Training a horse to have confidence in herself

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Training a horse to have confidence in herself

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  • How to give a young horse confidence
  • How to give horses confidence

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    06-06-2012, 01:51 PM
Training a horse to have confidence in herself

Can anybody tell me how does one train a cow pony to have confidence in her own abilities and not look to other horses for what to do? Reason I'm asking I have a seven year old Appy mare who is sport horse bred so I guess the genes are also a bit lacking. She is used like our other horses to gather cattle, but seems unsure of what to do and will simply stop and refuse to move if told to split from the other horses. I am unfortunately a big girl and she's only 13.2hh so I'm a bit scared of hurting her if I try and ride her and it's gotten to the point where my workers are refusing to ride her. So is there any way to help her gain confidence, or is it a question of she has to have faith in her rider? She isn't by nature very fond of our workers.
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    06-06-2012, 01:53 PM
Originally Posted by Sheepdog    
I'm a bit scared of hurting her if I try and ride her and it's gotten to the point where my workers are refusing to ride her. So is there any way to help her gain confidence, or is it a question of she has to have faith in her rider?
When a horse is attached to a human via a leadrope or bridle, the human is the leader. If you are not confident, the horse won't be.
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    06-06-2012, 01:58 PM
That is a really interesting question.. My initial reaction is, because this sounds like a working ranch situation, I wouldn't. I'd send her down the road and get a horse that is more suited or accustomed to the work you need from a cow horse. In a ranch time is indeed money as you likely know well so time spent on a reluctant horse that may never be really good at it is money lost and therefore not good business. The other side though says give her a little time and take a small herd in a seperate pasture away from all other distractions and have her drive them around till she gets over it. Then bring he back to general use... Dunno.. maybe hafta think more on this.. love the question though..
    06-06-2012, 06:35 PM
It's called a riding crop. She refuses to move. Use it, first a tap then repetitive tapping. Just be sure her training is up to what you are asking of her.
    06-06-2012, 06:57 PM
Um I would assume on a cattle ranch that "tapping" the horse has already been covered in spades... Cowboys have "tapping" down although the tapping might be a bit vigorous
    06-06-2012, 08:33 PM
I am w longshot....give her the benefit of the doubt and try to eliminate the possibility that she is, in fact, "lost" on what is expected. Horses are like people. If one has worked cattle a lot, it seems obvious and apparent what exactly one needs to do, where they need to be, and how they need to get where they want to be in order to move cattle. Yet, take a rider and horse that have never been taught the gist of it - and they will scattered your herd all over he**'s half acre. My point...perhaps she just needs to look at the cattle more to "get it" and be confident as opposed to desperately trying to "guess" by taking her cues from other horses. Like longshot said, I'd try her by herself (under saddle, that is) a controlled situation w some calmer, slower moving cattle. I'd go a step farther...I'd put her in a large arena so it can be done "patiently"...there the cattle can't actually scatter to far or "leave dodge" all together. As you know, cattles responses are highly predictable, in an arena she could learn that, too.
Otherwise, if she never shows any indication of cow sense or willingness to go it alone, I'd think about using her for other chores.
    06-07-2012, 08:30 AM
Thanks everybody, I think the idea of giving her a few quiter cows or maybe even calves in a smaller camp to oush around and see what she does. I guess I have been spoilt in that most of our other horses are of the "been there, done that" variety. My personal horse is a 20 year old gelding who really enjoys cattle work.
Longshot - Yes tapping is something they are rather keen on. I remember one day when one of the younger workers got a little too enthusiastic with his tapping of my pinto mare and she summarily dumped him in the nearest patch of thorns.
I am hoping to start another young horse in the next few weeks, as soon as we've had delivery of a load of lucern, the stable camp has no grazing and the goats are kidding so the lucern we have are needed to feed them. Then when Silver has the basics down a few quiet cattle will give him a head start in his future role as cow pony.
    06-09-2012, 09:40 AM
I found that the more bond I have with a horse, the easier it is for them to gain confidence in themselves. It's like a chain reaction :) if the horse has confidence in you, and you're confident, then your horse will be confident as well!

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