Are horses to old to train? (Walk on a Lead Rope, Break to ride...etc) - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 52 Old 09-10-2012, 10:28 AM
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If you don't want her I'll take her - love Belgians. ;) I'm just kidding.

I have to completely agree with everything everyone's just said. Get some good solid help, give her time to acclimate to her new world, and give her time to see you as a friend. Good luck
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post #12 of 52 Old 09-10-2012, 11:08 AM
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I don't know or didn't see a location for you but I will say if you intend to keep her YOU need draft experience. I suggest no matter what your intended use for your horse find a copy of the Draft Horse Journal and sign up for a school. There is a great one in Mississippi that is offered several times a year. If you aren't experienced with drafts you need to have some time with experienced owners and horses. Getting experience with these larger breeds will give you a better handle on your mare. Sending her to be trained would also be recommended. As for adjustment time she shouldn't need that for the basics of what you expect of a horse and leading is one of them.
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post #13 of 52 Old 09-10-2012, 11:41 AM
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Have someone who can teach you and show you how to manage your horse.
You will need to demonstrate leadership to your horse and be consistent in your handling. You may need to pay for someone to do this but it will be worth it.
Good luck, and stay safe.
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post #14 of 52 Old 09-10-2012, 12:12 PM
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There is an old saying that a "Green horse and a green rider (owner) is a bad color combination." You are, by your own admission, new to horses. This horse is a mistake and you have pretty well admitted that as well.

Get a professional trainer to work with her and with you. That is your safest bet. If you cannot afford to do this, sell her, rehome her.. whatever you need to do.. and get an older horse that is well trained to learn on and with.

I am not saying this to be mean. I am saying this because horses are very large, very strong and they can kill you. They can kill you and not even mean it.. (I have seen it) because you are in the wrong place doing the wrong thing and you may not even know it. You can kill the horse with your own lack of knowledge (I have seen that too).

Be aware of these facts. Proceed at your own risk (and the horse's risk). A horse is NOT a dog... not in their size or their intelligence or their relationship with other creatures (one is a predator.. the other is prey).
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post #15 of 52 Old 09-10-2012, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Elana View Post
There is an old saying that a "Green horse and a green rider (owner) is a bad color combination."
Great post... I've also heard it as "Green (horse) + green (rider) = Black & blue!

To the OP: definitely get the help of a trainer/experienced horseperson.

Just a note on the carrots: she may not like them. My QH HATES carrots.
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post #16 of 52 Old 09-10-2012, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for all the advice and information. This morning at 5am, I got up, went outside and brought another horse from one of the pastures and placed him in the stall (my friends horse, that he is letting me ride) As soon as Maggie (Belgian) seen me, she started whinnying and came running to the fence. So I went right back into the house and grabbed a carrot. She readily took the carrot from me and ate the entire thing (Probably shouldnt have done this, since its going to create a bad habit of her doing this and getting rewarded, but since she was new and the experience we both had yesterday, I went ahead and did it) She showed interest, i wanted to return the gesture.

Anyways, I left it at that and went about doing the morning ritual, letting dogs out, feeding everything.

Came home from work. Went to the fence, she came right over and I handed her a carrot, again, she readily took it from my hand.

I thought, ok....should i press my luck....I DID I went to the barn, got a brush and went into the pasture with her (with a boat load of She stood perfectly still, let me brush her, (she was all matted and ucky, but looks a little bit better now...she still needs a **** bath) So she let me brush her completely, mane, tail....I even rubbed all over her body with my hands. Not hand shy at all. I started walking around the pasture AND SHE FOLLOWED ME EVERYWHERE. I also had carrots with me too, I was breaking them in little pieces and giving them to her.

I truly believe that it was just the entire experience of last night and her being moved from one place to another. She seems to be doing great now. I havent tried lead walking her yet. I wanna give her a few more days to adjust to everything and then I will attempt that.

SO ITS A GOOD POSITIVE NOTE. Ive spoken to SEVERAL "trainers" I use the term loosely because everyone you talk to seems to be a "trainer" UGHHH As soon as I figure out how to post pics in the thread, I will post a couple of her that I took today after I finished brushing her.
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post #17 of 52 Old 09-10-2012, 08:17 PM
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I definitely want pics!

That's similar to what I did with my un-broke draft mare. Except I used her 'itchy spot' as her reward. She came to me completely eatten alive by bugs and was horribly itchy everywhere. So whenever she was with me I scratched her all over. She was immediately following me all around. :P

What I did, and what I think you should do. Aside from getting a trainer obviously.
Get the halter and lead and just put it on her and groom her like usual. Scratch her wherever she likes as long as your arms can stand it :P Then just practice walking, she'll probably follow.
Once she's walking with you you need to get her respecting you and your tools. So here's how you do it.

Put the halter on, I start with disengaging the hind end as I find it the most useful and the horse picks up this skill fairly easily.
Apply gentle pressure with a few fingers on the fat squishy part of her bum. Wait. If she tries to walk away or ignore it keep with her, if she is completely ignoring it slowly increase the pressure. What you want is for her to move her bum away from the pressure of your hand, at first if she just leans away, release the pressure and rub the spot out. Eventually you'll want her front legs relatively still and her hind legs spinning around her front ones. Repeat this on both sides until you stepping firmly and pointing to her hind end gets her to move her hind end away.

Once she's disengaging her hind end work on her front end, same method but this time you want her to move her front legs around her back ones. Apply pressure just a bit behind her shoulder, if she's backing up you're too far forward, if she walks forward you're to far back. Find her happy spot and get her circling both ways.

Horses learn seperately on both sides of their body and often a lesson learned on one side isn't translated to the other side - I believe it has something to do with their divided vision.

Once she's moving her front and hind end you'll want to work on backing her up. Stand in front of her - take a firm step with your shoulders square and eye contact on and apply gentle pressure with the lead rope on the top of her nose say 'back up' firmly, and hold the pressure. If she even leans away from the pressure at first relieve is and rub out her nose. Repeat this until she is backing any number of steps just on you stepping into her space and saying 'back up'.

These huge draft horses are wonderful but they're BIG and they NEED to respect your space! A horse who doesn't respect space is a very dangerous horse. You need to be able to move every inch of her away from you at any given time.

All of these skills also helps assert you as the top of her herd, any herd leader can control any of the other horses in their herd from a great distant. If you control her legs, you control her mind.

Once she thoroughly understands all those skills now practice giving to the halter.

With most horses you can keep the lead clipped where it belongs, under their chin, but my draft mare was a little dense and I found putting the clip on whichever link was the direction I was going to pul helped her figure it out faster.

So take your lead rope and hold it taught, rest your hand on her withers applying just a little pressure. You want her to turn her head in the direction you're pulling, like a rein. You could even use clip on reins if you want. I put my hand on their withers so that when they turn their head in the correct direction they relieve their own pressure. So as soon as she turns toward the pull relieve pressure and tell her she's good. Repeat this until she touches her nose to her girth with only a small amount of pressure on each rein on both sides of her.

At this point she's moving all parts of her body and turning her head easily to pressure. Start walking her in hand, to turn her toward you just keep her at arms distance away so she maintains your personal space. Turning away from you is the hardest for a horse to get. Often I find I have to take a quick step to get a bit in front of them and pull the lead rope around to the other side of them to remind them to turn their head. Eventually she'll learn to read you, where you're going and what you want without you needing to over-exaggerate every movement like this.

This will take WEEKS of work. I wouldn't make your lessons too long at first, they learn better by stopping and thinking about it rather than just mindless repetition (IMO).
Once you get her doing all that you can practice line-driving her (driving her around by following her, no carriage). You can begin teaching her about tack like surcingles, saddles, get her used to a bit if you choose to use one.
9 years old is quite young, she can learn alot and has many years to give you. :)

Now last thing (sorry for the novel). If you really want to use treats (many people are horribly against using treats with horses) I on the other hand find it a VERY good form of motivation. BUT there are rules! and these rules need to be respected 100% of the time! She needs to have her face away from you to receive a treat. If her nose is borrowed into you mugging you for treats - no food should be given for that, that's rude and will lead to dangerous behavior.

I use clicker training for my horses to back up all my natural horsemanship skills.
What I do to start is teach them what the click means and how to take a treat.
So I stand with a small container of tiny treats in their stall with them. If they are mugging me I avoid them (if they become dangerously mugging, I start outside the stall door so I can be safe). The moment they turn their head away, for any reason I click (I use a smoochy noise so I don't need to carry a clicker) and give them the treat at arms length away. I repeat this until they clearly get that turning their head away gets them the treat. I do this for about 5 minutes, or when I run out of treats, whichever is first, 2-3 times a day until they get it. Once they thoroughly get it I like to practice target training as it helps nail in the click=treat idea.
So I hold a target, usually a crop with a decorative end piece that's easily visible. When they touch it, for any reason (with my draft I had to put it right under her nose for her to get it) I click and treat, again at arms length. I repeat this, 5 minute session a few times a day until they've gotten both the target concept and the treat concept and what the click sound means.
Then throughout your training when you're using pressure+release perhaps sometimes when they do the skill exceptionally well you can click/treat. So when yielding her hind end if she takes a big step, or a couple steps, click/treat.

Unless you maintain respect though, treats shouldn't be used. Keep sessions short and always end on a good note!

I'm so happy to hear your day went well. I love Belgians - I want pics!!

Let me know if you have any questions on all that. And please look into finding a trainer in your area. :)
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post #18 of 52 Old 09-10-2012, 10:52 PM
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Please be careful and get some professional help. ANY horse will follow you around if you have food on you! I would hate for this animal to start getting pushy on you. The other posters gave you excellent advice
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post #19 of 52 Old 09-10-2012, 10:59 PM
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definitely don't give up! Spend time with her, give her good brushings, and encourage when she does something right like take a few steps with you when you lead. She will figure it out. Find a trainer who will take time to work with you and your horse and help you figure each other out.
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post #20 of 52 Old 09-11-2012, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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I think she is 50% evil. Today, I went out, put the rope halter on her. We walked around the paddock together for a while. She did great. We came back up to the gate, I brushed her, loved on her, talked to her. Everything was great. I tried to get her to back up out of my way. Just like you would get any other horse to back up. She pawed at me and nailed me. I would think she didnt do this on purpose, however, she did it ONCE and missed (without putting her foot back on the ground) She did it again. I should have done something, but I was in shock, so I just walked got out of the paddock, came in the house...yelled and screamed and I havent been back out there with her since. Im having a couple people come over tomorrow to see about helping me with her. We will see how that goes. *I have a couple pictures, but Im not sure how to upload them here yet*
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