How far do you "push" a young horse?
 
 

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How far do you "push" a young horse?

This is a discussion on How far do you "push" a young horse? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        04-19-2014, 10:49 PM
      #1
    Weanling
    How far do you "push" a young horse?

    I hear a lot of people that talk about training young horses say they "push them to the point of blowing up, then back off".

    What do you guys mean you push them? How close up to that "point of no return" do you take them? A step before they want to turn and bolt or the second they drop an ear? Is it just in reference to something stressful or scary, or is it a physical aspect as well?

    I've trained a number of young horses (no expert by any means) but this is a new concept for me, and I have to say I don't fully understand.
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        04-19-2014, 11:05 PM
      #2
    Trained
    Hi,

    I personally would never plan to "push them to the point of blowing up". I don't thin it's at all conducive to evoke major fear, let alone panic, in a horse. The more 'practice' the horse gets at these emotions & reactions, just like others, the 'better' he gets at it - the stronger the association between emotion/reaction & situation. Although of course, it does happen sometimes. I work in a non-confrontational manner & teach horses to accept new things with gradual desensitisation, starting at where ever they're 'at' with something, then 'pushing' their comfort zone only slightly before backing off.
    tinyliny, Beling and Foxhunter like this.
         
        04-19-2014, 11:17 PM
      #3
    Green Broke
    This shouldn't be done, all it is doing is telling horse that you are a fool and can't read a horse, and you are merciless too.

    No animal should be driven to this point ever.
    loosie and Foxhunter like this.
         
        04-20-2014, 12:12 AM
      #4
    Weanling
    I think what they are going for is pushing a horse outside of it's comfort zone but not to the point of blowing up. Most horses start off scared of the saddle/saddle pad or whatever, if you don't push them you will never be able to saddle or ride them.
    You have to push them to where they are uncomfortable so that they can learn to deal with new things. A good trainer knows how far to push without going too far.
         
        04-20-2014, 12:28 AM
      #5
    Showing
    A young horse should be pushed slightly outside it's comfort level, but nowhere near the point where they feel the need to blow up. If you don't push them, then they'll never get better but if you push them to the point of blowing up, then you'll just ruin them.

    It is a very fine line between pushing too hard and not pushing hard enough and it takes years and years to be able to consistently recognize where it's at.

    How hard you push is a completely situational thing depending on the horse and how they are reacting to that particular stimuli at that particular moment.
    loosie, tinyliny, Cherie and 3 others like this.
         
        04-20-2014, 12:31 AM
      #6
    Trained
    I think I'd have to see "pushing them to the point of blowing" in context with the person training them before I could say much. I work my horses starting with stuff they know for the first few minutes and then going to the next step that they don't know and ask them to try, right or wrong doesn't matter just the try. Then we go back to their comfort zone, stuff they know, for a few minutes and then we try again. If the horse starts to look distressed, I back down and go back to what they know and finish on a good note. Then I give them time off, maybe long enough to eat a meal, then I start over and work up to the "don't know" point again. We keep on with it until eventually it's a non-issue. I try to never have a horse so upset they throw a fit but you have to be persistent or they don't learn.
    Mochachino likes this.
         
        04-20-2014, 12:44 AM
      #7
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by smrobs    
    A young horse should be pushed slightly outside it's comfort level, but nowhere near the point where they feel the need to blow up. If you don't push them, then they'll never get better but if you push them to the point of blowing up, then you'll just ruin them.

    It is a very fine line between pushing too hard and not pushing hard enough and it takes years and years to be able to consistently recognize where it's at.

    How hard you push is a completely situational thing depending on the horse and how they are reacting to that particular stimuli at that particular moment.
    this^^^

    And, if you can think of it as "lead" them, rather than "push " them, it will feel better to both. So, if you are there to lead them past where they would not go on their own, then you are "helping" them push through old boundaries onto bigger ones.
    Cynical25 likes this.
         
        04-20-2014, 12:45 AM
      #8
    Trained
    Agree Palo, but there are still many well regarded - or well employed - horsepeople who use 'flooding' & other rough techniques. How many trainers still will put a first saddle(or rider) on a young horse & just expect & allow him to 'buck it out of his system', for eg.

    It's so great that times have definitely changed & more & more people have learned that 'rough' methods aren't necessary. Someone recently on this forum(Cherie maybe) said if she was offered money to find a rough breaker, who used snubbing posts, sacking out, etc, she couldn't collect. Unfortunately IME I could collect, many times & the term 'breaking' horses still has it's old connotations for me - as in the horse's 'spirit' is broken. ...that is, if the horse IS effectively 'broken' with these methods, rather than becoming a 'vicious, untrainable rogue'!
         
        04-20-2014, 02:37 AM
      #9
    Foal
    For a horse to learn trust, you will have to give him direction and guidance in a way that he understands, making him feel comfortable and at ease. Horses learn from the release of pressure not from blowing up! Horses are most responsive to light, always changing pressure. When you feel calm, it will transfer to your horse and help him stay calm. If you feel confident & courageous, he will respond to you with confidence. If you are feeling anxious or unsure, your horse too will feel it, & will become tentative and/or nervous. When you are angry-the horse feels your anger & will be confused and wary of you. If you are fearful, your horse will immediately pick up on that & will match your fear, just as he did with his herd. He will be fearful out of respect for your fear. Keep in mind that while your fear is emotional; your horse’s fear will manifest physically & cause him to tense up. One element of training your horse is giving your horse the confidence he needs to overcome his fears, which is directly related to you, how you feel emotionally, and what feeling you transmit your horse, regardless of whether you are on the ground with him or in the saddle.

    Because of how sensitive horses are regarding our feelings & emotions, when we handle our horses, it is best to be in a balanced state of mind, & emotionally at peace. Your horse will automatically reflect this and it will help him behave in a calm manner. Just as he becomes one with his herd & takes on its mood & mindset, your horse should become one with you, taking on your mood and mindset. In an almost magical way, a horse mirrors his handler, for the good or bad. It is because of this “reflective” tendency that horses sometimes seem to have split personalities, behaving calmly for one person, and being spooky and restless with another, in the same situation. It always comes back to the issue of leadership! So why would anyone push a horse to the point of blowing up??
         
        04-20-2014, 08:08 AM
      #10
    Weanling
    Ah! I see, I think I may have worded it wrong or misunderstood what I heard.

    So really that's what all good training is then whether you know you're doing it or not?
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