sour but you are going at breaking it in the RIGHT way, keep it up, some horses take months to break out of this habbit & are just really stuborn, its good that your catching it now. Ya i think the reason he likes the trails is because its more interesting. Yes, try some polls, barrels, & you can even try tying a rope to a reg. sized tire & making him back up while you pull on it. this can really work his hindquarters.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-21-2007, 12:22 PM
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Trying to go to the gate tells you the horse isn't engaged in the lesson and he really doesn't want to be in there. That could be for several reasons, and it's your job as a rider to make things fun and interesting for him. Instead of pulling him when he goes for the gate, play a game of "tit for tat." Say he turns right. Then you would turn him 90 degrees in the opposite direction. It's "your idea, my idea" kind of game. Do this on a loose rein, too. You will be surprised at how quickly horses pick up on this.
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