How best to chastise a horse - that is the question - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 27 Old 02-01-2012, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by thesilverspear View Post
My boyfriend's two nieces, ages 8 and 11, take riding lessons and of course, they love talking about the ponies in their lessons. It always saddens me a little bit, because much of their chat is about how the pony did x (which can be pretty much anything) and the instructor's interpretation was "the pony is being naughty. Kick him harder." My personal feeling is that this is the wrong paradigm of equine behaviour to be teaching children (or anyone): the naughtiness-punishment method of dealing with any behaviour you don't like. And there is no need for it. When I taught children to ride, I would say stuff like, "If you sit up really tall and hold the reins like you're holding an egg, you'll help him trot," rather than asking the kid to smack the horse for not trotting when the reason the horse isn't trotting is imbalance in the rider.
Baha. Don't you love kids that start riding 'I can gallop on this pony' 'This pony I jump 1m with' etc.. its like dawwwwhhh you're so cute!

I completely agree with you, and this is where I feel a lot of budding riders fail within themselves when they lease/buy a first pony as they have taught if the horse doesn't do something, its 100% the horse's fault and beat it! I admittedly WAS one of them till I was pulled off a horse and had a whip across the back of my thighs.

BUT saying that, you learn from your mistakes and no one is born with knowledge of how to handle a horse
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post #22 of 27 Old 02-01-2012, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by DuffyDuck View Post
Baha. Don't you love kids that start riding 'I can gallop on this pony' 'This pony I jump 1m with' etc.. its like dawwwwhhh you're so cute!

I completely agree with you, and this is where I feel a lot of budding riders fail within themselves when they lease/buy a first pony as they have taught if the horse doesn't do something, its 100% the horse's fault and beat it! I admittedly WAS one of them till I was pulled off a horse and had a whip across the back of my thighs.

BUT saying that, you learn from your mistakes and no one is born with knowledge of how to handle a horse
Indeed. But good instruction can help! When I was the age of boyfriend's nieces, I had a SCARY instructor who would ream my butt if I used the crop on or kicked her horse hard for not doing something when it was my poor riding that caused him not to do it. Like, "Don't you DARE, EVER kick him hard like that AGAIN when the reason he didn't trot was YOU pulled on his mouth!!" Or, "HOW's he supposed to bend on a twenty meter circle with you HANGING on the rein like that?!!" While I think this message can be communicated less traumatically (I was a sensitive kid and didn't take that well to being shouted at), the message is a good one. That instructor, while she had the diplomatic skills of the current president of Iran, had a good attitude towards horses and horsemanship and was probably great for me in the long run.

Last edited by thesilverspear; 02-01-2012 at 08:10 AM.
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post #23 of 27 Old 02-01-2012, 08:15 AM
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Thinking about what you said further, Duffy...

A lot of riding school ponies are well desensitised to being yanked and smacked around, or they don't stay riding school ponies for long. Definitely agree that problems arise when the person gets a pony of their very own, which perhaps doesn't take as well to the riding school pony treatment, and then it's holy behaviour issue batman!
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post #24 of 27 Old 02-03-2012, 11:56 AM
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I think it very much depends on the horse (their personal hang-ups, whether it be fearful, aggression, ect) and the owner (how comfortable are they in following through?)

I'll be honest...I have slapped my gelding pretty good on his shoulder for stomping my foot or nipping. But, it's a horse....a slap is pretty light to a huge animal. But, my neighbors (not horse people at all) think I am abusing the heck out of him if I do. But, they think I am being mean when I lunge my mare in the round pen too. How dare I make that poor horsey run in

I never whip my gelding, punch him (yep, I have seen someone do it unfortunately), or the likes. Heck, for some reason unknown (since I have had him) he is scared of a lunge whip in certain situations. I can run it all over and under him out in the field and he goes to sleep. I put him in a round pen with it or walk into the barn with it and he goes ballistic in fear. Take it out of his sight and he calms right down.

Now, my mare is still unsure about sudden hand movements (BLM horse) and I go slower with her. A simple "No!" is enough to get her attention.

I am sure everyone has their own way. Different horses will react in different ways.
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post #25 of 27 Old 02-03-2012, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by thesilverspear View Post
I agree with both of you.
I also think it takes years of experience, knowledge, and feel to tell the difference between a horse who is misbehaving because it's in pain, scared, confused, has poor or inconsistent training, etc and one who is just being a douche and testing its handler, or simply could not be bothered doing what the handler asks. Unfortunately, it seems as if quite a lot of people assume the latter when the problem is caused by any number of the former...

Why not teach kids from the get-go to be the quietly benevolent alpha?
Thanks for the thread. Totally in agreement. I've been writing about being the "benevolent herd leader."
If you fix the little problems in behavior, the big problems fix themselves.
I also want to add that for those of us who haved owned/trained/worked with horses for a long time, we should be judging any new training methods. I trust my gut when I hear ANY method that doesn't agree with the experts that I have read and tried to imitate. I compare anybody's ideas to see if they jive or if they conflict with that that I know already works. EVERY time I find there is a new (to me) way to school that works, I ALSO discover that said trainer learned from past experts. For instance, Julie Goodnight's grandfather was in the US Cavalry, and Dennis Reis studied Vaquero training methods and has based his ground training on this.
The proof is always in the pudding, as they say.
I might add that DH and I learned from the US Cavalry manuel to team up a young horse with an experienced one. I never knew how good I had it when I owned two 4yo geldings who lived with/trained with/trailered to events with older, trained horses. They learned to not be afraid of things by observing their herdmates who weren't bothered by them. It's the same as the chapter in Black Beauty where he's sent to a cow's pasture for a month to desensitize him to trains. The cows kept grazing when the engines roared by, and they taught him to not be afraid. to discipline? I believe that Michael Poulin was right when he recently said we punish much more than we praise. Praise appropriately and wisely administered can make our horse's job fun, and then, it's isn't work anymore. =D
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post #26 of 27 Old 02-05-2012, 03:37 PM
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I had to chuckle at the 'cob' antics! They are typical of so many cobs who seem to be born with a wicked sense of humour and a determination to prove they are the leaders, especially when ridden!

A friend of mine, a petite woman, had a heavyweight cob of Irish breeding. She hunted him hard and hacked to every meet and then hacked him home again because he refused to load in a trailer or a horsebox. I had seen that horse take on several very determined people and put several of them in E.R.

I helped the owner with him when he was nappy or being a problem. When he came to me whilst the owner was away I became determined that I would have him loading into the trailer like a good 'un.

I set the trailer up. Front unload open and no partition (straight load) The horse was jus wearing a headcollar with a lunge line attached. He walked to the ramp, swelled up and charged down the side of the trailer with me hanging on to the lunge behind him. He stopped when we got to the other side of the yard whereby I went to his head, patted him and gave him a mint. This went on for about an hour.
At no point did I have anyone near me, nor did my heart rate alter and I never even allowed myself to get the slightest bit cross.
After an hour he was fed up with the game, there was just nothing to fight so he walked in, totally unafraid (I never ever thought he was frightened) altd and walked out and put in the stable.
next day it took about 10 minutes and after that he might have a slight objection but nothing severe.

His owner could not believe me returning him in a trailer and she soon was loading him with no problem.
Cut the chase to a few years on where we were showing him at Horse of the Year.
We were ready to go home. I had left the owner and rider to get him ready for travel whilst I went back to collect some items we had bought and not wanted to leave in the car.
As I walked back to the car park so an ambulance arrived. Somehow I knew it was Murph that had been causing trouble!
Sure enough he had refused to load so several strong arm people had taken over loading him. The owner had said to wait but they were determined - unfortunately not as determined as Murph! One had a badly torn ear from being flailed with a front hoof and another a broken leg.
Murph just had a grin on his face, he hadn't had so much fun in years!
I put him back in the stable, we all had a coffee and then after about 30 minutes went to load him
Of course he did his running past the trailer, I reacted by going with him and giving him a Polo. He went past about three or four times, and then sighed knowing I would not fight him and walked straight in.

Several people came up and said it was not the way to load him and I should do this or that. My argument was that this was a horse that loved a strength fight and, if you didn't give hom one he would comply. After all, he was in the trailer and no one else was hurt.

Sometimes reverse psychology is needed! The use of cunning is far better than the use of strength!
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post #27 of 27 Old 02-05-2012, 03:53 PM
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Foxhunter, that's a good story and I believe it! My pony was like that. I'm still trying to figure out WHY. It doesn't seem to be a "natural" horse attitude; maybe it's just in some breeds.
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