Helping her focus on me?... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-08-2009, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Helping her focus on me?...

So Lacy (20 year old Arabian) has been coming along quite nicely but she's never very tuned into me... I always feel like I'm just interrupting her plan for the day when I go out and work with her.
I haven't been riding lately because neither one of the english (i have no idea how she'd do western) saddles I have access to fit her well so she starts bucking and mini rearing if I try to ride in them. So undersaddle work is kinda out of the question at the moment.
I have been taking her in the round pen and working on our body language to the point where she turns the other way when I lift an arm and take a step towards her and she's been doing pretty well. She seems to be more tuned in after these sessions but I don't want her to start tuning that out too.
There are three groundpoles I could use for something but she doesn't really focus on them or anything, she just kinda steps over them with a bland look on her face.

Any ideas? I love her to get more patient, less easily frustrated, more interested and using her brain more, if that helps at all. She's super intelligent too she just balks at using her brain.
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-08-2009, 10:18 PM
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Try doing transitions and direction changes more often and work with her for shorter sessions and if you work longer do lots of different things.

If you keep her transitioning a lot and quickly she'll learn she has to listen to you and will focus on you. If you keep things fun, short, and varied she will be less bored and pay more attention to the task on hand.

I hope that helps if you have questions feel free to ask or PM me
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-08-2009, 11:58 PM
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I've found that so much of a relationship with a horse comes from not just being their trainer, but working with them to build a friendship if you will. Wile I train multiple horses for clients, and there's certainly no need for me to have a super close bond with every horse I handle, I DO want them to look forward to working with me, whether it's with or w/o their owner/person present.

To do this, I'm big on lots of praise when they are good, sharp, fast vocal reprimand when they act out, and what I found to be most important is the nearly constant use of voice, just talking to them nearly the entire time I'm working with or riding them regardless of what we are doing. I've also found that speaking very quietly tends to work better as if the horse has to strain to hear me, they tend to be hyper-focused on trying to hear me than looking elsewhere for focus.

Props to you for realizing the issue was saddle fit btw!

Good luck!

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post #4 of 8 Old 01-09-2009, 03:47 PM
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i've never tried talking all the time to my works good? hmm ill have to try it!

i've always heard that talking TOO MUCH to your horse causes them to tune you out as unnecessary babble because they in the herd are not vocal. but that's just what i read. I still talk to my guy though lol
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-09-2009, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure how to tell her to do downward transitions... I try to tell her "walk" when she's trotting (or halt when she's walking) and she doesn't really respond. I've been trying to turn my back to her immediately if she doesn't respond and remove all my attention because she loves attention, then when I hear her start to walk or halt I turn back around and start focusing on her again. Is that the right thing to be doing? It seems to be gradually working, yesterday I got her to go from a really lovely trot into a walk in the time it took her to go halfway around the pen when it had been taking her 1 or 2 circles to stop.
I'll try talking to her more, I talk to her sometimes but not a lot...

Thanks CJ82Sky! I was proud of myself too. lol
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-09-2009, 05:09 PM
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Talk to your horse!
Whenever I talk to Lizzy, she works so much better!

"Doing what you like is freedom, liking what you do is happiness."
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-09-2009, 05:57 PM
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If she doesn't stop with usual cues maybe try one rein stopping her. She'll learn to listen then. And she'll know she'll have to stop anyway and will start listening to your more gentler cues
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-09-2009, 06:45 PM
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Do lots of groundwork with her, and make it fun for her, keep her mind going. Ask her to walk over poles, around cones, switch the side you have been leading her on, make her think about things.
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