Riding the "Blame Train". - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 01-20-2010, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Riding the "Blame Train".

It is very interesting to me how humans assign Blame to things that don't work out.

We use our brains and reason and to make decisions.
If it all works out we are just so smart, and if it does not work out we look for who is to blame.

People just love to blame their horse for the craziest things and I get a real enjoyment out of listening to the stories.

I very much feel that when a horse fails to accomplish something that I dreamed up in my mind and tried to explain it to this simple,perfect creature,that I FAILED TO PRESENT THE REQUEST CORRECTLY.

Now the neat thing is that I get another chance or two or three if I go about the presentation in a relaxed manner.

The horse really does not blame me for getting it wrong the first time and is willing to give it another try....If I present the request a little better.

Now if I keep explaining things wrong,then this horse is going to start thinking that "I" don't know what I am talking about and kind of loose faith in the way I am going about things.

So I guess I don't mind the idea of blame,I just feel that horses are not as quick to assign it to us as we are to them.

A horse just wants to get along and if the presentation is to his liking,then he can understand the idea and cooperation can build from where they are and from where we are.

Anyway,this is my idea of blame and I would love to hear your idea.

How do you manage the blame train while working with your horse?

"The greatest strength is gentleness."
- Iroquois Proverb
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post #2 of 21 Old 01-20-2010, 04:14 PM
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Well, I don't find that I personally get on the 'blame train' that often...really...If something is wrong, it's "usually" going to be "my fault"...usually...a cue not being clear enough, saddle not fitting quite right, or sitting quite in the right place, rein cue not clear enough, body language not clear cut, list goes on...as a horse trainer, it's my responsibility to take the blame, not the horse's.

If something's going wrong, I try to step back and figure out what I might be doing wrong, and sort it out right away...whether it's pain, or something else.

Now, sometimes it IS the horse, but not all the time...like I do have a filly right now, that DOES like to be with the other horses more than she likes to be with me...part of it seems to be her personality, and part of it, she might just not like to work...I've just got to figure out the right incentive for her; praise and treats don't seem to work for her. But again, it's not the 'horse's fault', it's just the way she is, and it's up to me to figure out how she works.

I met a person last night who's content to blame the weather on horse's bizazzare behavior...I'm not saying that's not always the case, but I'm also not keen on making that "being" an excuse either, you know?

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

Last edited by mom2pride; 01-20-2010 at 04:16 PM.
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post #3 of 21 Old 01-20-2010, 04:34 PM
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Completely with you both. If there is something done wrong, it is usually me that is causing it. I try to figure out a way to explain things from a horse's standpoint so that they can understand what I am asking as opposed to just "forcing" the issue. I don't like people that get mad a the horse for rearing because they were yanking on the reins.
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post #4 of 21 Old 01-20-2010, 05:07 PM
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Great thread Marecare.

I , like most, tend to do a lot of self reflection when things don't go according to plan. I look at how I've asked and what energy I am using. Have I properly prepared my horse for the task? Have I moved forward in his training too fast? What can I do to make it easier for him to get the right answer?

I try very hard to be cool, calm and collected when working with my horses. One in particular is very tuned into me and if I'm hyper he becomes a bit of a handful. Once I lower my energy, he is fine.

If we are out trail riding and he spooks or shies at an object, that's okay. Natural reaction to a horse eating stump ect...but his recovery is what I look at. Did he respond to my cue? Does he recovery faster each time to a new horse eating object? If the answer is yes, then all is well, we are on the right track. If not, what am I doing to impede him?

Horses , to me , make it pretty clear when we are not presenting something in an understandable way.

I do however "blame" Walka when he dumps the wheel barrel. Sure, I suppose he's just bored and I should give him a job while I'm cleaning the stall and paddock. Maybe I can teach him to use the manure fork and help me in a constructive way! Or give him the Webster (cobweb collector) and let him dust the stall.
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post #5 of 21 Old 01-20-2010, 08:33 PM
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The Dorrance brothers and Ray Hunt had the same ideas. If you set a horse up to do what you are asking and build on a solid foundation then there should be very little reason to blame anyone. You may have to adjust your feel or the way your using it but things should go pretty good.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #6 of 21 Old 01-20-2010, 08:46 PM
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The horse is never wrong. If we grasp that idea then we will never ride the blame train. Horses want to do what we ask of them, unless we approach things incorrectly. But there again, it's not the horse, it's us. Horses are perfect, they are nature in its finest form. Horses start having "problems" when people show up.

I never ride the blame train. I never blame my horse for anything. If things don't go smoothly, it's my fault. I'm at peace with that. That just means that I have a wonderful opportunity in front of me to learn something else :)
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post #7 of 21 Old 01-20-2010, 09:01 PM
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I agree with mom2pride.....nothing is ever my horses "fault" per se....it may be a quirk in his personality, and what horse doesn't have those, but its not like he does it on purpose. Most of the time, it is my fault and I can recognize that. That doesn't mean that barn nickname still isn't Lucifer though ;)
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post #8 of 21 Old 01-20-2010, 09:36 PM
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I don't blame the horse. Hardly ever is it JUST going to be the horse. Most of the time, it's the rider. When I'm not getting the response I want out of my horse I look at myself first. How am I riding? Did I ask correctly? Did I set him up for success, or drop him when he needed my aids? Sure, there are days when it's windy and cold, when I know he'll be very UP, and be more difficult to manage. But If I ride like it shouldn't make a difference, it usually won't. If I ride like I think he'll put up a fight, he will.

Of course, there are days when that's not true. But most of the time it is.

I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it
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post #9 of 21 Old 01-20-2010, 10:08 PM
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I agree with what alot of other posters have said. If I'm not getting the desired result from my horse, I first look at myself and what I'm doing, how I'm doing it, and if I could be doing it a different way. I try to be calm, relaxed, clear, exact, firm but gentle, and above all patient when working with a young/new horse. If one of these things is out of whack, it throws off the rest and no wonder the horse doesn't get what I'm asking him to do. If all of these things are in order however and I'm in the middle of a session with a 2 year old with storm clouds rolling in at feeding time, I have to be able to recognize that right now *might* not be the best time to introduce something new.

Like others I don't "blame" the horse per se, moreso weigh what the circumstances are and see if there's a better time I could be asking for this, if all the things listed above are as they should be. Horses are in no way "perfect". I'm sorry, they have quirks. They have personalities and dislikes, they have attitudes and the ability to test limits. There are definitely horses out there that will test a rider that's new to them simply to see what they can get away with...to me, that's not perfect. That's individuality and I prefer a horse with a personality to a dead broke lesson pony. I don't think I would enjoy a "push button" horse that did everything I asked when I asked and how I asked it. Would be nice every now and again, but I prefer to have a horse that learns and grows, tests and pushes ME to be a better rider and trainer. If all I had was said push button pony, how much learning would I really be doing?

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post #10 of 21 Old 01-20-2010, 10:55 PM
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All those quirks that make up their personality is what makes them perfect. They are perfect individuals.
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