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Training a horse that has been abused..

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    10-30-2013, 07:40 PM
  #21
Started
Honestly I ground drive essentially with driving reins attached to each side of the bit. This teaches them how to listen to the bit without forcing a headset, which is honestly what side reins do, like others said. I never once used side reins on my Arabian mare, and just with lots of ground work, ground driving, and letting her get used to the bit, she went from head in the air, not sure what I was asking, to putting her head down, stretching towards the ground, and accepting the bit. I train dressage primarily, and no matter what the horse's age, there is a set group of stages that have to happen. First, not messing with the head, teaching them to listen to the seat, and if their head is in the air, that's just part of learning. As they learn to flex and bend, and start to become a bit more balanced, they start lowering their head, and stretching forward. We then spend a while just pushing them forward, and letting them stretch down into the bit, and lift up their back. After that, we then take up more feel of the mouth, start asking them to really move underneath themselves, and into the bit, and naturally as they balance properly, and move under themselves properly from back to front, their head naturally ends up in the "proper" place.

I rode two horses for quite a while both about 6 yrs. Old, both started by the same person, and both asked from the get go to have a head set with draw reins and side reins with no proper engaging of the hind end. The mare was ALWAYS behind the vertical, never wanted to have contact with the bit, would rear and stop her feet when she got frustrated, and had no concept of moving forward. Had that problem though she was getting better, up until the day the owner gave her away to someone because she couldn't deal with the horse's issues anymore. The gelding was the opposite, if you didn't have tight tight grip on his face, he'd just careen around the arena completely out of control, would stick his head up in the air as soon as there was any slack in the reins, and never stretched down. Not a whole lot was done with him before I got my hands on him, and he started out doing pretty good, then I moved for a year, and another person rode him for the owner, and created all these problems again. I never lunged him in side reins, and really asked him to move forward, so he was actually going pretty nicely when I left. When I got back, he needed way too much contact, had no concept of lifting his back and moving forward without taking off, and while he was definitely getting better when I moved again recently, he still rushed, and still was upset with looser rein contact. For the first few months after starting riding him again, all I worked on was walk and trot, moving off my leg nicely, and asking him to balance himself properly. It took quite a while before I would canter, and even longer still before I would canter the entire arena. Knowing the owner, he's always going to have issues, as she thinks he's just fine, and she's fine with having a death grip on the reins, but as others said, its much harder to fix a "head set" than it is to get them to properly give to the bit and place their head according to balance over time.
BreakableRider likes this.
     
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    10-30-2013, 08:01 PM
  #22
Showing
No more lunging for 30 min, or 20, just don't do it until you understand the concept of lunging. You need to do a ton of groundwork with this horse, teaching her to lower her head, backing up so she will do it with a suggestion of a touch and a voice command. Teach her to move her hindquarters over by bringing her head around a little and tapping in front of her hip. As soon as she moves, even a few inches, allow her to straighten and rub her forehead, Repeat until she will move when you point your finger at her hip. These exercises help with getting her to relax. You need to be patient and teach her and it won't happen in one session but even small improvements eventually become big one.
KylieHuitema likes this.
     
    10-30-2013, 09:37 PM
  #23
Foal
I think everyone has covered just about everything I wanted to say, so I would adhere to the advice that a LOT of groundwork needs to be done on this horse before backing.

If she is a fearful/abused horse, I would refrain from any contact with your hand as it will only make the situation 10x worse.

If you do back her, make sure you have a solid one-rein stop. It acts as an emergency brake by disengaging the hind end and ensuring that the horse cannot bolt, buck, or rear (they need their hind end for all of those things).

Be safe, be patient, and take your time.
     
    10-30-2013, 09:40 PM
  #24
Yearling
[QUOTE=KylieHuitema;3984074]Today is the day that I have to find an answer to my problem. I am extremely hard-handed at times, and it completely ruins me. I take out my anger on my hands, and it's always been that way.

Just tonight, I wanted 1 good day of jumping before snow came. I expected my horse to be as good as he was a month ago at our last show of the year. He was calm and quiet then, but today he was rushing and not listening. I got made and smacked on his mouth. Multiple times. I went for the jump again, he rushed worse, and I cranked his head around, smacking on his mouth. Afterwards I got off, tears running down my face, mad at myself. I know what I'm doing is wrong, but it's became a habit and I just do it, without really thinking. And it's only on my personal horse. I've had him for 7 years and now I have a weird expectation of him being perfect all of the time, which completely ruins the fun of riding.
__________________________________________________ ______________

Considering these are your very own words, I would suggest you stay away from horses period. An abuser is the last person who can help an abused horse.
     
    10-31-2013, 12:23 PM
  #25
Yearling
Thats a bit harsh. I know lots of little kids who have a problem with hard hands....are they abusers? Sheesh.
     
    10-31-2013, 02:04 PM
  #26
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by BreakableRider    
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?
I stopped the bucking part.
     
    10-31-2013, 02:08 PM
  #27
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elana    
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.
I have full rubber ones. They are from a hardware store with clips attached, much cheaper than the leathers ones I had, that no matter how many holes were punched, my horses nose would still be in the air with no contact.

They had slack in them if she would lower her nose and quite fighting the contact. I'll look for a cheap lunging cavesson and try that
     
    10-31-2013, 02:11 PM
  #28
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by dressagebelle    
Honestly I ground drive essentially with driving reins attached to each side of the bit. This teaches them how to listen to the bit without forcing a headset, which is honestly what side reins do, like others said. I never once used side reins on my Arabian mare, and just with lots of ground work, ground driving, and letting her get used to the bit, she went from head in the air, not sure what I was asking, to putting her head down, stretching towards the ground, and accepting the bit. I train dressage primarily, and no matter what the horse's age, there is a set group of stages that have to happen. First, not messing with the head, teaching them to listen to the seat, and if their head is in the air, that's just part of learning. As they learn to flex and bend, and start to become a bit more balanced, they start lowering their head, and stretching forward. We then spend a while just pushing them forward, and letting them stretch down into the bit, and lift up their back. After that, we then take up more feel of the mouth, start asking them to really move underneath themselves, and into the bit, and naturally as they balance properly, and move under themselves properly from back to front, their head naturally ends up in the "proper" place.

I rode two horses for quite a while both about 6 yrs. Old, both started by the same person, and both asked from the get go to have a head set with draw reins and side reins with no proper engaging of the hind end. The mare was ALWAYS behind the vertical, never wanted to have contact with the bit, would rear and stop her feet when she got frustrated, and had no concept of moving forward. Had that problem though she was getting better, up until the day the owner gave her away to someone because she couldn't deal with the horse's issues anymore. The gelding was the opposite, if you didn't have tight tight grip on his face, he'd just careen around the arena completely out of control, would stick his head up in the air as soon as there was any slack in the reins, and never stretched down. Not a whole lot was done with him before I got my hands on him, and he started out doing pretty good, then I moved for a year, and another person rode him for the owner, and created all these problems again. I never lunged him in side reins, and really asked him to move forward, so he was actually going pretty nicely when I left. When I got back, he needed way too much contact, had no concept of lifting his back and moving forward without taking off, and while he was definitely getting better when I moved again recently, he still rushed, and still was upset with looser rein contact. For the first few months after starting riding him again, all I worked on was walk and trot, moving off my leg nicely, and asking him to balance himself properly. It took quite a while before I would canter, and even longer still before I would canter the entire arena. Knowing the owner, he's always going to have issues, as she thinks he's just fine, and she's fine with having a death grip on the reins, but as others said, its much harder to fix a "head set" than it is to get them to properly give to the bit and place their head according to balance over time.

I will try what you said in the first paragraph, my horse is much like you said. I had a death grip on him for 3 years in 4h, and now if he has slack in the reins, he speeds up..sometimes alot. Thank you for this--it's really helpful
     
    10-31-2013, 02:13 PM
  #29
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
No more lunging for 30 min, or 20, just don't do it until you understand the concept of lunging. You need to do a ton of groundwork with this horse, teaching her to lower her head, backing up so she will do it with a suggestion of a touch and a voice command. Teach her to move her hindquarters over by bringing her head around a little and tapping in front of her hip. As soon as she moves, even a few inches, allow her to straighten and rub her forehead, Repeat until she will move when you point your finger at her hip. These exercises help with getting her to relax. You need to be patient and teach her and it won't happen in one session but even small improvements eventually become big one.
I will try this, hopefully tonight. I'll throw out the lunging for a while. Thanks
     
    10-31-2013, 02:15 PM
  #30
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by srcosticov    
I think everyone has covered just about everything I wanted to say, so I would adhere to the advice that a LOT of groundwork needs to be done on this horse before backing.

If she is a fearful/abused horse, I would refrain from any contact with your hand as it will only make the situation 10x worse.

If you do back her, make sure you have a solid one-rein stop. It acts as an emergency brake by disengaging the hind end and ensuring that the horse cannot bolt, buck, or rear (they need their hind end for all of those things).

Be safe, be patient, and take your time.

She actually is like a normal horse 99% of the time, this was the first time she's reacted in fear to anything. I'm going nice and slow with her here on out.
     

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