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Training a horse that has been abused..

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  • Training abused horse lunging whip

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    10-28-2013, 03:28 PM
  #11
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Endiku    
If her topline is still so weak that you think it might have been hurting her to ride bareback (VERY little padding/protection for her...chances are it did hurt) you shouldn't have been riding her bareback in the first place.
Probably a week after I got her, my neighbor held her for me, and I sat on her bareback while she grazed, no problem. No indications of pain, nothing. It was just one of my theories. I haven't ridden her since. I will not be riding her bareback again unless I have more padding underneath of me. I only continued to ride her after the bucking so that we could end on a good note.
     
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    10-28-2013, 03:32 PM
  #12
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueSpark    
if she is bucking out of pain or fear, smacking will make her worse.

Why are you riding bareback? It can shock a young horse to have a rider come off if they jump or spook at something, riding in a saddle that distributes the weight of a rider and gives the rider more security makes ALOT more sense.

When training a young horse, perfect a step and move on. She is not giving to the bit, so she needs to work on that before you get on her. You can't get half way through a step and get bored and move on.

Training an abused horse is no different that training a non abused one. Same principles, exercises and rewards. Best thing you can do is forget her past and move on. Some horses are fear based, they need lots of work on being desensitized to things on their back, and learning to accept pressure without panicking.

I was riding bareback since I did not have the time to saddle her up. At that point of time I didn't have my foam pad at the barn I ride at either, and I need it for the specific saddle I use with her. (It is very old, it has no give anymore on the back)

I am slowly working on the bit. I usually lunge her with it in before I ride, and then take the bridle off and ride with the halter. I'm not rushing to ride her in a bridle. I'm not bored with getting her used to it, but when it comes to lunging her for a half an hour in it, and only get her to lower her head an inch, I stop and reward her. She is 10 years old and it's her first time being asked to use a bit. I'm training her the same way I did the 3 yr old of mine. While training with the bridle on the ground, I ride with a halter. She is totally fine riding. She walks, trots, stops, backs (still learning under saddle), reverses, etc.
     
    10-28-2013, 03:33 PM
  #13
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalisaParalyzer    
my gelding was beat about before I got him, and would literally turn into the devil upon hearing the jingling of a bit and bridle. He reared if you tried to put one over his head, bit if her saw it in your hands near him, and would just generally throw an all out tantrum. He was hit in the head frequently when he would get into these fits so he became a very head shy.

I restarted him in a hack, to show him that not all things that jingled went in your mouth and hurt. He went out to pasture for six weeks vacation, then when I brought him back, we started with the bit and bridle.

At first, we only lunged at the bit with no reins. Let him get used to it in his mouth and get comfy. Then we tried side reins to bring in some contact. He did the same thing your horse seems to be doing when in side reins, throw his nose up and run blind. So we switched to what I've been told are called drop reins. Basically, you take the reins that would normally be tied to the side of the saddle or surcingle, and tie them between the front legs at the girth. He would bump himself every time he tried to throw his head up, and learned to stretch down to take the pressure off. He can drag his nose along the ground if he feels like it without any pressure on the bit, but will bump himself if he tries to go UP. And UP is tobys go to move.

Getting your horse to stretch down and really use their back and butt will help that top line. Which may solve your bareback bucking problem

For the bucking in general.... disengage the hind end. Don't get into smacking and yelling. When she humps her back to buck, turn her and get that butt going sideways. Don't give her the option to throw her feet up, she'll need em to move under herself. Small circles, and then push her forward again. She figure out that bucking means working harder, and she'll start focusing on what your asking and doing her job instead.

Hope that helps. Good Luck!

I will try to fashion my all rubber side reins into drop reins.. It really sounds like it will help her accept it.
     
    10-28-2013, 03:37 PM
  #14
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by CowboyBob    
[B]

Its already been said, riding this horse at this point was a little premature in other words the bucking was more your fault. In the future when you are riding this horse smacking and hitting "might" not be the best way to deal with bucking. Bucking is a reaction to something fear, anger, loss of balance, frustration, pain. Before you try to deal with the bucking you have to understand the horse and what might be reason for the bucking.
I have riding horses that smacking them with the lead rope or the tail of my reins stopped the buck. I have also ridden horses that smacking them only made it worse but grabbing a rein and bringing their head up and around to one side did stop the bucking.

For you today, I would say keep working on ground manners and putting weight on your horse before riding again. These two things "COULD" fix the bucking issue. Good luck and Great questions. Keep asking good questions.
Before this day, I was riding under saddle, walk/trot, with lots of transitions. She was absolutely fine. The first day she threw her head a lot, resisting turning. The second day, there wasn't a problem. She has the biggest attitude sometimes though, and I was leaning towards that. Just her walking around the pasture, she throws her head, just to throw it, or show her hatred of the day.

I'm going to start working on her muscling more, and getting rid of some of the fat she is carrying. She has been a pasture ornament for nearly 10 years.
     
    10-28-2013, 03:39 PM
  #15
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by mls    
As far as the "abuse" - did you witness any of it? You used the word 'assume' several times.

She truly sounds like a stubborn horse that is used to getting her own way.

My farrier, who was her farrier at the time witnessed it. The owner himself told me about her flipping over. He didn't have the patience to deal with her, so he took shortcuts. He seems like a guy to pull a horse out of the pasture and expect it to listen to all of the new things he wants it to know. Yes, she was abused. Yes it was witnessed.
     
    10-28-2013, 03:44 PM
  #16
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporal    
I would suggest, going into the winter, that you spend the entire next six months on ground training. She must do several things, including NOT be afraid of a whip. You would leave welts on a human with a whip, but you'd have to be a muscle man or crazy to do the same to a horse. She needs enough work so that she sees a whip as an extension of your arm and a signal to move.
If she has been abused it will take 10x-20x as long to train foundations than an unspoiled horse, so plan for that.
Start with perfect leading, perfect backing, perfect standing while tied, perfect foot behavior, perfect lunging, and any other things that you want your perfect horse to do on the ground...perfectly.
My older herd was pretty much perfect. When your horse can be trusted they are truly a joy to handle and ride. It takes time and trust. Truthfully, I am too old to work with an abused horse, but you sound like you're up for the job.
Good luck, and keep us posted. =D

She is not scared of a whip. Day 1 of groundwork involved her watching me attack the ground like a crazy woman with it. She didn't bat an eye at my antics. I even spun the whip over top of her, and she just stood there accepting it. She has only over reacted to the whip once when I was sending her off to a certain thing, reversing her, and sending her off someplace else.

I'm going to start expanding her groundwork, as long as the snow holds out. But as soon as it snows, I only really ride or do simple things on the ground. A lot of snow makes keeping up with a horse hard.

Right now she is learning feeding time manners. The other day she decided not to watch where I am, spin around and nail me with her head. Let's just say she now knows to give me space when I am feeding.
     
    10-29-2013, 04:07 AM
  #17
Weanling
Forget she's been abused and live with her in the present, horses can move on very quickly if their handler lets them. I also do not believe at all that older horses are any more difficult to start, the majority of my clients have older horses that need started or restarted. Recently I

Personally? In my training program I refuse to use side reins, very VERY few people can get a horse working correctly in them and those that can, can do the same or better in the saddle. Forget vertical flexion, that shouldn't come until down the line when she is better broke, whether she is going to be ridden western or english. She doesn't have the topline muscle to hold herself properly and doesn't know whats being asked. Many people end up creating a horse that is backed off the bridle and just creates a headset, which is much harder to untrain than just teaching contact in the first place.

She needs to go back to the basics with getting vertical flexion and getting broke through her whole body. The better broke she is, the more the head will come into the right position.

Quite often head tossing is also from the riders hands, very often it is because the riders hands are too soft. What happens there is that the rider doesn't fully take the slack out of the rein and the rein kind of flutters, moving more than needed in the horses mouth and it can be quite irritating. If you have her in a loose ring snaffle i'd also consider switching it. Ride in your bit then a more stable cheekpiece for the 2nd half of the ride and compare. Many horses don't like the 'noise' that a loose ring creates because it isn't stable.

Next, she shouldn't be ridden bareback at this point, you said yourself she had no topline. Some horses can deal with some discomfort and other are pansy's. You can't change that now of course, but don't ride her bareback for a while yet, even with a bareback pad, your weight is still in the same small area vs being distributed by a saddle. Next time it happens, don't handle it the way you did before. Bucking is often a refusal to go forward, so stopping a horse is the last thing you want to do. It's cause is usually confusion, pain, fear or just loss of balance.

Since I strongly suspect it was pain causing the buck, I wouldn't have disciplined it at all, just ridden through it then ridden just a teeny bit more at just a walk, then stop and dismount to end on a good note.

In situations where it's attitude I bend the horse down, slide my leg back to disengage the hindquarters then use a dressage whip, tapping until I can get the hindquarters disengaging with some energy. This is to turn that attitude of 'no' back to a yes, putting pressure on the horse in a safe place. When I have my yes and the horse is moving around with some energy I turn loose of their head and calmly ask again for whatever it was that previously got a 'no'.

If it is fear, loss of balance or confusion, again, it was my fault as a rider and I need to back up a few steps.
     
    10-29-2013, 10:19 AM
  #18
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by BreakableRider    
Forget she's been abused and live with her in the present, horses can move on very quickly if their handler lets them. I also do not believe at all that older horses are any more difficult to start, the majority of my clients have older horses that need started or restarted. Recently I

Personally? In my training program I refuse to use side reins, very VERY few people can get a horse working correctly in them and those that can, can do the same or better in the saddle. Forget vertical flexion, that shouldn't come until down the line when she is better broke, whether she is going to be ridden western or english. She doesn't have the topline muscle to hold herself properly and doesn't know whats being asked. Many people end up creating a horse that is backed off the bridle and just creates a headset, which is much harder to untrain than just teaching contact in the first place.

She needs to go back to the basics with getting vertical flexion and getting broke through her whole body. The better broke she is, the more the head will come into the right position.

Quite often head tossing is also from the riders hands, very often it is because the riders hands are too soft. What happens there is that the rider doesn't fully take the slack out of the rein and the rein kind of flutters, moving more than needed in the horses mouth and it can be quite irritating. If you have her in a loose ring snaffle i'd also consider switching it. Ride in your bit then a more stable cheekpiece for the 2nd half of the ride and compare. Many horses don't like the 'noise' that a loose ring creates because it isn't stable.

Next, she shouldn't be ridden bareback at this point, you said yourself she had no topline. Some horses can deal with some discomfort and other are pansy's. You can't change that now of course, but don't ride her bareback for a while yet, even with a bareback pad, your weight is still in the same small area vs being distributed by a saddle. Next time it happens, don't handle it the way you did before. Bucking is often a refusal to go forward, so stopping a horse is the last thing you want to do. It's cause is usually confusion, pain, fear or just loss of balance.

Since I strongly suspect it was pain causing the buck, I wouldn't have disciplined it at all, just ridden through it then ridden just a teeny bit more at just a walk, then stop and dismount to end on a good note.

In situations where it's attitude I bend the horse down, slide my leg back to disengage the hindquarters then use a dressage whip, tapping until I can get the hindquarters disengaging with some energy. This is to turn that attitude of 'no' back to a yes, putting pressure on the horse in a safe place. When I have my yes and the horse is moving around with some energy I turn loose of their head and calmly ask again for whatever it was that previously got a 'no'.

If it is fear, loss of balance or confusion, again, it was my fault as a rider and I need to back up a few steps.

I have not ridden in a bridle yet. I will be as soon as I have enough time to work through problems if they come up. I was only using the side reins so she gets the feel of pressure on her mouth, and so she starts giving to it. I don't want to hop on and just have a battle with her. On my 3 yr old, before I lunged with sidereins, and all he would do undersaddle is fight fight fight with no give. As soon as I lunged with side reins, just once, he would give to pressure so easily. Yes, he fought against them for the first 10 minutes of lunging, but after he was giving to the bit. It solved the undersaddle problems. I do not do the sidereins tight, just enough to give contact.

I've only ridden with a rope halter so far, and she would head toss when I would ask her to turn, only on the first ride. I always kept the reins with a small amount of slack, but not enought to flap around. I will start her in a D-ring and go from there.

She was bucking when I pushed her into the trot and she didn't want to, or when I would down transition. I didn't stop when she started bucking, I rode it out and pushed her forward.

I won't be riding bareback until she has a good topline, and then I will try it again.

Hopefully I will have time after school today to work with her. I have 't been able to ride due to school work and volunteering. Last night was the first time I have ridden in 2 weeks, and it was at 11:00.. In the dark, bareback, on my gelding.
     
    10-29-2013, 11:17 PM
  #19
Weanling
If you've done your groundwork properly there shouldn't be a battle as every step you've done has prepared your horse for the next. By teaching two very basic things, lateral flexion and disengaging the hindquarters you can start a very strong foundation that won't result in fights. I do not suspect she'll be working in side reins correctly any time soon as she isn't educated or fit enough to do so. It doesn't sound like you schedule leaves time for a consistent training program either. Which is fine in the way of teaching things, if you teach things properly horses retain it very well. However you need to take that into consideration if you continue to lunge her in side reins, she doesn't sound like she's being worked frequently enough to even build muscle in the first place.

The main reason I really dislike side reins on a green horse ( or any horse) is that they do not encourage the horse to work correctly at all. All they do is create a headset, which does nothing. In order to do more it takes the handler really driving the horse forward to make sure the horse is working back to front. On an uneducated horse it's practically impossible. This is because side reins bring the nose in. A green horse once it gets that it should give to the pressure will also start putting their head down. However since the side reins are bringing the head in, all the horse can do is curl behind the bridle, making it impossible for the body to work correctly. It will just dump the horse onto the forehand. An older schooled horse may know to keep their head up and work into the contact but this can be just as bad for a green horse because again, their level of training and fitness is not ready for a frame like that either. In this case far to often the horse still isn't being proper about it, breaking at the third vertebrae instead of at the poll. Another common case is a horse that learns to just lean on the bit. As the horse advances in their training the nose will start to come in, but that is a result of the horse working back to front. A green horse should be working more up and out until they advance. As they learn about contact it's also very productive for them to go long and low to stretch out. Neither is really possible in side reins.

That will end my rant, on side reins for the evening. Take it or leave it but hopefully it left food for thought. I wont say anything more on the matter unless asked as we can agree to disagree.

However you hands can do the work in preparing her to be ridden in a bit. You need to make sure she will flex in a bit just as softly as she does in a halter, then able to disengage her hindquarters as she gives to bit. I also will lunge a horse in the bridle after they are flexing nicely. This is just to teach the horse to follow their nose in the bit as well. When those things come together you shouldn't have a horse fighting you.

You aren't making sense with her bucking either. Earlier you said you stopped her, smacked and yelled at her. Now you pushed her forward through it?
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    10-30-2013, 04:16 PM
  #20
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by KylieHuitema    
I'm taking it slowly on the bit. I will not ride her with a bridle until she is giving to sidereins while lunging. So far, her nose is stuck in the air fighting it, which is typical whenever I start horse in the side reins.
FWIW if you have a horse fighting side reins when being introduced to them you are doing it wrong.. they are too tight.

When you first introduce side reins you should be working the horse in a lunging cavesson. There are rings on the cavesson you can attach the side reins to, allowing them to be a bit slack. The horse can have a bit, but the reins are not attached to it at first.

The side reins should have a rubber donut with rein through the center allowing limited stretch. Side reins should both be the same length.
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