Refreshing "yield to pressure" with 19 year old mare

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Refreshing "yield to pressure" with 19 year old mare

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        07-26-2013, 01:03 PM
    Refreshing "yield to pressure" with 19 year old mare

    I would like people's opinions on strategies for doing a refresher of "yield to pressure" with my 19-year-old mare. She definitely KNOWS how to do a turn on the forehand/turn on the haunches from the ground and from the saddle. She KNOWS how to move over on cross-ties when asked with pressure on her side. However, we're in a slump generally with her attitude and responsiveness under saddle, and one thing I've noticed building over the past couple of weeks is her unwillingness to do basic things like yield to pressure when asked (on the ground or in the saddle).

    I know I need to nip this in the bud now- I'm looking for advice on what to do when I get flat-out refusal when I ask her to move. Example: standing on cross-ties, ask her to move over with (appropriate) pressure on her girth area, get a blank stare and no movement. She's not being nasty, she's just completely ignoring. But I know that turns into nastiness, hence needing to deal with it now.

    In anticipation of some of the responses, I'll say that I don't have a roundpen, and neither this horse nor I have ever been trained in the natural horsemanship techniques (and I don't have access to trainer or mentors with that background). I think this is probably a pretty basic problem that any training philosophy can address, and I'm not bashing or close-minded to different approaches, just saying that realistically, building trust in a roundpen is probably not something that will work in my situation due to my lack of equipment and experience.

    I know this probably sounds like a basic question to most people, but this is the first time that I'm addressing problem behavior in my own horse- my experience thus far as been several years of riding broke horses, so this is a new (but welcome) challenge to tackle.
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        07-26-2013, 10:19 PM
    Sometimes old broke horses can get kind of complacent, just like people. Just make sure you have her full attention before asking her to do anything and I bet she'll be fine.
        07-27-2013, 09:43 AM
    This is a human issue, not a horse issue. You've allowed this to happen probably in very small increments until she's assembled it and decides she doesn't have to pay mind to your requests.
        07-27-2013, 12:40 PM
    I agree saddlebag. So my question is, now what? What are te little steps to take to get her attention and resume the position that this is not optional? She is safe and compliant when it comes to other day-to-day requests (leading, yielding space in her stall, standing ground tied to untack, etc.)
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        07-27-2013, 01:32 PM
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    Originally Posted by Ian McDonald    
    Sometimes old broke horses can get kind of complacent, just like people. Just make sure you have her full attention before asking her to do anything and I bet she'll be fine.
    THIS ^. There is no point in trying to move her feet if you don't have her mind first. So, do something, anything, that really gets her attention.

    Take her outside, online, ask her to move over sideways with a finger on her side, or by "pushing" on the air, indicating with your hand and body. If she either ignores you or moves with the attitude of a resentful glacier, (which she will) time to wake her up! And do it IMMEDIATELY~ !

    Things to do to get a horse's attention:

    Slap your own thigh loudly. Smack the ground. Kick the dirt swiftly, swish a whip noisily back and forth, snap the line briskly.

    Do what makes the horse wake up ! Yes, she'll be startled, and she might jump or throw up her head but she'll be looking at you with newfound interest. THEN do back to asking for what you have been asking for all along and I bet she'll do it with more interest.
        07-29-2013, 09:15 AM
    Thanks, Tiny. I like all those suggestions for saying "Wake UP!" I can see all those things working.

    This weekend, I watched a couple of the Clinton Anderson videos on teaching turn on the forehand/haunches. It helped me see a few of the things I was doing wrong in the way I was asking from the ground. We worked for a few minutes on both moves, and with my own position improved and a dressage whip in my hand to give her sides a tickle, she was much more responsive. I also realized that I have been letting her be sort of lazy about moving around when hand grazing- fresh grass was definitely much more interesting than me- so we worked on moving away from pressure in that situation too. Once I stopped being lazy about asking her and following through, she was much more responsive.

    I also did some really basic leading stuff with her in the arena, walking around in random zig-zaggy patterns without holding the leadrope and being really insistent that she stay in exactly the right place by my side, speed up and slow down with my speed, etc. This seemed sort of novel to her and she was excellent. The only thing I noticed is that her "whoa" was a little casual, so there's another basic thing to do better.
        07-29-2013, 10:30 AM
    You either desensitize or 'sensitize', every time you work with a horse. If your horse starts getting dull or un responsive, you are desensitizing too much. Likely you are not asking properly and/or releasing preasure properly. Could also be inconsistancy. Horses don't understand having multiple sets of rules for different situations, some horses lash out, many just learn to ignore.
        07-29-2013, 10:50 AM
    Could there be a touch of arthritis in her somewhere?

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