04-21-2011, 02:27 AM
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I do hate it when horses run off. However, for me it depends on the horse.
I allow Lacey to run off because she'll stay stationary until the halter/lead rope around her neck comes off and then she'll sometimes run off, and she's always respectful about it. If she starts getting antsy before the halter comes off or while it's coming off (I wrap the lead rope around her neck while I take the halter off, then "unwrap" her), she doesn't get to leave until she's stood calmly. But if she's standing calmly, and I've thoroughly gotten the halter/lead rope off, I really don't care if she runs off. Also, I know with Lacey that it's not a respect thing, she just likes running. She'll run away and run right back most of the time! Haha
I've also trained her that the word "ok" means she's free to do her thing, no more me imposed rules until I say, so on those days where she's feeling especially antsy I'll say "ho" (which is her "STOP" word), undo the halter etc, then say "ok" at which point she's free to go and she knows she is. I refuse to argue with her about running off because she always seems to have one up on me (I think I'm going to handle something one way, she creates a new behavior that I was totally unprepared for) and I can't afford to "lose" her games. So I have words that are "god" to her and I use them when I can't back myself up.
I do walk her all the way into her field and turn her towards me before letting her go. It would be different if I was releasing her inside the gate (like I know people do), in that scenario I'd want her to walk calmly off, always.
However, at the summer camp I work at, I never allow those horses to run off. Most of them are disrespectful lil jerks and letting them run off is agreeing with that behavior, imo. They get released calmly and only when they're being sedate, no fussing about being let go. The only time I do try to get them away faster is when they're all crowding at the gate for food and we're still turning horses out. Then, it becomes a safety issue and they NEED to go away faster. But then I'll release them (which they still have to be calm for) and if they don't walk away from me, I'll swing the lead rope at them to make them get away, but I don't incite them during the process of releasing them, if that makes sense.