Horse doesn't understand commands under saddle... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-14-2010, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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Horse doesn't understand commands under saddle...

My Tennessee Walker Mare is a wonderful horse. Her ground manners are perfect and she understands walk and whoa when on a lead rope even without applying direction with the lead rope. However, when I get on her in the saddle (which she doesn't seem to mind) she doesn't understand why I am behind her. I kiss to her to move (her normal command) and she takes a step back. She will move forward at times but generally just stands there listening to me. She doesn't throw a fit or seem uncomfortable she just wants to follow me so she doesn't understand to move forward. How do I get her to go forward while I'm giving her direction from behind. I nudge her with my feet and squeeze but I don't want to use force to get her to move. I just don't think she understands. I need help. She's so gentle and willing to do I show her what to do?
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-14-2010, 07:08 PM
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Have you tried lunging her? That way you are controlling her without being in front of her. Also, when you ask her to walk forward from the saddle and she doesn't, what do you do? If you have let her get away with standing still or going backwards, then you have taught her that's the correct thing to do. If you are able to get another person to help you, get in the saddle and ask her to walk and as soon as you ask her to walk, have the person start leading her. Pretty soon she'll associate your cue to walk with her walking forward. If you don't have someone to help you, get a crop. Ask with your leg and voice and if she doesn't respond, ask with your legs a bit harder. If she doesn't respond, tap her with the crop behind your leg (not hard), and when she finally responds praise her big time! She'll soon realize that if she doesn't respond to your legs/voice, she'll get the crop and since crops aren't a horse's best friend, she'll move off your leg.
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-14-2010, 10:08 PM
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It sounds as though a few sessions of ground driving are in order. It's normally something I do before I get in the saddle. In my opinion it makes the transition a lot easier on the horse.
CinderEve is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 11-15-2010, 01:54 AM
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I agree that having someone help you reinforce your leg cue by leading the horse will help, IF she really doesn't understand what you are signalling.
I question that, however. My guess is that she knows you will not reinforce your request with a command and she can stand around and be nice and snuggley and lovey dovey and that's all she has to do.
First of all, using kissing sounds for a cue is not a good habit. Use your leg to signal forward, and if you want her to move forward, then you need to really "think forward" too. YOur body will transmit your INTENTION of going forward. You might have to really put your leg on and maybe tap her with a crop. When she goes forward, let her. Don't snathc the reins and shut her immediately down, it will punish her for going forward, as you just asked.

If she doesn't get it, and you have a friend lead her forward right after you ask and repeat several times. If she then wont go forward when asked, then you need to get serious about demanding.

I agree that lunging her will be really beneficial. If you have a round pen you can use that to sensitize her to pressure meaning "go forward". You would have to have someone show you how if you have never done any round pen work.

Try the friend for helper and teach her to forward from your leg with and without a KISS.
tinyliny is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 11-16-2010, 07:37 PM
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I was going to suggest the same as kcscott, this is how I've trained/helped train all the greenies in my life. But if she is really confused, you may need to reverse it, you leading because she knows you and someone else on her back (if she doesn't respond to the person on the ground and you on her back.)
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