Project Horse Help! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 15 Old 06-07-2009, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2009
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She is perfect on the ground. Ears forward, happy, always listening. If you start lightly jogging, she will pick up a trot without hesitation. It is only the riding that is a problem. Thank you though! :]

No, its not heat. She has been like this for most of her life. When the owner bought her 5 or so years ago, she was even worse. I mean, rearing when ANYONE came near her, etc.
The problem with her is that she has almost become immune to a whip.
I will definitely try some of those stretching exercises. We have just been doing carrot stretches.

Thank you!
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post #12 of 15 Old 06-07-2009, 09:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Californian
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We have been starting to work with her, and so far, little progress. What happens is she will be all stinky and absolutely crazy for a while, then all the sudden flip a mental switch and become forward and willing to go. Its quite confusing.
So...if she's perfect on the ground...are you then talking about her getting crazy and then she's forward in the saddle only?

The problem with her is that she has almost become immune to a whip.
This is a HUGE red flag. Sounds like she's been whacked with the whip one too many times. Pressure wasn't being used properly.

You ALWAYS want to start with LIGHT pressure. Using your seat, then your legs then raising a whip and tapping the hip and tapping a little harder and a little harder each time....NEVER ever simply cracking the whip on her butt. That's an unfair way to use pressure.

If you squeeze your legs, and then she doesn't go and you crack her on the butt then you're yelling at her with pressure. Not giving her ample time to think her way through what you're asking of her.

She sounds clueless. Sounds like she has been yelled at with pressure and has learned to tune it out and resent it or both.

Set up a pattern with her until she's memorized it and responds correctly.

1. kiss or cluck
wait 1-2 seconds then add if needed
2. squeeze of your legs
wait 1-2 seconds then add if needed
3. raise the whip and begin a light tap to a harder tap to a harder tap....gradually making each tap a little harder than the's like you are bouncing the end of the whip off her hip NOT whacking or smacking. Big different. Bouncing the whip off her hip means you are making a big movement with your arm. your whole arm is like the whip. It goes up and down light then goes up and down a little heavier and up and down a little heavier....all the while you are squeezing and releasing your legs on her sides.

The moment she moves out regardless of speed...stop all pressure. Be sure to have the slack in the reins to encourage forward.

If she stops then go and do the entire pattern of pressure all over again. and she moves out. reward her effort. She stops, repeat.

Then once she's moving out at the walk every single time you ask with just a rolling of your hip and a squeeze of your leg...then you can shut her down after a ways with a flexing (bending of the neck) and a disengagement of the hip (hip moves over, back feet cross).

Repeat for a whole hour.

Then work up to the next lesson adding a moment of trot. Keep the squeeze of your legs a little longer for the trot,...then once that's as good and as instant as the walk, then ask for the lope.

I think this mare at 14 is sick and tired of being pushed through training at the human's speed. She's got her own speed, and she gets confused and then the human gets frustrated and whacks her with the whip or punishes her otherwise....killing her willingness to respond at all to pressure from a rider.

Build up that willingness by going at her speed, not yours. Get the walk then get the trot then get the lope.

With an unbroke horse you can get to them all faster, but with a horse that's been soured to pressure because of gotta give the horse a reason to listen a reason to want to respond without the stress of kicking out or any other instinctual response that comes into play when the training is lacking.

She'll catch on and she'll be willing. But you have to be willing to stop and listen to her and let her tell you where she is in the training, instead of deciding where you think she should be. Once you take it at her speed...she'll come along a lot faster.

Of course...before anything is done....please be sure there are no physical issues. Unless you know her entire history and know that there's no way she can be hurting...then I'd get a chirppractor or a massage therapist to take a look at her, before starting to work on anything.

And of course, be sure that all tack fits properly and her teeth are just fine. Any of these things can cause problems that seem like training issues. But if they can be checked off as not an issue....then take the lessons one at a time.
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post #13 of 15 Old 06-11-2009, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Calamity Jane: THANK YOU SO MUCH. That helped incredibly. You're routine along with consistent riding has already completely changed her personality. Instead of going insane for 20 minutes, it has only been 5 minutes.

Now the improvement comes along!
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post #14 of 15 Old 06-25-2009, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2009
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tomorrow will be the fourth week of working with her. It has been an amazing transformation. We actually decided to start working towards saddle seat, so we've been riding her in saddle seat tack.

I've seen such improvement and many thanks to everyone! She has even started to muscle quite nicely and has improved her sourness incredibly.

Thanks again to everyone who helped!
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post #15 of 15 Old 06-26-2009, 12:28 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: CO
Posts: 5,061
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That is fabulous news! Calamity gave you very sound advice, which is why I didn't chime in, sooner; just wanted to say thumbs up!!!!!

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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