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How to give a horse confidence?

This is a discussion on How to give a horse confidence? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Training a horse to walk over a tarp
  • Give my horse confidence

 
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    05-23-2011, 12:13 AM
  #11
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinshorses    
You develop a horses confidence with small steps that teach a horse how to deal with fear. You can't stop a horse from being scared but you can teach a horse to react in a different way than it normally would.

The whole message that is lost on the Big-time clinician crowd with the tarp and large bouncy balls is not to teach your horse to walk over a tarp or chase a six foot red ball but to react to scary things in a different way then is normal for them. I have been riding horses for 27 years and I have yet to come across a situation where I had to walk over a large blue tarp or chase a large ball. Since you can't plan for every eventuallity you have to prepare your horse to react the way you want it to when confronted by unexpected outside stimuli. If you walk over the same tarp in the same place you are setting yourself and your horse up to fail. If you allow your horse to refuse you are doing the same thing. Expose your horse to new things and do it in a manner that strenghens your leadership and develops the horses curiousity.
^ Right on
     
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    05-23-2011, 12:52 PM
  #12
Foal
Thank you so much for this article!!
Yesterday I worked with my 3yr old for a good hour. It was the longest session he's ever had and I pushed him. Hard. I asked so much from him and he tried his hardest to please me. He would occasionly just stop and turn his head to see me as though he was asking "what on earth do you want me to do?? I don't understand!" But he kept learning and I kept pushing until I finally felt that he was going to reach a breaking point. So we left our arena and took a relaxed jaunt around the yard before I unsaddled and brushed him down. He was pretty sweaty and I spent half my afternoon worried that I may have asked too much of him. That I might have pushed him too hard...
This article makes me feel as though I wasn't wrong in asking so much from him. In fact, it has me pumped up to go out and ask for some more
     
    05-23-2011, 04:32 PM
  #13
Weanling
I have a 2 year old that is worried about darn near everything. When I snap a lead on him though, he becomes a much more confident horse because he trusts me not to take him into a bad situation.
I do a lot of in hand work with his type of horse. I set up trail obstacles, take them for walks through the ditches & fields, pony them, just about anything that can get them some exposure & experience.
Some horses are just born less confident and need a confident handler to help them through it and develop enough confidence that they aren't relying on their handler all the time.
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    05-23-2011, 06:04 PM
  #14
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllThePrettyHorses    
I've always wondered...what's the secret behind those horses that will do anything, go anywhere, with any type of rider, no fear, resistance or refusal? How do you make a horse like that?
I will agree with most everything that has been said. My initial thought was, how do you give a horse confidence? Well, you start with the rider...

The more knowledge and confidence the rider has; in knowing what they want to accomplish, and how to ask the horse to do it. The more effective the communication transmitted to the horse becomes. The result will be a horse with more confidence.
     
    05-23-2011, 08:25 PM
  #15
Trained
Quote:
Since you can't plan for every eventuallity you have to prepare your horse to react the way you want it to when confronted by unexpected outside stimuli.
^ This.

And miles. Miles, and miles, and miles. Riding anywhere yu can get, and dealing with what you encounter in a calm, clear way. I teach my horses to look to my guidance in a scary situation instead of switching to instinct. We ride mostly on the outskirts and through our city - So traffic, bikes, people, dogs, golf, underpasses... They deal with it all.
     
    05-23-2011, 09:34 PM
  #16
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by wild_spot    
And miles. Miles, and miles, and miles. Riding anywhere yu can get, and dealing with what you encounter in a calm, clear way. I teach my horses to look to my guidance in a scary situation instead of switching to instinct. We ride mostly on the outskirts and through our city - So traffic, bikes, people, dogs, golf, underpasses... They deal with it all.
But how? How would you teach the horse to look to you for guidance in scary situations? How do you come out of those scary experiences with the horse having more respect and trust for you than when it went in? How do you teach it to not react to fear? How do you actually do it?
     
    05-23-2011, 09:40 PM
  #17
Weanling
How I do it is to start on the ground. Lead the horse around, getting it to listen and respect you by teachings manners.
Then I start slowly adding things like ground poles, a trail bridge, etc. Getting them to walk calmly over those will help get the horse to trust that you won't be taking it into situations where it might be hurt. You can even use a tarp because although they are often scared of them, a tarp rarely jumps up and bites them.
I also teach them to load and unload in my trailer, walk through ditches, around vehicles and such. Every time they do something with you and don't get hurt, their trust in you should increase.
I do the same sorts of things under saddle once they are going well.
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    05-23-2011, 09:48 PM
  #18
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by reiningfan    
How I do it is to start on the ground. Lead the horse around, getting it to listen and respect you by teachings manners.
Then I start slowly adding things like ground poles, a trail bridge, etc. Getting them to walk calmly over those will help get the horse to trust that you won't be taking it into situations where it might be hurt. You can even use a tarp because although they are often scared of them, a tarp rarely jumps up and bites them.
I also teach them to load and unload in my trailer, walk through ditches, around vehicles and such. Every time they do something with you and don't get hurt, their trust in you should increase.
I do the same sorts of things under saddle once they are going well.
Posted via Mobile Device
I get that, but what about when you're alone, on the trail, miles from home, no other horses or humans around, and you meet something really, really scary (for a horse)? Those situations that test your leadership to the max. How do you get through those successfully, with the horse trusting and respecting your authority? There's only so much that walking over tarps and bridges at home, with the other horses in the paddock a few hundred feet away, can prepare you for.
     
    05-23-2011, 09:52 PM
  #19
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllThePrettyHorses    
But how? How would you teach the horse to look to you for guidance in scary situations? How do you come out of those scary experiences with the horse having more respect and trust for you than when it went in? How do you teach it to not react to fear? How do you actually do it?
Well, if you have already established seniority with your horse and your the leader that answer is simple. Stay calm, keep your heart rate down, don't let adrenaline get the better of you. Don't grab at your saddle, yank on their face, curl up into a fetal position....and for goodness sakes don't scream, don't even whisper "Oh my god oh my god oh my god" ;) You know that saying "They can smell fear"? It's true, smell it sense it, feel it whatever...they get the point and will be more then happy to follow your lead. Equally they sense when we are relaxed and confident. If YOU don't think the boogy monster is so bad then why should your horse?

Stay calm, in control, firm but not demanding hands and a sure but soothing voice. Deal with the situation and get control and then be on your merry way. I don't like some of the very popular methods of "Lets stand here and stare at it and see what the horse does" Uhm....sure give him a sec to check it out and then busy his mind with what you want him to do? Scared of water, ok lets walk around, lets sniff it, now lets go threw it. No big deal, no fuss!
     
    05-24-2011, 12:18 AM
  #20
Trained
To be honest, I don't do squat on the ground.

All my horses can lead, go backwards, sideways, pick up their feet, and load on a float. That's about the extent of it.

I have horses to ride them, so that is what I do.

Before heading out on the trails, I make sure I can control each part of my horse seperately - Head/neck, shoulders, ribcage, and hindquarters.

When i'm on the trail, I have loose reins. I'm never holding onto my horses face.

If we reach something scary, I sit relaxed and let them decide how they are going to react. They are allowed to look, that's not a problem.

If they start to spook, jump around, speed up/slow down - I flex their head away from the scary object and use my leg to keep them travelling the same line. Gently at first, but I can turn it into a leg yeild with bum toward scary object and head away if I need to. I don't get mad, but I insist.

Once we are past it, I drop the rein and continue on. I don't stop and make them sniff anything - that teaches them to stop what they are doing and take their attention off me. I teach them to give their attention and control of their body to me, and I will get them past safely. Every time we encounter something scary and I get them through without them being hurt, they get a little more confident in my judgement.
     

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