training issue

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training issue

This is a discussion on training issue within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        12-17-2007, 09:32 PM
    training issue

    Well hello to everyone on this very informitive site. Im new to the site but not new to horses. Have been training and rideing for a number of years, but I as well as everyone else seem to run in to a horse that just baffles me from tim to time. And now she is a 12yr old mustang mare I gentled her my self when she came off the nevada range, all has been fine as she always did what ever I asked her to do. Then do to an issue with my small ranch and a divorce I had to stable her at another barn for a few months till I purchased a new barn and all for my horses, But what I am up agaist is she will fight me very badly when I try to ride her away from the barn or pasture even if I have her buddy saddle up with her she will spin and run into or over anything in her way just to keep from going but if I walk her about a 1/2 mile from the pasture and till I get back to about a mile from the house then it is a fight to just hold her down to a long trot and there is no going passed the drive to barn or pasture to continue the ride unless to get off and lead her a piece then get on and enjoy the ride any ideas thanks mustang48
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        12-17-2007, 10:05 PM
    Green Broke
    What do you think she will do if you got off her and lead her away from the propety? :)
        12-17-2007, 10:42 PM
    I would lead in a halter from the ground her away from the property to her breaking point each day.. At the spot where she usually turns around stop her, pet her, praise her, give her an apple and just make a big deal about her standing. Try to take a couple steps forward, entice her with a treat and pet her. Return home. The next day do the same thing and try to go further and further. After a week or so try riding her and see if her attitude changes.. if she tries to turn around halt her, get off, hand walk her a little way.. pat her give her a treat if she willingly walks and take her back to the barn.

    Always end on a good note and don't force her to do anything. In theory she should forget what was so negative about leaving the barn and willingly go as far as you want her to go. Always praise her for stepping out of her comfort level. Don't give he treats or praise for negative behavior (like stopping and turning around) instead give her something easy to do.. like taking a couple of handwalked steps forward and praising her for that.

    Hopefully that will help! If not I'm sorry!
        12-18-2007, 12:55 AM
    Take her on "walks" in hand. You need to bond with her and get her trusting you without getting hurt. Put on some good hicking boots or tennis shoes and hit the trail next to her! Just you and her, no buddy. Take your tool of choice for punishment, a 12' lead rope, and a pocket full of treats. Work on ground work when you're out there. If she starts prancing, just send her in a tight trot/canter circle. Keep her going, and going, and going. When she slows, speed her up. Don't stop her until YOU are ready to stop (and past the point that she wanted to stop). To keep from getting dizzy, change directions often. When she stops and stands quietly, give her a neck rub and a treat. Through the hole "hike" DEMAND good behavior, punish misbehavior quickly, and reward good behavior clearly. Don't get mad or frustrated, just "do."

    Also, punctuation really helps 8).
        12-18-2007, 11:45 AM
    I'm going along the lines with what drop your reins said. :) This is a fear/lack of trust issue, not bad behavior. She doesn't feel safe with you. That's not meant to be a slame at you, it's just horse psychology. So, go for a walk and as you walk, put yourself right behind her shoulder, kind of where you sit when you ride. The reason you do this is so you can "feel" where her first THRESHOLD is leaving the barn. When you feel her tighten up, hesitate, etc. STOP. Do not push her past this point, otherwise you will distroy her confidence. Now just wait with her, run her neck, and wait for signs that tell you she is ready to move on. She will lower her head, lick her lips, give a big sigh, blink her eyes a lot, snort, blow, etc. Then continue on. Do this everyday, on the ground, until she has little to no thresholds. Then you can progress to the saddle, and in the saddle you do the SAME THING. This issue is all about her thresholds. If you allow her time to gain confidence, she will respect you and trust you more because you are doing what a leader SHOULD do. Good leaders do not push the other party into situations where they feel scared.

    On one note, I will have to disagree with luvs2ride. If she gets scared and starts running around or acting up, DO NOT punish her. It's not bad behavior, she's only acting out of instinct. She's just a prey animal. If she acts up, it's because you blew past one of her thresholds, so you need to retreat and find the spot where she calms down and gets comfortable again. If you need an exercise to calm her down, put your back to a fence and send her back and forth. This is a version of change of direction and it will get her thinking again. Whatever you do, DO NOT let her go in circles! If a horse is on adrenaline, his instinct is to go forward and if you let that happen then it will only feed her anxiety. Backwards, sideways, and changes of direction are good things to do when a horse is on adrenaline.
        12-18-2007, 12:54 PM
    I wasn't saying to punish her. I said send her in a tight trot/canter circle (changing directions occasionally), the purpose of which is to get her focused on you and wear some of that negative energy out. I guess I didn't make my self clear enough. You should NOT console a frightened horse, you are only rewarding that frightned behavior. No, you shouldn't punish them either, but you need to show the horse that YOU are the one that they should be focusing on and spooking or getting scared only makes them have to work more. Soon, the horse will be much more focused on you.

    My horses still may spook occasionally, but they only "start" for a second (head up and brace in place, with maybe a snort), and then go on calmly. As you go out on trails more and more and the horse gets more acclimated to "scary" things, she will spook less and less.

    I recomended brining your tool of choice for punishment in case the mare really acts up in a dangerous way or starts misbehaving because she's barn sour. Barn sour responses are NOT true fear and SHOULD be punished quickly and thoroughly.

    AND my recommendations were for IN HAND WORK!!! Not ridden. Getting past these kinds of things IME is easier and more productive to do on the ground first. Once the horse is going well in hand (leading on both sides in all kinds of situations), then more progress can be made easier under saddle.
        12-18-2007, 02:10 PM
    I'm not trying to start anything with you luvs2ride, but you did say you have to "punish misbehavior quickly." Spooking is not bad behavior. It's a fear response and is natural to the horse. And when you "console" a FRIGHTENED horse, you won't teach them to be scared. A scared horse is NOT in a learning frame of mind, but if you reach a threshold where the horse, say starts snorting and tensing up and you RETREAT, that will build confidence.

    I also don't consider barn sourness to be bad behavior, but that's my own opinion. If a horse doesn't leave willingly with the person, and fights to get back to the barn and his friends, then you can easily see who the horse would rather be with. The horse should want to be with us more then his buddies back at the barn, but again, IMO, that is not accomplished with punishment. Why would the horse want to be with us if we punish them for stating an opinion? They won't. Barn sourness will go away the better the relationship becomes between horse and human. I know because my horse used to be barn sour, but through building the relaionship that went away. I never punished him for it, and now we can go on trail rides by ourselves and he has no problems at all.

    We all just have different ideas.
        12-18-2007, 02:45 PM
    For as much disagreeing that is going on, you all are really on the same page. All of the advice offered will help improve the OP's situation.

    The "punishment" of sending the horse in circles can be done in such a way that it builds trust, respect and leadership. You've all said that those issues need to be resolved in order for this problem to go away. Granted, the simple act of standing in the middle, holding the rope while the horse goes around you in circles will not do a darn thing but get the horse more hot and bothered. Rather, the handler must become active using body language that the horse can understand. That is not very easily explained over the message boards because so much goes into how the horse interprets our body language - timing, strength, energy, etc. It is so much more a focus on the person rather than the horse.

    I don't console or punish a scared horse. I think to myself "ok, back to work now" and portray that image to the horse. It's ok if the horse takes a googly-eyed look at the monsters in the trees, but he better get back to his job lickety split. As long as I'm near that horse, he should know to trust me and follow my lead. If I were to console him, I have just lead him to believe that it was something really scary. If I were to punish him, he cannot relate the punishment to the scary object. Heck, sometimes I even get spooked when a deer jumps in front of us on the trail, but it is only for an instant and I'm right back to work....just as I expect my horse to be.
        12-18-2007, 11:41 PM
    Okay guys, I never said to PUNISH scared behavior. IMO, trotting or cantering in a small circle, with changes of direction, is NOT punishment! Sure, the horse doesn't like it, but you're not "beating" the horse to get them to do it. You should be acting calm but firm, saying loud and clear to the horse "WORK FOR ME." This gets the horse focused back on you and some task, instead of at the boogey man in the bushes. Once the horse is focused and working well, you REWARD the horse for his now GOOD behavior, so the horse clearly understands what's required of him by his rider/handler.

    And yes, barn sour is BAD behavior. Sure, if all you do is make the horse work and punish him for bad behavior, then no, he wouldn't want to be with you. But I said punish bad and REWARD good! Build the horse's trust through work and praise, but also show him who's the leader when you're together and clearly show him what you find acceptable and not acceptable.

    By punish bad behavior, I meant punish the horse for crowding your space, trying to get a head of the handler, jumping over a ditch or log when you walked it, etc. Since the OP said he was not new to training horses, I didn't think I had to spell everything out like I was talking to a 10 yr old... Most people with training experience know the difference between fear and bad behavior.

    Geeze guys, how detailed do I ned to get here? I write to my audience, and in this thread, my audience is someone who claims to already know how to train a horse... Should ALL of my responses on this board be so simplified and detailed that they would sound condescending to someone more knowledgable? I don't know if that would be very productive or well received...
        12-19-2007, 12:12 AM
    Originally Posted by Spirithorse
    This is a fear/lack of trust issue, not bad behavior. She doesn't feel safe with you. That's not meant to be a slame at you, it's just horse psychology.
    Not trying to be rude or smart here, am asking a genuine question - do you have a degree in horse physcology?? And how without ever seing the horse and with only a brief explanation of the behaviour being displayed can you be so certain that your view is correct?? It could be as simple as the horse was free and wild and now is protesting that the circle of authority in her world has change so drastically - she could be naughty or she could have issues. The point is that none of us have had any contact with the horse other then Dave so noone is right or wrong, all is just opinion and not fact as far as I am concerned

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