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need advice on join up/gaining trust

This is a discussion on need advice on join up/gaining trust within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        03-20-2013, 01:12 AM
      #11
    Super Moderator
    Although I don't think it's wrong to spend relaxed time with the horse, being around him but putting zero pressure on him, it's possible that this will never make him turn to you. He will find you easier to tolerate and ignore, and if he works well, then perhaps that's enough.

    If he ignores you enough that he walks away from you when you go to catch him, then maybe you do need to do some work in the frame of mind that is join up. That being, "out there is less comfortable than in here with me".

    If "out there" is pretty darn nice, there is no way he will choose to come to you. You can't make yourself any nicer than you probably already are. I bet you are super nice to him, right? If he were a human, he'd realize how nice you are and start wanting to be with you.
    But, he's a horse, and "out there" is almost always prefereable to an animal that roams and runs from danger.

    So, you make "out there" not such a nice place. Sounds crazy, but that's what join up is doing. Every time the horse chooses "out there" you make that choice uncomfortable, and offer him the chance to choose again. If he chooses "out there" again, you interrupt that choice, and offer him to choose AGAIN.

    You keep interrupting his outward focus enough that his mind comes back to nuetral, where it can make a choice again; you OR "out there". Be sure that you give him some time to think about it, and be sure that if he does choose you, that you be really nice, such as very little petting or facing directly at him or putting any pressure on. When he chooses "out there", you make enough noise and commotion that you break up his focus. Dont' run him into exhaustion.

    Look into threads here on "walking down a horse" when it comes to learning how to catch him. But, doing this first in a smaller area , like an arena or moderate sized paddock would be best.
    loosie likes this.
         
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        03-20-2013, 09:31 AM
      #12
    Weanling
    tinyliny's explanation is right on target. Just hanging around, grooming, etc, will not get the job done. You have to make it easier to be with you, than away. This horse has been taught to fear humans. Your job with join-up is to undo what has been done, and then do it correctly. It will happen, don't stop before it happens. I've seen some that take months, but they all come around eventually.
    One little piece of info I've found that helps. Our tendency is to reach out and touch the horse when they get close. You get farther, quicker, by not touching them at all until they follow you around easily for several sessions, then be very careful touching them. When you raise your hand to touch them, they may recall the hand that beat them.
         
        03-20-2013, 10:41 AM
      #13
    Green Broke
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loosie    
    But... wait a minute, I thought it was all about turning into the lead mare with natural behaviour, that this is how you 'speak equus' and get the horse to believe you're the lead mare?? Begs the question.... well, actually, a bucketload of loaded questions!

    Sorry, couldn't help myself for a minute - sometimes the sarcasm needs to be let out!
    Am I the leader of our horses? Yes. Did I do join up with any? No. You don't have to. To be a leader, you must be able to move their feet when you want. It has nothing to do with getting them to want to be near you. They want to be near because they know you'll protect them. That you'll be fair but firm when correcting. And sometimes it might mean getting food or treats.

    Join up, at least to me, is just teaching the horse to come to you.
    Posted via Mobile Device
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        03-20-2013, 10:55 AM
      #14
    Foal
    @tinyliny and bbsmfg3, That is why our trainer recommended us preforming the join up exercises with him. I have spent time with him in the pasture, as for the first week we had him we just left him be. We are always in the pastrue when we are home, cleaning it up, walking, talking, or repairing stuff. Our other two horses are noisy nellies and have to be right there with us. Their curiosity gets the better of them and they want to know what is going on. Blue, on the other hand, is very standoffish. I believe he associates humans with pain and is just not willing to give his trust again to someone. In the first two weeks we had him, he got to the point where you could touch him at feeding time, but only briefly and slowly. Then he will move off, he is always watching, but will not come close. It is if his flight instinct is full throttle. Once you are able to catch him, he will let you lead him just fine, does not bulk or pressure into your space. He will let you brush and pet him about the back and neck, but if you move anywhere up near the top of his neck or head, he shys away. As soon as you unclip him from a line, he moves off and doesn't want to come near again, even when the other horses come over, unless we are handing out grain or treats. I have trained plenty of dogs using classical conditioning, sit treat sit treat sit treat till you eventually start giving the treat every other time, ultimately getting rid of it. Is it possible to train horses the same way? Half the time I wish I could just get into his's mind and tell him that he is going to be safe and NEVER hurt again.
         
        03-20-2013, 11:09 AM
      #15
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dlpark2    
    @tinyliny and bbsmfg3, That is why our trainer recommended us preforming the join up exercises with him. I have spent time with him in the pasture, as for the first week we had him we just left him be. We are always in the pastrue when we are home, cleaning it up, walking, talking, or repairing stuff. Our other two horses are noisy nellies and have to be right there with us. Their curiosity gets the better of them and they want to know what is going on. Blue, on the other hand, is very standoffish. I believe he associates humans with pain and is just not willing to give his trust again to someone. In the first two weeks we had him, he got to the point where you could touch him at feeding time, but only briefly and slowly. Then he will move off, he is always watching, but will not come close. It is if his flight instinct is full throttle. Once you are able to catch him, he will let you lead him just fine, does not bulk or pressure into your space. He will let you brush and pet him about the back and neck, but if you move anywhere up near the top of his neck or head, he shys away. As soon as you unclip him from a line, he moves off and doesn't want to come near again, even when the other horses come over, unless we are handing out grain or treats. I have trained plenty of dogs using classical conditioning, sit treat sit treat sit treat till you eventually start giving the treat every other time, ultimately getting rid of it. Is it possible to train horses the same way? Half the time I wish I could just get into his's mind and tell him that he is going to be safe and NEVER hurt again.


    I work at a rescue where we have a couple horses like this. Two in particular come to mind. One is a gaited Criollo, she was trained as a Spanish Dancing horse (look it up if you don't know - it's just a barbaric act). She is not terribly afraid of people, but she certainly doesn't enjoy people - and trust was non-existant. At the sight of a whip, even just walking by her stall with a stick or pitch fork at first would result in her jogging in place. She has many other issues but it's too long to go all into. Another is an Arabian mare who was well used-up in the show circuit. Not truly "abused" just "used", she has no interest in humans, they've never meant anything good for her.
    At our rescue we use Clicker Training (like your classical conditioning with dogs) - I work with some of the horses and have taught some of the teen volunteers to do it too. The horses I just mentioned now come running to the gait when they see their girl - eager to learn. The criollo will eventually be ridable again with this conditioning (she's still at the beginning stages, but is excelling fast) the Arabian is too lame to be ridden, but she does some sweet ground tricks :)
    If you're interested in this style of training - which I understand if you aren't (it can be a tough transition) there are some differences in how you do it versus how you would with a dog or cat. There's a whole thread on it if you're interested: Clicker Training: Challenge Accepted


    If that's not for you, I think what everyone else was explaining will help a lot. I think it will just take time and patients and focusing on the positive :)
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        03-20-2013, 01:40 PM
      #16
    Foal
    When I first tried join-up, I got a little off track because of the terminology. Trainers like Monty Roberts and Pat Parelli make it look like magic. All you have to do is look for ear flicking inward, slowing down, lowering head, etc, and then you have a horse following you around like a puppy. But when you do all that, and you have a horse that still turns his butt towards you and flees, then you stand back and scratch your head and ask "what went wrong?"

    What helped me is I looked at join-up as a science, and then picked up a new terminology: hooking on. Horses don't feel comfortable with another horse, they feel comfortable with a horse that gives them direction and will lead them. So I make sure I discipline a frightened horse during join-up the same as I would a bossy/dominant horse. You're sending the same signal "that's not acceptable and I will discipline you for it, but that is acceptable and I will show you how nice I am."

    Much like a teacher you have in school, when a teacher walks into the room and says "I'm a nice teacher and you're going to like me!" you warm up, but you're not going to really do what the teacher says because she's made it clear that she wants to be your buddy, not your teacher. If she walks by your desk and hands back your homework and says "good job!" it doesn't mean much to you. But if a teacher walks in and says "everyone sit down and I don't want to hear a word out of your mouths" then your attention would be on him and you'd be very wary of him. It's when he walks by your desk with your homework and gives you a smile and says "nicely done" that you just burn inside with pride. THAT'S what makes a bond unlike any other, because clear leadership has been established first and then the positive socialization comes later.

    So remember that when you're trying join-up. The horse is looking for leadership and direction first, not friendliness. Friendliness is not going to save him in the wild. You want to prove to the horse that you are strict and are confident in your ability to get what you want, but then show the horse that you are very kind when you actually get what you want.
         
        03-20-2013, 05:10 PM
      #17
    Trained
    I just don't get the concept that leadership & 'friendship' should be mutually exclusive & that you need to be a disciplinarian first before making friends. You may have been like that with your teachers Laffee, but I'd much rather someone make friends with me before trying to boss me round - I'd be more inclined to get my hackles up at a teacher - or anyone else that wanted to just get stuck in.
         
        03-20-2013, 06:41 PM
      #18
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loosie    
    I just don't get the concept that leadership & 'friendship' should be mutually exclusive & that you need to be a disciplinarian first before making friends. You may have been like that with your teachers Laffee, but I'd much rather someone make friends with me before trying to boss me round - I'd be more inclined to get my hackles up at a teacher - or anyone else that wanted to just get stuck in.
    Horses bond with leaders, or they establish themselves as a leader and bond with the submissive horses below them. It's not like people where if a person is nice to someone else, then they bond. Horses are looking to bond with someone they can trust, and if you can't prove to the horse that you know what you're doing and you can handle yourself, then they're going to have a harder time bonding with you. This is especially important for spooky horses that are terrified of everything, it's even more important to direct them and show them you're the leader, and a big part of directing includes discipline whether that's using a whip, or just using your energy to put pressure on the horse.

    Maybe Warwick can explain it a little better.
         
        03-20-2013, 07:21 PM
      #19
    Trained
    Yep, agree fully, but you don't have to(& I think it's better not to) put your 'friendliness' on hold until - or in order to - get their 'respect', is what I mean.
         
        03-20-2013, 07:46 PM
      #20
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loosie    
    Yep, agree fully, but you don't have to(& I think it's better not to) put your 'friendliness' on hold until - or in order to - get their 'respect', is what I mean.
    I think you do, because if you know a strict person who has the capacity to be very nice, the positive reactions are much more meaningful, and the discipline is very subtle but strong. If you know a very nice person with the capacity to be strict, then their positive reactions aren't as meaningful because they're positive all the time, and their discipline is overlooked slightly.
         

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