Looking away

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Looking away

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    05-07-2012, 11:40 AM
Looking away

My 17-year old gelding is going through a refresher on his ground manners. He's a little dominant, but we've made huge progress in the three weeks I've had him.

My trainer (who is out of the country on vacation for two weeks right now) wanted us to work on some specific things while she was gone. Some in the saddle and some on the ground.

I've noticed that now that he's leading beautifully, respecting my space, staying in perfect position, standing when I stand, backing, etc. whenever I say "whoa" and stop, he turns his head away from me. He does this with everyone, not just me. If I walk off, he's right there and clearly aware of what I'm doing.

Should I not allow this, and if not, how do I correct it?
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    05-07-2012, 12:27 PM
He doesn't turn his whole body to get his back facing you? That would mean disrespect. If you say whoa on the ground does he do this?
    05-07-2012, 12:52 PM
This is strictly from the ground. I say "whoa", he stops instantly, but then just flexes his neck and turns his face the other way. He does not turn his whole body, or move his feet, just his face.
    05-07-2012, 01:03 PM
I personally wouldn't worry about it. Id find it odd. But im sure if I wanted it fixed id just be prepared and give a little tug where he couldn't look away. Just don't let him do it if you don't want him to. And start the habit of looking straight.
    05-07-2012, 01:04 PM
Maybe its a bad habit of an old handler... that's what they made him do. So he does it?
    05-07-2012, 01:05 PM
I don't ignore strange behavior, I disect it and find out if it's disrespect in disguise or simply ur pony being weird. However since he IS breaking focus with you when he halts, then that is a form of disrespect. When you handle a horse you are the center of their universe and should never break focus with you. Should they break focus, leaves an open door to trouble. Depending on the horse of course, some break focus and just stare off into space, while others take that moment to spook or get aggressive with you. So it's safer to always make sure their ear and eye is cognizant of you when leading from the shoulder. You can check in by watching out of the corner of your eye if their head is down or their posture is rigid, or like with you, their head is turned away to something else.

For your situation when you ask for halt and he pulls this stunt, snap the lead once and get him to react by looking at you. I do this with my stud. If he ever breaks focus my first reaction is to "ask nicely" by snapping the lead shank (or chain in my case) and his reaction would be to refocus. If ur horse does not respond to this than give him a wack with the lead line and back him up, then ask again. That way your saying "I asked you nicely, you ignored, now I'm reprimanding and asking again."

Rense, and repeat the exercise until he stays focused. Then give him a good rub and some kind words to let him know he did good. :)
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    05-07-2012, 01:28 PM
I think I agree with SunnyBlack, this could be "disrespect in disguise." Both the trainers at the barn that rode him said he is VERY well trained, but knows exactly what buttons to push. I was relieved to a point that he pushed the same buttons with them as he does with me, even with their professional experience. He seems very relaxed now, and in three weeks we've gone from essentially running me over, pushing me, and moving into me, to almost total respect on the ground, but this could be his last ditch effort to try to keep some control.

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