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post #11 of 18 Old 07-12-2011, 09:31 PM
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I have to agree with what people have said so far. Groundwork and then lunging activities will build trust as long as you execute them correctly! Keep in mind first that being dominant does not mean being aggressive. Horses respond best to "quiet-confident" trainers.
Think of it this way - everything in horse training comes down to a horse responding to pressure. When you are working with her, apply pressure "as light as possible, as firm as necessary". Always start off with the least amount possible and build. Once you see the response you are asking for, immediately release pressure. This release is the horse's reward and how they will learn what you are asking.
For example, if you are teaching a horse to walk off under saddle, you would first squeeze lightly, then a little harder, then cluck, then use a crop to lightly encourage them to move. The instant the horse moves off, you would stop applying the aids. While you may have had to go through them up to the crop at the beginning, you will find that soon your horse will move off from just a light squeeze.
The key to working with a green or rescue horse, as with any horse, is patience and "horse sense" to understand how to set your horse up for success in training. This applies anywhere with horses, and the better you apply these principles, the more "trust" this mare will have towards you. This is true from basic halter training to teaching the piaffe or how to bow!
If you would like some advice on specific exercises, you can always contact me and I would be happy to help. I'm not entirely sure where your mare is in her training or what her personality is like from your post, so I can't really tell you exactly where you should start!
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post #12 of 18 Old 07-12-2011, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Aviara View Post
Keep in mind first that being dominant does not mean being aggressive.
Good point. Something as simple as walking with a purpose while leading your horse can make the difference between a horse who dives for grass every few feet over one that walks calmly at your side. It's just a matter of being a leader your horse wants to take her cues from. That's comforting for them.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #13 of 18 Old 07-12-2011, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Wow thanks so much guys :) ill definitely be more dominant, but I won't be agressive, thanks again for the tips !
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post #14 of 18 Old 07-12-2011, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by FreeDestiny View Post
Wow thanks so much guys :) ill definitely be more dominant, but I won't be agressive, thanks again for the tips !
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When you write aggressive I just imagine you growling at your horse lol!
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post #15 of 18 Old 07-12-2011, 10:58 PM
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I don't think we need to "dominate" our horses to get their trust, but we do need to be predictable when you handle them, in that they need to know that every time we give them a cue to do something, provided they respond with the correct response we immediately remove the pressure of the cue. We all largely train horses with negative reinforcement, so often the pressures we use to motivate them to do what we want are unpleasant for them, and often those cues elicit the unwanted flight and anxiety responses which put us and them in danger, or make handling them a hassle.

Calmness, relaxation and softness in interactions with humans arises out of the horse being able to predict the outcome of an unpleasant cue and control how much of the cue they are exposed to (by choosing how long they will put up with it until the do something to make it go away).

As we get better at knowing just how much (ideally how little) pressure to apply to get the correct response and most importantly know when to release it to reward that correct response we give the horse predicability and control. The horse doesn't have to second guess, doesn't have to be on edge expecting a strong or frightening cue coming out of nowhere.

What also accelerates calmness is that every time you apply a cue, the horse always gives the response you want and that you don't release the effect of the cue until it does. This increases the predictability- if sometimes when you lead her she walks straight beside you but sometimes she wobbles into your space and you shake the leadrope at her and give her a fright her interaction with you isn't predictable so she has to second guess. Much better to correct the wobbles each time so she learns that she should walk straight next to you each time- makes her calm and you feel safe.

Its not about dominance or respect-rather think of all your interactions as being whether the horse responds to your cues as you want or not. Horses are not pre-programmed to like and want to spend time with horses, we actually have to specifically train them to do this (spend time with at least) so when things go wrong, we need to consider what has gone wrong with their training (and their health for many issues).
On those times she doesn't respond correctly to a cue consider, what action of yours (or the evironment or her past learning) might have either motivated her to respond incorrectly, or rewarded the incorrrect response.

You then have the tools to correct what you do, so you can correct the horse, which leads to error free training and the payoff should be a calm, "trusting" happy to hang out with you horse. Her world is predicatable and controllable and interacting with you becomes something that is associated with a calm, relaxed frame of mind. Good ground work execises like those of Clinton Anderson are excellent because they meet the control and predicability critera and by training the human to be really clear in applying the cue and its release, make things much easier for the horse.

We use this way of analysing how our horses interact with us with all our horses and find they all end up the same, given temperament differences. Some horses are always more likely to trial escape/flight responses than others and some need more reptitions of lessons before they clearly understand how to control how much of the pressure they are exposed to and how to make their lives predictable in their dealings with us. Obviously this relies on us as handlers giving them every chance to respond to light cues so they don't have to experience the heavy ones. If we always use heavy cues the horse never gets the chance to respond to light ones and that can make them nervous because the strong cue comes out of nowhere or they form an association between being ridden and handled and being exposed to frequent unpleasant pressures they can't avoid.

In research in dogs and rats, scientists found that the animals given the chance to predict when an electric shock was going to be applied or who learned how to avoid it by doing a trained task were much less stressed both physiologically (cortisol levels) and behaviourally, than animals exposed to random shocks they couldn't predict or avoid.

Good luck with your mare.
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post #16 of 18 Old 07-12-2011, 11:08 PM
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the first time i put the new horse in the wash rack, he exploded after about 2 mins of hosing and ripped the entire solid metal clip out of the wall. (which was really quite scary for both him, and i)
But i've been working with him every day in the wash rack.
And today after a nice ride i walked him to the wash rack, he paused at the edge of the concrete, i turned my body along the side of his body and encouraged him with the end of the lead line (although, not touching him)... he then politely walked into the wash rack and stood the entire time like a total gentleman. SUCCESS! It only took us a month, but his trust is coming around.

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #17 of 18 Old 07-12-2011, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by FreeDestiny View Post
The only problem I have with not being dominent is that because of past istances ( long story ) I'm a little afraid of her, just the way she's unpredictable. I guess ill have to get over that :P
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IMHO -You cannot give a horse what you do not have and you do not have confidence in your own ability so why should she trust you? She's unpredictable because you are.

Last edited by Horse Poor; 07-12-2011 at 11:26 PM.
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post #18 of 18 Old 07-19-2011, 07:33 PM
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what helped immensely with me and my pony was a stud chain. when i would take him out of his stall, he immediately tried to get away, and was successful every time until i put a stud chain on him. now he obeys my every command, with and without a halter (as in with a halter and with a bridle), and is very, very respectful. it helps you with your fear, because i used to be shaking when i was assigned to him, and now i'm always very excited to ride him because i know the chain is a back-up tool to use if he gets frisky. it's helped our relationship immensely.
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