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Re-sensitizing, stopping in a snaffle & how to cue to turn

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  • Pull stop cue for horses

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    01-25-2013, 09:56 PM
  #21
Trained
Pulley stops need a LITTLE practice, but are mostly an emergency stop. I've used it twice with Mia when Mia thought we were racing another horse on a desert trail, and she stopped - but she wasn't happy. Oh well. I could deal with her unhappiness better than I could having her race us into a place where she would fall on me. We did it with a simple snaffle, so it works.

I've been experimenting with bits that will include poll pressure. An elevator (gag?) bit will use that some, although it also results in pressure going both ways - from mouth to poll, and from poll to mouth.



But it includes some poll pressure, and she has behaved nicely with the elevator bit. I'm not entirely thrilled with it though, and may go back to a standard snaffle.

We're spending our arena time working on quality stops. Stop means a complete stop from any gait resulting in feet squared up, then not moving. At all. It also means I need to cue her sequentially: seat, then voice, then reins as a backup. And as we work on it, she is doing better...but she will probably always be a horse who won't stop easily when excited.

If you try watching TV in a noisy room, you have to turn up the volume to cut thru the background noise. Sometimes cues for stopping are like that. As the horse gets excited, there is more background noise, and you need to turn up the volume of the TV before she will be able to hear.

OTOH, you can't expect her to stop well when excited if she doesn't stop perfect when relaxed. For Mia, it is a training issue and maybe an attitude issue as well. But she knows both the one rein stop and the pulley stop, and what I use in an emergency depends. I would hate to need to rely on either one alone. All FWIW. Best wishes for you as you work on training your own horse!
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    01-25-2013, 11:18 PM
  #22
Weanling
You can use a pulley rein in any strength from a soft half halt to a major full leverage stop. The amount of resistance the horse meets on the "cueing" rein (versus the opposite rein which is just held steady) can be anywhere from just a barrier that doesn't move with the horse as he is ridden forward, to a light squeeze with the hand, to an actual pulling back with your shoulder, to finally using your entire body for leverage against the horse.

The steady rein can either be just held steady in the hand, or lowered to brace against the neck, or held tightly in the horse's mane depending on the severity needed.
As with any time you are stopping a horse, you should be riding them forward from your seat so they can get their legs underneath themselves and balance.

I do see the pulley stop as useful in training a horse that has issues with stopping because it is a way to increase a stop cue until you find where the horse will listen. You can start with a soft half halt to slow the horse down and prepare them to stop. If this is ignored (they don't gather themselves), you can pull harder with the cueing hand. If you are still ignored, you can brace your steadying hand on the horse's neck and use the cueing hand to pull back from your shoulder.

Each cue of course has to have a release point that gives the horse time to respond.

If you are still being ignored, then you are justified in using a full pulley stop on your horse.
Then you can go back and try again until the horse realizes that stop means stop and it is easier to respond to the lighter cue instead of waiting for the severe one.

It sounds like this horse puts his head down and runs through stop cues while leaning on the reins. A horse can't lean on one steady and one bumping rein.
     
    01-26-2013, 12:28 AM
  #23
Foal
Although I'm too tired right now to really comment on anything important, I just wanted to say this one thing since it has come up at leas a couple times so far - this horse does not run through the bit, galloping dangerously and spooking- he walks at his usual slugs pace, plodding along, ignoring your cues to stop. Unless he's in his gag, in which case he just stops. XD that is all - hopefully my brain works tomorrow morning.
     
    01-26-2013, 12:48 AM
  #24
Showing
I am wondering why the horse began walking through your bit in the first place. Was he like that when you got him or is this something that has built up over time?

I guess it would appear that I am one of the few folks that doesn't teach a one-rein stop...ever. Because I want to teach the horse other things, I don't want them to get into the habit of stopping forward motion every time I pick up on one rein and ask for bend, even if I am sitting deep. The commonly taught ORS is counterintuitive to much of what I want in a horse. If I taught that, then I would have to later go in and untrain many of the aspects of it in order to go on with their training.

IMHO, you need to take it back to the very basics of training and start all over again with your pressure and release with both reins. Since he knows how to stop but is simply choosing to ignore the cues, then you can be a bit more aggressive with your pressure escalation. For example, ask for the stop with light pressure, if he doesn't comply, increase the pressure. If he still doesn't comply, don't be afraid to pop him in the mouth a little and then back him up a few strides before letting him stop and stand. He's not stopping because he has no respect for the bit or for the person holding it.

Whatever you do, don't nag him. When you are not asking for a stop, then your reins should be completely slack. Only pick up pressure when you want those feet to stop.

If you are riding English and are used to working on contact, then forget contact for the time being. You can start again with that once you get his stop fixed.
gypsygirl, Corporal, bsms and 4 others like this.
     
    01-26-2013, 12:58 AM
  #25
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs    
I am wondering why the horse began walking through your bit in the first place. Was he like that when you got him or is this something that has built up over time?

I guess it would appear that I am one of the few folks that doesn't teach a one-rein stop...ever. Because I want to teach the horse other things, I don't want them to get into the habit of stopping forward motion every time I pick up on one rein and ask for bend, even if I am sitting deep. The commonly taught ORS is counterintuitive to much of what I want in a horse. If I taught that, then I would have to later go in and untrain many of the aspects of it in order to go on with their training.

IMHO, you need to take it back to the very basics of training and start all over again with your pressure and release with both reins. Since he knows how to stop but is simply choosing to ignore the cues, then you can be a bit more aggressive with your pressure escalation. For example, ask for the stop with light pressure, if he doesn't comply, increase the pressure. If he still doesn't comply, don't be afraid to pop him in the mouth a little and then back him up a few strides before letting him stop and stand. He's not stopping because he has no respect for the bit or for the person holding it.

Whatever you do, don't nag him. When you are not asking for a stop, then your reins should be completely slack. Only pick up pressure when you want those feet to stop.

If you are riding English and are used to working on contact, then forget contact for the time being. You can start again with that once you get his stop fixed.
Yay! I'm not the only one, I always thought the one rein stop was bogus!! All you do is confuse you horse, just another training bandaid...
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    01-26-2013, 01:25 AM
  #26
Showing
Umm...... guys.... what about ground work to train for leg cues?

I'm talking yielding from pressure. That is how it clicked for my horse. He used to think any pressure meant GO FASTER but now he understands that both legs are a cue to gain speed (for us) and one leg at a time is a cue to yield, and when a leg is closed and supporting, he doesn't move into it, he bends around it.

Start on the ground. Teach the stop with a vocal cue, then teach yielding to pressure first with the head and work backwards.

Once you get this down, try undersaddle. First say it vocally as you apply the aids softly and get more solid if they fail to listen and you'd start bending and then move into circle until they stop. These steps lessen once they begin to "get it"

That's how we trained Sky for it and he is doing so much better. Still needs work of course, cause a lot of people have been on him and assume face pressure = stop. Yeah... no.

I really like oh vair oh's initial advice. The following advice confused me... a lot.
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    01-26-2013, 09:47 AM
  #27
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeroKero    
This is the thing that drives me nuts, this is what we were doing forever. I had two different trainers do demonstrations on him - I know that in only a session a horse can't be expected to be perfect, but there ought to be some change - and one of these trainers was brutal unfortunately once he realized Clyde wasn't going to stop. Talk about hauling on reins, I thought my horse's jaw was going fall off. I told him thanks but no thanks, that way wasn't for us, we were going to do it without being barbaric. Well, like I said 2 months of me working and working to get him sensitized to stop with the snaffle by squeezing and pulling backwards got us less than nowhere, but he did perfect his rollkur.

So, I bought a french link 4 ring gag. Instead of bar pressure, it used poll and lip, and he stopped perfectly in the first 5 minutes riding in it, still does. But the gag doesn't have great lateral cues and isn't where I'd like to stay, so here we are taking another crack at snaffles, with a new strategy. Maybe it won't work again, maybe he truly just does better with the different pressure points, we'll see.
sounds like you are hanging on him. You need to change levels of pressure instantly. Whether he responds to it or not. If he doesnt answer right away, move to stronger pressure immediately.
     
    01-26-2013, 12:30 PM
  #28
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsygirl    
sounds like you are hanging on him. You need to change levels of pressure instantly. Whether he responds to it or not. If he doesnt answer right away, move to stronger pressure immediately.
Can you explain this to me? It could be that the way I was applying it was wrong, but I just can't figure out a different way in my mind - I would do a soft squeeze, like one that I would eventually want him to respond to - then of course he would keep walking, so after a step or two I'd pull back towards my hips, he'd keep walking, step or two, then I'd do a SNAP back with my reins.. sometimes this would work, sometimes it wouldn't, and the force you'd have to use was so heavy handed (still milder than what the one trainer wanted though). That's why when I realized this progression wasn't working and just being cruel, I stepped up to a bit that yes, people think is harsh but in his case was so much gentler in getting him to stop.

Someone asked how he got like this - Well, I could make excuses but really I probably did this to him in the very beginning when I had no idea about anything and just hopped on up and pulled like a 5 year old. Then I got bucked off, broke my arm, and decided from then on we were going to do things right and do research for every little freaking thing. Which has been going well ever since.

So If we try this in the the new snaffle, which I do think he's going to like better just because of the french link alone - how long do you leave between increasing the pressure (I was leaving maybe a second or two)? Or do you do it all in different severity 'snaps' ?

On the ground he stops on verbal cues on the lunge and in hand, it just does not translate to the saddle. I have not long lined him, only because I have no lines really for it... I have one 6ft lead, one 10 ft lead, one 14ft lead and a 30 ft lunge line. I cannot imagine having to go out and buy more lines for one horse ahahaha My boyfriend already gave me a talk for having 3 bits for one animal.

And I apologize to everyone I haven't gotten out there this week to work him and try different ideas yet, it has been -30C to -40C pretty solid all week. Tomorrow it's going to be very nice out and I'll be sure to update this finally.
     
    01-26-2013, 12:58 PM
  #29
Trained
Don't know if this is right, but I'll toss out what I'm doing with Mia:

I settle in the saddle in a way different than if I'm just wiggling my butt deeper. About a 1/2 second later, I'll say "Whoa" and about 1/2 seconds later apply reins. I want Mia to be racing me to stop, in the sense that she is listening and trying to get the stop started before I say Whoa and well before I apply reins.

If she ignores the reins, I go to 'bump-bump-bump" at the same level of pressure (pinkie finger). If she ignores that, I pull hard on the reins. By that time, I consider it defiance. And defiance carries a price...

If that is a bad approach, please let me know. If she comes to a good, solid stop promptly with 4 square feet and no motion, then I scratch her neck and let her be lazy for 30 seconds. If she fidgets or stops sloppy, we start and stop again, or back up after the stop - my choice.

One rein stop: I've seen it taught two ways. One way is just using a pull in one direction to ask for ever smaller circles, resulting in the horse slowing down because the circles are getting smaller. That doesn't work 100%, but it has worked most of the times I've tried it. But then, there are a lot of places where making a circle isn't an option:



The other was as a trained cue: You teach the horse that a pull on one rein = cue to stop. That version has never made sense to me. How is that more intuitive to the horse or rider than simply pulling on both reins and screaming "Whooaaa, Nelly!!!!!"
     
    01-26-2013, 01:03 PM
  #30
Foal
Oh my god... you live in Red Dead Redemption. I am so jealous, you don't even understand - what's it like not having to warm a freezing bit up against your stomach?

The idea with the one rein is a horse has a harder time bucking/bolting if his nose if around touching his belly.

I've never tried doing a bump-bump-bump sort of thing like you, it might be a good way to get his attention without causing pain as a first resort.
     

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