How had you reacted in these situations?
 
 

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How had you reacted in these situations?

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  • My horse rushes forward when spooked
  • horse pins ears at canter

 
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    07-25-2009, 06:04 PM
  #1
Zab
Yearling
How had you reacted in these situations?

There's as many different attitudes and ways to handle a horse as there is horses and humans. And it's impossible to say that's right and that's wrong, but you can learn what works and what doesnt.

Now I'd like to see how you would have solved the following (made up) situations. Please answer all of them and please do it before you read and get influensed by the other answers :)
A discussion or the question ''why do you do this?'' or ''what do you mean?'' may be rewarding, but if it's clear that you have ompletely different opinions and perhaps even a different basic attitude to horses, please just agree on disagreeing and take the discussion elsewhere. :) This thread is not made to try to change each others, but to see different approaches to a situation, and how people react. Those who want to learn from it will learn.

To avoid posts that's not direct replies to this, I'm happy if you analyse your thoughts and tell how you think when you're writing how you would have reacted, remember that different people think diferently and has different attitudes. What's clear to you might look weird to someone else. If you're imagining your own horse in these situations, please tell us about how he generally behaves, or else just describe how you read the horses behaviour in these situations.

If your answer is ''go back to basics'' I ask of you to define this. Where is the flaws in the horses education? What exactly would you have gone back to and how would you have done that? Had you stopped riding the horse completely nd only worked with groundwork untill...? Stopped riding that and instead...? Define!

Try to be honest, had you smacked the horse, please say so. It's not about being the most gentle person, but about seeing how people think and react.
Try not to judge, you (probably) don't know each others horses or relations. One thing might work for them but not for you, or the other way around.
Please try to keep on topic, but as I said it's good to define and analyse, and write this down.
I hope for a lot of answers.

Situation 1:

When you're riding on a road or path, your horse suddenly stops and stares ahead as if it had seen something, but you can't see anything strange yourself. The horse stays still for quite a while and ignores seat or legs. If you insist and add on to the preassure, the horse will show some discomfort (by whipping the tail or throwing the head or something like it).


Situation 2:

You're on a trail and a rock gets the horses attention. It starts going sideways and speeds up a tad bit to get around this horse-eating rock with as much space between itself and the rock as possible.


Situation 3:


The horse is frisky/forward on your way home and speeds up a tad bit. It will most probably, (eventually) get as far as to a canter if the rider stays passive without doing anything at all, but nothing points at the horse will stop listening or be difficult to stop. (to make it simple, lets say the ground is perfect for all gaits and thewres stil plenty of road between you and the barn.)

Situation 4:

You and a few others is out on a trail ride but somehow you and your horse has come behind the others, and your horse is very nervous and stressed out and wants to get back to the group. He'll back and spin around at the least preassure of the rein, won't go forward immediatly even on loose reins and when he does move forward it's with a jump and then a run to get to the others.

Situation 5:
The horse tries to avoid the water when you're washing off the legs with a hose.

Situation 6:
The horse rushes past you hen you lead it from the pasture to the stall.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and experienses
     
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    07-25-2009, 07:01 PM
  #2
Trained
Oh, fun! It's almost a game! I promise to follow the rules to the best of my ability. I'll also TRY to keep it short. =]

Situation 1 -- I have two answers. It depends on your area.

Where my horse lives and where I ride, the only thing we're going to run into is a deer, MAYBE a coyote, but it won't bother us. So if she does something like that, she is just being difficult. My horse is typically very willing to go along the trails, she LOVES to be out, we go by ourselves all the time. Until she gets tired. Then she behaves in the exact manner you described. I start out by asking her to go forward, with increasing pressure. Then my horse will typically try and turn around, to the left to be specific. I will turn her back to the right and ask her to go forward again. She'll proceed to dance and prance and hop and maybe do a tiny little rear. When I can't get her to respond to my asking for her to go forward, I turn her around, the way she wants to go, and ask her to back up. My horse may not go forward when I want, but she ALWAYS goes backwards. Weird logic for a horse, but it works. So we'll back up a bit, turn to the right, since she likes to turn left, and try to walk on. If she doesn't, we turn around and go backwards again. I repeat the process until she decides it's just easier to walk forwards. It doesn't usually take her too long.

BUT, if I lived in an area where Mountian Lions or Bears were common, I would probably trust my horse and turn around. I'm not about to face something like that.

I think most good riders can tell if their horse is faking a "spook" or not, and I'd suggest to use your instincts.

Situation 2-- Well, my horse doesn't typically spook at rocks, haha. I suppose it's always possible though. First, my horse is more "spooky" leaving than going home, probably because she is so darn excited to be out. If my horse just barely moved over and sped up, I'd probably ignore it. Since I have to walk back the same way I come along the trails, she probably won't be so terrified the second time, or will be too anxious to get home to notice. She's a dork. If she reacts in a larger manner that really catches my attention, I'll turn her around and walk her by this horse-eating rock again and again until she realizes it's just a rock. If she is really "terrified" of this said rock, I'll get off and walk with her up to it, touch it, encourage her to touch noses. She'll probably take about two minutes to "make friends" and then she'll walk on all fine and dandy.

If I were being asked to give advice on the situation, I'd probably suggest they walk the horse back and forth a few times, or introduce the rock and the horse. I know ignoring a little reaction with my horse won't cause her to react bigger or more often, but I can't say the same for any other horse. It's better to be safe than sorry. I think it's importance for the horse to realize that you won't make it do something that will kill it, and I think it helps build the trust between a rider and his mount.

Situation 3 -- For most horses, I find it's a very bad idea to run home. In a lot of cases, it will encourage that barn sour behavior. So, for most horses, I would suggest turning around and walking the horse away from home a few paces, and then turning back. Another strategy is to walk past the gate or path or driveway that means "home." For my horse, sometimes we run back, sometimes we don't. If we are coming back along the main road, we usually walk, maybe trot, very rarely we'll have a nice little collected canter. Coming from the trails, we either walk or come blowing in like hell is chasing us. =]

Situation 4 -- This is where that "go back to basics" thing comes in. To avoid a disaster on the trails, I would request the other riders come back and join us. The next time we went out, I would start working with the horse in a group. If the problem starts on the trails, then I would start on the trails. We'd take a ride down the trail awhile, and part ways. I'd have some of the riders keep going, and some go with my horse and I back towards home. We'd continue with that until he was comfortable leaving the other horses, going towards home and going away from home. Then we'd just go riding with one other horse, and split ways. Again going away from home and towards home alternatively. The idea would be that he learns he is perfectly safe away from the group, and controlling that herd bound instinct.

Situation 5 -- I would start at the beginning. Again. Re-introducing the wash area, the wash appliances, the hose with no water running, the hose with water running, and the noise it makes. I'd take it slow but continue moving along when the horse is comfortable. Then I would have the horse tied in a quick release or a person hold him if they were available. I'd start the hose going, preferably luke warm water, and hose off the hoof of one of his front legs. If he reacts, I will keep the hose on his hoof until he stops moving, for just a second, and take the hose away. Depending on his stress level, I'd try again or wait until the next day. I'd gradually move the hose up his leg and all over his body, waiting for him to take a second to relax before relieving the pressure.

Situation 6 -- I've had a lot of horses do this, it's one of my biggest pet peeves. I'd make sure I had a good strong halter on, preferably a rope halter, or a be-nice halter. I'd catch the horse with a lunge line, so I have more rope, and if the horse bolts, catch him with the lead and turn around, heading back out to the pasture. I think it's important to turn the horse AWAY from you. Respecting your space and all that. We'd continue doing this, leading him to the stall and if he goes even a tad faster than you want him to, turn him back around. Eventually he should learn that going fast means it takes longer. At least that's the idea.
     
    07-25-2009, 07:07 PM
  #3
Started
Good idea, cool thread

Situation 1:not moving/spook- I would spin the horse to throw it's attention off what it's looking at, then keep walking. If he stops, again spin untill he's listening and keep going


Situation 2:

Horse-eating rock- Kick him past it, he's being a snot. I wouldnt make a big deal or force him up to the rock, just lots of outside leg pressure and force him to keep going at a reasonable pace (aka no bolting allowed, walk only please)

Situation 3:

Barn sour/frisky towards home- No way Jose, no speeding up without my say so. Walk the horse in the opposite direction everytime he speeds up. If he starts getting dangerous about it (serious bucking/rearing) I'd ride through it untill he was reasonably calm, then get off and walk AWAY from the barn. I wouldn't go home untill he was behaving.

Situation 4:

Left behind. Seems like fighting it out is going nowhere. Get off and tell everyone to keep going. Walk the horse AWAY from everyuone untill he calms down, theen get on and walk back. Any hint of throwing a fit I'd walk away again.

Situation 5:
Avoiding hose- Depends
A) horse is inexperienced/afraid of water- Have someone hold the horse, let him small the hose/water stream. Start at the hooves and hold it untill the horse feels safe and slowly work my way up the legs

B) Horse is being a snot- Say "stand" and give a smack or shank, If the horse back, bring them forward, if the horse moves forward, back them up, etc. untill the horse stands

Situation 6:
Back them the h*ll up, I'm Boss! After the initial backing, stop and walk away everytime the horse pins ears, rushes, pushes, etc. When the horse is waiting quietly, THEN they can be released!
     
    07-25-2009, 07:24 PM
  #4
Trained
Situation 1 - Depends. If it's something genuinely scary and accompanied by a trembling, scared crapless horse with a stiffened body and giraffe head, I'm not going to pick a fight. I'll either find a way around it or turn around. If he's just putting me on and using the stop as an excuse to go home, a flick of the crop usually ends it quickly since my horse gives up fast.

Situation 2 - Horse eating rock. Leg yeild or should-fore him past it. He can look at it all he wants, but needs to go by no matter how twisted he does it. BIG reward and "good boy" when he's past the monster.

Situation 3 - My speed, not his. As many one rein stops as necessary to keep him at a walk. If he's a real butt, we turn back the other way until he calms down completely.

Situation 4 - Hasn't happened, so I don't know. We fall behind all the time and he has no problem cantering along untiil we catch up.

Situation 5. - Water on legs. Waiting to hear others on this. No success for me on that one other than distract him with food. Totally wrong, but it's all I've been able to do for now. Yelling and smacking don't seem to have any affect.

Situation 6 - I try not to let it get that far. If I anticipate bad manners, I'll back him up by shaking the lead rope until he's out of me space and then make him stand there for a few seconds before leading him the rest of the way in.
     
    07-25-2009, 07:39 PM
  #5
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zab    
Situation 1:
When you're riding on a road or path, your horse suddenly stops and stares ahead as if it had seen something, but you can't see anything strange yourself. The horse stays still for quite a while and ignores seat or legs. If you insist and add on to the preassure, the horse will show some discomfort (by whipping the tail or throwing the head or something like it).


Situation 2:
You're on a trail and a rock gets the horses attention. It starts going sideways and speeds up a tad bit to get around this horse-eating rock with as much space between itself and the rock as possible.


Situation 3:

The horse is frisky/forward on your way home and speeds up a tad bit. It will most probably, (eventually) get as far as to a canter if the rider stays passive without doing anything at all, but nothing points at the horse will stop listening or be difficult to stop. (to make it simple, lets say the ground is perfect for all gaits and thewres stil plenty of road between you and the barn.)

Situation 4:
You and a few others is out on a trail ride but somehow you and your horse has come behind the others, and your horse is very nervous and stressed out and wants to get back to the group. He'll back and spin around at the least preassure of the rein, won't go forward immediatly even on loose reins and when he does move forward it's with a jump and then a run to get to the others.

Situation 5:
The horse tries to avoid the water when you're washing off the legs with a hose.

Situation 6:
The horse rushes past you hen you lead it from the pasture to the stall.
Situation 1:
I'd probably turn them in a circle. That's usually what I will do if a horse won't listen to me.
Situation 2:
My horse is trained that if he is scared of something he has to touch it. So I would probably stop him, turn around, and make him touch it with his nose. He's pretty good at forgetting stuff once he's had a chance to really look at something. I'd praise him when he did what I asked.
Situation 3:
I would make the horse do whatever I wanted him to do. Period. Otherwise he'll think he can do whatever he wants to do whenever. I guess I'd just keep him in one gait without creeping.
Situation 4:
If the horse is jiggity but staying at a walk, I wouldn't pay any attention to him, because HE is the one who is wasteing his own time. Not me.
Situation 5:
Good one ;) Usually I will sit there with the hose on NEAR his legs or on mine, and little by little sweet-talk him until he used to the smell/sound and start at his hooves and work my way up.
Situation 6:
You mean he rushes past you throught the gate? I'm not sure what the senario is here. If that's the case I'd say 'HEY!' and usually our horses will be like 'Oh no! What did I do!' and freeze. Then I'd go back in the pasture and do it again until they do it right and praise.
     
    07-25-2009, 07:49 PM
  #6
Weanling
Situation 1: Quietly move his hind end right to left until the horse decides himself to take a step forward. Quit all aids and reward by a pat. Repeat until the horse makes the initiative to carry you forward without having to up the anti of the aids by going at the level of the horse at that moment in time.
Situation 2: The second before the horse reacts to the rock, ask for its attention. Turn the horse to look at the rock before it has a chance to try and hurry past it. Allow him to sniff and look at it until it decides it isn't a threat. Any time the horse tries to hurry or dodge past it, reinforce with a gentle rein encouraging the horse not to blow past it, but to quietly accept the rock and continue on. Only when the horse moves away from the rock calmly and with you do you allow him to continue on.
Situation 3: Gently bend the horse's head/neck/body right to left. If the energy dies down in a moment allow the horse to walk forward. Once the energy level rises, continue with the shallow serpentines until the horse's energy level lowers. If the horse is easily stopped in a good calm way then there is no need to raise the energy in your aids so that the horse can remain calm but forward. If the horse stops suddenly and goes suddenly, the serpentines can be made steeper with the forward aid included in the ride so that its energy can still be allowed forward. After all, if you tug too much on a horse in that place you're asking for trouble. Being as quiet and steady as you can be to help encourage the horse to relax is very important.
Situation 4: Be very simple to this type horse. When the reactions are big, the aids must be soft and gradual so the horse may follow your lead. When the horse stops, lift one rein and kick with the same leg to send its hind end right or left. Determining which way to send the hind quarters is a judgment call on the rider's part as to what the horse is offering next. If the horse balks and goes backwards, get busy with one leg and one rein (same side) and get the horse moving forward on a small circle. Once the forward is felt, allow the horse to go forward. If he rushes forward, gently bend him left or right but allow him forward to catch up. The more you hold him back, the more nervous he'll be. The more you make him feel like he cannot be with the group the more nervous he will become. This question really depends on the skill level of the horse and the trail experience it has had. If this were a young horse, then the rider is at fault for putting the horse in a bad situation. If the horse is just nervous in habit, then the rider must do a proficient job of encouraging the horse confidence and calmness.
But really, you'd need to go back to the arena and do these same cues in the arena.
Situation 4: Ignore the horse and spray his legs anyway. Do not have a tight hold on the lead, just a short one and if he needs to dance in circles around you, allow him. Pretend like you don't notice and only take the water away from his legs once he's made an effort to stand still. Sometimes it helps to just spray the chest or neck as some horse's legs are often more ticklish. If you approach him with the hose like he is about the jump away, he will. If you approach him with it like it's no big deal eventually it won't be.
Situation 6: Bonk the halter in quick, sharp tugs until the horse stops. Back the horse to where he needs to be. Give him a pat on the face. Walk forward, and any instant where he pushes past, you stop, back him. Test him by stopping abruptly. If he doesn't stop immediatly, back him up. Depending on the sensetivity level of the horse you will either bonk his halter hard or soft to get his feet moving backwards. If bonking the halter doesn't get the feet to move you can swing the tail end of the rope and allow the horse to run into it and back away. If this is the case, know to bring a flag of some sort the next time to further his horse's responsiveness. Sometimes when you bonk the horse with the halter and it doesn't know how to move away you need something else to get its feet to move, like the rope or a flag. If the horse doesn't move and you keep yanking down harder it will only get more stuck and most like rear up and lunge to the side. And you won't get a step backwards in the end.
Great thread. We should do more of these!
     
    07-25-2009, 07:52 PM
  #7
Zab
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunny06    
Situation 1:
I'd probably turn them in a circle. That's usually what I will do if a horse won't listen to me.

Situation 6:
You mean he rushes past you throught the gate? I'm not sure what the senario is here. If that's the case I'd say 'HEY!' and usually our horses will be like 'Oh no! What did I do!' and freeze. Then I'd go back in the pasture and do it again until they do it right and praise.
How do you figure the circle will get him forward on the trail/road? :)

I meant just walks past you as you're leading him. :P
     
    07-25-2009, 08:17 PM
  #8
Green Broke
^^ If you turn a stationary horse's neck around, he will loose his balance and walk/move in some way. It will also get him thinking about something else.

If a horse (my horse) walks in front of me I say 'SHH!' and he stops. I trained him to know 'Sh' as back up or 'Get off me'. Sometimes he will take a step back even for good measure.
     
    07-25-2009, 08:57 PM
  #9
Zab
Yearling
I suppose I can just as well answer myself :)


Situation 1:

When you're riding on a road or path, your horse suddenly stops and stares ahead as if it had seen something, but you can't see anything strange yourself. The horse stays still for quite a while and ignores seat or legs. If you insist and add on to the preassure, the horse will show some discomfort (by whipping the tail or throwing the head or something like it).
  • I have previously forced him past it any way possible, including smacking, yelling and kicking - tho always with the reins loose at any move forward - , but I've started to change my mind about that. I don't believe that horses can fake fear or nervousness, and I don't see why they should. A horse that gets nervous around a place or from a smell or sound is really nervous for it. It might be stupid to us, but to him it could be life threathening as far as he know. He's made for reacting at things like that. And if you're scared for something and try to tell your companion that that thing feels dangerous, will you be calmer or feel better if he starts hitting you? ... Then he could learn, either that the place/smell is ok because the rider said so, or that the place/smell really is dangerous because everytime he walks past it he gets beaten up.. and a horse that's more spooky on the way out.. well, he is heading for ''unsafe'' grounds, plus probably excited which means more attention to everything and easier to stressing himself up..
    ..of course ha horse can learn ''if I do this, the rider will do that''.. but I personally don't see why the horse would want the rider to stop him, jump off, walk ten feet, stop him again and get back up.. At least not any horse that doesn't just want to get rid of the rider, but if he wants so badly to get rid off the rider, why is that? And would he do it by pretending that he's scared, even if he could?
    And now Crow don't like being mounted nor dismounted :P he finds it uncomfortable with the weight shift and so on (never does anything but he raises his head and tenses up a little.)
  • So, my new way to go around the problem is to wait. Let him stand there, and if I feel any sign that he's ready to move, or if he looses attention on what's up there, I ask him to go again with a gentle seat. If that's not enough, I'll just jump off and lead him a bit forward before mounting again. He won't think that he has ''won'' anything since there wasn't a fight to win. Hopefully he'll give me some credit as a trustworthy leader for showing him that it was ok and taking him past the scary thing without scaring him further.

Situation 2:

You're on a trail and a rock gets the horses attention. It starts going sideways and speeds up a tad bit to get around this horse-eating rock with as much space between itself and the rock as possible.

  • Pretty much ignores how he walks past it. I might decide to go around it or past it a few times in both directions untill he's fairly calm, if it's a big reaction from him. Even a step sideways is a try from his side and will be rewarded. I won't accept him to back up tho, then I'll increase preassure. If that's not enough and he's getting more and more nervous, I'll jump off, lead him past it, possibly ask him to go closer, and then sit up and possibly ride past it too. This rarely happens.


Situation 3:


The horse is frisky/forward on your way home and speeds up a tad bit. It will most probably, (eventually) get as far as to a canter if the rider stays passive without doing anything at all, but nothing points at the horse will stop listening or be difficult to stop. (to make it simple, lets say the ground is perfect for all gaits and thewres stil plenty of road between you and the barn.)
  • If I feel like going faster, I'll let him or even encourage his suggestion by giving a rack or canter-aid. Giving energy forward is afterall one of the most important things in a horse. But only if he's just suggesting it, not if he's demanding it. The differense is that if he's demanding it, he might not listen to a stop later on. If he's suggesting it, he's just asking me if we should run, and I have no reason to say no. If I'm uncertain, I'll make a slight half-halt with my seat just to make sure he listens. If I don't think it's a good idea, I'll just ask him to slow down again and reward him when he does it.
  • If it's a horse that tries to run away with me, perhaps because it has always cantered there, or it just want to go home faster, I'll take it down and use my seat to slow it down and stop its movements, I'll use the reins firmly but not letting my hands get stiff - it's give and take and give at least sign of slowing down. This usually is enough to keep the gait I want (walk) without too much work from my side or stressing him up further, but if necessary I change direction or take another way to break the thought that he needs to run. I might actually get off and lead him back in a walk; that makes it easier for me to controle him, and helps him break the running-pattern. Again, he won't think that he has won since we didn't fight and he never tried to get me off - I just showed him more clearly what I expect, which is a calm walk.
    But this happens very rarely since I never let a horse speed up unless I feel that he's still listening to me, no running because it's ''this place we usually run'' and thanks to that, the horses don't try if I've said ''no'' on their first suggestion.

Situation 4:

You and a few others is out on a trail ride but somehow you and your horse has come behind the others, and your horse is very nervous and stressed out and wants to get back to the group. He'll back and spin around at the least preassure of the rein, won't go forward immediatly even on loose reins and when he does move forward it's with a jump and then a run to get to the others.
  • This is something I've tried training away by letting him get a bit behind, but I havn't managed to do it any better. I think I'll just wait with this part and see if he'll get better by himself when I work on the rest of our relation. If it would happen tho, I'd probably just let him catch up at the calmest way I could manage.

Situation 5:
The horse tries to avoid the water when you're washing off the legs with a hose.
  • If it's just stepping around, I'd keep going as if nothing happened
    and praise as soon as he stands still.
  • If he's terrified I'll approach slowly and satisfy with less.

Situation 6:
The horse rushes past you hen you lead it from the pasture to the stall.
  • I take a turn and voila - he's behind me again and we havn't had a fight. Easy and simple and if he tries to walk past again I'll change direction again. Soon enough he'll realize that he can't get past me, and that he has no idea where we're going so there's no need rushing it.
  • If he runs into me or pushes me, I'll smack him anywhere I can get and make sure he backs away, then continue walking as if nothing happened.

Hm.. I notice that it sounds like I jump on and off my horse all the time.. but actually it rarely gets to that, I'm too lazy :P
And I'm not an angel, I've described how I would act if I thought about it, but sometimes I do loose my temper instead.. which is bad. It's also hard to stick with these thughts when the regular attitude is that the horse should obey and if it doesn't you need to get tougher. I do agree that the horse should always obey, but I don't think the right way is to force with violence, not as long as there can be another way that's more clear and easier for the horse to understand. I also don't think that being a good and trusted leader depends on your ability to cause pain.
But oh well, who am I to pretend I know anything? XD Thankfully my horse has forgiven me my behaviour and keeps obeying, despite angry outbursts and weird methods :P
     
    07-25-2009, 09:24 PM
  #10
Started
A horse can DEFINITELY fake fear. My horse used to "spook" to try to throw me off
     

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