Horse training, few things... - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Horse training, few things...

I really want to be better connected with my horse and build a better relationship with him. He's quite herd bound, and I would like for him to get over that. When I take him away by himself all he does is worry about the others. I want him to be calmer when he's with only me, more responsive to me, really enjoy being with me...I would really like to use natural methods; I don't want to use force or punishment. I've been looking at Linda Tellington Jones' training methods, and I've heard lots of success with those, so I would really like to do some with my horse. I've tried some before, he seemed to relax a little, but I'm just not sure if I'm doing them right/what exactly I need to be doing. But overall I want him to trust me more and be happy to see me and be with me. Any ideas on exercises/methods to try?
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Really, what works?
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post #3 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 12:53 PM
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Look up Monty Roberts join up excersise. It can take some time so don't be dissappointed if it doesn't happen within a hour. My mare has started coming to me when I call for her after I did this.
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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I've done join up before
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 01:05 PM
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Take him for nice long walks, soon he wont mind leaving his friends. You can take him for a walk and then have a grooming session with him. Clinton Anderson has some good techneques, I also like Linda but I havent gotten to read her training book.

Horses are scared of two things... Things that move and things that don't.
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 01:22 PM
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I'm not sure I'm what you'd call a "natural horseman" but this is something I've noticed with herd-bound horses, and something that has worked for me in the past.

A couple things should be addressed here I think.

The horse HAS to be 100% certain that you are in a leadership position in your relationship. There are no buts, and it's NOT debatable.

If he's not paying attention (i.e. Worrying about his friends, fussing, dancing, etc), he needs to work his furry hind end until his attention comes back. I usually do quick circles if I can, back him up quickly, push his hind quarters over. You can make the work constructive, but it's still gotta be work. He doesn't get to relax until his attention is back on you. For me, that means at least one (preferably both) of those ears are glued on me.

One way to establish leadership and trust so that he doesn't argue with you and question whether he wants to be back with his buddies is to challenge the horse with things that he perceives as scary and overcome them. My guy was terrified of those wooden bridges from western trail classes, so we spent some time overcoming that fear with lots of positive reinforcement. You can lay down tarps and walk over them, go for walks with him either on him or off of him, flap scary things around him... the goal is to set up small challenges and overcome them. This will also slowly lead towards a bombproof horse. (Just an added bonus)

Now, to make sure the experience is a positive one, before putting him back in the field with his buddies do something he likes. My guy gets his grain right before going back with his friends. Some horses I know like a really good brushing. When putting him back in the field, maintain that "leadership" role, and make sure YOU are the one who decides it's okay for him to go back to his friends. I turn my guy towards me, make him stand for a moment, then when I remove his halter I push his neck away from me to let him know he's allowed to go.

These are some tricks that have worked for me. Good luck with your guy!
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 04:03 PM
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In my experience there are two distinct situations...
1) The I would rather be with my buddies horse. You need to be the boss, push them forward and ride it out. Once out of sight of the herd, they typically become much more focused.
2) The insecure, I'm afraid to be separated from my buddies. These are easier to start out on, but become more nervous after loosing sight of the herd. With these, you need to have their trust and be the fearless leader. If they trust you, they'll go anywhere, even when they're unsure and nervous.

In either case, lots of practice and miles.
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post #8 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 08:27 PM
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In order to be the leader with your horse, you need to understand how your horse perceives your actions and how your horse picks up on the most subtle of cues. One way to learn this is to do some reading. Find out what various horsemen have to say about horses and horse behaviour. There are many trainers and methods that offer good insight. Read as many as you can and look for the commonalities. John Lyons, Buck Branneman, Monty Roberts, Ray Hunt, Linda Tellington, Pat Parelli, Chris Irwin, etc. all have some good things to offer regarding training and leadership. Once you have done some reading, try, if you can, to go to some clinics or find a good trainer who can give you precise feedback about what your body language is saying to your horse.

Going out to a trainer or clinic is a great way to work on the "buddy sour" issues as well. You won't cure your horse of being barn sour or buddy sour if you don't regularly give him the "opportunity" to practice being away from the barn or the herd. I have found with my horses that it isn't being away that is so bad, but the process of going away. Once the horses are out of sight and sound of each other, it isn't an issue anymore. The first step is to establish safe control and leadership, and as I mentioned, a trainer who can read horse language and help you work on your body language would be a great help.
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 08:56 PM
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Here is the biggest thing in ANY relationship, you can't have trust if you have no respect. And that respect works both ways. As does the trust. Spend time with your horse away from the others, grooming, holding to eat grass, if he gets disrepectful to you because he is worried about the others make him work. Then as said above, once you have his attention back, go back to grooming or whatever.
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-12-2012, 09:11 PM
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I so agree with everyone about the respect as with it comes trust. My girl was herd bound for a while. I would take her out, she would fret, and I would take her and work with her, but I would not react harshly to her fretting, I just kept working her until she calmed down. After a while, she would get tired and would stop worrying and would do her job.

Then, when I would take her back to the barn, she would start getting excited. Everytime she tried to walk ahead of me or get excited, I wouldn't get mad, I would either back her up or start circling her. The first day of doing this it probably took me an hour before I got her back to the barn (it's a very short walk), but I made sure I wasn't mad, just made sure she knew it was going to go down how I wanted it to, or she wasn't going back there until she was calm and walking and stopping when I wanted her to. I also would take her for walks and did a lot of ground work with her.

After about a week I noticed that she was getting less herd bound. Then after about two or three weeks she was coming to me and was leaving with no problem. Now, she runs to me when she sees me. It just takes patience. You have to be sure you are not fretting and just focus on simple things, like I want you to go over here with me and then make your horse do it. The respect will come and with it the trust.
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