Moves Into Pressure?

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Moves Into Pressure?

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    09-15-2011, 03:08 PM
Moves Into Pressure?

In my recent work with Tana, I realize now that she moves INTO pressure. Which makes lunging her hard, and especially harder when she spooks.

I spoke with the person who helps me every now and then about the issue, and he said he'd work with her on it to help me, because I've done everything from mild, to extreme by acting big, and getting her to move off me but it still won't work.

She just pushes back harder. The person said she thinks that just by pushing into things, she can knock them over. It's a bit annoying, and especially dangerous. The last time she did this, she stepped on my foot but luckily, did not put her full weight on me. We continued on as if it never happened, but I reprimanded her for it as a reminder to watch my space. She is better now about backing up when I get really 'big' but there's still room for a lot of improvement.

I need help in ways to get her to learn that she can't just push things over all the time. If necessary, I will have to carry a crop with me whenever we work aside from the same old lunge line, if it means getting the point across.

: c Help.
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    09-15-2011, 03:45 PM
For me a hoof pick works wonders. I believe in the "ask:tell:demand" methodology (I'll ask my mare to move over with feel, then light touch; then tell her to move with a more forceful touch; then demand she move by using the hoof pick in my hand to push and get her to give to pressure). Couple of those training moments and she acts much more polite. IMO, Its a respect thing.
    09-15-2011, 04:11 PM
I wouldn't necessarily say she moves into pressure. Horses always move away from pressure, if they take the pressure seriously. She doesn't take the pressure seriously. It's just respect she is having problems with.

I would work on getting her light again. How do you do that? Simple, pressure and RELEASE!! If you do not release the pressure when they do the correct thing, they will only push back to relieve said pressure. And that's the last thing you wanna do, is try to fight 1200 pounds of muscle.

So I would do the following, ask her to move over using your finger. (on her side) If she pushes back, keep the same consistent pressure, don't do anything more than hold it. If she moves (even just slightly) immediately release all the pressure and let her think about it. Then repeat, many times.

You always want to be looking for ways to make your horse lighter. After all, they can feel a fly through their coats and shake it off, I guarantee they can feel you. It's just about whether or not they choose to respond.
    09-15-2011, 04:12 PM
I've literally fought with her [backing her up, lunging her, making her work harder than she had to in reprimand], and I can certainly say for sure that fighting 1200 lbs is tiring after a while.

But. I will see if that works. When I have her tied, and I press her side and ask her "side," she does. I think it's always pick and choose when she wants to be respectful.

She's been a spoiled horse all her life, so she has no manners. But, again. I will certainly see if that works. My hope is that it does.
    09-15-2011, 04:18 PM
Originally Posted by Deschutes    
I've literally fought with her [backing her up, lunging her, making her work harder than she had to in reprimand], and I can certainly say for sure that fighting 1200 lbs is tiring after a while.

But. I will see if that works. When I have her tied, and I press her side and ask her "side," she does. I think it's always pick and choose when she wants to be respectful.

She's been a spoiled horse all her life, so she has no manners. But, again. I will certainly see if that works. My hope is that it does.

You could have just described my gelding when I got him in April. It definitely works. He is no longer pushy at all.

You can do this with any excersize. In fact its the basis of how I train. Horses learn from pressure and release, its the release that reinforces the behavior, whether good or bad. So backing, leading, tying, riding, bending, lowering the head for the bridle, are all examples of pressure and release.
    09-15-2011, 04:40 PM
Super Moderator
Sure! Some horses move into pressure. It is their way of saying "Kiss my arse!" You ask them to move up or move over and they just bow up and bulldoze right over a person. I have been brought horses that would literally knock a person down and then intentionally step on them. I was brought one that knocked me down the day he arrived. He lowered his head and hit me in the stomach with the full front of his face. He sent me sprawling like I had been hit by a car. He was a registered QH that weighed over 1300#. It took me nearly ten minutes to get my air and be able to do anything.

You simply have not made it tough enough on her. Your idea of punishing her is about as much of a deterrent for her as a love tap. You have scolded her in a way that we would say was only 'pecking' on her and it pi$$ed her off instead of straightening her up.

You need to get after her hard enough that she thinks she ran into a buzz-saw. You can use a short whip or a stick, but do not tap her. Hit her hard enough that she jumps and tries to get away. Just make sure you have a good, long lead and can hang on to her.

My favorite schooling method for pushy, belligerent horses is to keep a piece of folded up baling wire in my back pocket.

1) I ask with a smooch and my body language tells the horse which direction I want him to.

2) I push on his chest or shoulder or??? With my hand and smooch again.

3) I put enough pressure and punishment on a pushy horse that he wishes he had moved the first time.

Never, never NEVER peck on a horse. It only serves to harden one's resolve and frequently emboldens one to the point of attacking a handler. Get after one hard enough to be a deterrent or leave it alone. Never just pick and peck on one.
    09-15-2011, 05:08 PM
I'll give it a try, definitely. My worry, mostly, is that she won't respond when she gets her head wrapped around being angsty. I was moving some stuff out of our way [just a cart with wheels that had some tools that we got but not yet put away and a trash can] and she thought the movement and sound was just sooo 'frightening.'

There are some crops, and a whip-like crop that I will use, to help her understand the point if asking for it doesn't move.

Overall, she is a real sweetheart. Loves attention and -wants- to be worked, she's just not the respectful kind with the proper training.
    09-15-2011, 07:42 PM
I like this thread because it has made me think a little.

First, I think Lakota is absolutely correct on how to TRAIN an untrained horse to yield to pressure. You are in a controlled and good learning environment, and you teach them to move as described. It is timing, feel, pressure and release (particularly release) that trains.

However, I didn't read this as a "first training" opportunity. This is like my kids when I say, "If you don't go to bed by the time I count to three...." I always end up counting to three. They don't move on one or two. If I counted to 100, they wouldn't move until 99. This horse seems to understand what you are asking, but is ignoring your request because she doesn't see any reason she should do what you want, rather than what she wants. Also, this doesn't sound like its happening when you have time to go back to the early basics. You need to get results quickly so you don't get hurt.

This then, is why I think a hoof pick or baling wire works, and works better than a crop.

First, I would explain my "ask, tell, demand" comment. I think a problem with many people when they train their horses is they ask, and ask, and ask the horse. There is no escalation, no reasonable consequences for the horse's actions, simply more and more asking. It goes to my "counting to three" example. We tell the horse "move over, please". When the horse doesn't move, we ask again, and again. Why would the horse ever move in this situation? We are effectively training the horse to ignore our instructions. So, first you ask (and reward the littlest try), then you tell the horse (now I'm getting right in there and trying to "show" the horse what I want), then I demand the horse move.

If my horse is tied at the wash rack, and I want him to move his hip over, I will cluck at him as I walk up. For my horses, this starts them knowing I want them to 1) listen to me; and 2) do something. I'm watching as I cluck for the smallest try to move where I want them to move. If the horse moves, I stop pressuring and release. Cluck and see if they move again. If not, I increase the cluck rate. If there is no try, my cluck now is pretty fast, and I will touch the hip where I want movement (again, asking for the horse to move away from my pressure). Release for slightest try. Touch again for another try. Finally, if clucking and touch get nothing. I will push on the hip with the top or back of a hoof pick, increasing the pressure until the horse steps away.

There are two reasons why I like the pick or wire in this training scenario, better than a whip. First, the horse doesn't really see why you can push so "hard" (or so effectively) with a pick or wire, so he can't "anticipate" you upping the ante (like if you have to reach over and get a whip). So the three step escalation is very easy to do, and is relatively invisible to the horse. First you cluck/will/move-with-feel to get the horse to move; then you cluck/touch to get the horse to move; then you cluck, PUSH with pick so the horse must move. Secondly, unlike with a whip, with a pick or wire release is instantaneous when the horse responds appropriately. It doesn't really take feel. You press with pick, horse steps away and gains release.

The other thing I would add, for what it is worth, is that I would make this a "non-event" emotionally. I would not get "big" or put a lot of energy into moving the horse. You want a horse that moves when you cluck (the first level of command), with the lowest "input" of energy. You don't want a horse that waits until you escalate to being big and animated. So I would keep this very low-key for training. I cluck, touch, push with pick without making a big deal. Pretty soon the horse is moving away just when I click.

This also speaks to Cherie's comments about "pecking" on a horse. If you don't increase the ask (and consequences for not responding) then you are just "pecking" (asking over and over).

Now I've never been one for generalizations, and I will comment on Lakota's statement that horses "always move away from pressure." I would say they move away from pressure if it is in their best interest. I have watched a horse l-e-a-n into a barbed wire fence so hard it bloodied it's chest just to reach grass on the far side. Clearly that horse decided to move into pressure because the perceived reward outweighed the penalty. As an Appy owner, I know they will move into pressure aggressively rather than pull, and in my experience some other individual horses will move forward unless trained otherwise. It also doesn't work with mules, they go into pressure.

Thanks for making me think about this.
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    09-15-2011, 07:54 PM
No, thank YOU.

Your input has really helped me to kind of see what needs to be done, step by step. What I wonder is, will this work for when she's in an episode? I don't want her associating things with the wrong kind of attention.

She freaks over nothing. Once she gets a good look at something, a sniff or two, she stops reacting and acts completely calm. : c But as I said before, she doesn't listen.
    09-15-2011, 09:14 PM
Super Moderator
Canyon Cowboy -- You are so right. Pecking on a horse not only does not get a quick, correct response, but it teaches a horse that it does not need to respond -- not now any way. It teaches them to ignore you instead of respect you;

I separate it into two different WRONG approaches.

NAGGING = asking and asking and asking.

PECKING = telling and telling and telling.

When I have a pretty well 'finished' or 'broke' horse, I only ask with a smooch and go straight to a good swat. If I have been training a horse for very long, I want an instant response to a smooch accompanied by my body language which tells the horse where I want it to move. I never have to push or touch a horse to make it move over or go anywhere I want it to go.

I am very good at reading a horse. That is because horses are very consistent in their expressions and actions.

We need to be just as consistent in our expressions and actions. When we are absolutely consistent, they are able to 'read' us.

This is why I say over and over that "The worst thing you let a horse do is the very best thing you have any right to expect him to do." If you smooch and make a horse move 50% of the time, he will ignore you 95% of the time. You have to be 100% consistent if you want him to ever get 'sharp' and quick in his responses. If you let him ignore you part of the time, he will ignore you all of the time.

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