lead change/training question

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lead change/training question

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    02-14-2010, 06:37 PM
Arrow lead change/training question

Hi everybody!

I have posted a few lead change questions, but I have another one *sigh*

For those of you who haven't read my past threads, here is the incredibly shortened version of my problem: for about two years (not constantly working on this) my horse has been kicking out when asked for a lead change. He still changes, just kicks out. He is very much capable of doing it without the kick, because about half of the time he does it correctly. He has seen a chiro, had some things that needed to be tweeked, but is now good to go.

My trainer says that since he has been doing this for such a long time, the lead change is basically trained with the kick, so we have to re-train him. When he kicks out, she has me pop him with the crop on the butt and canter on. Do you guys agree with this? I am a HUGE push over, I hate smacking him, but it seems like it's what has to be done. After he gets tapped, the next time he usually does it without the kick. Sometimes he will even tuck his butt as if to say "don't hit me I won't kick, please Mom!"

The one thing I hate about this is that sometimes he will freak and take off and get very unbalanced (when I say take off, I don't mean he runs away with me) and my trainer wants me to sit down and PULL ON HIS FACE until he stops. I can handle hitting him, but frankly, I really don't like pulling on his face that hard (another thing I'm keeping in the back of my mind is that his teeth need to be done and will be done by the end of this month, so perhaps that is why it is taking so much to get him to stop) I have owned him for about four years, and have always ridden him in a simple d-ring snaffle, we usually only have these problems when his teeth are bothering him.

So after my novel, my question is: Is it ok to hit him when he kicks out? It seems like it is helping and I don't see much of another way to fix it. And what do you have to say about the whole "pull on his face until he stops" deal?

Thanks and cookies to you if you got through this! =]
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    02-14-2010, 06:55 PM
My horse when first learning the changes did a flying leap through the air, while kicking out and changing. He would usually get about 5 feet of air and travel about 20 feet forward in one leap.
I don't think that smaking him will reduce the kick anymore, it's just going to make him kick harder, and I don't think that reefing on his face will do much either.
How my horse got "fixed" was every time he leaped through and/or kicked out in the change, he was calmly brought to a halt, the previous lead was picked up and the change asked for again.
You must not punish, but correct the horse.
He now has his changes quiet, on the aid and correct.

Good luck!
    02-14-2010, 07:02 PM
I think I would fire the trainer because he doesn't think about things from the horses point of view. You are hitting the horse with a whip then you yank on his face for going too fast. Why would a horse respond positively to that? I have no problem hitting a horse if it will accomplish what I need it to accomplish. As far as the lead changes I would do alot of them untill the kick became unneeded.
    02-14-2010, 07:03 PM
Thanks for the advice! Glad to know we aren't the only ones! I think your way sounds great, but our only problem is he sucks back when he is about to kick (sometimes) so by bringing him to a halt is giving him what he wants. I always try to convince my trainer to let me halt him, but she insists otherwise...

Ah, you gotta love your trainers...

Kevishorses, I'm sorry I explained that part badly, I don't do both at the same time, and the brisk canter happens occasionally. But yes, I do agree, sometimes my barn sees things differently. But I love my trainer ;)
    02-14-2010, 07:47 PM
Originally Posted by dreamrideredc    
so by bringing him to a halt is giving him what he wants.
This is a human interpertation based on assigning human emotions and thinking, on an animal that doesn't like a human.

It is your job to position the horse so he CAN respond to what you want. I only ever had 1 coach ( and that was after I got to GP) and learned a lot from that one man. Patience will win out and if position "A" does not work then do position "B".

It is not unusual for a horse to leap or jump when first asked but 99% of the time that response diminishes if the rider didn't make a big deal out of it.

My suggestion is to go back to just trot/canter---walk/canter transitions until they are done smoothly then quietly ask for a change when the horse is in a counter canter position (esp if a slight corner is involved).
    02-14-2010, 11:18 PM
Thanks for the suggestion, that could really help! When you say if you don't make a big deal out of it, the action goes away, I wish that was the case for us...

If you don't do anything, he continues to do it. By me not making a big deal out of it, we have continued to have this problem for a LONG time. And believe me, I am in no way saying my horse is bad, stubborn, etc. I just think either we haven't gotten the concept or him.

I'm not trying to be stubborn by saying this, but unfortuneately it does seem like tapping him helps. Just last lesson after a few taps he started to understand, and as soon as he did it without the kick he got tons of kisses and hugs, along with a relaxed walk around the ring.

But I will mention all of these ideas to my trainer :]
    02-14-2010, 11:39 PM
If you want to whack him then fine but don't yank on his mouth when he speeds up.
    02-15-2010, 12:12 AM
Trust me, I HATE yanking on his mouth! I think it is the WORST part of the horse to punish. Like I said, I'm 90% sure after his teeth are done this whole "yank on his mouth" thing will vanish.
    02-15-2010, 12:48 AM
Maybe I am a little dense but I fail to see how having his teeth done is going to stop you from yanking on his mouth. My point is that if you use your crop behind your leg to get him to stop kicking at the lead change then if he moves forward too fast you pull on his face then you will confuse him and create many more problems. So if you use the crop and he speeds up pull him around in a bit of a circle to slow him down. Not a small circle as big as you can do with where you ride.
    02-15-2010, 10:43 AM
Maybe I'm the dense one My thought is that right now, his teeth are sharp/sore, and USUALLY when this happens to us, he takes more to stop/slow down. He just takes more. Maybe I'm imagining it but that's how I see it.

As for the circle, I couldn't agree more. Usually, I pull and sit down, as everyone screams at me, but the circle would be much more efficient. I'm surprised I didn't think of that. Oh, and the hit and pull isn't one after another. Usually he will speed up, I'll do a half halt, ask again WITHOUT the crop, and if he speeds up again, THEN comes the pull. But yes, I would rather the circle.

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