Problems Moving Forward In A Newly Started Mare - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 20 Old 07-10-2012, 08:14 AM
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Your problem with this mare has absolutely nothing to do with some magical 'bond' or the fact that you are there where she can see you. I have 'coached' owners wanting to train their own horses that have had the exact same problem.

I wrote an article several years ago for the 'Quarter Horse Journal' titled "Trading Aids". It explained how you start out teaching a certain maneuver or action with one 'aid' (or several aids) and gradually transfer that request to a much more mild and 'imperceptible' aid that is more pleasant to the horse.

'Trading Aids' is what every trainer does, but they usually do not consciously think about it. It is what you need to do. Since this has not come naturally to you, you need a plan.

When ground driving or making a horse move forward, I usually 'smooch' at the same time that I give a horse a physical reason to move forward. I will smooch at the same time I slap the reins high up on the horse's rump. I don't just drive one around a round pen or the arena, I drive one up and down hills, across ditches, over fallen trees, across a concrete driveway and on and on. You get the point. I want the horse to learn that a 'smooch' means to move forward wherever I point its head. If the smooch does not create the necessary forward impulsion by itself, then it is followed by whatever it takes to get the impulsion needed. Very quickly, the horse will learn to move from just the smooch.

Then, the rider does the same thing on the horse's back. Smooch first followed by a slap of the reins on the horse's butt and a simultaneous 'squeeze' (not kick) of the rider's legs. Up until now, pressure on the horse's ribs has not meant 'move forward'. It is your job to gradually 'trade' the slap and the smooch over to a light 'leg aid'.

So, her rider (with you there or not) needs to create the necessary forward impulsion needed to move her forward. The most effective thing you can do is additional ground driving in a more meaningful way by driving her places she does not just automatically go. You need to drive her and then ride her (or have her ridden) while giving her a good enough reason to go forward.

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post #12 of 20 Old 07-16-2012, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much. This was the distinctive help I was seeking. I'll go back and begin again ground driving her everywhere. I never thought to do it other places except our arena and pasture. I appreciate the time you took to respond.

I know its a huge gap in training not our "bond" because she does it with everyone.
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post #13 of 20 Old 07-17-2012, 12:47 AM
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Haven't read the other comments.

What we would do is,
Have someone on her and someone on the ground.
Have the person on the ground do the usual ground work
And slowly the person on the horse, when you say whoa on the ground, person on the horse does the whoa command for on the horses back.
when I send the horse away, they start leg pressure and basically the person ends up doing everything in the saddle they'd do alone, with the help of the person on the ground.
Eventually the horse starts to do what it's supposed to do with the person on it's back and the person on the ground is.. Gradually un needed.
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post #14 of 20 Old 07-19-2012, 09:21 AM
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Bluntly, you need to un-conditioner her and then re-condition her to respond correctly to various aids we use.
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post #15 of 20 Old 07-19-2012, 07:13 PM
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I hope you realize that horse that aren't trained have no clue as to what leg pressure means. If someone got on you and squeezed with their legs or kicked you - I don't think forward is what would cross your mind.
Back it up a bit here and carry some tool - rope, quirt, stick that will help clarify that you want forward. So, stop worrying about the legs at this time, just let the horse learn how to move forward with a light swish of the chosen tool. Eventually you can start leg cues and then reinforce with the rope until the horse realizes that "Oh, this means that!" Then you can do away with the swisher after he puts two and two together.
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post #16 of 20 Old 07-19-2012, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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I do realize ... because I've spent months on the ground with her teaching her various things. We use a stick, longe, eighteen foot lead rope and she's awesome at yielding to pressure of any sort by the stick or a light tough. She bends and flexes just fine. She backs up with a shake of the lead and has found all four gears that way. Shell walk across tarps... pull them chase them..lounge with just min eye contact and change directions when asked.

This week I've had her on a very routine schedule and we've ground driven her all sorts of places id never thought to so far. She's got a lot of confidence and seems to enjoy the work because shell meet me at the fence when I have her gear.

Shell do all this with a rider on too. All this meaning the natural horsemanship games like yoyo or porcupine and shell back and lunge do sidepasses down a fenceline yield her hind and forequarters.

But she won't walk forward under saddle without considerable effort by the rider...butt smacking, kissing; all the same aids we use on the ground.

I've had seven horses in my life. I've trained most of them from the get go. I have another five year old is doing wonderfully well.l am by no means an expert but I feel my horses are safe and have good fundamentals. I'm just at a loss on this one. Well see how she does this weekend after all the driving and no rider... maybe this all will have helped.
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post #17 of 20 Old 07-19-2012, 08:20 PM
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All the 'other' stuff is other stuff. Your timing and hers are not the same. As you see, you can't force her. So, give her some time. Let her stand there. Suggest with a rope or stick that you'd appreciate it if she moved. But NOT more than ONE touch and wait. If she moves one hoof just sit there. If you're trying to get her to go further, you're pushing too fast and hard and she knows it.
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post #18 of 20 Old 07-19-2012, 08:41 PM
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Arabs can be sensitive to saddle fit, mine wouldn't budge with the wrong saddle. May I suggest that you take a pan of feed, show it to her, let her have a nibble then walk away. When about 50' from her, turn and rattle the pan. The rider is to sit quietly and not interfere. Give the mare a nibble, put your hand up like a stop sign, tell her whoa and walk away. She'll likely follow but at least she's getting the feel of moving while a rider is on her back.
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post #19 of 20 Old 07-19-2012, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry my phone burped and double posted. She'll move just fine with a rider. She just won't walk forward unless directed to by a ground person.

Last edited by Centaurheart; 07-19-2012 at 08:46 PM.
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post #20 of 20 Old 07-20-2012, 12:11 AM
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It sounds like she is not quite ready to transfer over to the rider. Some horses when they are confused they simply freeze up, they don't know what they are suppose to do so they stop doing anything at all.

My family had a similar problem with a friesian sport we were training many years ago. Did not get as extreme as what you are saying. My first question would be what is the rider doing while you are giving the horse the ques to move? What we did was we had the ground person and the rider start giving the ques at the same time. The ground person gradually became softer and softer with their ques while the rider stayed the same. Eventually we were able to eliminate the ground trainer and had the the horse responding to the rider.

I'm not very good at explaining things it is a lot easier for me show someone. However I will explain with an example of lets say the kiss to go forward: We would have the rider kiss, apply light pressure with their legs and then the ground person kiss, the horse watching the ground would go. Eventually the ground persons kisses became softer and softer while the rider kisses and use of the leg aid stayed the same. Oh forgot to mention we always had the rider do it first and ground person do it second. Eventually the rider kissed and the ground person was silent and the horse was moving forward. I hope this makes sense I am super tired today and having a hard time explaining things. However I do think that eliminating the ground person right away could just confuse the mare more and also I am very careful when starting a horse out. I don't want it to be a negative experience. It doesn't sound to me like she is refusing to not move forward it sounds like she is confused and as a result not moving forward, because of that I would be very careful about applying a crop or any other force that could sting her. Crossing my fingers for you.

As a side note, I have owned my Arab for a year. I refused to ride her as well thinking I was way too big. I have no experience with Arabs and she is my first one. I basically had two other trainers (we were all going riding together, well they were riding I was walking my Arab) laugh at my refusal to get on her back they insisted 'What is your problem is in Arab she will be fine they are bred to carry a heavier person.' I don't know or think they are bred to carry big people however I did find out that my delicate little flower had no issue carrying me when I weighed 200 I am 5'7 and she is 14'2 and 28, I have lost weight since, but I will say just last weekend she just carried me on a 8 hour mountain ride and when we got back she was ready for more. They are surprisingly not as delicate at they look. It sounds like your girl is going to be one fantastic horse when you are done.
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