Teaching ground manners - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 04-04-2012, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Erie, PA
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Teaching ground manners

It's been quite a while since I've been able to actually go out and spend quality time with Beau because of a whole lot of stuff going on at home, such as my girlfriend going into rejection (double lung transplant for cystic fibrosis) after getting pneumonia and bronchitis, us having to rush down to Pittsburgh from Erie, etc. We've been busy.

Anyways, Beau's ground manners have sort of went out the door so to speak. Yes, it's springtime and the herd is just being reintroduced to grass, but I don't think that's a valid reason for him to think it's okay to yank me around with the lead rope and constantly pull towards grass/yank his head down to eat when I'm trying to walk him/etc. Which is really all he's been doing. He will not stand patiently for me, whether it is to be brushed or just me simply asking him to stand in one spot.

If I could get some suggestions/advice on how to get his ground manners back up to par, that would be much appreciated!
There isn't an arena or round pen we can really use; the round pen they do have is kind of broken and way overgrown anyways. I have a dirt/gravel driveway, and the pastures to work with here.

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post #2 of 3 Old 04-04-2012, 02:36 PM
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Sorry to hear about the trials that you have been faced with, with your girlfriend and such. That sounds very stressful. I cannot even imagine.

As for the horse, let's see. Do you use a rope halter on him? This can be really helpful in transmitting signals a bit sharper and giving you more leverage due to the knots that kind of "bite" into the face if the horse resists.

When working with him , at first work in the driveway where there is no grass to tempt him. Ask him to stand away from you, and every time he moves, send a "flick" down the rope (you swing the rope up and down and a wave of evergy/movement passes down the rope and can snap the horse under the jaw) . Start small but if he does not stop what he's doing , get bigger.
His job is to stand there, so every time he does something else, such as move or reach down to eat, you snap the line at him (small to bigger). If he keeps doing it, you dont' need the small anymore, you go straight to one , quick sharp snap, and I use a "Ah!" voice scolding. YOu must do this every time , every time. and ask him to stand. When he's good for a few minutes, go in and pet him and walk off to a new spot and try again.

When you do this in the pasture, if he puts his head down to eat, dont' try to pull him up. Rather, you throw that wave of rope down the leadline at him and "interupt" him. The quicker you can interupt his thought to go down to eat, the easier it will be. You must watch closely and be super consistent.

Good luck and remember that if you have to, letting your horse languish a bit due to caring for your girlfriend is not anything to be worried about. He will be fine.
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post #3 of 3 Old 04-04-2012, 02:40 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Indiana
Posts: 4,378
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You get them back the same way they were taught and maintained in the first place. Have you done ground work with him before? What basic training philosophy do you prefer?
You do not need a round pen, etc.....just a good halter (preferably imo rope) a lunge line and a basic grasp of ground work......which is why I ask if it is familiar to you. We do all our working in the pasture.
Don't approach this as one giant issue....identify and address each individual problem.
When you are leading and he tries to stop, yank, etc make him move.....making the wrong thing hard/mores work and the right thing easy/less work.
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