Training A Laid Back Horse? -Help- - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-13-2013, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Training A Laid Back Horse? -Help-

*I'm posting this for someone I know, I have never met the horse*
*She asked for advice on another forum and everyone started critisizing her, and yelling at her saying she needed a trainer. She cannot get a trainer. Please don't suggest it. She already knows*

She has a 14 year old, Paint Gelding, has had him for about a year, very laid back/lazy type of horse, babysitter type of horse and cares about his rider. She doesn't really know a lot about the training as the girl didn't tell her much.

She is going to be joining 4-h next year.

Here are some of the issues she is having; she is looking for advice/tips on how to fix them on her own, or what YOU would do if a horse did that-

1) Say she has the lead rope on him and he starts eating, she has problems with getting his head back up and KEEPING it up.

2) She also has some issues with getting him to walk next to her.

She said she has tried smacking him with the lead to get his head up and going but it doesn't phase him.

I gave her some tips as I had a horse exactely like this.

Please post tips/advice for her, she has heard the 'get a trainer' thing already, and is going to be trying.

Thank! If you have any questions I can ask her.
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-13-2013, 12:24 PM
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This sounds like a respect issue. Can she lunge him? I would suggest learning how to properly lunge him and see if she can get his feet moving as a first step to gaining his respect. Remember, when asking him to do something, use a little pressure first, if he does not move or do what she wants, use more pressure and move on to a crop as the last resort. RELEASE the pressure immediately when he does the right thing and remember to end things on a good note.

Does he walk behind here or try to push ahead of her?

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. ~ Miles Kington
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post #3 of 10 Old 08-13-2013, 12:39 PM
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This is basic leading skills, a trainer would help, but if she's set on doing it herself (and I don't blame her - I'm so that type too!) here are some ideas...
Bring the horse into an arena or fenced in dry lot so you don't have to battle the grass until the basic respect is first earned.
I would start with backing up, as this will help correct much more. I would start standing in front but a little to the leading side of the horse (so if he decides to jump he doesn't hit her) - I'd take a firm step into his space and apply pressure on the lead rope pushing back (so the pressure is going mostly on the top of the nose band of the halter) until the horse leaned back I'd immediately release the pressure and rub out his nose (if he appreciates that, if he doesn't like it just leave him be). I'd repeat this until I got several steps back for one assertive step in his direction and the verbal "back up". Make sure the timing of the release of pressure is immediate when he tries to do the right thing and make sure the pressure stays on or gets firmer if he does the wrong thing (like turning away or walking forward). Once he's solid on backing up from nose pressure I'd practice it a little from standing beside him like while leading, it shouldn't be hard for him to connect those dots.
From here I'd work on the basics of leading. I'd walk a few steps with a "walk on" cue and stop while saying "Whoa" if he kept going and didn't stop with me I'd back him up to where he should be. I'd repeat until he figured out it's way easier to just stop with you than have to back up a million times.
Then I'd work on teaching him to yield his hind end (disengaging his hind quarters) this can help "unstick" a horse who's ignoring you. I'd hold his rope so he couldn't move forward, but stand at his hip, I'd apply pressure with my finger tips to his hip area (the firm muscle part, not the bone). The moment he leaned away I'd release the pressure. I'd repeat this until he was turning his hind end progressively away, crossing hind leg over hind leg, with front end just turning not walking anywhere.
I'd do this same thing with his front end, making his front feet circle his hind feet.
I'd do the same thing on his middle, making his side step both front and back.
Now you have control of every inch of the horse
I'd go back to walking, this time I'll add turns, mostly turns toward the horse, making him yield away from you, but also some toward you where he has to maintain his distance at all times.
Then I'd add the obstacle of grass you can use yielding or backing or even just a good schwack with the end of the rope to get him to get his head up. Then firmly marching forward to wherever I was looking.
She can use these skills to teach her horse pretty much anything from here on out.

At least those were all the things I did do to teach my horses to lead before I found clicker training and all I needed to do was hold out the target and my horses would keep their noses glued to it, no matter what obstacle was in the way, jumps, water, tarps anything! I found that a much more fun and rewarding way to train my horse to lead where I wanted and found they carried on the skills when the target was gone and it was just me with no tack :) They follow me through anything now and I find it works exceptionally well for those laid back horses who could use a little more enthusiasm :P but I don't think that's how 4H works yet so your friend should probably stick to the old-school methods.
but if she (or you) are curious here's some info on CT - Clicker Training: Challenge Accepted
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-13-2013, 12:46 PM
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Sounds to me more like 'get a schooling whip' rather than 'get a trainer'

This is basic stuff, have horse in right hand, whip in left, stand by horse shoulder, verbally ask for walk, if nothing happens reach behind with whip give horse a smart tap, walk forward with him, do not pull back and confuse him, go with. If he doesn't move rinse and repeat, but escalate the level of tap, until he will smartly walk forward. Once forward is established there should be no problem with the eating,it is a basic respect issue, needs sorting out.
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-13-2013, 12:51 PM
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All of those are really one issue; the horse does not see her as important enough to give up the grass. She has to become more important. If a firecracker went off next to him, while he was grazing, he'd move! she needs to do a lot more to make this horse look at her and go, WTH!?

Don't try to pull his head up. make him lift his head, darn quick!

ask him with the lead to lift his head, ask again by kind of "chucking" a wiggle down the leadline AT his head. Then, kick some sand at his belly in a sudden , explosive manner. He'll put his head up, real fast.
next time, ask with the lead, and if that doesn't do it, throw the loop down the line so it chucks him in the face, then kick some sand. Or, smack the ground real hard with the leadline, Or, use a whip and make a big noise. Whatever gets his attention, and gets it fast. hopefully, you would not need to kick sand again, just ask wiht the lead.

Then, you watch him and don't let him go to grazing . you stop him with a sharp word or the slap of the leadline BEFORE he gets his head all the way down. you have to pay attention to him and interrrupt his thinking of grazing before he gets hard into doing it.

I bet she doesn't even notice when he is thinking about this and not about her. she must pay attention to him and catch him sooner. my trainer says (and I love quoting her), "if you leave your horse, he'll leave you". that means, Leave in the sense of let your attention wander.
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-13-2013, 01:44 PM
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I'm sure this isn't the popular method, but it works and is safe. I'd put a chain over his nose before leaving his stall or paddock. It is not mean or cruel and nicer than smacking him with the lead rope. Kicking sand in his belly could make him explode, and if do not have control when he is calm, you will have less control when he is explosive. A chain over his nose will establish control and respect from the first point of contact and before he dives for grass.
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post #7 of 10 Old 08-13-2013, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by updownrider View Post
I'm sure this isn't the popular method, but it works and is safe. I'd put a chain over his nose before leaving his stall or paddock. It is not mean or cruel and nicer than smacking him with the lead rope. Kicking sand in his belly could make him explode, and if do not have control when he is calm, you will have less control when he is explosive. A chain over his nose will establish control and respect from the first point of contact and before he dives for grass.

I would want him to explode. I mean, I want him to react such that he lets go completely of his thought to eat grass while on the lead, and looks with full attention to the handler. If an explosion is what it takes, so be it. Usually, once or twice is all that takes, and from then on the handler need only warn the hrose of the possiblitiy of something , such as kicking sand or snapping a whip. (you don't kick sand every time, but the horse remembers that it COULD happen). the hrose keeps his own head up and pays ATTENTION to the handler.
But, yes, if you do this sort of training, do it where no one is nearby to get stepped on if the hrose jumps, and be ready yourself to deal with him if he jumps abit. he will , but he'll also look at you with real interest.

you dont have to kick sand AT his belly. maybe just kick it kind of toward him but not so it hits him. Do whatever it takes to make him put his head up, now!

Last edited by tinyliny; 08-13-2013 at 01:51 PM.
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-13-2013, 02:09 PM
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I do not get the theory of wanting a horse that you do not have complete control over to explode. You are possibly teaching the horse to explode at will. I've worked with too many horses and ponies in 50 years that put their head down for grass to not just put a chain over their nose. No contrived explosion. Just reinforcement that they are to mind their manners.
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-13-2013, 02:45 PM
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Eating without permission - chain over his nose or under his chin, and give little jerks (not HUGE yanks) when he's not obeying what she told him to do.
Walking forward - crop/whip in hand to reinforce verbal queues.

She won't need to use either indefinitely, just to teach him to respect her.
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-13-2013, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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She says Thank You for all the tips, this post is a lot better than the one on another group!
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