Joining Up

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Joining Up

This is a discussion on Joining Up within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    06-26-2011, 11:54 PM
Question Joining Up

A couple of years ago we were given an appaloosa who was abused, and we have decided to break him. Someone told us that our first step should be to join up with him. Although I have heard of this before I have never done it, and I would like to get other people's opinons. How do you join up with a horse and does it really work?
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    06-27-2011, 12:33 AM
Join up is a term coined by Monty Roberts. He did not invent this process but he popularized it and explained it in comprehensible terms. He has tons of videos out. I am not his disciple by any means, but you can learn something from him, amounst others.

Basically, you put a horse in a contained situation, then apply pressure on him , making him run and because he cannot run AWAY, he runs around you. As he looks for a way out, a way to get away from the pressure, he will eventually "ask" in horse body language if you will please let off the pressure so that he can stop running and come in to "join up" with the "herd", which in this case, is you.

Monty observed how in horse herds dominant horses sometimes disclipline youngsters by driving them out of the herd and not allowing them back in. The youngster will defer to the dominant horse by lowering its head and licking its lips and such (actually, just a common stress releiveing motion horses use a lot). When these signs of acceptance of your dominance are seen, then you allow the horse to come in and stand in safety next to you and follow you around. Supposedely, after this, the horse will view you as its' leader. One should not have to do this every time they ride, but if the horse tries to take back the leadership (which will happen IF YOU don't be the leader he needs you to be) , then you would do join up again.

Mind you, just doing join up isn't going to make everything else just fall into place, but it may start you out on the right footing.

Would be fun if you video taped it.
    06-27-2011, 12:44 AM
I've only done it on a lunge line, which some will argue isn't a "true" join-up and it was pretty neat the way it worked. I tried it because my mare likes to argue with me about who is the leader. It took a while on a lunge line and by the time she started asking me to stop, she was looking more bay than buckskin because of the sweat. After I stopped, she followed me around like a puppy and behaved quite a bit better.

I did them once in a while just to remind her who is boss. I intend on doing another one in a large arena soon because she's been in with new horses that she has become the lead mare of (it's a group of 7 geldings) and needs reminding that I'm above her still.
    06-27-2011, 09:51 AM
I did Join Up with my horse, and it worked. I didn't expect it to, but it did
    06-27-2011, 10:57 AM
I think Join Up is great for the horses who tend to be bossy or if they are fearful, timid,etc like some abused horses are. When we got Sundance he hadn't been handled hardly at all in who knows how long and he wasn't fearful but he was very tense with anything we did, even just brushing him he'd tense up and watch up. He never relaxed. So we did Join Up on a lunge line because it's hard to do it on 8 acres lol ;) and it didn't take long at all until he was "asking" to stop and come in. He started paying attention, licking his lips, dropping his head, etc. When we asked him to stop I walked in front of him toward his hip, at an angle with my shoulder and not my face towards him then I turned and walked away and he walked right there with me. Stopped when I stopped, turned with me, walked over logs, etc. We did it one more time I think and after that he bonded with us very well. I think the aggressive bossy horses tend to take longer, atleast that has been my experience.

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