Safest ways to teach manners.

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Safest ways to teach manners.

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    12-11-2007, 09:32 PM
Safest ways to teach manners.

So I am 8 months pregnant and I'm afraid I haven't been able to spend much time with my mare in the last year or so. She is having some problems minding and understanding that she has to behave for me when I am handling her.

She isn't respecting my personal space, and she is a pretty big mare so I don't want to put my unborn baby in any kind of danger. Is there a safe way to teach her to start behaving when I'm hadling her? I'm talking about when I groom her and just want to walk her around.

Also was apparently never taught to tie, or wasn't taught properly. I wouldn't be putting her on cross ties but I'd like to know if anyone has suggestions on how to safely(for me and her) teach her to front tie.

Any advice helps, thanks!
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    12-11-2007, 11:33 PM
I would probably be waiting for about 7-8 weeks then getting back to her problems. She is not going to get much worse in that amount of time and at least you wont be prenant then and you may find that some of the issues that you are having come from the fact that the horse is very aware of your reservations to handle her.
    12-12-2007, 12:32 AM
I agree with the above...waiting is probably best. I have heard of plenty of people riding late into their pregnancy, but I think that breaking horses and dealing with problem horses (especially dangerous problems) would be best to do when not pregnant. I am sure you are probably more nervous/protective of your body than usual, which is certainly noticed by your horse.

As the above poster said, the problems probably wont get too much worse in the next several weeks, especially if you just leave her un-handled rather than letting her get away with bad manners when being handled (the latter is definitely more detrimental on training).

When it is time for you to work again, I suggest getting the Parelli Level One set (includes the 7 games) is all about communicating well with your horse and handling him/her safely for the both of you. The Parelli set is pretty pricey, so an alternative would be to find some literature on how to play the 7 games (Spririthorse wrote it up somewhere on this forum) I would also suggest you look into John Lyons round pen activities....also excellent for communicating with your horse and gaining his/her respect.
    12-12-2007, 02:10 PM
Where are you in WI? I'm from WI too!

Since I've never been pregnant I really can't relate to how your instincts have changed around horses. But I think there might be a few things you can work on a few minutes each day to help set your horse up for success (and improved ground manners).

Let's focus on tying. Start by teaching your horse a head down cue. Downward pressure on the lead rope should be enough to get her to put her head lower. I always use a rope halter as it provides for much clearer communication to the horse. Spend 2 minutes a day working on "head down". At first she won't know what you want and may try to raise her head or look around, but keep the downward pressure on the halter until she lowers her head, even if it is just a bob of her head. Release all pressure the instant she gives into it. At the start of this process, she'll only keep her head lowered for maybe 1 or 2 seconds, keep asking for her to put her head back down. Eventually she will learn to keep her head in that lowered position and then you can ask her to put is even lower (and expect her to hold it there).

When you have the head down cue perfected (should take just a few days to a week if you give her 2 minutes of your time each day), then you can start tying her. She must be tied to something very sturdy that isn't going to break. You can have a hay bag for her, but I usually don't. The best part about teaching a horse to tie is that you really don't have any work to do (if you've prepared the horse properly). Still using the rope halter, and other equipment that won't break, tie her securely with about 18" between the knot and her halter. Give her enough room to move around and look about, but not enough room for her to get into trouble. Then step back and go about your normal activities. You should be able to expect her to stand tied quietly for any length of time without putting up a fuss. That would be your ultimate goal, but at first it may seem like you'll never get to that point. If she starts fussing, leave her be. She already knows how to give into pressure from the rope halter (because you taught her the head down cue), let her figure that out again on her own. Her fussing may get worse before it gets better. She has to work it out by herself. You can reward her (by untying her) when she is standing quietly and relaxed. She might thing this tying thing is no big deal and after 5 minutes you can put her away. Or she might think that she's got to do whatever she can to get back to the other horses eating grass in the pasture....if that's the case, she'll be waiting all day (or until she settles down). After a week of tying her, she should be pretty good about it and I bet her other ground manners will be improved too.

You'll find that I don't like using gimmicks or quick fix ideas. I've used these methods on my own horses for many years. My 3 yr old will even stand tied - or rather, stand sleeping! - at the trailer all day at a horse show all by himself without any fuss. (I have to tip toe to the trailer so I don't wake him up! )
    12-12-2007, 03:02 PM
I've never been pregnant before either, but I would suggest waiting as well. Better safe then sorry.

When you are able to work with her again, I too suggest the Parelli Level 1 Pack. It's all about SAFETY and how to gain your horse's respect and trust. You can look on Ebay for the Level 1, it usually has some pretty good prices. It's TOTALLY worth the investment!
    12-12-2007, 03:43 PM
What I would suggest is to not mess with her much until after the baby.
If you are still having issues with her I would contact someone in your area to come work with you and the horse.
To try to establish who is alpha (you) They can give you pointers on what has worked for them and they can assess the horse and behavior.
I really would not try a new training technique without having someone to rely on for advice or help.
Horses that are not respecting your space can be difficult to address especially if you are afraid as they can sense that in us.
Good Luck.
    12-12-2007, 04:44 PM
Thank you for the advice everyone.

Luckily I board at an arabian and saddlebred farm and the owner has been handling and training horses most of her life, so I'm sure this spring summer she would be willing to help me out.

She has a tie post out there that is basically no where near anything else and she used it to teach her 7 year old arabian stallion who had never been handled to tie, so that might work.

I'm really nervous about her hurting herself in the process of working with her so I'm trying to get some good ideas.

Also I've heard from a few people that parelli exercises can be quite dangerous to horse and owner, does anyone else think that?

Oh and I'm from southern wisconsin
    12-12-2007, 05:20 PM
Green Broke
I defiently agree with the other people you don't want to go and do anthing that might gurt you or your baby.. I would wait what ever is going on with your mare shouldnt get to worse anytime soon should stay about the same. Which in that case will be be better so it will be after the babys is born hopww everything works out
    12-12-2007, 05:30 PM
I don't think Parelli is dangerous. It's all in how you apply the methods. Some people see the promotional video clips of horses jumping over picnic tables and think it's unsafe. But, believe me, that horse jumping the picnic table was well-prepared to do that kind of activity. You obviously don't want to try anything with your horse because you saw it on a video UNLESS you've given your horse the building block to succeed.

Everything is about preparation. Work on the head down cue as the building block of tying. When you start tying her, she might pull back and fight against the rope. It will be very scary for you. But it is important to let her be and figure it out on her own. If she knows her head down cue 100%, she'll stop fighting very quickly.

(I'm in northeast WI )
    12-12-2007, 06:35 PM
Originally Posted by Woodland Jumper
She has a tie post out there that is basically no where near anything else and she used it to teach her 7 year old arabian stallion who had never been handled to tie, so that might work.

I'm really nervous about her hurting herself in the process of working with her so I'm trying to get some good ideas.
You could try using one of those rubber trailer ties. Do you know the ones I am talking about?? They have a clip on each end and about 4' of think round rubber in between. They don't break easily but have a lot of give in them so when she pulls back like a spaz she wont break her neck as there is not much give in a rope and tying post You can get them from any tack store for about $15 or you would be able to get them at most shows quite easily also

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