Respect? Options on Using Training Devices - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 8 Old 06-12-2012, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Respect? Options on Using Training Devices

I'll start off with my horse is very well mannered- in saddle and on the ground. And that Im a advanced rider-

Today I was told my horse doesn't respect me. He was acting a fuss on a equ. Pattern. Blowing/refusing to do his leads when asked, nothing huge just acting up like all horses sometimes do (this isn't entirely his fault because he's rail dependent-being a Saddleseat horse)- Im slowly trying to detrain/retrain this block because there is more to life than the rail- I fear Im doing this retraining wrong and that Im giving him bad habits. I was told to wear spurs and hold a crop---I dislike the use of these objects- Simply because I get a little rough, when correcting, and I don't want my kid to fear me.

Is there another way to get "respectful" results without using these devices?

The Truth Harsher Than One Would Think
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-12-2012, 12:56 AM
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You don't need spurs (they're supposed to be used for refined cues not as a correction as far as I know), and a crop helps to back up your leg and is helpful. You don't need to use it necessarily, just hold it. But if you ride a horse the right way, with gradual pressure and calm and not man handling them, then you shouldn't be faced with these problems.

Maybe you are asking too much without being clear. Maybe you're pushing too hard. Do you feel frustrated after rides?

Maybe you need to re-evaluate how you ride.

I'm only a beginner.. an advanced beginner if I want to be specific. I have a very sensitive horse, who needs to be handled with sensitivity and respect. He doesn't do well with being jerked around, etc. Now say one day that he just doesn't understand what I'm telling him to do, I start getting rough, maybe he begins to baulk and refuse to do something and blows through my cues. I get after him and find myself growing more irritated by the second, which makes him worse.

Not saying you do that, but that is an example of what happens when you rush through things, throw too much at them, and then let your emotions go uncontrolled.

Break things down into smaller pieces, when your horse gets it, MOVE ON. Praise when necessary, correct when necessary. If you have to turn to spurs and a crop to get him to do lead changes or more advanced work, and you use them kind of rigorously.. you may be moving things too fast and your horse may need some more time.

Start at the basics, keep your emotions in check, communicate clearly, and be slow and steady.

If you think your horse doesn't respect you, a few minutes of ground work will reveal everything.

Best of luck
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-12-2012, 01:20 AM
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Spurs & a crop are back up when the horse isn't responding to your legs & seat cues. You don't want to be using calf pressure, then heel pressure, then kicking and having a horse ignore you, you aren't doing the horse any favors in his training. I give calf pressure, he doesn't respond or hesitates, he gets heel pressure which is not a kick, it's more of a press, he ignores that, which is very rare, a tap with the crop behind the leg. Sometimes the crop is tapped on the other areas of the horse's body if they ignore the riders cue of pressure. It is to re-inforce your cues so they won't become dead sided & tune you out.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-12-2012, 03:28 AM
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Hi, don't know what 'rail dependent' is, but guessing it's about sticking to the outside of an arena at all times?

'Respect' is one of those terms that grates on me, because to many it just means obedience or 'submission' regardless of circumstance. Especially if he's a new horse, he probably doesn't respect you yet either, but IMO that's by the by & I'd just start with clear, fun & easy 'retraining'. Obedience & eventually respect should come out of that, if you are also respectFUL and considerate of him & his natural horsey way of thinking & behaviour.

So anyway, without more info, bit of a guess, but I'd say your feelings are right - that if he's a new horse for you & he's always had to stick to the fence, yes, he will be confused & upset at being made to do something he's learned is 'wrong'. If you're a bit 'rough' as you say, with your cues, that won't be helping. I'd slow everything down, as Sky's reply suggested & ask for & reinforce the smallest things first, building on the positives from there.

Re spurs &/or crop, I don't think they're all that necessary, but if used properly, as a backup for other aids if a horse has learned to ignore them, I don't have a problem with them either. In your case, if your horse isn't ignoring/bracing against your aids & also considering you saying you're not comfortable with using them & are a bit 'rough', I wouldn't think it was the best idea. Also especially if you're a bit hard/slow on the reins, I'd consider a bitless bridle.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-12-2012, 03:48 AM
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I like the above replies. They will help you to keep from getting yourself backed into a corner where it's you against your horse. That kind of adversarial thinking makes things very hard to be a success for anyone, since your horse "loses" and is that what makes for a good horse?

Your horse has a long ingrained habit and it's uncomfortable for him to change. So, you have to help him. You can't allow him to stay in the rut, but you can't just beat him out of it either.

I cannot tell you the specifics of retraining him because you no doubt have more experience than I do, but perhaps having this though in mind when ask him to do something he doesn't want to do, keep this in mind.
When you ask for that thing, say , 'Can you do this?"
Instead of "Do this! Now!"
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-12-2012, 10:50 AM
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After I made this post, I thought that it might come off either too woo-woo, or just too plain like an excuse for babying the horse. But it isn't meant to be that way. IT's more that if a person has that thought in their mind; "Can you do this?" , it really makes a difference in how they approach the horse. How they ask, how they react to the horse's refusal or his struggle to "try".

It's the same with another one of my teacher's mannersim's, in that once the horse complies, even if it's been a struggle, she says, (out loud), "Thank you."
It makes a difference.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-12-2012, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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*GA-DURR* how could I forget to slow down and go back to basics- Sometimes advanced riders make stupid mistakes. I guess Its because Im use to working with "push button" horses.

I think I'll continue to work without spurs, but carry a whip- As I accidently wiggle my feet/move my body, for responds, and wouldn't want to poke the kid on accident >.<

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post #8 of 8 Old 06-12-2012, 07:36 PM
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Good luck OP :) Glad we could help!

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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